Friday, May 31, 2002

That was exciting! Just watched the Lakers pull off a win. Unfortunately, I won't be able to watch the final game. Going to dinner at the Old Ship, an English pub, but maybe they'll have American TV.

One of my customers at Skein brought me a bottle of wine today. Merlot. One of my favorites. It's nice when people do things like this. A thank you for all the help.

I really like this lady. She's 89 years old and is such a hoot to be around. She's the only one who has my home phone number. Right now I'm helping her with a vest for one of her grand daughters. I usually make patterns for her using my Sweater Wizard program. They're actually pretty easy and could probably be done on scratch paper. But she likes the idea that they're done on the computer. And since she frequently changes the finished size she wants to make, it's a lot faster to just change the specs and print out a new version.

Another customer, Carole, came in for a couple of hours in the late afternoon. She just comes to visit and let us all know what's going on at the school where she works. I'm finally beginning to remember who all the characters are in her drama. We've done a couple of yarn shop hopping trips together. And one night we went to a street fair. She's almost perfected the "tough old broad" delivery.

And then there's the lady from Whittier. I don't think I ever knew her name. She comes to see me every Friday or Saturday so I can count her stitches and make sure she's still working the pattern correctly. After three weeks she's just completed the 7th row of a baby afghan. She's made the same pattern 4 or 5 times before, she says, and never had so many problems. But she's a good sport and we have a lot of fun joking about her confusion.

Saturday's crowd is on average much younger that the Friday people. We'll just have to wait and see. The shop is pretty busy right now, compared to our expectations. We got a few of the new fall yarns this week plus some new pattern books. I'm thinking of buying the Rowan Junior book, even though I have no one in this age group to knit for.

During the game tonight I worked on a garter stitch scarf that I started several months ago. I got quite a lot done but had to stop to untangle the yarn. It's made out of scraps from an old sweater. When I raveled the sweater I had no intention of reusing the yarn so it was just loose in a box. Now it's become a roiling mass of green, blue, purple and some other stuff that I don't know how it got into the box.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Crying over spilt milk. Yesterday the gardeners who maintain our so-called landscape came and trimmed the shrubs around the building. Actually they brutalized them. My favorite shrub grew tall enough to block my view of the unsightly neighboring house and provided me some protection from the morning sun, as well as giving me some privacy. Gone. They chain-sawed it and left it bereft of any redeeming aesthetic value. I hate it when this happens. My living room looks like a piece of furniture is missing.

Not much news on the knitting front. Since I usually work on several projects at once my progress is more gradual. Just have the sleeves to go on the lavender top. Need to sew in the sleeves on the Blossom jacket. And I'm looking around for a new project. I've been looking at all my Berroco pattern books as well as their free pattern site.

Time for some more leftover chocolate cake.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Well, I'm up to date on all the knit blogs. Lots of folks were very busy. I spent my holiday cooking and drinking wine. Lots of fun but lots of work. I could use a sous chef to help with the clean up. I made the chocolate cake from the recipe at Not Martha. Anyway it was delicious. I added a powdered sugar glaze to make it pretty. And some vanilla ice cream to make it sinful. I have lots left over so this will be a good week.

Today I'm working on the lavender top for Lisa. I'm thinking it might be a little small. The upper half is worked in a K2P2 rib so it pulls in a lot. I'm hoping it will flatten out when I wash and block it. It's pretty mindless knitting so it's perfect for recovering from too much wine.

I'm going to walk over to Michael's and get a skein of Wool Ease Chunky to make a hat. (See Compulsively Crafty.) I imagine I have something in my stash that would work, but this is faster than finding it.

Monday, May 27, 2002

This is not turning out to be a knitting weekend. I did work Saturday and Sunday at Skein and helped a lot of people with their knitting problems. Didn't have much time to work on my own stuff. The rest of the weekend seems to be about eating and drinking. Not that I have a problem with that. But partying doesn't leave much time for knitting.

