creature comforts

Posted on 33 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, food and garden, projects

as many of you know, the tyler household is home to many pets, thanks to kade’s love of critters and kim’s complete inability to really say “no more animals”.

every time we visit, the menagerie has grown—even when one of the “family” has left the fold, at least two more take its place.

chica, of course is a given for starring in the blog—for some reason, she is my very favorite and she knows it. we talked about her quite bit during my last visit here with beckie, when she suffered an attack from another animal.
she seems a little distant this time, though; i wonder if a bit of old age is setting in.

obviously though, it doesn’t get in the way of hamming it up for the camera . . .

new on the scene here is maximus, a luxuriously large and powerful cat that kim picked up at petco, from the animal rescue league. she really wasn’t going to take him home, but then at the end of the day (literally) she went back for him.

and it turns out, he’s the perfect cat for her—she just loves him.
daisy, on the other hand, won’t have one thing to do with him

daisy was much harder to pin down for a photo, in fact, seeing as how she was preoccupied with getting some lunch

i finally got one semi-nice picture

she’s not exactly letting me take her portrait, but she’s conceding a bit of profile to keep her fan base from rioting . . .

another new, but temporary dweller is this hummingbird, who is nesting in the eves of the portico out front. when a human comes near, she freezes into position with her beak point up so as to “blend”, hahaha.

there’s franklin, the tortoise, enjoying a shady respite under his log the other day. he seems to double in size every time i see him—he outgrew the well at the base of the palm tree that was his previous playpen and now spends his outdoor time in a new tortoise “run” that kade built him. not that he actually runs in there, but it does have lots more room for moving around.

speaking of resting . . .

david has enjoyed a lot of that this week, i think.
actually, today was kind of a hangout day all around. since the weather dawned chilly and overcast with a threat of rain

we went walking early and then headed downtown instead of to the beach (seriously, this is their idea of bad weather. it did “rain”—for about ten minutes, later in the day, but i think i can handle that).

we’d missed our traditional first meal of thai food at saffron last thursday, so that was our destination this afternoon for lunch

if you ever find yourself on sassafras street at mealtime, this place is a must; the food is great and reasonably priced.

i cannot resist their noodles (front), but today we added a rice dish (back) to our selections that was delectable (as well as healthy).

kim’s fave is the chicken papaya salad, even though she also likes the noodles and rice—good thing we all like to share.

we rounded our lunch out with cold salad rolls and a gelato from the place next door.


after lunch we headed back to the ranch, where the boys were just getting home from school. kade and i watched animal planet for a couple of hours while the birds worked out on the “gym” he made them.

matilda (above) has a new roommate, bluebell (below) since i was here last—actually, just since new year’s; he purchased her with christmas money.

while they do extremely well together in the cage, they do enjoy geting our once in a while, so kade built a set of monkey bars for them

which he set up today in the den so they could watch TV with us

and when i say “watching TV” i’m not kidding, hehe.
while we did that, kim went out for an appointment and came home with buttons for cole’s sweater

she got them sewed on before dinner and snapped a few photos of it on him after we all ate—how great does that look now?

tomorrow we have to head home, bright and early, sigh. as usual, i am feeling a little down about it—i love it here and i wanna stay!

but i guess we all have to get back to reality at the end of any vacation—see you on the other side . . . (maybe by then i’ll have some knitting to show you!)

sun, sea, sky—you asked for it

Posted on 41 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, projects

i bet you’re bored to death with all these photos of blue, blue, blue, right??

if you’re like me though, you haven’t seen nearly enough. i’m trying to bank as much of this weather as i can before we head home on thursday, sigh. we just might have to move out here . . .

yesterday we got up early and headed to coronado to take sprössling to the beach for a photo shoot

david got some wonderful shots, which we’ll share for the pattern release when we get home—i’ve also been collecting photos of the sweater worn by all the test knitters so that you can see it on each of us.

we hung around coronado a bit to watch the waves, which were impressive yesterday

and to soak up the sun while watching the surfers try to master them.

after a while, we decided the sweater needed an ice cream, too, so we headed to mootown creamery, where kim and i had discovered a double-dark chocolate that we thought david would like (he did; he’s pretty picky about how dark his chocolate ice cream should be)

personally, i’m a diehard vanilla fan—i try that flavor everywhere i go; coffee is a close second favorite, so i always get a scoop of each.

