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Back from Sonoma….

….and getting ready for Italy!

*Sonoma pics added to end of post!*

I’m trying to decide what project I want to bring for my travel knitting.  I want to be able to bring it on the plane, so I’m thinking socks on bamboo dpns….but what pattern?  I’m leaning towards Eunny Jang’s Bayerische socks, because it looks like the pattern is easy to memorize but will still be interesting.  I don’t want to bring along any references, and I won’t be bringing my laptop, so I have to already know how to do everything the pattern requires (not a big deal).  However, there are plenty of Nancy Bush socks I want to knit, I have a couple Cookie A patterns too, and Janel Laidman’s Rivendell is lovely….

In the meantime I’ve been working on my handspun hat and the yellow Mr Greenjeans.  I’m hoping to have the latter done before leaving for Italy.  All I have left is the sleeves and blocking. Flutterby has been on the backburner though there’s not a lot left on it — I just started working on Mr Greenjeans again on the car ride home (easier than doing the laceweight in the car) and kept up with it once home.  It’s nice change of pace, working with the heftier yarn.

I’ve not done any spinning recently — since getting back I’ve been working a lot (to make up for the vacation time!).  Knitting, bike riding and vacation planning has taken up any other spare time.  Oh, and online surfing — have you checked out Twist Collective yet?

Sonoma and Napa

Sonoma County was wonderful.

We’ve decided that we much prefer it to Napa — much less pretentious and less expensive.  We did enjoy our estate tasting at DuckhornHall was a disappointment this time (much better 2 years ago).  Bouchon was as yummy as expected (I had my favorite-ever glass of Chardonnay….a French chablis.  Just don’t really like the big oaky buttery California Chards.).  We did have a nice bike ride in the a.m. — St Helena to Silverado Trail to Calistoga then back down 29.  I had a wonderful massage at the Health Spa Napa Valley.

But Sonoma County, especially the Russian River Valley area…..I’d love to live there.

We had a great casual dinner at Zazu (Dave saw Zoi from Top Chef in the kitchen) — antipasto, bacon-wrapped dates, and a margherita pizza with a flight of Pinot — and apricot/peach crumble for dessert with homemade vanilla ice cream.  We did lots more wine tasting (of course).  We did a great bike ride from the house to just past Talty and back.

We went hiking in the redwoods

and beachcombing for serpentine and beach glass.

and on that note….

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Espresso Bean — home stretch

Body done, sleeves done, all ends woven end except for what will be associated with the neck!

We went diving yesterday at Anacapa, one of the California Channel Islands, on the Spectre out of Ventura Harbor. Despite my Scopalamine patch I was miserably sea sick for most of the day and only made two of the four dives. However, those were nice dives — we saw a sea lion, huge Garibaldi, a big Sheepshead, some lovely Spanish Shawl nudibranchs, and more on the first dive, and on the last dive a small moray eel and a school of sardines, as well as a ton of purple sea urchins and probably a half dozen species of starfish. Dave and our friends Tori and Walt saw a huge bat ray with juveniles on one of the dives I sat out.

We hadn’t dove since 2006 in Fiji, and I don’t think I’d done cold water diving since January of 2005 at Catalina. (We did do a pool refresher last Thursday just to practice basic skills — always a good idea if you’ve not dove in a while.)

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Espresso Bean aka Tomato

I’ve finished the colorwork and started the waist decreasing. I practiced using both hands doing the colorwork; my left hand did fine but my right hand got sore (I’m right handed and usually knit English as opposed to Continental). I am pleased with my tension — no puckering and no excess yarn on the wrong side.

I was a little worried about size (it was looking big) so finally ran some yarn through the working end and tried it on (couldn’t do it with the circulars in). It fits! I may do some extra waist decreases, though.

I’m very grateful I cast on early for the neck because, even assuming the inch or so of ribbing I’ll be adding at the neckline, it’s still plenty scooped. I don’t really want to have to wear a cami under it; the Blue Sky is bulky enough as is.

I’m trying to have this done to wear this weekend — Dave and I are doing a long weekend trip up to Ojai (SCUBA diving Saturday, bike riding Sunday, lazing around in between). It’s a really fast knit and I’ve become a little obsessed with it, so hopefully I’ve not jinxed myself!

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…day before Christmas…

…and I’m still working on the second of my mom’s Conwy socks.

I did finish Mel’s present (a square of entrelac Noro a la Lady Eleanor, the same color as my Lady E), a scarf for our friend Arlene (eggplant 6 ply Merino from HandPainted Yarns, Fiesta Chinchilla in Sandstone, and some Cashmerino (I think) in lavender), and a scarf for our friend Allison (in multicolored handpainted wool I bought on our last visit to Dave’s parents at Wool & Co in Geneva IL).

I visited Hill Country Weavers in Austin with my mom yesterday. She picked out some Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock sportweight in Safari for socks down the road. Such a lovely little store! It’s in an old bungalow on South Congress with a huge selection of the regulars (Noro, Debbie Bliss, etc etc) with some more harder to find stuff (well, easy enough online, I suppose, but great to see in person) like Claudia’s (and not just their sock yarns), Jade Sapphire, etc.

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