Friday, February 29, 2008

San Francisco - Day 1

True Bliss
Our flight to SF was delayed almost 2 hours due to early morning fog in SF! Darn...we could have slept in! Oh well...once we got going, the trip was quick and uneventful. We got into the City by about 1:30, had a quick lunch at Sears Fine Food, across from our hotel and then started walking around the Union Square District.
Larry escorted me to the Mecca of Fine Yarns, Artfibers. He stayed for a bit, but then figured that he'd have more fun seeking out guitar shops and bookstores.
Artfibers is a very unique place. I'd been before, but didn't have enough time to really get into the vibe. The owner, Roxanne, greeted me at the door and told me to take my time, browse, swatch some yarns and experience the store. There were a few people there, but not as crowded as it would be on a Saturday.
I was looking for a light-weight yarn, DK weight, something that I could knit a shell with. All of the yarns at Artfibers are produced exclusively for them. They sell the yarns on cones. The most amazing feature about this place is that once you buy your yarn and decide what style of sweater you want to knit, they will measure you and write up your pattern using a computerized knitware design. It's fantastic! I was thinking that once I finished this sweater made from Artfibers' Valparaiso yarn, 50% baby alpaca/50% merino wool, I might just use up some of my vast collection of Koigu and make another simple shell.
Roxanne, designing my sweater

We're off to dinner and a gallery opening now.....more tomorrow!

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Thursday, February 28, 2008


Today, I'm preparing for our trip to San Francisco tomorrow....washing clothes, packing, updating the cosmetics case, etc. It's so nice to be at home, putterin' about on a WEEKDAY!
Part of our preparations include placing some sort of visual I.D. on our suitcases. Once upon a time, I had a hard suitcase that I painted with roses, vines, skeletons and cactus. Of course, it got all scratched up in baggage handling, but I could sure see it when it slid down the baggage carousel!
Today, I did some minimal handle crochet on our bags. Larry's got some Gucci-esque striped markers and my suitcase got a little flower-power action. We are, after all, visiting S.F.
See you at the WeHo SnB tonight! Let me know if you have any special S.F. things for us to experience.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I bought this incredibly beautiful yarn a couple of weeks ago when I was gettin' my knit-on with the Eastside Girls. It's called "Taiyo" by Noro (40% cotton, 30% silk, 15% wool, 15% nylon, 220 yards per 100-gram ball, 3 stitches per inch on a US 10 needle. approx. $16 per skein). I just love Noro's colorways. Striping is my fave to combat knit-boredom. I only bought one skein, 220 yards per skein. I just couldn't figure out what to do with it. I started swatching. It didn't look good cabled. Too much silk, not enough bounce for cables. It didn't look good crocheted. Besides, crochet uses up one-third more yarn than knitting, so I didn't want to minimize the yardage of this expensive yarn.

What should I make? Another scarf. Yawn. A hat? Use it in combination with another yarn for a shawl? After trying tons and tons of stitch patterns, I ended up using a version of Crazy Auntie's Magic Scarf pattern. My pattern is Knit 4, Purl 4 for 4 rows, then reverse. This makes a nice basketweave-type stitch. You can see the texture of the silk on size 8 needles too. OK, another scarf for the prospective gift duffel.
Larry and I are going to San Francisco this weekend for our anniversary! Woo Hoo! We've been married 16 years. We didn't do anything momentous for last year's anniversary, so we decided to actually go on an airplane somewhere. We've been up North recently, but haven't been into the City for ages. Can't wait to get over to Art Fibers!
Afterthought: I must crochet up a fast hat with earflaps to combat the SF cold weather snap!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Remember? I sent my Noro Sock Yarn #185 to Fernwood Woolworks so that Designer/Owner, Lynette could work her sock machine magic? I received my gorgeous socks in the mail yesterday. I L*O*V*E them! Lynette even matched the striping pattern on both socks! Incredible! She also returned the unused sock yarn. Woo Hoo!
Go for it! Order some for yourself. This is a perfect way to gain satisfaction from all that gorgeous sock yarn in your stash while you're working on knitted sweaters, hats and crocheted bags.


Monday, February 25, 2008

If I'm Sittin', I'm Knittin'

Lots of sittin' and knittin' this weekend! On Saturday, after all my errands were run, I zoomed over to the Fairview Branch of the Santa Monica Library, Ocean Park @ 21st St. to meet up with the Fairview Knitters. This is small, but very nice group that meets on the second and fourth Saturday of the month in the multi-purpose room of this small branch library. Heather is the organizer. It was raining on Saturday afternoon, so the turnout was small, but everyone was really welcoming AND Heather served tea and cake! I will definitely visit with this Westside group of stitchers again! It's freeway close and there's easy street parking on Saturdays. Why don't you join us?