after the ice cream, we waddled back to the car and headed home to snooze a little and make a nice dinner for everyone. we cooked up a big platter of pasta with vodka sauce, which is automatically put on the tyler family menu each time i visit.

i’ve been working on a lot of secret knitting, and also my henley sweater—i’m halfway up the front but i forgot to take a photo today, so i’ll have to show that to you tomorrow.

kim, though has an FO she wants to share

she knit a sweater for her son cole—no small feat, since he stands at around 6 feet 5 inches and has arms til tomorrow.
it turned out beautiful, right?

the sweater features fully fashioned raglan armholes and kim’s first one-row buttonholes (which she’s really happy with).

now, if we could only find some buttons—you wouldn’t believe how few shops there are here for such things . . .

with that project off the needles, kim is starting an ariann sweater in great northern yarns mink/cashmere (radiant purple)—does that sound yummy, or what??

this morning we got up and walked up the “butt-burner”—that’s what we call the hill you see in the background of this photo. on the way home through the orchard, we picked our fill of oranges, tangelos, and tangerines for breakfast, mmm.

then it was time to get ready to go out—today we hooked up with our dear friend jocelyn in la jolla for a little lunch, shopping, and walking.

and look what she was wearing when we arrived—her very own sprössling. i’m hoping that each of you will go RIGHT now to her blog and tell her how sexy she looks in her fitted blue sweater—i mean, is she smashing or what??

and don’t even get me started on the ravishing color—she should wear bright, cheery colors all the time, yes??

we walked around a bit and jocelyn took us to a favorite jewelry store where i’m afraid we all succumbed to nearly-matching bracelets (it’s ok; they’re just matchy enough to be our secret friendship bracelets)

i had to get the green and she had to get the blue and kim got a multi-colored one—well, wouldn’t you have?

we had a scrumptious lunch on an outdoor patio to finish the afternoon off—just the perfect visit. i just wish we could do it more often.

tonight we are staying in to knit—we’ve just finished a terrific dinner of enchiladas created by kim and sam and we’re all ready to watch a movie, once homework is done.

tomorrow, we’ll have an update on all of the many, many critters that live on the tyler property—kade has several new additions to his menagerie and a few new volunteers as well.

and hopefully, we’ll hit one more beach before we have to leave on thursday morning . . . i know that’s what i’m here for

the after party

Posted on 24 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, projects

i’m always so glad that i don’t have to rush through a travel day after TNNA—it’s so much nicer to spend the next morning in kim’s back yard, sipping coffee while poring over yarn samples, books, and business cards.

it’s a little like a private party after the big event.

once again, i had a chance to stop and visit with kate and courtney at the kelbourne woolens booth, to see the new colors from their incredible line of fibre company yarns (we used two of their yarns for our dovecote and birnum wood samples, yum).

i definitely have to think up something yummy to knit with their yarn again soon.
i wish i could show you a nice photo of them, but the use of cameras is not allowed on the show floor, so i try to stick with the rules.

once in a while, however, i must have gotten carried away

because i ended up with an adorable photo of my friend sylvie toupin in the fibre isle booth, one of my very favorite vendors. you might remember me gushing just a wee bit about sylvie’s yarns before—i used one of them to knit elm row and another to knit pompa, and a third to make my favorite ivy vines neckwarmer. the magique used for the neckwarmer is the most amazing stuff—cashmere and bison, spun into a soft, springy yarn the is maybe more pleasurable to knit then to wear, even.

and now, she’s working some further magic on it by incorporating dyed fibers. this yarn won’t be available til next fall, but sylvie passed me some samples so i could get dreaming between now and then on some pieces to help promote it. isn’t it beautiful?

another new offering from fibre isle is the porcelaine line

three white yarns comprised of bamboo and merino, blended with a third fiber, different for each color. the third fiber determines the character of the white—one warm (with seacell), one medium (with tencel), and one cold (oh no, i can’t remember what the fiber is!). it’s a wonderful concept and brilliantly realized, when the yarns are compared side by side.

there were many, many more beautiful yarns and friendly vendors to catch up with, including deb and stevanie from pico accuardi, sabrina from anzula luxury fibers, and kristi and paul from shalimar yarns (i knit some holidazed socks with their yummy zoe sock last year and i’ll be teaching at their indie artist celebration in february).

in between browsing the booths, there were colleagues and peers to bump into and chat with—sometimes for a laugh

while walking the floor with kate gilbert on saturday, we ran across this not-to-be-missed photo op in the skacel booth.

