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Friday, July 25, 2008

Buttons for my February Lady Sweater

Libby was hit by a semi-truck this morning. She seems to be doing well under the circumstances and only has some serious whiplash. Thank goodness it wasn't anything more serious and thank goodness her kids were not in the vehicle at the time! Please say a prayer for her speedy recovery and that no hidden injuries pop up later.

I don't know if there is something going on today. Miss M and I were at the Sunnyvale Public Library today. We left the library around noon and while I was getting her back into her car seat I heard a loud noise. I looked toward the direction of the sound but couldn't see what happened until one of the parked cars left. A woman apparently drove her entire car up onto the curb! OMG, people could be standing or walking there! Miss M & I could have been walking there on the way to/from our car. I was relieved to see that nobody was injured. I don't know if she was a bit heavy footed on the gas pedal as she was parking her car or whether her brakes failed. If the car hadn't stopped where it did, it would have hit the parked car on the other side of that corner. I'm starting to think there should be bollards to prevent people from driving up the curb and possibly running people over.

Hmmm... maybe it's just safer to stay at home...


Stephanella is celebrating her first knitting success, a silk lace scarf, by having a contest on her blog, check it out.

Lea is having a contest here, all you need to do is leave comments blog posts dated between July 10 and July 26.


February Lady Sweater

Here is the beginning of my February Lady Sweater. It's not much. I've worked a few of those raglan increase rows (Row 5) and am not very happy with how mine looks. It feels "holey" to me. I wonder if I would get better results by using 4.5 mm (US7) needles instead of 5 mm (US8) needles. I'm knitting this with Elann Superwash Bamboo yarn. You can't see the buttonhole (left side), but it's approximately where the white stitch marker (right side) is located; I put the stitch marker there as a guide to where to put the button. I am using two of my new row counters for this project, one to keep track of how many times I work a Row 5 & Row 6 pair and the other to keep track of which row I'm on.

I found a calculator to figure out how to evenly space increases. It looks like a handy resource. I'm using it for the section where we're supposed to do this:
Work 41 (38, 47, 41, 41, 38, 39) YOs spaced evenly between the 197 (207, 219, 239, 267, 291, 311) center stitches
For the size I'm making (cast on 83), this works out to:
K2, (YO, K4)x8, (YO, K5)x31, (YO, K4)x7, YO, K2
Although I may have to recalculate if it turns out I need to go down a needle size to 4.5 mm and maybe try casting on for the next size up to compensate. The worsted weight yarn I am knitting with knits mork like DK weight for me. Oh, did I mention I haven't bothered to swatch? Ya I know, bad habit.

I mentioned in my Wednesday post that I picked up some buttons that might go with my February Lady Sweater. It feels like aeons ago even though that was only 2 days ago. My sense of time is out of whack.

I didn't go anywhere exciting to look for my buttons, I just went to my local Jo-Ann. Choosing buttons is more difficult than it sounds. I was drawn to some buttons that looked pretty but would definitely not work with my sweater: wrong color, wrong size, wrong style. Yes, I brought what little of it I had knit up with me to the store. Of course, it's not easy to get a feel even when you hold the little button card on top of the knitting. For some reason, basic round buttons weren't wowing me, and I was drawn to this one:

Purple flower buttons

I haven't taken these buttons off the card yet. I can already see that my 2-stitch button hole will be too small, so there'll be some frogging to do if I use these buttons. I haven't decided whether this is a good choice. They're purple. There's not much contrast with the dark purple yarn. Maybe I should have chosen something ivory or wooden. And I'm not sure if the non-smooth edges will play nicely with knitting. Perhaps a smooth round button would be best?


I was having some trouble with my last Booking Through Thursday post. No matter how many different ways I tried, I could not get my comment on the BTT site to appear. In fact, I could not leave a comment on any WordPress site even if I was logged into my WordPress account! I felt like I've been blacklisted. It turned out that the problem is the Akismet spam filter. I guess this is a feature that comes with all WordPress sites.

Anyhow, while I was slowly working through other people's BTT posts I discovered a book which looked interesting. It's The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. The BTT post also had a link to the first chapter. I wish I could remember which BTT post it was so I could direct you to it. Anyhow I just got my hands on this and am adding it to my stack although I have no idea when I'll actually get around to reading it. I'm still working through The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; I am almost finished with the first part, The Fellowship of the Ring.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

No more red please ...

All my Susan Bates row counters are red. I have one of those Clover rectangular kacha-kacha "clicker" type counters and it is red as well. I find myself wishing that row counters came in more than one color. Why you ask? Simply because I am working on projects that require 2 row counters.

I used two row counters for my Mom's vest (last seen here, I still have to blog about the finished vest when I find some time to focus on that post), in the armhole shaping section where I need to keep track of the Block I'm knitting and the Row in that Block. I placed two RED row counters on the needles to keep track of each, however they sometimes fell off the needles and that screwed me up.

I was also working on a cable project, last seen here, that contained three different cable patterns, with two different row repeats. That would be 20 rows and 24 rows. I used two row counters where one kept track of the 20 row repeat and the other kept track of the 24 row repeat. My challenge was trying to prevent these row counters from flying off the needles. And I really do mean flying! It's because I started that project on 3.25 mm (US3) size needles (then later switched yarns and needles).

What I would like are row counters that are available in a wide variety of colors. I can work with them visually, and it would help me remember that Red is for Pattern 1, Blue is for Pattern2, Purple is for Pattern 3, etc. Surely there must be such an animal out there. I just haven't found it yet.

As for the rectangular "clicky" type counters. I think these would be great in a variety of colors too. They'd be even better if they were silent clickers, so I can use them while knitting in bed without disturbing DH sleeping.

I don't think I'm asking for much here. They can send a man to the moon. Surely they can make row counters multicolored and silent. Of course I also think that we should have better technology to harness the sun's power, and that doesn't seem to be happening.

I often find things when I'm not actively looking for them. A while back, I stumbled upon the Clover row counters while looking for something else at Jo-Ann. They're differently red from the Susan Bates counters, different enough so that I can place one Susan Bates and one Clover on the same knitting needle and would still be able to distinguish them. I think I passed them over in the past because they cost twice as much ($4) as the Susan Bates ($2). I picked up three Clovers.