Lisa is coming over today and we're going to play with the new camera. She also has some alterations stuff she wants to do on my sewing machine. I haven't used the machine in years. I hope it works okay. I did have it serviced a couple of years ago after my friend Sherry tried using it and found that the bobbin wouldn't feed properly. So anyway, I'm going to make dinner for us here.

It's very gloomy here this morning. It will probably get sunny around 11. But maybe not. Time to start getting ready for the midday bbq. All the knitbloggers are having a good time it looks like. I still have several blogs to check for updates, but I'm gonna have to do that later.

Friday, May 24, 2002

What a slow day at Skein. Just a couple of people came in for help and another one or two to make a purchase. The first holiday weekend of the summer I guess. And the weather is very nice. So I'm not expecting much activity tomorrow or Sunday.

I will finish the sleeves of the Blossom sweater tonight and sew them in tomorrow. Then I'm done. We've already had a few people looking at the yarn after seeing the part of the sweater that I have done. So maybe it will have been worth the effort.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Yesterday I went to Fry's Electronics and bought a digital camera. I opened the box last night and started reading the instructions. It looks so complicated. So I'm going to talk to Lisa and get her to help me. Anyway, it shouldn't be too long before I can post some pictures.

I finished the left front of the Blossom sweater last night. I'll try to do the other front today and the back above the armholes. Then I will use the 3 needle bind-off to put the shoulders together. I think I'm going to need more yarn. So I'll get that tomorrow when I go to Skein.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Looks like I wasn't the only one whose blog was missing. As soon as I wrote my last entry I went and tried my blog and it worked. So I tried some others and most of them worked. It seems that an entry was required to get them started again. Happy it wasn't something I did.

Time to get ready to go to my Tuesday night knitting at my friend Joanne's. I don't think I'll take that stupid Blossom project with me. It makes me too cross to be pleasant. I need to work on something friendly, like the lavender shell that I ripped out and restarted a couple of weeks ago.
Strange! I haven't been able to open anyone's blog today that uses blogspot. Including my own. I keep getting the message: Page not found. So I'm writing in my blog to see what happens.

Monday, May 20, 2002

I'm going to be so glad when this Blossom sweater is done! I worked on it for about 5 hours today and it's still only about half way there. And this is a child's size 2 or 3. I think knitting with wire has got to be easier.

What's with this weather? We had rain this morning, a lot of it. This is sunny Southern California in the middle of May. This is not supposed to happen. And it's cold too.

New and improved, i.e. comments has been added. So just do it.

Another new student today at Skein. This one is having a rough time. We could only work on the knit stitch today. For two hours. I hope when she gets home and is relaxed she'll get better.

And the flan came out just fine. It was delicious.

I have a few open days this week so I hope to finish some projects. Still working on the orange top and the shop sample.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

I don't know if I should take the credit/blame for Ann Mary (Skein owner) buying the Trendsetter Blossom yarn. I think this stuff is miserable to work with. I'm now on my fourth attempt to knit a shop sample and am really getting to hate this yarn. I sure hope the sample sells the yarn. I finally modified the pattern so it will have minimal finishing but the process of getting to that point is gruelling.

I was so busy today at Skein that I didn't even notice that we were having a good day. Brand new student, new knitter, waiting for me at the door when I got there. She's gonna be fine. We had a lot of time together so we had a good time chatting about her interests etc. The rest of the day was spent with regular customers who came in for some help and hand holding. Another customer from the past came in and told me about a knitting group that meets in the local library on Thursday afternoons. And has been for years. I've never heard about them. So maybe this week I'll drop in and see if there's anyone there that I know.

Just heard that the restaurant at the bowling alley where I bowl every Thursday night had a serious fire this morning. (Don't know why I think this is interesting.) Anyway, we have a couple of weeks off before the start of the new league. I hope they get it cleaned up before then.