We had breakfast with Mom and her current husband on Sunday at the Roll 'n Rye Deli inn Culver City. I had her try on her cardigan in progress. It looks great on her! I have about 7 more inches to knit on the body of the sweater, then I'll knit the sleeves. I'll probably crochet a button band and only add buttons to the yoke portion of the sweater. Once blocked, this should give the sweater a swing-coat look.

Mom @ Roll 'n Rye

I got lots of knitting done while we were sitting on the couch watching endless pre-Oscar shows on TV on Sunday. I feel like Larry and I are part of fabric of the couch....six hours straight....ugh! I'm tee-veed out!


Friday, February 22, 2008


Swapping Fun
Last night was our WeHo SnB Yarn and Cookie Swap. It was fantastic.

In the words of our hostess, Natalie: "Last night we had an amazing turnout and we had lots of fun. Thank you everyone for bringing lots and lots of yarn and yummy, yummy, treats! Our yarn donations went to Karyn Newbill and Emily Lopez. Karen works with students at Palisades Charter High School and Emily has 3 knitting groups at public libraries across LA. Karen and Emily went home with bags of yarn for their knitting students & there was even enough yarn for a donation to Stitches from the Heart!!!I Thank you to everyone for their generosity of yarn, goodies, and spirit. You all done good!" Natalie Y.

Karyn Newbill posted last night: "Hey everyone,I just got home from a fabulous night at the WeHo SnB. Thank you to everyone for being so welcoming and for all of the yummy cookies and treats. Biggest thank you for the 3 gigantic bags of "teaching yarn" (as Ellen was calling it) that we lugged out to my car. Emily and I split up the yarn donations and I look forward to doling out the treasures tomorrow in knitting class. I'll take my camera so I can post some pics of the kids with their new yarn. I will drop the rest of the yarn off at Stitches From the Heart tomorrow afternoon. Thanks again and I hope to see all of you again next Thursday." Karyn N.
Emily Lopez writes: "Thanks to everyone who organized and contributed to last night's wonderful event. Today I will sort through and divide up the donations I received for the 3 public library stitching clubs I'm involved with - Hyde Park Branch in south central, El Sereno Branch in east L.A. and Valley Plaza branch in North Hollywood. I'm so excited to have supplies, and I know the members of the clubs will be very appreciative! Many thanks." Emily
Needless to say, we had a great yarn and cookie-fueled time! Not only did many of us come home with some beautiful new fuzziness, we felt good about donating yarn to knitters who, in turn, will knit for various charitable organizations.
Speaking of charitable organizations, have you "Knit for the Cure" yet? I CROCHETED for the cure. I'll be dropping off my FAN-tastic scarf at Wild Fiber today. Information about donations for this worthy cause is here.
Have a great weekend. Think pink!


Thursday, February 21, 2008

12 Hours Later

I finished another 5-Hour Baby Sweater. I wasn't rushing on this one, so it actually took me about 12 hours to knit. I crocheted a little granny baby beret to go with it. This sweater is smaller than the green one I made for Vivian. Again, I used Ella Rae Classic Wool , this time in a beautiful rusty color called Redwood #33. I had the button for the top of the sweater in my stash.
Tonight, at the WeHo SnB (Farmers Market, 7-9, upstairs dining area), we're having a yarn and cookie swap. Ms. Natalie has organized the event. It should be fun. Everyone has been asked to bring yarn they want to swap and yarn they want to donate to various charity knit organizations around town. We have to keep this yarn separate, or else it will become a free-for-all! Some people will also be bringing home-baked cookies to share, along with a copy of their recipe. If you'd like to participate, but don't want to bake, that's OK too. Just bring a bag of cookies from the store! It should be interesting to see if we can keep the cookie crumbs out of the yarn!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Thru the back window screen...
Acres of weeds and old cars, looking toward the Studio

This past Saturday Larry and I drove out to Pasadena to visit our architect, Greg Kacheoff. About 5 years ago, Greg designed our new and improved garage and studio for us. It's working out beautifully, so when we decided to add a master bedroom and bath to our very small 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1927-era house, Greg was the first one we called.

Concrete Driveway Rubble, ready for removal

We've been working on the interior design of this addition for months. Greg came out to our house, took photos, measurements, etc. Through the miracle of computers, we've been able to do most of our design discussion via the internet. On Saturday, however we wanted to talk about the exterior elevations, so we made the trip to Greg's office.