janel and i just had to get down on the floor to photograph cookie’s fantastic shoes (see, i broke the rules, right there, oops). cookie is running on about how comfy the shoes are and janel seems to be saying, “yeah—right”.

the evenings were also fun—there was the fashion show friday night, where i met up with rosemary hill; we were both looking forward to seeing each other again.

afterward, we tagged along with jess, casey, mary heather, sarah, and friends for a beer and a snack, followed by knitting in our room with cookie and janel.

it was so good to spend time with rosemary again—we enjoy our yearly meetup so much, not just a little due to our similar tastes in food.

it’s not always easy to find good eating near a convention site, but this year we had the help of a foodie friend of cookie’s and were treated to some awesome choices throughout the area. saturday night the three of us piled into cookie’s car and headed to LA’s little toyo for sushi, which i could eat every day if it was available to me.

mmmm. good thing i hadn’t eaten all day—i had LOTS of room.

the highlight of the weekend had to be david’s arrival on sunday—this was his first TNNA, and i was anxious for him to see the show and meet some of the people i enjoy knowing and work with.

we started off with a ravelry breakfast and conversation at yet another delicious creperie (i ask you—is mary heather ever not smiling, happy, and beautiful??)

after breakfast we hit the show floor for a few hours so he could see the booths and meet some of our colleagues. we looked at yarns and books and talked to vendors that carry our patterns or are generous with yarn support for knitting samples.

one of the nice aspects of the show is the availability of soon-to-be-released books. i stood in line to receive a few, knowing that readers will be curious and interested in what’s new and what about to be seen on bookstore shelves.

jane slicer-smith’s
sweater book is a new offering in the fashion sector. filled with designs that are rich in texture and shape, as well an interesting constructions techniques, swing, swagger, and drape strikes me as a great resource for knitters who are tall and can carry longer styles and larger-scale motifs successfully. the collection includes several beautiful coats, a variety of swing garments, and numerous accessories with proportions that are well-suited to a tall frame.

shirley paden has written a comprehensive guide to the process behind designing custom-fitting garments—her knitwear design workshop will be a welcome addition to the library of serious experienced knitters and designers.

most of you already know that cat bordhi has another new book out, but i had not seen it yet, so i was excited to get a ticket for the signing.
cat has a seemingly bottomless ability to generate revolutionary techniques and ideas about sock knitting and yet again, she introduces us to a new way of making tubes to cover our feet with personal footprints. if you have an endless thirst for new ways to knit the same thing, this is definitely the book for you.

the last publication is not a book at all, but a DVD about fair isle knitting from knitting daily workshop with eunny jang.

i’m very much looking forward to viewing this DVD in the hope that it will inspire me to finally take the plunge into a full-sized stranded project. i love stranded knitting, the little i’ve done, but have yet to take on an actual sweater project. or who knows, maybe i;ll just watch the DVD over and over while i knit a little stranded hat.

finally, it was time to leave long beach, with lots to think about in the weeks ahead, as winter turns into spring (it really will, i promise!). i was tired, but felt good about what i’d seen and heard through the weekend.

now we are tucked in here at kim’s house for a few days of relaxation before we head home again to the cold. we’re having fun and i’m anxious to share our little trips with you, so stay tuned for tomorrow’s report of what we were up to today.

this is more like it

Posted on 25 CommentsPosted in projects

ahhh, finally i feel warm.
as you can see, the weather is lovely in san diego. i was only there for a little while yesterday—long enough to see kim, who took me meet cookie for lunch in encinitas

after which we were off to long beach to attend TNNA for a few days. the convention starts tomorrow, so today was a free day. cookie and i lounged over our knitting for a little while in the morning; she was preparing swatches for her evening class

while i worked on one of the secret projects i have going.

our temporary offices here are quite comfy, actually, with real down pillows and excellent mattresses—perfect for knitting in bed. it’s SO decadent.

later in the morning i went out for a walk at the beach, which is right around the corner, to suss out possible places near the hotel to eat and check the weather (cookie wasn’t going anywhere if it was cold out, haha).

i know—it’s a photo of a parking lot. but just past the parking lot is the ocean, i swear

see? lots of boats; must be water nearby, right?

and i did find just the right place to have lunch

mmm, crepes. good crepes. the waiter and waitress are even french—for real.
somebody was pretty happy

yes, for a few minutes at least, each of us had exactly what she needed.
tomorrow, we don our walking shoes and hit the show floor.