Knitting row counters. Susan Bates on left. Clover on right.

Here's a photo showing both row counters. You can clearly see that they are easy to tell apart from their coloring. Well, that's a start. But there is more!!! There is something I didn't know about these Clover row counters. Their design is superior to the Susan Bates counters in that they have "cushiony" parts on the inside that better grip the knitting needle. I slipped one onto my 3.25 mm (US3) needle and it DID NOT SLIP OFF! Yay! No more row counters flying off the needles. No more having to crawl on the floor to retrieve a row counter from under the coffee table or sofa.

Clover row counter, center detail.

The photo above shows a close-up of the inside of the Clover row counter. See the three transparent cushiony parts? These grip onto your knitting needle so the row counter doesn't fly off.

Susan Bates row counter, center detail.

Here's a close-up of the Susan Bates row counter. It lacks the "gripping" innards that makes the Clover row counters so much more superior. I wish I had known about this before I bought a gazillion Susan Bates counters.

I'm going to search for more colorful knitting row counter options. It would be great to have more colorful row counters in my bag of knitting notions. Purple. Blue. Green. Please let me know if you have seen non-red knitting row counters somewhere...

Trish has a cute kacha-kacha-like row counter in pink, which you can see here. I've never seen it sold anywhere, love the look/shape, wish it came in a variety of colors. However Trish mentions a little annoying quirk about hers; it's more aesthetic than functional. :-(

If you have some pretty beads on hand you should check out Alison's post about how she made bead row counters. I'd love to try this out if I can get my hands on some beads I like. Of course I have no idea where to get beads in my new city. Well, I don't know where to get beads in my old city either, but I do recall there used to be a bead store (many years ago) on Castro Street at Market Street, just a few doors down from the Castro Theater (in San Francisco, CA). I wonder if it is still there? I did see a few beads at Jo-Ann, but nothing I really liked. Let me know if you can recommend bead shops in the Cupertino, Mountain View, or Sunnyvale area.

I've heard of the bracelet type row counters and the "rosary" type row counters, both types are available from various sellers on Etsy. Both look like jewelry. I don't really understand how the "rosary" type row counters are supposed to work if you want to count more than 10-row repeats, however I do like how they remain with the knitting unlike the bracelet types. This row counter may be the better solution. This would be a cinch for anyone who already have the special tools necessary (viz. those who are into beading/jewelry). I think this row counter is exactly what I want. It's perfect for counting 40-row pattern repeats, and with two different sets using different colored beads, two of these can be used to count 2 different pattern repeats within one project. Unfortunately I don't know if this row counter flavor is sold anywhere and I don't have the skills or tools to make one of these myself.

I won't know if these "jewelry" row counters are practical until I try them out. Until then, I am pretty happy with my new Clover row counters.


Friday Fill-In #82


1. I believe whatever doesn't kill you allows you to live longer.

2. If you're good at something, share that knowledge with someone else.

3. Why so burpy?

4. Something is out there, it's an insect or arachnid just waiting to attack me while I'm sleeping (I live in Bugville and I'm phobic).

5. If my life were a sitcom, it would be titled Destination Unknown.

6. Sitting on my back porch [if you don't have one, use your imagination] I see overgrown grass, thriving weeds, an orange tree, a lemon tree, a peach tree, lots of rose bushes.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to Friday night pizza, tomorrow my plans include going to the library and doing laundry and Sunday, I want to veg a little (if Miss M allows)!


Booking Through Thursday

This week's question:

Suggested by: Nithin

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?

I don't usually remember first lines from books, but here are two that stick out in my mind...

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." (Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen)

Although I don't think this is true, I actually know people who believe this! But I always remember this line because I've read and watched the movies a gazillion times. And then I always think of those people I know who believe this holds true today.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way -- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens)

The first part always makes me think of Star Trek. :-)


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sugar and Cream

It's interesting how my coffee tastes have changed over the years. I started out with sugar and cream in my coffee. Then for a while I was hooked on mochas. When I finally got around to trying out my Stash Chocolate Hazelnut tea, I was reminded of the time I was in a hazelnut coffee phase where I'd pick up a huge cup every morning on the way to work. Then I tried coffee with no sugar, just cream. Now I've gone back to a little bit of sugar and lots of milk.

Lily Sugar & Cream variegated yarn

I was surprised during my visit to Jo-Ann when I found a large variety of Sugar & Cream colors. My store usually has only a handful of colors, and usually the same old boring selection. But this time they had a slew of new colors called "Culinary Colors" I had never seen before. So of course I couldn't help myself and threw just a few balls into my shopping basket.

Sugar & Cream Swimming Pool (upper left, Original Color)
Sugar & Cream Landscape (upper right, Original Color)
Sugar & Cream Wooded Moss (lower left, Culinary Color)
Sugar & Cream Weathered Rose (lower right, Culinary Color)

Sugar & Cream Landscape (upper left, Original Color)
Sugar & Cream Faded Denim (upper right, Original Color)
Sugar & Cream Weathered Rose (lower left, Culinary Color)
Sugar & Cream Urban Pastels (lower right, Culinary Color)

Sugar & Cream Beach Ball Blue (upper left, Original Color)
Sugar & Cream Bronze Blue (upper right, Culinary Color)
Sugar & Cream Quilt Colors (lower right, Culinary Color)

Sugar & Cream Bronze Blue (upper left, Culinary Color)
Sugar & Cream Oriental Ochre (upper right, Culinary Color)
Sugar & Cream Quilt Colors (lower left, Culinary Color)

I don't know what happened here. I went to Jo-Ann to look at buttons for my February Lady Sweater and 20 balls of kitchen cotton followed me home! I did find some buttons although I'm not 100% sure I like them for the sweater. I'll show you the buttons in another post. At least I managed to stay on target. :-)


I've been on a salad kick lately, I just can't get enough of it. While foods I've liked in the past just don't do it for me now. So I've been eating mostly salads these days. Crumbling blue cheese into my salad is a must these days. I picked up a pound the other day and am being very good about using it sparingly. I could eat this stuff like candy but that wouldn't be a good thing.

