Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Christmas, Day Seven. A nice, pleasant trip to Forget Me Knot and a stop at Stitches in Time, both in Bellflower, neither have a website. I got four colors of DMC crochet thread and a size 7 hook. There are smaller sizes but this size looks pretty daunting to me. I didn't get any practice done but I did get started on the kufi. I got a nice comment from Deb explaining what it is and how it's worn. The pattern says they're very popular with teens. I'll have to watch and see if anyone is wearing these. While I was at Forget Me Knot I saw a milliners's hat blocking form. The lady at the counter told me she got it from a millinery supply house in LA. Have to check that out after the holidays.

The crowds of people in town for the Rose Parade have started to gather along Colorado Blvd. Streets and parking lots are filled with RVs and busses. People are saving spaces along the side walk using duct tape and patio chairs, whatever they can find. I'm getting ready to leave for my friend's house on the other side of LA. I will work at Skein today and then go directly there. Driving in Pasadena on this day becomes a high stress activity. I won't come home until tomorrow afternoon, after the game is started and all the crowds have left (leaving heaps of trash along the way). I get very cranky about this, as you can probably tell.

Looks like I will be ending the year with a cold. Judging from the way I feel now I may have to stay home and endure the noise from the boulevard. But maybe by this afternoon I will feel better. This year of blogging has been wonderful. I've "met" some terrific people and a few I've met in person. I love it when I find a new link to another knitter's site. So I hope you all have a great celebration today, doing whatever you like best, and a happy new year (and Ann Mary always adds prosperous, so that too).

Monday, December 30, 2002

E-smut alert! I forgot to mention this morning that I had received an intersting email. At first it looked like it was from me which I thought was strange since I didn't recall sending myself any emails. I looked closer and noticed that the ISP was AOL instead of MSN. I looked at the subject and realized that there was no way I would have sent that. So if you get an email with knitdad as part of it and if it's from AOL it's not from me. So don't open it, unless, of course, you want to help lonely housewives find love.
Christmas, Day Six. Ah, Monday. My day off, so to speak. Yesterday was another madhouse at Skein. Stayed about an hour after the shop closed to help one of our really good (read, spends a lot) customers with her cable disaster. I guess I just assume that people in certain professions are bright and above average intelligence, doctors and lawyers for example. This is just not true, at least when it comes to knitting. Anyway, we fixed the problem and I explained how she should be checking her stitch count on every row, and the logic of the pattern. She was impressed and I felt good as I had her rip a lot of rows, just because I have the power. One of my lawyer students needs a refresher course about once a week. But she's very funny about it so I love her anyway.

Today I'm going to Forget Me Knot in Bellflower. This is one of the few yarn shops that is open on Monday. This will be my last yarn shop hop of the year. I'm working tomorrow so won't have another chance until sometime next year. (So it's a little corny. It's only a joke!) Anyway, my friend Carole and I will go check out their crochet supplies. They have the only large selection I've seen of cotton crochet thread. I have this craving to learn to crochet and Carole knows how to do this. I sort of know but I want to get better at it.

Have you taken the Fantastic Fiber Voyage yet? Go over to Alison's and see what's happening in Boston. And there's another whole day tomorrow. I think it must be very nice to live in Boston. I wonder if they have double decker busses.

It looks like Lily Chin has slipped some in popularity. I haven't seen one awestruck reference to her in over a week. The newest idol would appear to be Sally Melville. (If you don't know what I'm talking about you probably aren't subscribed to the Knit U list.) Anyway, I like the Melville book, The Knit Stitch, much more than I liked than I liked the Urban Knitter, or whatever that drivel was called.

Do you know what a kufi is? I'm getting ready to make one and the instructions just tell you to work the body until it's as long as you like and then start shaping the top. Well, how long should a kufi be, for chrissake? And how do you wear it? Comments gratefully accepted.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Christmas, Day Five. Back to pandemonium at Skein. Lots of traffic and plenty of folks spending their holiday loot. Several sets of Mons with Home for the Holidays kids. And people from colder climes. The people from Michigan think it's really warm here, while we're freezing. No knitting to speak of.

I just noticed that yesterday was the one year anniversary of my retirement. Wow! time really speeds up when you get to be this old. Except for not being able to spend freely on yarn, retirement is a good thing. I'm less organized than ever and I have more time in which to procrastinate. I really like it.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Christmas, Day Four. Fun day at Skein. A table full of knitters just having a good time. I felt like I was at a party. The soon to be a grandmother, Margery, stayed most of the afternoon. She's so excited and a real delight to work with. And another relatively new knitter, John, came in for some help with the London Beanie. He's a quick learner and will do just fine. Several other folks that I've taught also joined in the festivities: Stephanie, Barbara, Theresa, Dodie and the ever faithful Carole. All current or former students, except Carole. The shop wasn't all that busy compared to last week so Ann Mary had a chance to rearrange some of the yarns and start putting out some of the new stuff. I like it when we have new yarns.

I'm going to start a new hat today for my Egyptian friend, Fouad. He celebrates Christmas a little later than the rest of us, I think it's January 7. I gave him a London Beanie for our Christmas and he was crazy about it. Wore it all night. So I think I'll make another one in a different color way and a little bigger. These hats are tight!

Friday, December 27, 2002

Christmas, Day Three. Ann Mary and I were expecting the pace to slow after Christmas. We were so wrong! All day long, folks just can't get enough. I spent part of the day showing the husband of one of our customers how to make corrections in his own knitting. He seemed really excited about being able to do this himself instead of having to rely on his wife to do it for him. And I explained the physics of knitting and why edges curl sometimes.

I also have picked up two new students, both of whom claim not to have knitted for over forty years. They are both so excited, just like brand new knitters. One of them is becoming a grandmother for the first time. She's making a baby blanket. She has the sweetest smile as she sits there doing her garter stitch border. I can just imagine how she's dreaming of her first grandchild. The other one wanted to make a top down raglan from a pattern she had made before. That did not work out in the yarn she chose, which was a great relief to me. She got started knitting again because her daughter asked for some help with some socks she was knitting. It's fun having such wonderful customers.

Finished another dishcloth and started another. I still have lots of Kitchen cotton I want to use up. I also worked on my striped beanie. I think I've gotten the hang of the jogless jog. The third one looks pretty good. Since I'm going to be demonstrating this later today, that's a good thing.

Haven't had time to read all my new books. But I have looked at the pictures. I love new knitting books.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Christmas, Day Two. The morning after report. Happy that everything went smoothly and all the gifts, given and received, were much appreciated. I have three new knitting books: "Hollywood Knits", "Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified" and "Knitted Shawls, Stoles and Scarves". All three books were on my Amazon Wish List, which I will go and update, just in case.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Christmas, Day One. The big kick off! I'm just about ready to load the presents in my car and head out to spend Christmas morning with Lisa and her Mom. I didn't have enough boxes or holiday bags for everything so I just used an assortment of paper shopping bags, whatever I had. I even used some wine bags. I kind of like this idea. But I did have plenty of Christmasy tissue paper to line the bags with.

I spent Christmas Eve wrapping gifts and making Applesauce Raisin bread. Listened to lots of Christmas music and marked the beginning of Christmas Day knitting another dishcloth. Didn't finish but I'll take it with me to work on between gifts this morning. During the day I worked at Skein. One of our customers was a young woman whom I had taught to knit years ago when she was about nine years old. I didn't recognize her but I did recognize her mother. She used to work in an antiques shops that was across from Mariposa, a now defunct yarn shop, that I worked in about ten or twelve years ago. Kinda neat!

All is well. Just one more time... Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Merry Christmas! Last year everyone was saying Happy Holidays. I guess it's okay to say Merry Christmas again. But whatever, I hope you all have the best of times.

The best thing about waiting to the last minute to do my Christmas shopping is: it doesn't take long to make a decision. I am pretty pleased with the things I got and it only took about an hour and a half to do it. Someone at Macy's actually asked if they could help me. That hasn't happened in years! Tonight I'll wrap everything while I listen to my favorite classical music station. I also plan to make some zucchini bread. (Is that how you spell that?)

My last hat didn't get done. I'm trying to make a jogless jog and it isn't working. Finally broke down and got out Meg Swansen's Handknitting. Now I think I see what I was doing wrong, but it's too late to finish before tomorrow. Besides, there's twelve days of Christmas so I still have time.

Monday, December 23, 2002

So close and yet so far! That is, Christmas is close and I'm so far from being ready. This has got to happen today! Lisa didn't give me any clues as to what she would like so it's not my fault if she doesn't like what I pick out. Some people are going to get IOUs, or projects on the needles.

I made cookies last night and am very pleased. Oatmeal/banana. Cookies are a lot of bother to make and they disappear so fast. I had five dozen when I started. I'm not sure how many are left but they look good in the glass jar I filled. I'm just going to tell the recepients that there was some settling during shipping. That ought to work.

We were very busy at Skein yesterday. People were happy and in a holiday mood, the good kind, not the crabby, I've got too much to do, kind. After we closed I sat for about an hour with Ann Mary and her husband, KC, and talked about the year and plans for the start of next year. I think we were all too tired to go home and pretty wired from all the activity. We have sold out of many of the most popular yarns.

I'll be at the shop again tomorrow. My friend Carole is coming in. Her birthday is on Christmas so I have to come up with a couple of things for her. I've had so many people thank me for my help. It really is a good feeling to know that I've made a difference.

Getting ready to go out, visualizing a parking space. The weather is nice and crisp. So off I go, humming Jingle Bells all the way.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Lots of celebrating and not much knitting going on. I'm trying to finish just a couple more hats for some friends that I'm having dessert with tomorrow night. And I have only one day to do my shopping. That will have to happen tomorrow or it won't happen at all. I sure hope I get some inspiration between now and then because I surely don't know what to get as of right now.

Ann Mary and KC gave me a Christmas bonus as well as a gift certificate and a case of wine. Imagine! All this and I get to spend my days with all that yarn and all those knitters. Life is good!

The carolers from the church on the corner came by a couple of nights ago. They sounded like the were having a really good time. I could have done without the Jingle Bells. And someone was a little flat. But it was still a warm and fuzzy moment. Thanks, guys!

Gotta get ready to go out with friends for brunch. Run around, run around, it's no wonder I'm not ready.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Couldn't find the Toasty Toes sock yarn but I did find a hat that I had started last Christmas season but didn't get it done. This one is from the book "Hats On" by Charlene Schurch. Not sure about the name and spelling and I can't find the book anywhere. And I'll need to before I can continue with the hat because it's a fairisle type. And, instead of decreasing at the top the hat is sewn together in three points that are to be embellished with tassels.

Bonne Marie was wondering about the new Rowan Magazine and all the other spin offs that they produce. The way I understand it, from their rep, is that in order to carry the regular Rowan Magazine a store has to qualify as a stockist. That means a store must commit to a certain volume of purchases within a given year. In exchange the store gets to be the exclusive stockist in a specific geographic area. The dollar amount and the square footage needed are pretty high for most yarn shops. So for those shops that want to carry only small amounts or only selected items there would be not pattern support. Rowan publishes the specialized books in support of their new yarns and these books are available to non-stockist shops. That's what I was told, anyway. You can also buy the main magazine online direct at Rowan's site.

Now, I wonder what stack of books the hat book is in.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Now that the dishcloths are done I'm looking around trying to decide which UFO to take on next. I have lots of choices but nothing is really calling me. I think I'm still in the mood for small, quick to make stuff. Another hat? I went looking for my Toasty Toes sock yarn this morning. It's buried somewhere in my stash. Maybe I'll find that tonight and make some tube socks.

Skein continues to be very busy. Most of the eyelash yarn is gone so we've been selling other hairy, fuzzy stuff for scarves. And people are beginning to talk about what they're going to make after Christmas. Ann Mary ordered some new stuff from Karabella today. Ombres and striations seem to be making a come back. And more smaller sized yarns.

Well, off to make some carrot bread.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Staceyjoy has some more new hats. She continues to amaze me, not only with her creativity but with her productivity.

I'm still trying to finish up some silly dishcloths and have only managed to get five done. I need at least one more. So that's what I'm up to today. I bought some of the new Method Dish Soap, cucumber fragrance, that someone recommended in a blog last week. (Sorry, can't remember who.) So I'm putting that with the dishcloths.

Yesterday I wrote, somewhat flippantly, about the rain here in Pasadena. I didn't realize how bad it had been in other parts of the city and the state. Ellen commented on how bad it was on her side of town. And then I read the news. Lots of flooding and really horrible traffic. So I'm really grateful that we didn't experience that here. And I hope no one thought I was being too glib.

Monday, December 16, 2002

We don't get snow in Pasadena. We get rain. Just in time for Christmas. Oh well, the palm trees will be bright and shiny.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Teresa is having a birthday. Go say something nice.

Last night I went to the December concert of the LA Chamber Orchestra. All Baroque program with music by J. S. Bach, Correli, Cimarossa and Handel. A wonderful Russian soprano, Karina Gauvina, brought the house down in the Bach and Handel arias. I heart Baroque music.

Before the concert we went to Gaucho's Village for dinner. A new churrascaria in Glendale, a couple of blocks from the Alex Theater where the concerts are held. I had been looking forward to it but was somewhat disappointed. The buffet was okay, just not very exciting. We were early so there wasn't much of a crowd. Maybe if there had been more activity I would have enjoyed it more. But anyway, I'll probably not need any more protein for the rest of the year. I had a couple of different cuts of beef, some lamb, some chicken and some kind of very spicy sausage. I liked the fried bananas most of all.

Probably because I had eaten too much and had had too much coffee I did not sleep well at all last night. I finally got up at a little before four and finished another dishcloth. Dozed off for a couple of hours around five. So I'm going to be tired all day today. It's only a three hour day at Skein so I'll probably have a nap when I get home.

Knit a swatch yesterday in Naturally Landscape color number 808. It's a lime green and navy boucle. One of our customers had purchased some to make a scarf and decided she didn't like the color so she gave it to me. My swatch was off by a whole stitch so I have to start over on a smaller needle. I'll also need to buy a few more skeins. If the new swatch isn't right I'll just redo the pattern at the new gauge.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Getting ready for spring? Yesterday the rep for Rowan/Jaeger/S.Charles/Takhi came in to show the new yarns for spring. I was pretty busy with some students so didn't get in on the whole presentation. However, it seems that chartreuse, lime green and similar colors are still the big thing for the coming season.And orange continues to be popular. The new patterns from Jaeger are quite nice, a little more complex than what they've been showing this past year. Some intarsia, not complicated but still intarsia.

Ribbon is the very biggest thing going. Lots of really beautiful ribbon in everything from fine to fat. Most of it is multicolored either with the handpaint look or by the addition of another texture, little bits of color attached along the way. Most of these yarns are from S. Charles/Takhi/Filatura.

There were also several very fine yarns in silk/cotton from Jaeger and S. Charles. These are things that need to worked on small needles, 2s and 3s, US. So I think the move is away from the big, instant yarns. Overall the colors seems brighter and clearer. Ann Mary picked out a few things but is going to wait for TNNA next month before making her final selection. I'd like to go to TNNA this time but I'm staying behind to run the shop.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Sitting here reading blogs, knitting and drinking coffee. Multi-tasking at its best. It's either going to rain this weekend or it's not, depending on who you listen to or read. Rain would be nice, except for the bad traffic part.

The new pumpkin bread recipe was a flop. I'm sticking to my old tried and true one from now on. Maybe it was just because I used the house brand sugar.

The pace seems to be slowing a little at Skein. I guess everyone that's going to get a scarf has already been accounted for. There's still time, folks. Ann Mary's favorite encouragement, "Only two hours". Speaking of Skein, I'd better get ready.

As you can probably tell, I'd don't really have much to report.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Have been struggling with MSN all day. At first MSN 8 seemed like it was an improvement but that was an illusion. I'm getting a lot more disconnects than I ever did before and slow doesn't begin to describe what's going on. Someone over there must have dropped everything because frequently I get a message that they can't find a file. Couldn't even find Google today. Very irritating etc.

Started some holiday baking today. A new recipe for pumpkin bread. It's still cooling so I don't know how it came out, except that one loaf stuck to the pan. Guess that one's for me. I have some fresh persimmons that are just about ready so I'm going to make a persimmon cake next. Some folks don't like persimmons. Don't understand that.

Finished a couple more dishcloths and that's about it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

How did it get to be Wednesday already?

Still working on the dishcloths and fantasizing about projects that I could make using some of the stitch patterns and trying to connect the patterns with yarns I have in my stash. Generally I like working with cotton, especially Cotton Classic, but this Sugar 'n Cream is not all that much fun. Kind of stiff even on just plain knit. I hope it softens up when it's washed.

Alison was wondering about adding thumbs to mittens. I just walked through this process with one of my students. She was using a very old, bedraggled pattern that she copied from someone's book. It was a little difficult to follow, mostly because it was so beat up. But by following the directions exactly we managed to add a thumb and it looked pretty good. Once we had worked it I pretty much got the concept. Unfortunately the student didn't so we had to go through the same step by step thing the following week. The second thumb wasn't as successful as the first one, there were larger holes where the stitches were picked up. So we just used the tail to patch them. I see that other folks do the same. The trick about picking up some extra stitches in the "corners" is also a good idea. I'll try that the next time.

Last night I went to Joanne's for my weekly knit chat session. Anita was there with her newly knitted sweater. I helped her get started assembling it. I think it went well. It's always good to work with someone who "gets it" and is willing to redo something until it's right. Joanne brought out one of the books she got in Sweden about twenty years ago to show me some of the hats. Not being able to read Swedish made it a little hard to understand the directions but the charts for the "fairisle" were easy to follow. I'm going to borrow the book after the first of the year and try out some of the patterns. More hats!

Speaking of hats, check out Staceyjoy's newest designs. Tres cool!

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Knitting dishcloths is a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Each one is just the right size to keep my interest. The thing I like best about knitting is seeing how a stitch pattern is going to look and these do just that. Swatches on a large scale. The patterns from Dishcloth Boutique are nice but several of the ones I selected seem to have errors. At least the pattern does not produce what the image says. I can see that my Barbara Walker Treasuries are going to come in handy.

Of course, Michael's didn't have the Kitchen Cotton in white or natural. So I got some white Sugar 'n Cream. Enough for six cloths. But I did get some colors in Kitchen Cotton just to see how I like it.

Monday, December 09, 2002

I finished the lacy star cloth last night. It's pretty much okay but I don't think I'll make another one. It took four or five hours and that's just too much time for a dish/face cloth. My fingers are killing me from doing all those ssk, k2tog and k1,pl,k1 in the same stitch. The cast on row left a large hole in the center so I just drew it up using the tail of the cast on. I used some left over Sugar 'n Cream. I think the yarn is too stiff for working but it should soften up a lot when it's washed.

So, since I'm not going to make another one of those, I went to the Dishcloth Boutique and printed out about twelve or so really simple patterns that I will use instead. I'm going to Michael's later today to pick up some plain ol' Kitchen Cotton, I hope in a natural or off white. If they don't have it I'll go to JoAnn's. I don't like going there but one gets desperate sometimes.

I didn't leave Skein until about an hour after closing yesterday. She of the apparently bottomless pockets came in just before closing and needed me to help her pick out some more yarn for scarves. This is a good time to get rid of those two or three skeins of leftover yarn and to push some of the flashy stuff. So it was worth the extra time.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Before I start all over let me just say that it really, really bugs me when Blogger eats my post before I've even had time to finish it. Where do these messages go? So, here's what I started to write:

Saturday night and I'm just finishing reading my daily blogs. Didn't have time to get them all in this morning because I slept in and there wasn't enough time before I had to be at Skein. Lisa came over last night. She was wearing an orange turtleneck sweater I made a year or so ago. I was very pleased, not only to see her wearing it, but at how well it has held up. Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in a pattern from one of the Classic Elite books, not sure which book and I don't want to go find it right now. Anyway, we went to Amigo's, a neighborhood Mexican restaurant that we like, and watched the amazing Lakers come back from a twenty point deficit and win. Very exciting!

Before we went to dinner we tried to get pictures on my blog. I must be missing something here. I've had some suggestions from Teresa and Joe but nothing seems to help. One of my students is a web designer and has offered to come by and show me how to do this. If I see her tomorrow I'll try to set up a time when we can do this. I really feel dumb!

It continues to be very busy at Skein. Mostly scarves and shawls. This morning I worked with four or five people pretty much simultaneously. Primarily pointing out the error of their ways. I finished the merino/possum hat between bouts. So glad to have that done. Tonight I'm going to try this lacy, star cloth that I found on Liz's blog. If it works out okay I think I'll make a stack of them for one of my friends, who has everything except handknitted dishcloths.

The bleachers for the Rose Parade are starting to go up all along Colorado Blvd. The Parade is always exciting and fun to watch, but not from my place just a few steps from the blvd. I usually leave town and come back after the Parade. Am always amazed at the amount of trash left behind.

I'm off to see if I have all the ingredients for some carrot bread.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

I've been spending more time at Skein this week. It's really busy. I'm not getting as much knitting done as I thought I would but it is so neat to be able to help the customers make their selections and to get them started. But I am so tired when I get home in the evening. It's pretty draining to be "up" all the time. So I've just been working on some miscellaneous small items. More hats, of course.

I finally got a hat started with the merino/possum yarn that I think is going to be all right. I was getting a very large, loose stitch when I switched from knit to purl in the ribbing. I started purling through the back of the loop on the first purl stitch and that seems to have been adequate to fix the loose stitch. I worked three inches of K2/P2 ribbing and then changed to stockinette with five cables (2/2 back cross, 2/2 front cross) evenly spaced. When I get there I'll do a gradual decrease until I'm down to about 8 or 9 stitches and then fasten off by pulling the tail of the yarn through the loops. I'm happy I finally found something to do with this wretched yarn.

I'm also happy that the Staples ad "controversy" has finally ended. At least on the KnitU list. Now, if they'd just stop the charts vs. narrative pattern discussion.

I think I'm in some kind of pre-holiday funk. This is my first Christmas since I retired. I think I miss all the brouhaha. Maybe I need to get out and mix with the shoppers. Or do some baking. I really appreciated Annie's comments about the holiday season in her post today.

Tonight is bowling and I'm supposed to be cleaning house in preparation for Lisa's visit tomorrow night so I better get going.

Monday, December 02, 2002

I haven't had much to say for the past few days. The truth is I haven't been feeling so hot. But I'm better.

It was extremely busy at Skein over the weekend. Pouring rain on Saturday did not deter very many people. Late afternoon it was practically party time. Lots of students and other favorites came in and sat around our two tables and just enjoyed themselves. It's really neat that so many have become good friends just from the accident of being in the same place at the same time. When someone hasn't shown up in a while, everyone starts asking where is so and so. A couple of people I'd been wondering about showed up this weekend. It's good to know they're all right.

I haven't been teaching many new knitters lately. Mostly I've been helping people with their patterns or showing them how to do some technical thing that they don't understand. And I've been spending more time selling. It's always exciting to see the new yarn/color combinations that people come up with. Wish I was having so much excitement in my own work.

I have some Berroco Celeste that I've been trying to turn into a scarf. I've ripped it at least three times. I wanted to add something to it to make it a little more exciting but haven't hit the right combination yet. It's a really pretty yarn with autumn color variations throughout. So I tried working it by itself. Not all that great. Meanwhile, I've started a new hat using the Naturally merino/possum yarn. I just don't like how this yarn works up. The current hat is going to be ripped. This yarn may become Christmas ribbon.

I finished the Nordic hat on Saturday. Showed it to Ann Mary. She was so excited. She didn't know I knew how to do fairisle. I am pretty pleased with it myself. I really liked doing the two color knitting. I'm still not very fast with my left hand but by the time I finished the hat I at least felt comfortable with the technique. I have another pattern lined up for after the holidays.