I want my Rowan Summer Tweed but it's not available until August. I might just have to buy another color so I can work with it.

I made flan tonight. First time ever. I think it's going to be a disaster. I think I overcooked the caramel and it turned into a Big Daddy sucker. Hope it comes out of the cups.

Friday, May 17, 2002

Yesterday was mostly a non-knitting day. I did a little cooking and stuff like that. Went to the last night of my bowling league. And spent hours surfing.

Today I worked at Skein. Not much happening there. One student returned from last week for a final session before moving to Texas. I also went to Best Buy in the morning to look at digital cameras. No one there who really knew anything about them so I'll just keep looking. Maybe I should go to a regular camera store.

Tonight is knitting and TV. Still working on the same old projects. I really want to start something new, but I've got to finish some of this old stuff.

Looking forward to the weekend. My daughter is coming for dinner on Sunday night and she's going to try to get a comments section for me. Very excited about both of these things.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

I went to Skein today just for something to do and ran into an old friend that I used to knit one of a kind sweaters for. We had a really nice time catching up. And then, as she was leaving, the yarn rep for Rowan came in. This is another lady I knew in the past. The last time I saw her was when she brought Kaffe Fassett for a book signing probably seven years ago. So another good time catching up.

Then, she showed us all the new yarns for fall 2002 from Rowan, Jaeger, Tahki, Filatura di Crosi and Stacy Charles. Wow! And I thought it couldn't get any better than it already is. I ordered 20 skeins of the Rowan Summer Tweed in one of the new colors, a very dark green, almost black. This won't be available until the fall but I already have plenty to do so I can wait. The colors and textures are so terrific. Some of the yarns are too heavy for Southern California but most of what we saw was wonderful. Too bad we couldn't buy everything. Lots of new patterns that will knock your handknit socks right off, too.

There's a pattern in the new Knitter's Magazine that uses Colinette's Wigwam. It's a top and cardigan set. I've had 18 skeins of this yarn for at least 10 years that I've never seen a pattern for, that I liked anyway. And I think this one is it. So that's my justification for having such a huge stash. When you see something you like, and it's also on sale, go ahead a buy it if you can. You'll find a match eventually.
Spent the evening with friends, Leah and Joanne. I worked on the Trendsetter shop sample while they tried to figure out how to shape the neckband on a cape. They were both so busy trying to have their own opinion win that they never figured out what to do. But we had a good time. The shop sample is not going well. I think there's a serious mistake in the dimensions and/or the gauge given in the pattern. The back of the sweater is as wide as the finished piece is supposed to be around. I didn't work a swatch this time. I'm usually right on gauge. So now I get to start over.

We decided to cancel the Wednesday night needlework group. Just not enough interest. So tomorrow night will be the last night for that. We're talking about just meeting at Joanne's home on Tuesday night and will probably invite a few people to join us.

Monday, May 13, 2002

I'm not sure how I feel about Pimpernel Loamsdown.

Summer has arrived, at least temporarily, in Pasadena. I'm not ready.

So now I'm making a new sweater (shop sample) from Trendsetter's Blossom. The yarn's a little tricky to work with. It's very fuzzy with a thin core that you have to be sure to catch everytime. You don't want to even think about dropping a stitch. The pattern I'm using is a Trendsetter pattern for a young child. The stitch pattern is called Ruffle. Four rows of garter stitch, increase in every stitch on the fourth row. Ten rows stockinette, decrease across last row by working two stitches together. It's an easy pattern but I think it will be a little difficult to put together since you really can't see the individual stitches very well.

Still working on the orange Cotton Classic. Getting close. Hope to take some pictures of this one.

I really enjoyed all the Mother's Day posts. Sounds like everyone had a good day.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Yesterday I went back to Alamitos Bay Yarn Company. I took a friend of mine, Carole, to see the sights. She was very impressed. I met Ginger Smith, one of the owners, a fabulous knitter and instructor. I didn't buy anything this time.