I haven't been doing much knitting lately. Just chipping away at my MIL's scarf. I'm exhausted all the time and I feel like I need a nap all day long, but don't get to take a nap until sometime after dinner. Then I have to wake up to give Miss M her bath and wind down. After that all I'm good for is watching some TV. I just can't concentrate on knitting.

I've been making slow progress on The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of The Lord of the Rings. This is my first time reading the book. I am nearly done, I've got about 1/8 left to go. It's interesting to see what is similar or different from the movie. I haven't yet decided if I want to jump right into book #2, or to take a break and read one of the many mystery novels I have queued up.


Sunday, July 20, 2008


Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

Miss M likes reading "Three Blind Mice" by John W. Ivimey. It is a book you can sing with your little one, and it contains many fun variations to this tune.

Three quirky mice

Remember when I mentioned my rodent problem? The intermittent mouse is the center mouse pictured above. The quarter was thrown in for size reference. I love the compact size, and it fits my hand (or my hand has gotten accustomed to it). I dug out the Microsoft Explorer mouse (mouse on the right) which drove me nuts due to some annoying quirks. The wheel didn't click and only worked intermittently. Well, I dug around and found the itty bitty mouse you see on the left. I don't know what flavor it is, some generic mini optical mouse. It came from a law firm; is printed on the front. They specialize in Intellectual Property. So if you've got an idea you'd like to patent, this is the type of lawyer you'd speak to about it. I'm still getting used to the skinnyness of the mouse. It is way too narrow for my liking, however the wheel works!!! So this mouse is going to do the trick until I find another replacement.

Mice, like keyboards, are such a personal thing. So hard to deal with any changes.


Jennifer is having a 4th Anniversary contest, check it out on her blog here.


People have asked about the Banana Nut Bread recipe. I used this recipe with a minor tweak. Instead of 2 cups of bananas, I add about 4 cups. Now I know you're supposed to carefully measure out all ingredients when baking and I do measure everything in this recipe with the exception of the bananas. I usually mash up about 4 medium/large bananas. I don't bother measuring them. But I think it comes out to about 4 cups. I had tried this recipe as-is and there just wasn't enough banana flavor for my tastes. So I added more banana the next time I made it and it was greatly improved.

Oh, I made another batch of these cookies. Miss M really loves helping with the prep work, measuring things out and stirring. Miss M has a habit of asking for "something else" after she finishes her meals. I have no idea where she got the idea that there should always be "something else". Anyhow, on the morning after we baked these and after finishing her breakfast, she asked for "something else". DH asked her what she wanted and she responded with, "how about cookie?" He explained that cookies aren't for breakfast but she could have some later.


There is absolutely no knitting going on in my house. I am just having a hard time focusing on anything and it doesn't help that I feel exhausted all the time. I feel like I need a nap in the early afternoon, unfortunately I can't take naps when Miss M has completely shaken off naptime. However I did finish sewing buttons on my mom's vest and I need to post about that when I can find some time to concentrate on typing up that post.

As for the February Lady Sweater, I have been thinking about skipping buttons entirely and trying some sort of hook/clasp thing instead. I need to go shopping and see what's available.

Check out this gorgeous baby blanket. I'd love to make something like that if there wasn't any seaming involved.

I love Stacey's post about her journey in making the hemlock blanket. This is a gorgeous pattern that I've been thinking about for some time.

This Rib Waist Cardigan (1st photo) looks great on the model! Love the ribbing around the waist. I think this cardigan would look great in purple though (perhaps a little bias here). I also liked the Wrap Vest (the purple one, 2nd photo down on the same page). These patterns are written for sizes M, L, XL, 2X, 3X and 4X.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Fill-In #81


This is my first time playing.

1. If I could be a fly on the wall I would wish I weren't a fly, but try to make the best of the situation by resting on a vaulted ceiling beyond flyswatter reach.

2. Jealousy is damaging and a waste of energy, but sometimes uncontrollable.

3. When I see a shooting star my wish would be that I don't have another miscarriage.

4. I'd rather be knitting than doing housework any day!

5. Certain songs when I hear them make me wanna cry.

6. If time were in a bottle I'd use it sparingly.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to finishing up #6 of 10 for the Elann HUGe swap, tomorrow my plans include the unglamorous task of shopping for a front loading washing machine and Sunday, I want to relax!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Photos of Benne's Blanket

Remember when I posted about Benne's blanket and showed you a photo of the blanket before seaming? Well she received her blanket on Monday, and has finally taken a photos of the finished blanket. You can see the blanket here (click on photos to enlarge). I love love love the square with the crab! That is awesome!

The yarn used was Elann Highland Wool in these colors:

Red Maple (87M2)
Harvest Heather (0744)
Grape Heather (0743)
Forest Glade Heather (651)
Nutmeg Heather (408)
Benne is still waiting for the Blankie Tales which will tell her a little about what each square was doing while it was being knit and who made it. Bets is putting this together. Come on Bets! Festina lente! :-) Until then, I can point out a few of the squares to you:

Top row, 1st square is Barbara's dayflower lace; this one was knit right under Benne's nose at Alice Trueman's knitting retreat in Salt Spring Island!!!
Top row, 2nd square is Kelly's embossed twining vine lace.
Top row, 4th square is mine based on the Hera Scarf.

2nd row, 1st square is Diane's multicolored square.

3rd row, 2nd square is Jan's overlapping leaves.
3rd row, 3rd square is Lisa's candle flame lace. You can see larger photos of her square on her blog here.
3rd row, 4th square, I think this is Gaile's horseshoe lace. I know she did a green lacy one.
3rd row, 5th square is Jayne's; check out her gorgeous yarn on her Etsy shop.

4th row, 1st square is Ghislaine's hourglass lace.
4th row, 2nd square is Suzann's log cabin. Poor Suzann was very sick during the time we were putting this project together, yet she still managed to knit this beautiful square and then had her daughter finish up by weaving in the ends and mailing it in time. You can see a larger photo of her square on her blog here.
4th row, 3rd square is Trish's cable pattern inspired by the Spring Forward cardigan. You can see a larger photo of her square on her blog here.
4th row, 4th square is Alice Trueman's.

