Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Today I made my first ever face cloth. Kinda neat. I used the Diagonal Owl Pattern from Knitting About.Com. It was fun to see the owl take shape. I can see how these things could be great gifts, stocking stuffers etc. There's a great site called Dishcloth Boutique that has tons of patterns.So now I know what to do with the left over Sugar 'n Cream. Not sure how many people are going to like bright orange, however.

I restarted the mellow yellow top tonight. Cast on and got the ribbing done for the back. I wonder if I should put the lace insert in the back as well as the front. Is it going to be uncomfortable when leaning back in a chair, for example? Any thoughts on this?

I also swatched some Turino silk from Plymouth Yarns. This yarn is 100% silk but is very reasonably priced. Something like $6.50 or $7.00 per skein. 103 yards. According to my Sweater Wizard calculations I have enough to make a long sleeved, v-neck sweater. The swatch at the suggested gauge is a little open and drapes beautifully. I've seen this yarn knit at a tighter gauge and it seems a little stiff so I think I'll go with the size 9's. Almost a quick knit!

Monday, July 29, 2002

Drinking hot water is no substitute for coffee. I have to go for some lab work today at Kaiser so I can't have anything to eat or drink, except water, until I'm done. Only a couple of hours to go.

Friday and Saturday at Skein were both very busy days for me. Taught a couple of brand new knitters. We have a large number of Chinese customers, many of whom speak about as much English as I speak Chinese. So we have a good time. Taught one lady how to make the openings for the legs in a dog sweater. That took a long time since I thought she wanted to make the whole sweater. But she went away happy. She was using her own yarn, purchased for $1.00 for 10 skeins in Shanghai. The yarn looked pretty but it was really not so terrific. I loaned her some bamboo needles to work on and now they're a lovely shade of burnt sienna.

Sunday was very quiet. Another customer came back for a refresher on how to do the long tail cast on. She had just learned it the day before. She wants to make a sweater similar to one she purchased. Big oversized cowl neck number. And she's in a hurry. No pattern, of course, she just wants to make it up as she goes along. This is not going to be fun.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Rush around, rush around and try to get all the things done that you didn't do earlier because you're so busy doing nothing that now you've run out of time and some of the things won't get done. So that's what it's going to be like this AM. I have to be at Skein at 1 o'clock and I don't want to be late. I have to stop at the wine store on the way and don't know where it is. I also have to clean house a little before Lisa comes over tonight. It's times like these when I really want to sit and knit.

I only knit one row yesterday. But I did figure out that my gauge on the mellow yellow top will be okay. Just a little closer fitting than I had planned.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

I know better than this but I did it anyway. Now I'm hitting myself over the head with a big stick. I worked the gauge for the yellow shell using straight needles but I'm actually working the lower part of the sweater in the round. So my row gauge, instead of being 6 to the inch, is 7 to the inch. So that means I'll be using more yarn and I'm not sure if I'll have enough. When I get to armholes I will be working back and forth so maybe the gauge will return to the original and I'll be okay. On the upside, I really like the way the lace pattern is showing up. The yarn is really soft and I haven't had any more knots hidden in the skein.

Started another roll brim hat last night while I watched the News Hour. I'm using Alpaka from Lion Brand. I only have one skein. I was given it by the Lion Brand people at TNNA a few years ago. I usually work on the big scarf while I watch the news but it's been too hot to have a bunch of wool sitting on me. It doesn't usually bother me to work with wool in the summertime but yeasterday it was just too much. So I started this hat. I have a large box full of odds and ends of leftover yarns that I plan to use just for hats. Lisa doesn't wear hats very often so I don't really have anything to do with them. I'm not good at giving yarns away so I have to find something to do with these.

I'm mostly over my cold which is a good thing. Tonight is my bowling league and it's not good to have an unexpectedly runny nose when you're bowling.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

It's quite warm here in Pasadena, not unbearable, but not pleasant. There's a breeze but it's mostly hot air. And I woke up today with a cold. Where do these things come from? I don't feel particularly bad but I sure have gone through a lot of Kleenex. I didn't go to my Tuesday night knitting group because I didn't want anyone to be exposed.

I spent most of today working on a new sweater the I designed. I'm using Gedifra Wellness in a really mellow yellow. I'm working this one in the round up to the armholes and then will work back and forth. I'm putting a lace insert in the center front. The pattern is called Wings of the Swan and is from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I'm a little ticked at the yarn though. There were three knots in the first skein. I hope this doesn't happen through all the rest of them.

