Thursday, October 31, 2002

Probably I should have posted this earlier but Happy Halloween to one and all. This is not one of my big day holidays. I usually hide out so I don't have to deal with the trick or treaters. Tonight I don't have to worry. It's my bowling league night so I won't be home. I expect some folks will come in costume to bowling. There's always a few uninhibited people around, especially in Studio City. But I do have some treats that I got as a party favor at dinner on Sunday night. Snickers are the best!

Looks like I won't need new glasses for another year. That's a good thing right now. I just need to make sure I don't focus too long in one spot, like in knitting or surfing.

There's a new yarn shop here in Pasadena, Elegance in Yarns, or something like that. It's not actually new but is a return from the past. The lady, Ashley, was in business before at another location, and disappeared one day. Lock, stock and barrel, gone with no note telling where she could be reached or anything. Never did find out what happened but heard lots of juicy speculation. I meant to stop by the shop today after I left my eye doctor but it was too early so she wasn't open yet. Looked in the window though. She's still moving in. Boxes everywhere. I'll try to get back by there tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I don't know if it's my computer or just something with the 'net, but this morning everything has been extra slow loading. So while I've been waiting I've been working on my secret project, correcting a mistake I made last week. I used my project to demonstrate some technique and somehow didn't undo the demonstration completely before I continued knitting. So three rows later, at about 350 stitches each, I discovered the mistake. So I ripped out the rows and quickly picked up all the stitches, but some of them were twisted so I had to fix all that. Now I'm back to knitting but am not sure where exactly the increases go. But it looks like I've reached the point where I don't need any more increases so I don't think I'll worry about it.

A pleasant evening at Joanne's last night. Anita was able to join us so that made the conversation more enjoyable. Sometimes Joanne just cracks me up. She seems to have a need to always be right, no matter what. I think it irritates her that I don't teach or knit continental. She always tells me that continental is better. And of course I should teach a different way of doing the long tail cast on. I guess I'm just not as confrontational as she is. I like to leave people a little room. And give them some options for doing things a different way.

I still don't have my new Vogue Knitting and I'm getting really irritated, even though I've already seen it at the shop and don't particularly like anything in it. But where is it? What's the point of a subscription if you have to wait until everyone else has already seen the magazine? Just being silly here.

I got started again on the Christmas gift shawl. Thought I had lost my place but I figured out where I was and got a few rows done last night. If I don't work more on this I'm going to be minus one present. I don't want to have to wrap it up still on the needles. And I still want to start some socks and a Christmas stocking.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Another great day. Got to experience fall, changing leaves and all. Lisa and I drove up to Oak Glen a small apple producing area about half way between LA and Palm Springs. It's way up in the mountains so it's quite cool. There are different trees up there than around here. They were all changing colors, except for the cedars and other evergreens. It was sunny and clear. There are lots of vendors selling apples and apple related items, like pies and butters. We just had lunch and walked around a little bit. Very refreshing!

When I got home I had a package waiting for me. Clara had sent me a "Boys Who Knit" mug. What a treat. Check out her catalog and Knitter's Review, if you haven't already.

And, congratulations to Ellen! Her funky hat won the Most Popular vote in the Red Lipstick Hat Show.

Well, back to the holiday knitting. Almost done with another one.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

What a beautiful day! The sun is out for the first time in a week and it's autumn out there. Love this cool weather!

It's kinda hard to write about my knitting right now as most everything is for holiday gifts and certain people read this blog. But a little bit about some yarn I bought. I got a couple of skeins of Merino and Fur, from Naturally. It's 30% possum and 70% merino. Worsted weight. I'm trying it out right now. It's pretty easy to work with except I'm making a hat and am having problems getting the stitches to look even. That's probably because I'm using an old circular needle and the yarn isn't moving off the tips very easily. I forgot to get a new one yesterday. I don't know what this yarn retails for elsewhere but Skein has it at $11 per 50g and 131 yards/120m. A friend of mine is the rep for the company that distributes this yarn so I hope it does well.

I also got a couple of skeins of Paradise from Plymouth. It's another one of those yarns that folks are using for scarves, kinda like Charm from Trendsetter. Haven't tried it yet but the colors are nice. Each skein has 164 yards, about double the yardage in a skein of Charm and less than the price of two skeins of Charm. Not exactly sure what these are going to become. Another friend is the rep for Plymouth Yarns so I try to help her out where I can. Go buy some!

Also got some Zap from Berroco to use as a trim. This stuff is way pricey! But it will look good on a vintage hat or sweater. Also got three Berroco pattern books. Like I need some more patterns, but I really like their designs and they have a wide range of sizes from XS to XXL. Saves a lot of refiguring time.