Bottom row, 1st square is Sandra's.
Bottom row, 2nd square is Theresa's square inspired by the Celeste Pinheiro's Tide Pool Blue sweater.
Bottom row, 3rd square is Les' square.
Bottom row, 5th square is Jamie's.

Edging was knit by Bri, Cate, Joan, and Libby.

Oh gosh, I hope I get these squares and links correct! Sorry I can't identify each square. Other partners in crime included: Amy, Billie, Cheryl K, Cheryl T, Daryl, Denise, Evelyn, Karin, and Kim.

I know that Jean has made a beautiful stained glass hummingbird for Benne. She was taking a class and made this herself! That is so cool!

7/18/2008 Update:
Barbara added photos of Alice's, Jamie's, and her squares to her latest blog post here.

7/19/2008 Update:
Added Diane, Ghislaine, Jan; also link updates.

9/3/2008 Update:
Added Les.

9/4/2008 Update:
Added Sandra.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Like quilts?


Old Red Barn Co is having a contest. Look! Look! Look! The prize is this beautiful quilt! Click on the link on in my sidebar for details on how to enter...


Tuesday, July 15, 2008



Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton Sock Yarn

Look what I found outside my front door! A package from Georgi, who recently had a Blogoversery contest. Inside was a ball of Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton Sock Yarn in a beautiful blue color. This is a very soft cotton/wool blend. I guess I need to find a nice sock pattern that will go with this yarn. I've never knit socks before, it's been on my "to do" list for some time. I think I'll need to get a set of sock needles first. I've knit fingerless mitts using sock weight yarn (Regina and Persephone mitts) and several circular needles (starting with the 2-circular needles method and then later using 3 to 4 circular needles as if they were DPNs). That worked fine, but the long dangling cords were annoying at times. I was thinking about the Knit Picks Nickel Plated DPN set or the Knit Picks Harmony Wood DPN set, and can't decide which would be the better starter set.

I went to Target today to pick up some diapers and noticed their "back to school" section. Is it that time of year already? I will probably be more aware of these things after Miss M goes to school. Anyhow, I love looking at stuff like this even though I don't need any of it right now. I picked up a box of 64 crayons. I remember how great they were when I was a kid. I'm hoping Miss M won't remember me picking those up so that I can give them to her sometime later, preferably when she has figured out how not to break her crayons or rip off the paper wrapping. I picked up a ruler, some kid scissors (hey, she'll eventually need them, right?), plain index cards (I use these for knitting), and a pencil box. I'm not sure whether the pencil box will be mine or Miss M's. I found myself looking at the zippered pencil cases at the store, they come in so many patterns, colors, and sizes these days! Wanna know what I was thinking they'd be great for? Holding DPNs. Yes, holding the DPNs which I haven't bought yet. I was good though. I put them all back on the rack. Somehow I also came away with a kid lunch box. Note that Miss M isn't in school yet. Lunch boxes have changed since I was a kid. I remember they used to be metal rectangular boxes, with kid designs, and sometimes with an embossed surface. They also came with a thermos inside too.


Benne received her blanket yesterday. This was the blanket project I mentioned before, where you saw all the blanket squares before seaming. I can't wait to see photos of the completed blanket. Benne will be putting them on her blog soon, and Bets is still putting together the Blanket Tales.


Pattern: Circles Dishcloth
Yarn: Peaches & Creme (pink lilacs color?)
Needle: 4.5 mm (US7)

I knit this cloth after Anita emailed me with a question about the pattern informing me that her stitch count didn't add up on one of the rows. So I dug out my notes, compared it to what I had in the pattern page and it looked fine. It had been a long time (a year and a half!) since I last knit this cloth so I needed to refresh my memory. I knitted up this cloth again just to see what was going on. The "fix" for her was to work the D4 decrease in an easier alternative method by doing SSK, K3Tog, and then passing the SSK stitch over the K3Tog stitch. That did the trick and she was able to finish her cloth which you can see here (and here). I think Anita is the only other person (besides myself) to knit this cloth.

I remember designing this cloth. It was one of the more challenging ones for me because I started out with one plain circle (see swatch here) and then had to figure out how I wanted to arrange them on the dishcloth. Knitting them in one column, as in the swatch, was a piece of cake. Arranging them in some sort of configuration that made any sense was difficult. The final design was actually version #2.

I still use my original tea rose colored Circles Cloth. I make a point of not using it for tea purposes because the tea stains would show up very clearly. I try to put my tea pot and tea mugs on darker cloths where the stains won't be so obvious.

Secret Project

Here's a little peek at a little secret project I've been working on. It's Elann Sock It To Me yarn in the latte color. I'm knitting this on 2.75 mm (US2) needles. Those things holding down the curling edges are Miss M's wooden puzzle pieces. They were the closest thing I could reach for at the time. That girl's stuff is everywhere! I think it is getting to DH, all her stuff scattered on every horizontal surface area (floor, table, etc) and the noise. He was planning on taking yesterday off, but got so fed up with Miss M that he decided to go to work instead. Sigh...


Let's see, what else has been going on in my neck of the woods...

It appears that the Dove Family has moved out. I was sweeping in the back yard yesterday morning and noticed nobody was home in the nest. That was odd. There was always someone home during the past few weeks, either Mr. Dove or Mrs. Dove. The only thing I found was a massive poop dumping on the ground underneath the nest. I think they emptied their "trash" and moved out. I haven't seen them today. I'm really bummed about not getting to see Baby Dove. It was much different when the Finch Family lived there (before the Dove Family). After Baby Finch was born, they'd all flit about in the yard and I got to see them all for a while.