On Sunday the sales rep for Plymouth Yarns came into Skein to show us their new line of sock yarns. They're similar to all the other printed yarns like Opal and Regia. I thought the colors were a little muddy. She also showed us some of their new novelty yarns. These I like! I don't think they're up on their web page as yet. Bam! is a sorta shaggy thick yarn that comes in multi-colors. Mosaica is also multi but is more of a well behaved boucle. I bought two bags of a merino/acrylic blend yarn. I don't remember the name of it offhand and I left it at the shop. It's a French blue with streaks of red and other colors. It knits up a little like a tweed. There is a nice range of colors in this yarn, from very light to dark. Anyway, this yarn is for me.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Knitting hath charms to sooth the savage beast! A new customer at Skein on Saturday. She seemed pretty agitated and ready for a fight. She announced the she wanted to knit a shawl and she didn't want anything complicated and she didn't want to spend a lot of money. So I go through the routine of showing her some samples and suggesting some yarns and trying to get her to focus on what she really wanted to do. Once I had figured out what her price range was and showed her some nice yarns she began to calm down a little. Then when I showed her a simple pattern, that she didn't have to purchase, she even got a little cheerful. By the time she left she was smiling and looking forward to an evening of knitting. She's even coming back to get some help with a sweater she messed up because she didn't follow the directions. After she left, Ann Mary said to me, "Boy, you sure know how to handle these cranky old ladies!" And it's true.

I have another customer who loves to put on her best belligerent face when she comes in. I like to tease her about it and she just loves it. On Friday she came in all riled up because she didn't like the neckband on her sweater. After we reworked it she went home and finished the sweater. She came in on Saturday wearing the sweater, pretending that she was just returning something. She was so cute, trying to pooh-pooh all the compliments. But you could just see she was grinning from ear to ear on the inside. She can be a trial but she won't let anyone but me help her. She usually calls to make sure I'm there before she comes in.

It's really a lot of fun to work in a yarn shop.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Not a lot going on right now. I finished the orange top and am almost done with the baby sweater. (I ran out of yarn before sewing up the last side so I have to find something that I can use. I didn't want to start a new skein just for the sewing.)

I think I'm saturated with projects right now and just want to get some of them done before I start another one. I tried to start a new shell yesterday using some Dale Kohlibri cotton. After a brief attempt I just threw it on the floor and gave up. So I'm going to finish other things and maybe then I'll be able to handle this yarn.

Pretty busy this weekend with social stuff so I don't expect to get much done in the knitting arena.

Monday, July 15, 2002

SRO at Skein on Saturday and Sunday. People I haven't seen in a while and people who haven't seen each other. Lots of "howya beens" and "whatcha workin' ons". Mostly it was just good, clean fun. I love it when it's like this. Everybody entertains each other while I may be busy helping someone.

I knit the front and back of a baby sweater and will do the sleeves today. These are fast and are a good way to show off some of the yarns in the shop, especially if the yarn isn't moving really well. I hope to finish the sweater today so I can take it with me tomorrow when I go in. I'm covering Tuesday afternoon (I'm not usually there on that day) because the instructor for that day is hospitalized for a few days. That also means that I will not have Tuesday Night Knitting. Same person.

Does anyone know when Theresa (Bagatelle) will be back? Bonne Marie is back, so that's a good thing. And Betsee, happy day. Still waiting for a few others and some are just leaving. It's sure hard keeping up.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Hmm. Don't know why this didn't post earlier today. So here it is again.

My current projects seem to be taking forever. Mostly that's because I've been reading Thomas Mann's Joseph and His Brothers. (Can't figure out how to italicize that so it'll just have to be wrong.) When I get on a reading kick everything else sorta stops. I worked on the black lace top at Skein yesterday. I know I did a lot but it still looks the same.

I have to be at Skein at 10 this morning. Before I retired that would have seemed like a luxury. Now it's like really early. On Friday and Sunday I don't start until 1. That's much more civilized.

The date for the Santa Monica Knit Out is September 29. I typed it wrong the last time. Anyway, we're going to have a booth there. Should be a lot of fun if it isn't too hot.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Yesterday I went to Skein just to escape the heat. It was ultra dead. Ann Mary and I had plenty of time to just catch up on all that is going on at the shop, with the stock market and the Knit Out that's taking place in Santa Monica on September 2.

She asked me what I had learned at all the other shops I've been visiting that might be useful to Skein. Actually, there isn't much that can be directly applied. The biggest difference is in how yarns are displayed. Some of the shops are very cozy and country cottage looking; some are just perfunctory. Skein is pretty disciplined but it is nice. It really reflects Ann Mary's personality. We need more shelving for the growing inventory. That's going to be a problem in that small space. I'm concerned that it might begin to look like a warehouse.

No new projects to report on. Just about done with the orange Rebecca top.

So, I'm off to bowling.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Serendipity! Yesterday I bought some discontinued yarn at Temple City Knit Shop. I think the company has also been discontinued. Anyway, it's Andorra from Wm Unger. Nothing on the label about yardage or gauge. I was trying to figure out how much I had. Meanwhile, I was having an email discussion about an old sweater pattern in Vogue Fall 1984 called Condo knitting. I went to check the original pattern (that is my oldest Vogue Knitting magazine). The pattern used the very yarn I purchased. I am so pleased. Now I just have to figure out what to do with only 395 yards.

Temple City Knit Shop is a very old place. Been there for decades, literally. Some of the yarns are really old but are still in their original plastic bags, in most cases. The store is not very well lit and the yarns seem to be just sorta put on the shelves without any thought to how they relate. Lots of people I know have complained about the shop and its owner. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Next time I go I plan to spend a lot more time there, scrounging through the dust.

It's too hot here to do anything strenuous so I'm just idly working on some cotton yarn. And sitting directly in front of the fan.

Monday, July 08, 2002

The East Coast heatwave has moved to Pasadena. After several days, even weeks, of temperatures in the low to mid 80s it is now in the 90s and projected to move close to 100 in the next day or so. I do hope they're wrong.

So I'm off to Temple City Knit Shop where it is air conditioned and they're having a sale.

Saturday, July 06, 2002

Skein reopened yesterday after a short vacation for Ann Mary. She was afraid no one would come back. She said there was no one in the shop for the first hour and she was feeling worried. But it got busier after that and stayed busy the rest of the day. I spent most of the time with people who just had a question or needed a little reassurance. It's always nice when I can help someone out and a relief when I know the answer.

It's funny how we will see someone for several weeks running and then all of sudden they disappear. Then they show up again, which is fun. Kinda like a family reunion. I have hopes that several people I've met via email and blog will come in this weekend. Will just have to wait and see it their plans materialize.

I worked on the new shop sample most of last week and finished the back. Then yesterday I discovered that I had two different yarns. Some of the skeins were Bouton d'Or and some were Anny Blatt. The two yarns are very similar. I guess when we pulled the yarn from the shelf we didn't notice they had gotten mixed together. At home they look the same but in the better light of the store it's easy to see that one is a little less black than the other. So when I have time I will be ripping out a little more than half of the lacy back and trying to keep from losing stitches. I dread this. My students will do almost anything to avoid having to rip out even a few rows so they take great delight in my having to do this. I, of course, take the higher moral ground that if you knit you will rip. And it's a good antidote to hubris.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Not much getting done around here, at least on my knitting. I've spent the morning cooking. It was so cool and pleasant that I just wanted to spend some time in the kitchen. Made a cake and a couple of kinds of soup.

I have about an hour and a half to knit before I go to a friend's house for 4th of July celebration. I could knit there but the dogs and the wine would get in the way.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Still working on the Skein sample. I'm not sure this yarn was a good choice for a top. The pattern calls for Sprite, a Berroco yarn, in DK weight and is worked on size 10 needles. So it's supposed to be loose and lacy. I'm using a yarn that's a little heavier than the Sprite and working on size 9 needles. It looks really flimsy to me. I hope when it's blocked and finished it will look a little more substantial. It's gonna be very sexy.

I started the front of the orange Sugar'n Cream top I'm making for Lisa. This is almost mindless compared to the black sweater, even though it's a lace pattern. The yarn is more substantial so the pattern shows up really well. I'll work some more on this tonight. I'm really trying not to start something else until I get these two projects done. I have some Rowan Summer Tweed that I got from Ivete that is really calling me. I think I'm going to make the Georgia pattern from the Rowan book.

It looks like it's going to be a beautiful holiday weekend here. The temperatures should be in the mid to high 80s. Seems like it's less humid today. I really feel bad for the people in Texas with all the flooding and those on the East Coast in the terrible heat. And all the fires in the West. What is going on?

Monday, July 01, 2002

It's hot and muggy here in Pasadena. A very quiet day after a busy weekend. I spent several hours on the new black sweater for Skein. It's a lace pattern so I have to really pay attention to keep track of where I am. I've memorized the pattern so that's a good thing. I'm almost up to the armhole bind off on the back. Hope to finish the back tomorrow and cast on for the front. I'm going to Joanne's for my regular Tuesday night get together. I don't think I'll take this project, too tricky. Time to start a hat.

Lisa sent me a list of sites that show yarn shops around the country. A good google search will get you much the same thing but if you want the list just send me an email or something in comments. I see there are still quite a few that I haven't been to. I've made contact with a couple of knitters via this blog. We're trying to get together some time soon for shopping and all that. I also had an email from a knitter in Sedona AZ that I've been exchanging notes with for the last six or eight months. She's going to be in the Pasadena area later this week so we're going to try to meet at Skein.