Monday, October 29, 2007

Shrinky Dink Cufflinks AND a Fratello Kit

ShrinkyDinkCufflinks 006
Originally uploaded by unkaDee
The birthday love just keeps on coming my little chickadees. I'm verklempt, meine freunde, truly.

So, yesterday, I met up with my knittin' posse (official name still to be voted on) and we felted my Jellyfish Mobile that I received at the surprise party. You would not believe the beautiful jellies that came out of the felting process. They need to finish drying but I had to bring them to work today and show them to my knitter friends at work.

While we were working on attaching the testicles (aka tentacles), Stephen pulls out another birthday gift (he's in trouble for spoiling me) and what do I discover but the new exclusive Wollmeise colorway and matching pattern from Yarnissima called Fratello. Heavenly they are and must be seen in person to be believed. I don't have good pictures yet, but I'll be doing that this week. And I'll probably be bugging Marjan (Yarnissima) or Victor (Elemm) because they are the short row masters. So, yes, I'm feeling the fiber love, my friends.

Then.... this morning I get to work and find this lovely present on my desk (the picture above with the cute green paper and the amazing shrinkydink knitting decoration). At first I'm confused, because I can't figure out what the material is. It looks ceramic but perhaps metal. I then open it up to discover that it's hand made CUFF LINKS by my dear friend, Dennis. You might have heard me talk about Dennis and his art before. He's very talented and far too modest, but I hope one day to convince him to open an Etsy shop.

Here's a link to some more pix that Dennis took of the cufflinks.

Two more days in my birthday month, but I'm still getting gifts. I'm loving this whole 40 thing to pieces....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Knitting Themed Birthday Cake!!!!

Saturday, October 20th, the day before my actual birth date, my sweet friend Robert Allen, came over to the East Bay to treat me to brunch and to spend the day ogling succulents at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Way back when, (was it only 4 years ago??), I was an avid/rabid dry gardener and did volunteer work at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek. It's a spectacular place with a dazzling collection of rare and unique cactii and succulents. When my partner suffered an aneurysm, we had to move into accessible housing, so I lost my little garden and trekking to Walnut Creek for volunteer work became a luxury I couldn't afford. So, when Robert confessed that he had never been and needed some inspiration for his own lovely sun-drenched garden, I jumped at the chance to practice my rusty docent skills and give him my tour.

Before heading out, we grabbed a bite at Venus in downtown Berkeley. I had never been for brunch, only dinner (once with Matty before seeing Arcade Fire) but knew it would be good. I had their 2x2x2 special (2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 sausage) with a pomegranate mimosa. Robert, who pretty much hates breakfast food, had their panini with salad and a micro-brew beer. I think he enjoyed it. We chatted about work, and tv shows and gardening.

I was a little nervous visiting the garden for a self-guided tour because I'm not a current member and hadn't spoken to any of the coordinators or board members in a long, long time. In my defense, I did leave several messages, but never heard back from anyone, so I had my excuse ready for anyone who thought I was breaking and entering. In the end, we didn't have any problems and it was a glorious day for a garden tour.

Robert was duly impressed with the variety of succulents and the size of the agaves and fruit-bearing opuntia. I think he got some great ideas for creating more height and drama in his home garden. After about 2 hours, we packed up and headed back to Berkeley. Earlier in the day, I had spoken with Moreno and had suggested that we go out to a quiet dinner in celebration of both our birthdays. It was still pretty early and easy to do that.

On the return trip home, Holly called a couple of times from Golden Gate Park and wanted to know when Robert was getting back into SF. He said soon and promised to call her after he dropped me off at home. Once we got to Berkeley, Robert parked, asked if he could come up and wash his hands, and followed me into the building.

I picked up the mail (we got two netflix and anthony got a notice for a package) and headed up to the third floor. I was opening the netflix and chatting with Robert over my shoulder as I opened the door and got the biggest shock. With a raucous "SURPRISE" I was greeted with cheers and glitter by a small crowd of my dear friends.

DUDE, they got me good. Anthony was the master of planning and he was 100% successful in shielding me from the shenanigans. He was ably assisted by Barbara, Holly, Jeff and Emily. Robert was a co-conspirator as well, but did say that he truly wanted to see the RBG so it was a double bonus.

