25 August 2009



Ever since the Smart made an appearance here, we've been green-eying them whenever we saw one on the road.

Now - FINALLY - thanks to Cash for Clunkers - we got one:

Awwww - isn't it cute?

It drives great and is surprisingly roomy inside - as witnessed by every co-worker and neighbor who sat inside! And it has HEATED SEATS!!! And it's a convertible ... I love it!!!

15 August 2009

Antiques Roadshow - We're rich! We're rich!


I scored some AR tickets by entering their tickets raffle by email a few months ago. The tickets give you the exact time you are supposed to be there - in our case: 8:00 am. You can take up to 2 items per person to be appraised. So yesterday evening we packed up: 1 painting (surely worth at least $1K!), a set of 4 prints (maybe more?!?), 1 katana (I had that thing forever, must be at least another $1K!), and 1 mantle clock (must be at least $500!).

We arrived with time to spare at the San Jose Convention Center, and schlepped our treasures to the hall entry. A HUGE hall! They had it divided by appointment times. So we stood in the 8:00 am line, and were surprised how fast it moved.

Line for the Generalists tables

Luckily, we had the first appointment time of the day and there weren't any people hanging around from previous times. At the end of this line (where you see the sponsor logos projected on the wall) you are directed to one of the "generalists" tables. There you get a ticket according to what category your item falls in: in our case, we got 4: 1 for Asian Arts, 1 for Clocks, 1 for Paintings, and 1 for Prints. We decided to split up, because we were still expecting long lines at the appraiser tables.

The appraiser tables (no photos allowed in this area) are arranged in the form of a circle, and the lines for each table are radiating outward (more or less). The bulk of the lines is kept behind the dividers arranged behind the appraiser tables, with only a few people at a time waiting in front of the tables. Again, the lines were moving surprisingly fast. I had fully prepared to stand in line for an hour or two. In the middle of the circle was the TV setup.

My first appraiser (katana) was a bit grumpy and impatient (maybe because she had to get up early, too?), but the second one actually showed a bit of curiosity about my clock. Alas, no treasures here. Sigh!

My better half found out that our valuable painting was done by a commercial artist, hmpf - again, no treasure! The 4 prints which I received as a gift from my brother many years ago, are worth a few hundred dollars, but again: no treasures! Well ...
As I heard an appraiser say on TV one time: "Well, it might be a treasure in a few generations' time!"

Thanks to our early appointment time we were in and out in less than an hour. Here are our souvenirs:

The tickets and the appraiser category tickets, plus 2 handouts.

Maybe they will be worth something in a few hundred years!

When we got home, our cats were happy to be let out in the yard again:

The boss cat rolling around on the grass - in anticipation of a lazy day.

So we're not richer, but wiser - it was certainly interesting to see how these roadshows are organized. You know, when you watch the show on TV, thinking: "Why did these people bother to bring in this junk?" Yup. That's us!!! :-D

Till next time!

05 August 2009

Lessons from the Indiski shawl

The Indiski shawl proves to be a great learning experience (ahem)!

Lesson 1:
It REALLY is best not to have any distractions when working on lace pieces (and this is a fairly easy one!)

Lesson 2: When picking up the stitches from the outside border to work the inside border pick up only one loop, not both, of the edge stitches, otherwise the shawl is no longer reversible! Since the decrease stitches in the borders are all worked as K2tog they all lean in the same direction. So by reversing one border when you graft them together, the shawl becomes totally symmetrical!

Lesson 3:
Others who have worked this shawl thought that there is a mistake in the body pattern - the instructions say you have to pick up 165 stitches. But looking at the first charted row you realize that there must be 166 stitches to start with, because in the first row you have to knit 2 together at the end, resulting in 165 stitches.

This is actually more of a case of omission in the written instructions. They should have mentioned that when picking up the 165 border stitches for the body you ALSO "pick up" the first border stitch from the other border which gives you the missing stitch. I only knew about this, because I took Galina's class in Warm Shawl Construction, and - luckily - I had made a note of this.

Oh, and when you work the last-body-stitch + border-stitch DO keep the yarn in the back - or keep it in front after turning, so the join looks consistent.

I'm glad I'm finding all this out before working my first gossamer shawl!

Yesterday I received a package from Fleegle containing the fabulous Phoenix yarn (52/2 60% merino 20% silk 20% cashmere) she custom-ordered for a few knitters (and herself I assume) from China! It will be the thinnest yarn I've ever worked with - once I actually dare to use it!

Our washer has been fixed (for many $$$) - once something like this quits working you really appreciate household appliances, and that you don't live in the 19th century!