Had another land office day at Skein yesterday. Taught another couple of new knitters and helped some of my other students with their projects. And a great time playing with colors and textures with a customer who is really into glittery scarves. This is more fun than the proverbial barrel of monkeys!

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Went to Skein yesterday so I could have some company while doing the finishing on the cap I made for a shop sample. Like a lot of people I don't like finishing but I find it more bearable in the company of other people. So anyway, that's done and it's cute. While I was there I looked at the new Vogue Knitting. (It really bugs me that my copy hasn't arrived and the stores already have them.) I didn't see anything that really interested me but maybe when I get my own copy I'll find something to like about it.

I also looked at the newest XRX book, The Knitting Experience, by Sally Melville. This is a good enough book for beginners and for folks who like garter stitch. Some good photos of techniques and such. I can see it moving well among the knitting groupies.

My books arrived from Amazon. Christmas Stockings, from Interweave Press, edited by Elaine Lipson. I don't know why I like this book so much. I don't even knit socks and have no need for a Christmas stocking, but I find some of the patterns fascinating There are several that I want to try. Haven't really focused on the details of the instructions as yet but at a glace they seem pretty straightforward.

I also got Folk Vests, by Cheryl Oberle. I bought this sight unseen. I already have her book Folk Shawls and really enjoy just looking at it so I was pretty sure I would like this one too. And I do. These are challenging patterns. Think I'm going to start with the XO cardigan.

I've been reading Zen and the Art of Knitting by Bernadette Murphy. This was a gift from one of my students. I would never have bought a book like this. I will probably not finish it. First of all, I think the title is a cheap shot. Secondly, I don't think knitting is all that meditative. There is just too much sweetness and light in this book for my tastes. And another thing, the type size and the margin widths tell you right away that there's not much content but they managed to make it big enough to look like a real book.

Well, that's about it for now. Not feeling very charitable right now, but I promised the American Institute for Cancer Research that I would help out by mailing some letters for them. Now I find out that I'm actually supposed to be collecting money for them. This is irritating me but I think I'll go ahead and do it.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Not much knitting yesterday. It was very busy again at Skein. Had a couple of people who needed help with their projects but mostly I just helped people get their yarn fixes. The last hour was chaos but we got through it. When I got home I just wanted to relax so I spent most of the evening looking at magazines, talking on the phone with my friend Carole and playing FreeCell. But today will be different. Lots of knitting time over the next four days.

On the upside, got an email from Amazon that my books have already shipped. So maybe by the end of the week.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

What a day! Not much happening at Skein all morning then after lunch it was pandemonium. Skein is a small shop and when you get ten people all talking at the same time it's pretty noisy, but when those same ten people are all trying to talk over each other, well, you can imagine. And then, why do all the knitters who can't fix their own mistakes come in at the same time? And why do they wait until they've totally messed it up to get help? But everyone went away happy and ready to screw up again. That's why we'll be there again tomorrow. So after work Ann Mary and her husband KC took me to dinner at one of their favorite Chinese places and we stuffed ourselves.

Couldn't find the Christmas stocking book at any of my local sources so I ordered it and the new Folk Vests book by Cheryl Oberle, from Amazon. I hope it doesn't take as long to get here as they said it would.

I really liked the Red Lipstick hat show. I'm glad I didn't have to pick a winner, even though I have a personal favorite. I wonder how many hats were submitted. I hope the show is a big enough success that it's repeated next year. I like making hats but I'm usually too lazy to make anything as complicated as the ones in the show. But now I'm inspired. Oh God! not again. Speaking of which, I started a kid's hat for the shop. Made in Velvet Touch and with a brim in front. Really cute and the yarn is a breeze to work with.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Other than my daily round of knitting blogs there hasn't been much in the way of knitting to report here. It's amazing how well I can live vicariously. While I have met a few bloggers in the flesh I feel as though I know all the bloggers I read every day. And when someone hasn't posted in several days I begin to get concerned. So on the outside chance that you've been wondering why I haven't posted recently, this is just to let you know that all is well. Just been distracted by things like housework and not feeling very inspired.

I finished one half of the handbag I'm making for the shop. It's really kinda cute. And I've spent a lot of time on my secret project but still have hours and hours before that one will be done. I'm looking for a copy of Christmas Stockings. Anita brought her copy to our Tuesday night get together at Joanne's and I really, really need to have this book. Border's didn't have it last night so I'm going to a couple of other stores today. If they don't have it I will order it from Amazon, but I don't really want to wait for it. I looked for some patterns on line for stockings but nothing was as appealing as the stockings in this book. Ann Mary said she would order it for me, but again, I don't want to wait.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Today I taught two new knitters. Monica and Cynthia. Very different results for each. I wonder why some people have so much trouble getting it and others just pick it up like they were born for it. Monica finally got the knit stitch; Cynthia knits, purls, casts on and off. All in the same time frame. I hope they'll be back tomorrow.

Yesterday I was given a copy of "Zen and the Art of Knitting". I haven't read it yet. Today another customer gave me a copy of "Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans, Fisherman Sweaters from the British Isles".
The Guernsey book is terrific if you're looking for stitch patterns. Some of the sweaters are pretty dated but look like they'd be pretty easy to update. And they're mostly turtleneck. Not exactly what we need here in Pasadena. But I'm very pleased to have both of these books. I also brought home the yarn to make an evening bag. Two colors of Vision from Trendsetter. So I'm going to try to do that tonight. Another shop sample.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Not a lot to write about today. I was at Skein for the afternoon. Had a couple of students and a few people who just came by to say hello.

I bought some two gallon freezer bags yesterday. I got them to store my current but inactive projects. I only got twenty and I need some more. But they do help get the stuff off the floor and from under my desk. I also realize I'm way over-committed. So I'm off to work some more on the holiday gifts. I wonder where that cotton yarn is that I got to make another handbag.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Time to get organized. I need to spend today straightening out all my current projects and put away the ones I'm not going to finish anytime soon. My holiday knitting is way behind and I decided yesterday to start a new, secret, one. Talking to my friend Carole last night I itemized at least seven things I'm working on that are near my knitting chair. I didn't even get to the projects that are stacked in the corner of the living room. And the ones in the den need to be dusted off. There must be some kind of medication for startitis.

Yesterday, this lady comes into Skein and is gushing over all the yarns, etc. "I just love yarn shops but I always end up buying something." What does she think we're there for? It's not a museum, you know. And she did buy something, a lot of it.

How many years in a row can you give someone a scarf for Christmas? Even if you've never seen them wear the ones you gave them in the past? Scarves are not a big item for most of the men that I know so they don't usually get one. But the women? Oh well. I like making them so they can just keep on not wearing them I guess. Ann Mary and I spend a lot of time putting together yarn combinations. Some of them we make into shop samples, some we just enjoy imagining. Ann Mary likes going to Nordstrom's to see their latest selection and then trying to duplicate, or imitate, what she's seen.

I got three Berroco pattern books and a book of sweaters from the top down. So I'm going to see which ones I think I can get done before 12/25. Somewhere along the way I need to clean house and pay bills. Maybe that can wait another day.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Back from Idaho where I attended the memorial for my nephew. Thanks to all of you who sent messages of condolence and comfort. I did get to spend a lot of time with my brother which was a help to both of us. And I got to spend a lot of time with my niece and her husband and two sons. I had never thought about being a great-uncle. But it was a lot of fun playing with the kids and watching my brother be a grandfather.

I taught my niece to knit. She saw me working on the shawl I took with me and started asking questions. I swear, it took less than five minutes and she had it! So we had a great time talking about sites for free patterns and what kind of things to start with, and where's the best place to buy when you're on a tight budget.

Idaho was beautiful. Lots of trees changing color and amazingly blue skies. We even got to walk in the rain.

I've just spent four hours getting caught up on my blog reading. And about three hours to catch up with my email. Went to Skein for the afternoon and worked with some drop in students. Not much knitting on my part, just a few more rows on the shawl. I'm going again tomorrow. It's good to be back in my own place and doing my own stuff.


Wednesday, October 02, 2002

No time to work on my new Blogger Pro. Spent all of yesterday at Skein and had my Tuesday evening knit and chat session with Joanne and Anita. I tried to take a picture of the completed Karabella scarf but the batteries were dead. Maybe today.

I have another new knitter this morning so I'll be at Skein at least for the morning. Trying to finish a pumpkin trick or treat bag. Just need to sew it together. And I'm trying to decide what project to take with me to Idaho. So many choices, so far behind on all of them.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

I'm so jazzed! Lisa gifted me with Blogger Pro so pretty soon I'm going to be all high tech and cool looking. Well, maybe. I have to sit down and figure out exactly what it is that I have to do.

Going to Skein today and tomorrow since I will be in Idaho from Thursday through Monday. I have a couple of new students that I want to work with. And after staying home all day yesterday I'm ready for some genuine interaction instead of what you get when you play FreeCell all day.

I finished the Karabella scarf and will take that to Ann Mary today. Will try to get a decent photo to post using my new Blogger Pro. Finished the pumpkin hat but I think the leaf is too big so I may have to redo that one. And reworked the Turnio silk neckline so the front doesn't pull up. Gotta decide which UFO to take on next.