In attendance were Chris and Barbara, Jeff and Randy, Holly and Rene with baby Rene, Emily, Tammy, Kate, Scott O., Colleen and Ade with baby Enzo, Dennis, Scott and David, Justine with Matteo, Lucy, Stephen and Chris, Matty, Ingrid, Kristian and Kristina. Yowzah!!!! Such a lovely gathering of sweet souls who have made my life so magical and maddening and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I got some flippin' awesome prezzies, my friends: amazing cake designed by Jeff; lovely hand knit jellyfish by my knittin' posse: Stephen, Kate, Elaine and Tammy; St. Germain from my baby; gift certs to Article Pract from Chris and Barbara AND my work knitting friends; gift certicate to Rudy's Can't Fail from Karen; gift certificate to Sweet Adeline's from Colleen and Ade; a MASSIVE gift certificate to Kabuki Springs from David, Scott & Matty; a beautiful hand-knit scarf from Master Knitter Ingrid; and the motherlode of them all, a GORGEOUS Rene Garcia, Jr. glitter portrait of me and Anto from Holly, Rene, Emily, Robert, Kevin, and Dennis.

Damnit!! I'm one lucky guy to have such sweet friends and a loving beau. Anthony even confessed that he enjoyed pulling it all together with our wonderfully gifted party posse. i guess I can't complain too much about being 40 since it's started off so fabulously!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Birthday Month

The Birthday Dinner Table
Originally uploaded by mikewade
Yes, it's true, I'm turning 40 very, very soon. And in honor of my birthday (and some other lovely Librans: Moreno, Jon, and Brenda), the epicurious JPK hosted a dinner party at his place. It was this past Saturday and it was indeed a wonderful celebration. On the menu was crab and corn salad, steak diane and mango ice cream cookies.

I had lots of pre-dinner lemon drops and played catch up with my dear friends who live in the West Bay (aka San Francisco). We were graced by the presence of JPK's brother, Dan and Dan's partner, Marc (what cute and sweet boys, they are!). Baby Rene was also in fine form and he even posed for many cute pics. It's only days before that boy starts making full sentences, then, LOOK OUT.

One of the high points (out of many) for me was the AMAZING present that Jon gave me, a cosmetology mannequin head. Now, it's not that I'm planning on going to beauty school and dropping out, but rather I need something on which to put knit hats for picture taking. It's always nice not to have to commandeer a real human head, not matter how cute. All I need now is to get someone to give me a male torso/form.

Jon's timing could not have been more fortuitous for me because this Friday is "Bring Your Art to Work" Day. I'll be displaying some handspun, some knitted toys and the lovely Shedir cap that I saw on Knitty Breast Cancer awareness issue.

I'll be posting pics from work display later this week.

Monday, October 1, 2007

All Hail the Fishgan!!!

My Knitting Posse at Work
Originally uploaded by mikewade
Howdy Everyone, here's a quick post to show you all some of fiberly goodness I (along with some colleagues) have been working on. I present to you the FABULOUS FISH AFGHAN aka Fishgan.

I work for a wonderful technology outfit in Emeryville, CA. We make software for libraries to use their resources more efficiently. And, as luck would have it, we have quite a few folks obsessed with fiber in the company. All the major groups are represented: Spinners, Knitters, Crocheters and Beaders. We even have folks that do book binding, soapmaking and shrinky-dinking (is that a verb?). Pretty crafty group, eh?

When we learned that a colleague was expecting we decided to do a group knitting project that had proven successful in the past. It's a modular pattern that is mostly garter stitch with some shaping and even a bobble. Whoo Hooo! I have to admit at first I wasn't feeling the love for this endeavor, but after we chose the yarn, delicious Blue Sky Alpaca organic cotton, I was sold. I even grew to like the dreaded bobble. What I was most thankful for, though, was not having to piece it all together. That momentous task was left to Kris (2nd from the left in the front).

We proudly presented the lovely Fishgan to mother-to-be Brenda this past Thursday. and I think she was quite pleased.

Project Details:
Pattern: Fabulous Fish Blanket (Knitter's Magazine, Summer 1998)
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca cotton (two hanks of 4 different colors)
Needles: US 7 - 9 (different knitters required different sizes for gauge)
Finished size: 44 inches wide by 28 inches high.
Mods: We crocheted a border around each fish and then did another border around the whole thing. Or rather, Kris did. :-)