Monday, August 1, 2011

Knitting again

Back in February I took a class at the wonderful Knitche on how to knit continental to improve the speed of my knitting, because although I'm a good knitter, I am not at all fast.  It was a good class and I decided to only knit with the yarn in my left hand after that, to practice and improve and pick up speed.  Well, as it turns out, all it did was kill my desire to knit.  Sure, for a while I dutifully knit with the yarn in my left hand, and while it wasn't slower than how I knit before, my knitting didn't have the same even tension.  I knew the tension issues would resolve with practice, but instead, what happened is that slowly, I just stopped picking up my knitting.  Instead, I spun and crocheted; I like doing those things, so it wasn't a hardship, but I have a lot of knitting projects on the needles and I missed the easy (if slow) relationship I had with knitting.  So, yesterday, I decided, the heck with knitting faster eventually, I want to knit, period.  So, I'm back to my slow but steady throwing technique, and I knit more yesterday than I have for months.
Point Reyes, North Beach

We went out to California at the beginning of June to visit my parents.  Dave couldn't come due to too much work crap scheduled, but Margaret and Alice and I had a great time.  They were even good on the plane.

Reading with Grandpa Brian
As you can see, we went to the beach.  Had to rent a minivan to get us all there, two car seats and three adults do not fit into a Subaru Impreza Outback!  But it was worth it, Margaret loved seeing the ocean again, and Alice got her first taste (literally) of sand.  The first time we took Margaret to the ocean, she was crawling, and so when we set her on the sand, she tried to crawl, and because of, well, sand, her hands slipped out from under her and she face-planted.  I suppose it's lucky that Alice wasn't yet crawling, because she sat there fascinated and then started trying to eat the sand.  Didn't seem to hate it, thought it was interesting.
Rainbow across from my parents'

Swimming at Connie's
 My mom has some really wonderful friends, and one of them had us over to swim in her pool.  We had another offer from another friend, but it was our last day and Margaret was so tired she didn't even want to blow bubbles.  Alice and Margaret both loved the pool!  Margaret has been taking swimming lessons, and you could tell that she was much more comfortable with the water than last year.  She even swam the length of the pool and back by herself with a couple noodles.
 While we had the minivan, we also went to Fairytale Town.  It is such a cute place and Margaret had a blast.
 When we were at Point Reyes, Margaret kept asking to pet the cows we saw, so when she got a chance to pet this yearling, she was thrilled!  She also spent a good amount of time petting a sheep.
 One of the wonderful things about Fairytale Town is that everything is kid-powered.  There are no rides, just things for kids to climb on and play on and slide down.  To enjoy it, you have to be active.  Also, adults aren't allowed in without children, unless they are attending a birthday party and are on the guest list, so you don't just have random people there... it's just for the kids.
@ de Young Sculpture Garden

 One of the days, Margaret went to the Sacramento Zoo with my dad while my mom and I took Alice and went with one of my mom's friends into San Francisco.  There we went to the de Young Museum to see their exhibit "Balenciaga and Spain" and to the Legion of Honor to see "Pulp Fashion".  Nothing I say can really do justice to either exhibit.  Amazing. 

I also really enjoyed seeing some friends and their kids.  I just wish I could have spent more time with them, too!  Andrea and Jodi, bring the families out here!

We were in CA for 2.5 weeks, which was not enough time with friends and family, but a little too long to be out of our normal routine.  Margaret was a little hesitant to return to school, especially since during the summer she has a new teacher in a new room.  She got over her tears quickly, though and has been thoroughly enjoying herself.

Polwarth wool, color Hoarfrost.
Jen and Alice
The Friday after we returned, I went up to the Lake County Fairgrounds with Jen and Alice (Margaret spent Thursday night and Friday with her Grandma Kathy) to attend a class at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair.  We took Photographing Your Fiber with the always wonderful Franklin Habit.  I had a fangirl squee moment when we walked into the class and he knew that we had met before.  The class was great; some of it was needed review, and some of it was new to me, but it was all fun and I got the nerve to play around with the settings on my camera.  The picture above is one I took at the end of class.  Although I would switch the lighting around a bit, the color is pretty true.  It is a mostly worsted spun combed top that I enjoyed spinning.

As I was standing in line waiting to get into the fair to class, I saw Carol Sulcoski of Go Knit in Your Hat and Black Bunny Fibers walking into the building.  When I happened to see her after class, I took the opportunity to say hi (even though I felt like an uberdork) and she was so friendly.  My darling friend Nan was there, and since I hadn't seen her in far too long, that was wonderful.  I also met up with a friend I only knew online, Diane, and had a blast hanging out with her.  Diane and I introduced ourselves to Abby Franquemont.  Now, I have wanted to take a spinning class with her for quite some time, but with Margaret and then Alice around, I thought it wasn't the best idea.  Well, she basically double-dog dared me to take a class with her that weekend, so when I got home, I signed up for her Blended Fibers class that Sunday morning.  Boy am I glad I did, I learned so much, including that I needed a new wheel.  My Louet S-10 is wonderful, but it is not great for spinning fine yarns.

 I will conclude with a few more California pictures.  I haven't even hit July, that will be coming soon.
Blowing bubbles with Grandpa Brian, Grandma Lynn and Alice in the background.
At the Tempo Park playground
At the "chicken park" in Fair Oaks.
Checking out the horses at Orangevale Park
First ice cream cone.  Strawberry.

One of the first few days when it was cold and rainy.