I'm getting the impression that there is a doctor shortage in my New City (area). It seemed so much easier to make appointments in my Old City. I was trying to make an appt with Dr. H yesterday and discovered she was booked until sometime in September! I needed an appt by mid-August at the latest. The challenge with Dr. H is that she works part time, Wed, Thurs, & Fri. And she'll have to be at the hospital one of those three days, so the window of opportunity for making an appt is really 2 to 2.5 days out of the week. Things were definitely easier in my Old City, where the medical practice consisted of 4 doctors and 1 midwife. You'd get appts with each of them, so you can get to know all of the doctors.

Of course, I could try to find another doctor in my New City. When I called to make an appt, the receptionist S rattled off names of some other doctors I might try. I can neve make a decision like that over the phone. I would need to go to our healthcare provider's website to see which doctors are "in network" (which I did, and there weren't that many). She told me she would forward my appt request to the Scheduler who may be able to figure out where to fit me in between now and mid-August, either with Dr. H or some other doctor. I was thrilled when the Scheduler called me back in the afternoon to inform me that she managed to fit me in with Dr. H at the end of July. Yay!!! I'm so relieved. I really do like Dr. H.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Slow start on sweater

I'm off to a slow start on my February Lady Sweater. I just dived right in without swatching. I know this is bad practice. I knitted the first 3 rows, worked the stitch marker row, and then the first increase row (row 5) before getting stuck on the buttonhole row 6. The pattern did not specify how many stitches to bind off for the buttonhole! Should I bind off 2 stitches or 3 stitches? Suzann mentioned that garter stitch stretches. She also suggested that I purchase buttons, then knit up a swatch with the buttonholes and trying it out with my buttons. So until I find some buttons, this project is on hold.

I'm knitting this sweater with Elann Superwash Bamboo. This is my first time working with the yarn. It feels quite soft in my hands, I can see this becoming another favorite. The only issue I have with the yarn is that it is a very slippery on my needles.


Why do power outages always happen at night? We had one starting around 8:45 PM which lasted until around 3:10 AM. I was lying in bed awake when the power returned, so I saw the night light turn on and heard something go beep.

I don't like nighttime power outages. Can't really do much reading, knitting, web surfing, or watching TV.

It was a good thing that I had picked up two lanterns a few months ago, a Coleman Family Size Lantern and a Coleman Personal Size Lantern, which I originally bought in case of a big earthquake. So we had some light sources that was better than flashlights. Still, it's not the same as having the use of the floor lamps.

Since the power outage was around 6 hrs, I wasn't sure everything in our fridge survived. I had some chicken in the fridge that I planned to cook tonight but threw it out just in case it was bad. We drank the milk, it seemed ok. Haven't yet touched the eggs, butter, yogurt, or cheese. I think everything in the freezer is ok.

I was sooooooo glad it was not terribly hot last night. We had a heat wave recently where we had to turn on some fans during the night. That wouldn't have been possible with a power outage. This made me think about how bad it must be to live in a much hotter area (Arizona and Texas popped into mind) and not have air conditioning or electric fans during a power outage.

On the upside, there were no new episodes of Naruto last night so I didn't miss anything.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Banana Nut Bread

Click here for a super cool contest than runs until the end of July. Entering is easy! And there are some tripendicular prizes.


Banana Nut Bread

I had mentioned having some overripe bananas the other day and received some wonderful comments with advice about what to do if I couldn't bake banana nut bread before they turn bad. Well, we did eventually work up to making banana nut bread that day and you can see the results in the photo above.

What? You were expecting food porn? Sorry, I'm not very good with that. I'll admit it isn't very pretty to look at, however I can assure you that it is quite delicious. I give half to DH to take to work because we can't possibly eat it all ourselves. Well, we could, but that wouldn't be good.

Were you expecting rectangular loaves? I have a quirk. I like to bake in my Bundt pan. I think this is one of the few items sold in this country that is also made here too. If you turn over the pan it says MPLS, MN USA on it. What a surprise. Not "made in (insert your favorite non-US country here)". Anyhow I suppose loaves would be easier since I send DH to work with half of it. Definitely easier to wrap up rectangular loaves.

I saw this Berry Cobbler recipe on Michele's blog that looks really yummy.


On the knitting front...

I mentioned thinking about a few patterns the other day. Well, I've finally made some forward progress. I finally got my hands on a copy of the February Lady Sweater. I know, I know, it doesn't sound like much until I tell you that I live in the Dark Ages and do not own a printer. Gasp! I know! So getting a printed copy of this pattern is really half the battle for me.

I've already dug out some yarn to play with, Elann Superwash Bamboo, and 5 mm needles. Now the pattern says gauge is 18 stitches per 4 inches in garter stitch. I wonder if I should knit a garter swatch. I've never been good with gauge. I think that's why I like freeform knits like scarves and dishcloths. Lack of gauge is definitely one of the things that make me a bad knitter. I'm lazy!!! I admit it. I think I'll just dive in and cast on for 83 stitches and see what happens.

I'm still working on typing up the row-by-row instructions for my Hera Scarf (chart already available from here, scroll down). I just haven't been able to focus on this. Until then, you can see another photo of it. :-)

Hera Cable Scarf


Mosaic Visual Meme

I know everyone has already done this aeons ago and it's pretty neato mosquito. I'm pretty slow at this sort of thing, always the last to jump on the bandwagon, so it took me a while to get my act together to put this together.

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image for each question.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.


1. Stella is ready to go in, 2. Sushi Sashimi bridge, 3. mercy high school, 4. purple haze, 5. DOCTOR WHO, 6. When Friends Come ..., 7. Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii, 8. Tiramusu, 9. Healthy drinks, 10. Still in love? I think so ; ), 11. Perspective Matters (500 unique and cool people count this photo as a favorite), 12. Regina Scarf


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Meme again

Barbara has "challenged" me to a meme. Challenge accepted *G*

Here are the rules:Rules:* Answer at least three of the questions. Yes, I know a few look time-consuming and there are several of them. That's why I only ask for three. See? I'm nice!* Post them and the rules on your blog, and please link back to me here. Pretty please?*

Comment here telling me and the rest of our little party where you're at and link to yourself.That's all!* Oh yeah, don't forget to tag others!

What's the last book you read that you thought was really super, inspiring, you'd recommend it to most anyone?