Digital Designing

It was so easy to change windows, doorways, rooflines, etc. with the architectural computer program that Greg uses. I love computers. We've finalized the exterior design, now we're waiting for the official plans. Then, it's off to the permit office, downtown! Once we get our permits, I need to call a few contractors and get some bids.

Larry & Greg, Pasadena

Woo Hoo! I'm going to have my own bathroom and a bigger closet!! Of course, this probably will take a year to finish. Double Woo Hoo! More room for yarny pursuits.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Yarny Holiday

I zoomed over to the Eastside today to get my knit-on with a few friends. Because of the President's Day holiday, the freeways were empty! What a pleasure! There was much yarn flyin' around the Coffee Bean this morning. Many of the ladies are knitting the "Lenore" Sock by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, among other beautiful items.
Mary Jo's "Lenore" Socks
Mary's "Lenore" Socks
Melise's "Monkey" Socks
Marie's Baby Blanket
Madge's "Cobblestone" Sweater
Wen's working on something blue...a hat?
Mary Jo's Noro Kureyon Hat
The most stylin' chick @ Knit Group Today.....Sweetie Girl!
'm working on a sweater for my Mom. When we were choosing yarn for Mom's cardigan, I tried to steer her toward the light-weight wools or silky cottons. Mom wasn't having any of that. She dislikes wool. Says it's just too hot to wear in SoCal. Mom zoomed in on a nice mocha/taupe color yarn. Naturally, she liked the 100% virgin acrylic, Red Heart! Gee....I was trying to make Mom a really soft, nice sweater. Oh no...she wanted the Red Heart and that was that! 3 skeins later, at the cost of $9 and change, we walked out of the store. As long as she's happy. I'm not a yarn snob, that's for sure. Now, you know where I get it from!
I worked on the sweater today. Mary Jo was nice enough to try on the WIP so I could check the size. This is actually a modified adult version of that 5-Hour Baby Sweater I've been knitting. I think it looks good. Definitely, a "Mom" sweater. Thanks for modeling, M.J.

Mom's Cardigan - Work In Progress
Model, Mary Jo


Friday, February 15, 2008

Altered Paint-By-Numbers

In keeping with my post about Thrift Store artwork, today I'm posting some altered paint-by-numbers by various Los Angeles artists. We attended this show in downtown Culver City a year ago. Sorry, I don't remember the name of the gallery or many of the artists, and my photos are slightly wonky, but I do know that the artists participating in altering various vintage paint-by-numbers canvases are part of the low-brow art scene.
The idea was to show the original vintage painting in a photo below the altered version. This is a grand way to update your thrift shop finds. Some of these "new" paintings are hilarious. Some are darkly disturbing. I love them all.
3-Day Weekend Plans:
Yayyy! For many of us it's a 3-day weekend....President's Day. When I was in grade school, we got to celebrate Lincoln's b-day (2/12) and Washington's b-day (2/22) separately, on the exact DAY. I do miss those times.
We're not going out of town. Los Angeles is a tourist destination. We may go see the new BCAM at LACMA. We'll be in Pasadena on Saturday morning....always a fun City. We've got brunch on Sunday with some out-of-town family members. Monday, I may just meet up with the Eastside Girls for some serious knittage. We'll play it by ear. Have a marvelous weekend!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Be Nice Day

Valentine's Day is really a huge marketing ploy by corporate America to get you to buy candy, flowers and scratchy lace underwear. I'm not sayin' I don't celebrate, I'm just sayin' that we should be nice to each other EVERY day of the year, not just Valentine's Day!
Larry and I usually create original V-Day cards for each other...something topical. We've been doing this since our first V-Day together...1991. We met in April of 1990 and have been together ever since. Sigh. True Love.
Recently, Larry was lucky enough to visit the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the L.A. County Museum of Art. One of our neighbors gave him a pre-opening ticket for a week day. Lucky freelancer that he is, Mr. Larry was able to go while I was slaving away in my office. This resulted in Larry's idea for my V-Day card.....a work of art (Larry), owned by Ellen! I just love it.

The inscription reads: Larry Underhill (b. 1952); Ellen's Larry. 2008. Flesh, blood, glass, plastic, cotton and LOVE. 38 x 68". Collection Ellen Bloom.

My Valentine to Larry usually consists of a photograph from something in our overgrown backyard with a witty little caption. This year's entry is a photo of Larry's 1963 red Dodge.

We're Sinking Deeper and Deeper...

(into our relationship)

However you celebrate the day, BE NICE TO EVERYONE, especially yourself!


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery