Friday, August 30, 2002

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Stuff. Stuff is nice and I have lots of it. A room full of yarns, a collection of silver, several sets of dishes, which I rarely use, more linens than I'll ever need, and a big stack of gray t-shirts. Stuff is lots of fun to have until it's time to clean house. Spent the whole day yesterday just cleaning the living room. I'm still trying to figure out how to get my loom into the yarn room/den. I think I need some more stuff, like storage containers that let me see my stash, instead of the cardboard boxes I currently use. I also need another lamp. Wonder if there are any thrift shops with a great selection of tasteful lamps.

I finally sat down for a couple of hours and worked on the shawl I'm making as a Christmas present. That's when I realized I needed more light. Gotta spend some time today putting hanks into balls. Especially the yarn I just bought on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Just one more yarn shop hop. Today, after wandering futilely around Mission Viejo when I should have been in Laguna Hills, we finally got to The Yarn Lady. What a great shop! I think they must stock every color available in most of the most popular yarns. A large bookcase filled with eyelash in everycolor and glitter combination. A wall of Colinette hanks. If you want to see how something works up there are many, many samples lining the walls. Not simple little things but full blown complicated sweaters. A serious selection of books and magazines. They are known for their semi-annual bag sales. They take everything that has been discontinued and stuff it into plastic bags and put them out in the parking lot at 50% off. I've seen photos of this event and it's not for the timid. I bought some
Cascade Sierra, a cotton/wool blend. I think I like the color but seeing it in natural light is a lot different from the artificial light in the store. Should have checked first but I got carried away.

In a couple of weeks I'm going to start another round of yarn shops with my friend Joanne. Probably go to some of the same shops since she hasn't seen a lot of these. But she's also a weaver so we'll probably pick up a few shops that are more oriented in that direction, depending on what I can find.

Spent the evening at Joanne's along with Anita who is working through her first intarsia project and is progressing quite well. I worked a swatch in some Sirdar Tropicana that I bought a few weeks ago. It's 100% acrylic but feels and knits like cotton. I think I need to go down a needle size though. Bother!

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Yesterday I spent several hours working with a couple of new knitters. One of them needed to learn how to do the duplicate stitch so she could add the diagonal lines to her argyle sweater. The other one was just there to pick up some more yarn and begin the shaping on the sweater she's making for her granddaughter. To me, doing the duplicate stitch is obvious and logical. Just find your place and go. Unfortunately that is not the case for all people. After several tries we got the stitch going but not the concept. I hope she comes back today so I can see if she's grasped it yet. The other lady, who is a fine needlepointer, is also going to be a good knitter. She knew something was wrong with her pattern as soon as she began the second row. It turns out she had neglected one row of decreases. These two ladies are close friends to each other. But they're totally different in their ability to grasp new things.

I've been learning web design and am beginning to feel a little more confident in what I am doing. However, I am an absolute beginner. Every new thing I learn and try out is thrilling to me, but very old hat to many other people. But for me it's new and something I didn't know before. And the more I learn of the basics the more the advanced stuff becomes easier to grasp. It's like learning to knit.

My job is to help people get started or to move to a more advanced understanding of knitting. It doesn't help if they're made to feel "less than" someone else. I try to avoid comparing one student to another (even though I did above, but only for illustration purposes). And I try to steer students away from comparing their own progress to someone else's except when they're telling me what they aspire to. I'm fortunate in that I get to see many of my students fairly frequently. So we get to look at where they are now to where they were say six or eight months ago.

The devil gets all the good lines and can be very witty but is still the devil. In my former life I was known for being caustic and sarcastic. I thought I was doing great until I learned that it kept people from coming to me for help. It's still hard to resist the cheap shot and sometimes the remarks just pop out. But I'm learning, albeit the curve is very slow and long.

Friday, August 23, 2002

It looks like we may be going to have summer again. The past few days have been really cool, as in not too hot. But supposedly the temps will be rising again. I was hoping for an early fall. I don't know where all the people went but they certainly weren't at Skein today. Here's to a better day tomorrow.

I did manage to finish one sleeve for the Turino Silk sweater I'm making. I also worked for about two hours this morning one the mellow yellow sweater. So there is an upside to a quiet day. I also looked at all the new Anny Blatt, Filatura di Crosa and Stacy Charles knitting books. Lots of great stuff in there. Not that anyone would actually make some of the things. But lots of great ideas. And some things that a real person could wear, with a little daring. I forgot. There were also a couple of new magazines from Bouton d'Or. I'm still waiting for the newest Jaeger books. I know there's stuff in them that I want to make.

Most of the new fall and winter yarns have arrived but Ann Mary doesn't want to put them out for a few days yet. Big yarns are still big. And the colors seem brighter to me. Guess I'd better finish the black lace top so I can start some new samples.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

That first paragraph may be posted twice because I screwed up the code in my link. This is the first time I've ever linked in my blog, all by myself, too. Thank you Barnes and Noble for the free on line web design course.
After Velona's we went to Newton's Country Knits in Anaheim. This vendor specializes in machine knitting yarns although there were a few random cones and skeins of yarn for handknitting. They sell knitting machines, too. I was told that they had recently moved to their current location and were still sorting through things. This is not a conventional retail space. We went into the warehouse and looked at the yarns that were being shrink-wrapped and put on the shelves. Most of what I saw was too fine for handknitting, at least for me, but much of it would be great for carry along strands. I didn't see any wool but there was some cotton and lots of synthetic. Plenty of glitter and eyelash type yarns, all on cones. I've seen these people before at weaving shows. Usually they have their yarns in hanks that are much more appealing. It's easy to get carried away so be careful, some of the stuff can get pretty expensive.

On the way home we stopped at Jake's Road House in Monrovia, for lunch. Love this place. We sat outside and enjoyed the unseasonably pleasant weather we've been having for the last week or so. There was a large crew filming for a new series on ABC this fall. (I think it's called "Without a Trace".) That was fun to watch. Came home and took a nap.

Today we went to Velona. It was pretty amazing. It's the kind of place you need to go after a good breakfast, plan to stop for lunch and then go back for more. Or only go for a specific item and don't stop to look at anything else. There may be a hidden order to how they have their stock arranged but if they do it's very well hidden. It's a pretty long drive from Pasadena to Anaheim Hills but worth every mile. They do have a lot of yarns from now defunct companies mixed in with all the current yarns but most of the old yarns are from companies that were top notch in their day. A lot of the yarn is not priced but most of it is. They also have a huge selection of needlepoint supplies including canvases. Carole was also impressed with the selection of crochet threads and yarns.

Monday, August 19, 2002

I've been way too social the last few days to do much knitting. I did manage a few rows on some of my projects for Skein while I was at the shop but I was pretty wrapped up in helping with questions and also doing some selling. But today, after one more lunch with a former co-worker, I came home and knitted for about 5 hours. I finished the front on the mellow yellow top that I started weeks ago and had to rip out because of gauge problems. So now I'm feeling a little more up.

My on-line web design class is coming along, but slowly. It all makes sense when I read it and I don't have any major problems (other than my typing). It sure takes a lot of time though. I suspect most of you know that already.

One more trip to yarn shops is planned for this week. Carole has to go back to work next week so we won't have another chance until she has some school holidays. We're going to Anaheim to see Velona and Newton Knit Country. I hear both of these places are way over the top so I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

First of all, a big thanks to Betsee for helping me figure out what was wrong with my font/point size. (I would link to her site if only I could figure out how.) I don't remember doing it, but somewhere along the way I had changed the setting. Now it's back where I want it.

Yesterday's trip to the yarn shops was not all that great. Two of the shops we had already been to before and they were still the same, of course. The new one we tried out was a little bizarre. Maybe not exactly bizarre but certainly not what most of us expect when we go yarn shopping. The place is called The Knit Nut, which should have been a warning. It's in an old strip mall between a liquor store and a dry cleaners. The window is covered with faded posters of various knitting machines. A hand written sign on the door listing their hours. Inside the place is jammed with knitting machines, most of them covered with what looked like old felt blankets. The place is dingy beyond words. The owner and her one customer/student were watching TV set at a volume that made conversation almost impossible. We felt like we were really in the way. But I just pushed on through as though I knew what I was doing. At first it looked like there were only yarns for knitting machine, stuff on cones mostly. After my eyes adjusted to the darkness (most of the light was coming through the poster covered windows) I found some shelves that had bags and bags of hand knitting yarns, most of them from now defunct companies. There were some yarns from Dyed in the Wool that I would have liked to get but I didn't want to spend that much money. (The prices were not outrageous. I just don't want to spend that much right now.) I did finally buy 10 skeins of Georges Picaud yarn. At $2.00 a ball it was too hard to pass up. Almost everything was in heavy plastic bags that have become stiff and brittle with age. By this time the owner had loosened up enough to start talking to us about her yarns and her business history. She was actually very nice. I would guess her to be in her 80s. She gave me a towelette to wash my hands when I left the shop. Carole had already found the bathroom so she could wash hers. If I'm ever in that neighborhood again I will probably go back and pick up some more of the vintage yarns. Now that I know what to expect it should be a lot more fun. I'll just take a filter mask.

We had lunch at a small Mexican place in El Monte. Really tasty stuff. And then we went to Temple City Knit Shop, just to sit and knit. There was no room at the table so we sat off to the side and tried to get some work done. I had always heard that the owner was a difficult person so I haven't been there very often. I don't think she's so bad. She is a little opinionated and has a very dogmatic style of delivery but basically she's just trying to be amusing. She has an annoying habit of moving her lips when you're talking like she's taking in what's being said through her mouth instead of her ears. I hear she's somewhere in her 70s. Bless her heart, she's just trying to keep things going. I can't imagine how she keeps the store stocked and kept in any kind of order. Order is probably too strong a word. It takes a lot of looking to see what's there. There are a lot of vintage yarns here, too. But she does have most of what's new as well.

I ripped out the shawl I started. The yarn didn't look good or behave well in the lace pattern. So I started a different pattern that I like better. First time I ever successfully did an invisible cast on. I had tried it before and given up. This time is worked just fine.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Well, I'm outa here today to go yarn shop hopping again with my friend Carol. She's on vacation this month and wants to see as many places as possible. She's lived here in the San Gabriel Valley all her life and has rarely left it to go exploring. Today we're going back to some of the shops we saw a couple of months ago and, if I can find it, a shop in Lakewood called the Knit Nut. I think in the afternoon we'll go knit for a while at Temple City Yarns.

I finished the back of my latest project last night while I was at Joanne's for my regular Tuesday night knitting. I'm using Turino Silk from Plymouth Yarns and I really like it. I'm knitting on a size 9 which makes a pretty loose fabric. It should drape very well. The color is a very dark orange with flecks of bright orange mixed in. Makes a very glowing surface.

Yesterday I found some yarn in my stash that I forgot I even had. I didn't even remember where I got it until after I started working with it. I bought this yarn in Santa Fe when I was there maybe fifteen years ago. I don't have the label anymore so I'm not sure what fiber it is. Looks like linen and silk. It's a beautiful hand dyed yarn in grayish lavender and peach. It was very southwest at the time I bought it. I'm making a lace shawl using a pattern from Knitter's Magazine (Summer 2001). Working with it has stirred up a lot of memories of that time in my life. Bittersweet I guess you'd have to call it.

Can't figure out what's happened to my email. All of a sudden the font changed and the messages are showing up in about 16 point type. I managed to get the font back to Arial but can't find anywhere to change the point size. Now I see that my edit page in Blogger is also showing up in the larger point size. But my blog still shows up the way it did originally. I have no idea what caused this. I'm sure it's part of some conspiracy to get me to switch to broadband.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Saturday afternoon. A sorta quiet day at Skein. I'm helping a new knitter with a toy she's making for her niece. This lady comes in. Just an ordinary sorta looking lady. Plops her purse and knitting on the table where we keep the patterns and magazines. Since I'm busy, Ann Mary tries to help her. I'm only sorta overhearing what's being said. Some problem with the neckline shaping. Ann Mary says, "Let's ask the master." (Flattering, but it's what she said.) So I'm looking at this sweater, wondering about the strange random varigated yarn. It turns out she had knitted the sweater sorta half inside out. She did the cable correctly but she had used the knit side as the right side instead of the purl side. The varigation of the yarn was from spilling coffee on her yarn before she had knit with it. So anyway, after I explained what had happened, which she handled pretty well, she went on with her shopping and I returned to my student as well as a converstion I was having with my friend Carole.

I'm telling Carole that my cholesterol test results were pretty good and that I didn't understand all the details of the report. So we're speculating about what all those numbers and abbreviations mean. The lady turns around and says. "Let me see that report. I'm a doctor." I got a very thorough explanation of the report as well as some recommendations of what I could do to improve even more. My own doctor has never spent so much time with me.

After that we sat and looked at new yarns and she bought yard of stuff. Everybody wins! you just never know what's going to happen in a yarn shop. So go hang out!

I'm thinking I will unsubscribe to the KnitU list. So much of it is drivel but then along will come a post that has some real content. What to do, what to do?

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Yarn shop hopping on the West Side.

The Slipt Stitch, El Segundo. This is my idea of a LYS. A long, narrow space lined on both side with tall cases filled to overflowing. Beautiful yarns and lots of knitted samples, mostly miniature versions of grown up sweaters. Plenty of the currently hot scarves. The shop opened an hour later than their posted time so we just walked the main street and had coffee at the Fantastic Cafe. I had decided not to buy any yarn on this trip. The one yarn that caused me to almost break my promise was not in stock as yet, so I was saved.

Wild Fibers, Santa Monica. I had been to this shop several years ago when they were having an artist's sale and show. This shop has the feel of a community center where all kinds of fiber crafts are done. The space is quite large by comparison with most yarn shops I've seen. The knitting yarn selection is not huge but is of the best. More Rowan and Noro than I've seen in a long time. Met the owner, Mel, and had a nice chat. It would have been fun to sit and dish but we were running late, due to the late opening of Slipt Stitch, so we didn't stay as long as I would have liked.

Needle in a Haystack, Montrose. This small shop has more needlepoint canvases and supplies than knitting yarns. The knitting yarns are at the back of the shop and would easily be missed if you didn't know they were there. They don't have much in the way of trendy stuff but there are some ribbons and furry things. Just not a lot of depth. They do have Canadiana and some of the other mid-price yarns that I don't see anywhere else. I did buy some yarn here but since it was on sale it doesn't count as breaking my promise.

All in all it was a good trip. We even managed to find parking close to the shops. We could have stopped at La Knitterie Parisienne in Studio City but that shop is so congested and intense that it would have spoiled our day. I don't know where we'll be going next week. There are a lot more shops than I thought, but you have to be willing to drive some pretty long distances to get to them.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

This blog is supposed to be about my knitting stuff. There just isn't anything new to report. Still working on the same old projects.

I started my on-line web design class yesterday but my books have still not arrived from Barnes and Noble so I'm already behind.

Went to Joanne's tonight for an evening of knitting and chatting. Always pleasant. Except I forgot to bring my cable needle and had to substitute a small DP which was very awkward.

Tomorrow I'm going yarn shop hopping again. We're going to a couple of shops in Santa Monica and one in El Segundo. On the way back we're stopping for lunch in Montrose and going to Needle in a Haystack. My brand new tires will get a good workout.

Friday, August 02, 2002

I love days like this. The morning is cool and overcast. A reminder that fall is coming. Not that we don't have a lot of hot days still to go. Time to start looking at some new knitting. What about all those unfinished projects from the summer? They'll get done, sometime. Just need a few more days on the black lace top and the mellow yellow top is moving along.

I'm starting an on-line web design class on Monday. My class materials haven't arrived yet but I already have one of the recommended texts so I think I'll be okay. I've been playing around with Word for the past couple of days. When I was working I didn't have much use for all the stuff you can do with it. Not that I have much use for it now, but it's fun just the same.

Looking forward to my weekend at Skein. You just never know what's going to happen. And there will probably be some more new yarns. Hip! Hip! Hot damn!