Hmmm... this is a difficult one since most of my recent reads have been murder mysteries and I can't recommend those unless you're really into that genre. However here are some books I have enjoyed in the past and would re-read again. Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. Albert Camus' The Fall.

What food totally grosses you out, you'd never be able to touch it? Ew. Gag.*hurl*

I'm normally open to trying new foods, and I have no problems eating some foods which many people may find too exotic or unappetizing. I draw the line at insects and the like.

Aeons ago when I was having lunch at a restaurant in China (sorry, I can't remember the name of the city), one dish served looked like eggs scrambled with something else. Someone at the table told me that it was the specialty in the area. That something else in the dish turned out to be bees! Um, that was definitely NOT for me. I did not touch that dish at all. I am not interested in consuming insects, arachnids, or anything similar.

Did you ever watch a scary movie that frightened you so much you were afraid of the dark afterward? I mean like you're lying in bed trying to sleep, but you have to pee, but you're scared to get up. It doesn't have to be recently; could be when you were a kid. So what movie was it?

I'm not really into horror movies.

Is there a song that makes you dance every time you hear it? Would you tap you feet and sing along to it in public?

Tattoos: yes or no? Do you have any? Tell us! Do you think they're gross? TELL US!

Nope, no tats.

When's the last time you laughed so hard your ribs ached and/or you nearly peed yourself? What made you do it?

Draw or doodle a picture of your pet(s) and post it if possible. Nothing fancy, don't be shy!

Oh gosh, I couldn't draw a straight line to save my life. But I guess I'm off the hook since I don't have any pets right now.

Go through a stack or box of your old music. Stuff that you may not have heard in years. Pick one and tell us about it. Is it as good (or as bad) as you remember?

Most of my music is packed away in boxes. We've converted most of the CDs to MP3. Most of the records have been thrown out, but I do have a box of 7" singles containing mostly 80s music. I've been meaning to throw this box out. I don't even have a record player anymore so there really isn't much point to keeping them. Anyhow I pulled out this single from the box. It's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and when I turned it over, I saw it dated 1984. Oh my, has it been that long? I still like this song even if it's not very popular these days. I don't even think they play it much on the radio during Christmastime.

I kinda miss all the cool artwork on the covers of vinyl records, particularly the 12" ones.

Do you still sleep with a stuffed animal? We won't laugh!

Nope, but I still have a bunch of my stuffed animals in a box. Some went to Miss M. She's not getting Tux though; he's mine.

Tux, the Linux penguin

If you want to play along here, please leave a comment with a linky to your bloggy thing so we can all stop by and read your responses...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Vest blocked


Mom's vest blocking

I was a little worried when I blocked my mom's vest. After pinning it out, it measured about 20 inches tall and nearly 22 inches wide. Was it supposed to be wider than long? I really did try to stretch it longer without stretching wider. All I could do was wait for it to try and hope for the best.

Vest worn after blocking

The photo above shows how the vest looks after blocking. It's definitely a bit longer than before blocking and just covers the belt on my pants. I guess that's OK, although I really think it could be just a hair longer than it is now. I wonder how it will fit on my mom.

I can't wait until Miss M is old enough to help take photos. Taking self portraits is quite tricky!

Vest after blocking, side view

Here's a side view of the vest. I think the arm hole is on the large side. And the arm bands flare out or stick out funny, although it is not obvious in either of these photos. I think it needs to be more "shaped" (for lack of a better word). The top part really sticks up in a funny sort of way. I can almost imagine sticking shoulder pads under there! lol.

I can already see one criticism my mom will have about the way this vest looks when worn. I know that she is really picky about hemlines being even all around. In the photo above you can sort of see how the front hemline rises up compared to the back hemline. My mom will notice this and have something to say about it. Yup, she will definitely mention the hemline. I'm 99% certain of this. Perhaps all the blouses, sweaters, vests, etc made are supposed to be this way. Or was I supposed to stretch the front sections longer than the back sections when blocking?

Ok, onwards to the fun part. Buttons!!! :-)


It's gonna be hot for the rest of the week here. I did absolutely no knitting yesterday. I only got as far as taking it out of a bag, but I didn't want it on my lap, so no knitting. It's been so warm at night that we have to leave the fan on during the night. I guess I shouldn't complain. If it were extremely hot at night, then the air conditioner would automatically kick in. The air conditioner's programming is still set to whatever the previous homeowners had it set to. I think the nighttime setting is to turn on when the temperature exceeds 80ºF (27ºC).

We have a bunch of very ripe bananas in the kitchen and had been thinking about making banana nut bread. Unfortunately, I'm not inclined to bake while it is this hot and by the time the heat wave passes the bananas will be too far gone to be useful for banana nut bread. My goal today is to work up to baking today.

I think I'll go have some watermelon now. We have a bunch chilling in the fridge. There is something refreshing about chilled fruit on a hot day. Miss M loved the watermelon until we picked up blueberries yesterday. That girl inhales blueberries like there is no tomorrow!

For dinner tonight we are going to grill some steak. DH thought that might be too heavy for such a hot day. I couldn't help it. It was on sale! And for some reason I've been craving a good chunk of cow that has been walked through a warm kitchen.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Like contests?

Check out Monniblog who is having a 1000th post contest. OMG, that is quite a milestone! (Actually, I have no idea how many blog posts I have, but I'm pretty sure it is nowhere near 1000). The contest post is here. There are 4 possible prizes. Go check it out!

And a reminder for those who missed my mention of Kathy's contest here, go check that one out too. It's ongoing until the end of August!


Benne's Blanket


Blanket square based on Hera Cable Scarf

Pattern: Hera Cable Scarf (link to chart here)
Yarn: Elann Highland Wool, Red Maple, 2 balls
Needles: 4.0 mm (US6)

You've already seen this before. Now I can tell you a little more about the secret project.

It was one month ago when Benne discovered she needed eye surgery and from this a group project was born. Libby was the ring leader; she's had prior experience with organizing a blanket project when we did Cheryl's Blanket Square back in October 2007 (see here and my square here). We had several months to complete Cheryl's blanket, about 4 to 5 months. Benne's blanket on the other hand was put together in one month. One month! A project born in the beginning of June with the goal of completion by July 8, 2008. We needed to get our squares to Libby by June 29, so she would have time to sew it all together. With over two dozen people involved in this blanket project, this certainly must be a quintessential example of group synergism.

Due to the aggressive time line for Benne's blanket, I was fortunate to have the Hera Scarf pattern ready to go. I was glad not to have to spend time trying to figure out what to do for my square. I started the square on June 8, would have finished on June 9 if Miss M wasn't sick, and managed to finish on June 10. Being the lazy the person that I am, I didn't get around to weaving in the ends until June 13.

I actually goofed in this square. I knit an extra row at the end before knitting the top border. I don't think anyone will really notice, but it sure does bug me!!!

This little red square is knit with Elann Highland Wool in the beautiful Red Maple color which I had also used in my Luna Moth Shawl. I just love this color. You have to see it in person to truly appreciate its beauty. I normally use 4.5 mm (US7) needles with Highland Wool, however for this blanket square I went down to 4.0 (US6) partly because I was afraid of exceeding the 12" square size limit. Do you know how hard it is to try to get a specific finished size? It's no wonder I prefer "free form" knitting, lol. Although I must admit that it seemed easier this time around than when I made Cheryl's blanket square. Only a smidgen of the 2nd ball was used for the last 8 or 9 rows. I think one ball would have been sufficient if I had chosen a plain knit/purl pattern or a lacy pattern.

Benne's Blanket before seaming

We received this photo from Libby, it shows what the blanket looks like before seaming. There is a lacy border that will go around it too. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished blanket.


Hot hot hot. It's way too hot here. I can't believe the thermostat was already 73ºF inside the house at 7 AM. We are definitely going up into the 90s today. I haven't been knitting much lately due to the warm weather.

As I'm cruising around the knitting blogs and other places, I've noticed a distinct trend of people knitting (or thinking about knitting) the February Lady Sweater. What is this sweater that everyone is talking about? I had to find out more. I looked it up on Ravelry and it is a really cute sweater. Hmmm, I wonder if it's easy enough for me to knit? One of the photos on the main pattern page shows a pregnant woman modeling the sweater, so that gives me an idea of how it would look over a big belly. I need to take a closer look at the pattern to see whether the pattern is doable for me. I already have a few yarn possibilities in mind.

Kimberli pointed out the Assemblage sweater (Ravelry link) which she has been wanting to knit. It is somewhat similar to the February Lady Sweater in that it only buttons at the top and is open at the bottom. The Assemblage sweater has a more solid fabric (non-lacy) and longer sleeves. My first thought when I saw the Assemblage sweater is the fold over collar which would hide any botched up shoulder seaming. Yeah, I still have to learn how to seam properly. What I did on my mom's vest isn't pretty to look at; it would have looked worse if her vest was plain stockinette on both sides.

I think the easiest cover up would be to knit a shawl instead of a sweater. Or maybe even something like the Lake of the Woods (Ravelry link), a wrap which would stay on easily, which I saw on Kim's blog. I didn't see any photos of anyone using this as a maternity wrap, but I can imagine it working out.

So my friend mentioned that she is going to join in the Ravelympics knitalong. She's not a member of Ravelry though. Like me, she is using the Ravelympics as a good excuse to start and FINISH a knitting project within a specified time range. She told me she was thinking about making My So Called Scarf (Ravelry link), and asked me what yarn she should use. She wanted to make it in red. I immediately thought of variegated yarn, but didn't have anything specific in mind. Then thought, how about Malibrigo merino wool in the Amoroso or Vermillion colorway? Mmmm, luscious merino!

Speaking of the Ravelympics, I had joined the Scarf Stroke and Cable Steeplechase events. Some new events have been added (see list here) since then, so I have also joined the WIPs Wrestling and Gift Knits Pentathlon events. I'm going to cast on for the Triumph Cable Scarf for the Scarf Stroke and Cable Steeplechase, and try to finish off Regina for WIPs Wrestling. Both of these fall under the Gift Knits Pentathlon. I wonder if I am overextending myself here. Can I finish both in the 17 day window?

I'm almost done with my mom's vest, will post about it soon!

Ok, I've gotta post this now. The guv is bored watching me type this up on the computer. We need to go run some errands before it gets too hot outside.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Triumph Cable Scarf Chart

This is a followup to my original post about the Ravelympics and the swatch I made for it.

Last night I created the chart for the Triumph Scarf swatch you saw yesterday. It's rather amusing how this came about. It all started on Friday when I translated that center-cable chart into row-by-row instructions while adding in the extra cables/stitches on either side of it. I got all of this onto 2 sheets of paper, then transcribed them onto index cards (which I knit from). Then I translated what I had on my index cards into an Excel chart. I must say that as time consuming as this was, it was way easier than doing the chart for my Hera Scarf (btw, I still need to get off my lazy behind and type up the row-by-row for that one). I uploaded the chart to this morning, so y'all can take a lookie if interested.

I think the only reason I managed to get all of this together so quickly is because Miss M spent the night with her grandparents. It was a nice little change for us, DH & I, to go out to dinner. Nothing fancy, just The Fish Market Restaurant. I've never been disappointed with the fish there. I had sea bass, he had sablefish. It's actually a kid friendly restaurant. I've taken Miss M there for lunch and she loves it. I think having the basil tomato side dish and the flourless chocolate cake has something to do with it. It was a nice change to actually get to eat the tomatoes last night; Miss M usually eats them all.

Ok, I'm feeling good about this. I have my pattern. I have my yarn. I even set aside needles for this. I'm just waiting for August 8 to begin knitting. Hopefully I'll be able to finish by August 24 and have some photos to share with you. I think the Ravelympics is a fun way to motivate me to start and FINISH a knitting project.

Triumph Cable Scarf Chart can be downloaded here:
Triumph Cable Scarf Chart from (last updated Sept 1, 2008)


I'm so bummed. My little laptop mouse is dying on me, it works intermittently. While rummaging through a box (yes, we still haven't unpacked from out move), I fished out an old Microsoft Explorer mouse. Plugged it in. It works! Yay! However this mouse drives me nuts!!! The wheel does not click. It's smooth scrolling and feels weird. And that's not all. It often does absolutely nothing when I scroll the wheel. So I end up having to scroll several times before my window actually scrolls up/down. And I find it difficult to scroll precisely. Very very annoying. I'm finding myself using the window scroll bar more than the mouse wheel. I definitely need to find another rodent...


Friday, July 04, 2008

Triumph Swatch

I managed to find some time last night to knit a swatch of the pattern I wrote up yesterday for the Knitting Olympic Trials. I know it doesn't look like much. I used some mystery acrylic that I dug out from my charity knitting box and it wasn't very good to knit with.

I like how it turned out, although I'm not 100% sure about the border I chose. Should I leave it alone? Minimize it a bit?


Check out this blog for an ongoing contest with weekly prizes that runs until August 31!


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Knitting Olympic Trials

Yesterday, I found out about the Knitting Olympic Trials from Kimberli, who is organizing the event in the Ravelympics Group (formerly named Knitting Olympics Ravelry Group). The idea is to start a knitting project during the opening ceremonies (August 8) and finish it by the time the Olympic flame goes out (August 24). Doesn't that sound like a fun challenge? And the best part is that you'll (hopefully) have a finished project by the time it ends! There are many events and teams. I haven't had time to look through all of them. The first event that jumped out at me was the Mitten Medley. Then I later saw the Scarf Stroke, which is more suited to my comfort level. I know the Ravelry group can seem overwhelming when you first look at it (I sure thought so!), but it's really supposed to be low stress and fun. Just choose any project you want to start and finish during the time frame. Your project will probably fall into one of the event categories. Joining a team is optional.

This morning while Miss M was occupied I managed to sit down and think about what to make. At first I thought I'd try lace, then nixed it. There's no way I could concentrate on lace. So I fell back to cables, something I can usually knit while watching TV. I've scribbled down my pattern and haven't had a chance to swatch it. I'm not even sure I'll do that since I have so many other knitting projects I need to clear off my plate (*cough*HUGe swap*cough*) before I can comfortably begin. I also need to figure out what yarn to use. Right now I'm think of using the light brown ball you see above, Elann Luxury Superwash Merino. This would be a refreshing color change for me. And the yarn is such a pleasure to work with, it feels so soft in my hands.

When I get a chance, I'll try to chart up the scarf pattern I have in mind for the Scarf Stroke event so you can see what I have in mind. Or maybe I'll actually take the time to swatch it and then show you what it looks like. I'm really tempted to name the pattern Triumph. What do you think? Hey, it still follows the theme for my series of cable scarves! :-)


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

knitting bags & totes

Namaste Cali Laguna Bag

Namaste Cali Malibu Bag

Namaste Cali Newport Bag

I've got an itch to buy a bag. Not just any bag, but a knitting bag. This all started when Elann recently offered a new batch of Namaste Cali Collection knitting bags (lots of photos on their site). They were selling the new Newport bag in addition to the Laguna bag and Malibu bag they sold in the last round.

Three beautiful bags. How does one choose?

Looking at the photos of the Malibu, I decide it would be too large for my petite 5 ft tall frame. You know how you're sometimes driving behind a really short person whose head is obscured by the driver's seat and you wonder who's driving that car? Well I'm afraid the same thing would happen if I carry a bag that is much too large. People will see the bag and wonder why it is moving on its own!

So now it's down to the Namaste Laguna bag or the Namaste Newport bag. I like both of these. Laguna gets extra points for having a separate shoulder strap. I like throwing bags across my shoulder and having my hands free. I also like how it has a pocket on the outside. On the other hand I think the Newport bag looks more stylish.

I was still concerned about how these bags look when worn. It's hard to tell just from the photos on the Namaste site. So I found some photos that show the Laguna bag when it is worn:
The bag looks pretty large!

Here's a photo of the Namaste Laguna and Namaste Newport side-by-side, for comparison:
I really like that peacock color (bag on the right).

I had assumed the Malibu was the largest bag out of the three. Let's take a closer look at the stats:
Laguna: 2100 cu in (16" x 17.5" x 7.5")
Malibu: 2080 cu in (13" x 20" x 8")
Newport: 1155 cu in (11" x 15" x 7")
Ok, the numbers don't lie. The Laguna bag is the largest of the three, although not too far behind is the Malibu. The Newport is the smallest by a wide margin.


Then I saw this bag. Check out her other photos of the bag, and interior filled with knitting stuff. It's the Ariat Mini Carry All. They make a larger one too. Ariat makes equestrian products and I have seen (many years ago) shoes they made which looked pretty nice. Anyhow, there is something very practical about the Ariat bag which appeals to me.


Jordana Paige Bag

Then I saw this stylish knitting bag, the Jordana Paige knitting bag. The photo above shows the Deep Red color. I am not normally a red bag person, but this one I love. I wish I could find a photo of the interior configuration.


LL Bean Tote

Then there's the LL Bean tote bag which is pretty basic and practical. The up side is that it stands on its own without flopping over. You can even configure your own. I just wish they had a purple shade to choose from.


I guess the question I should ask is do I need a knitting bag, and will I get much use out of it?

It would be so easy to justify a combo purse/knitting bag if I were still taking MUNI to commute to work in downtown San Francisco. That's precious knitting time while commuting. I don't do that anymore and I don't really take my knitting with me when I go out these days. There is very little chance of knitting wherever I am going with Miss M. The only time I take knitting out of the house these days is when we go visit the in-laws. We usually leave for a couple of hours after lunch so they can have their quality time with Miss M, and I get to go to Starbucks and knit a little bit. BTW, I've never seen anyone else knitting at Starbucks when I'm there. I don't even get to knit in the car anymore because I am the one who drives. DH tends to get sleepy while driving and I don't feel relaxed enough to knit when I'm worried about whether he's gonna crash into something. I think the Knitting Gods are against me.

I keep coming back to the Namaste bags. What I would like is to see them in person, feel them, try it on. Only then can I truly decide.