I worked at Skein in the afternoon. Two new students plus one returning for more. They were all there at about the same time so it was a little crazy. One of the ladies tried to learn about ten years ago at Mariposa, a shop in Pasadena where I was working part time. I didn't know her then. She was working with Sandra, a very dear friend. Sandra has since passed away. There was this strange connection to her through this new student. Lots of happy memories as well as the sadness.

Another of the students had been taught by her sister who had only managed to get her started. So I taught her how to decrease and how to do ribbing. She's only staying here for about a month while her husband is in training for a new position in Texas. They're moving from Colorado. She's a little concerned about the change of locale.

Barbara, the returning student, is now working on a second project. This is pretty brave of her but she's determined that she can do this. I felt really sad for her. She had a heart attack about a year ago and has now been told that her latest mammogram has produced some suspicious results. I hope the knitting works for her. She says it helps her to stay calm.

I'm still plugging away on the orange top. I think I'm about half way done with the front. I decided to rip out the lavender top I was working on. Something happened to my row gauge when I started the front. There was no way I was going to get the two pieces to line up when I put them together.

Oops! time to go to work. Now I'm going to be late.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

I finally finished the back of the orange Cotton Classic top. I kept making mistakes in the shaping of the lace pattern so I had to rip out several rows, several times. I've started on the front. I still enjoy the stitch pattern. It's such fun to watch the design develop.

I spent a couple of hours working on the lavender top last night. That one's simple enough to work on while watching TV. So I'll probably get some more done on that tonight.

I got my copy of Vogue Knitting today. If you haven't seen it yet, it's a special issue featuring men's patterns. I saw it yesterday at my LYS. I plan to read it cover to cover later today. Looks like there are several patterns in there that I could make for myself. I seldom make anything for me but I think this issue is pretty tempting.

Monday, May 06, 2002

Strange day. Being retired isn't as easy as I thought. Felt sorta restless and couldn't really focus on anything. So I made another hat from some leftover Encore. Rose and burgundy. I finished it tonight while I watched Masterpiece Theatre. I just didn't want to work on the orange lace. Or the lavender one either. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not on someone's schedule, and if I want to make a hat instead of working on a project that I've already started, it's okay.

I have no idea how much time I spend reading all the knitting blogs. But it's several hours a day. I love doing this. I have definite ideas about who everyone is (not necessarily accurate but it works for me). I sit here drinking my coffee and feel like I'm actually visiting with friends. Man! do I have a lot of friends or what?

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Really busy days at Skein. A new student on Friday. We had a great time together and she's going to be a terrific knitter in a very short time. On Saturday some friends from the past came in and stayed about four hours. Fun catching up on everyone's news. I have a couple of knitters lined up for this afternoon. Coming in for a little help on picking up stitches and finishing.

I made another roll brimmed hat while I visited with my friends. Noro Kureyon in an orange and magenta color way. One skein is just enough for a medium sized hat, approx. 21" circumference. Simple project but it was nice to have finished something. I'm still working on the orange Cotton Classic sweater. The lace pattern is okay now. So I'm going to work on that this morning before I go to Skein.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

I spent some time on the orange Cotton Classic top. This requires serious attention. I can't remember ever having done any shaping in a lace pattern. This is a challenge for me. I've charted the pattern stitch by stitch so I can tell where to go next. I've finished the armhole shaping and am working my way to the shoulders and neck back. This sweater is not going to get done this week.

I am going to buy a digital camera. Does anyone have any suggestions? I mostly want to be able to put photos in my blog. Please send me an email. Comments not available at this time.
Why I don't get much done. I just spent almost two hours reading all the knitter blogs that I currently have in my list of favorites. Meanwhile, about 25 messages arrived in my email, mostly from KnitU, so there goes another half hour or so. I did manage to try out the new oatmeal from Trader Joe's. So I'm going to get a mindless project to work on while I read. I'll just leave it by the computer on top of all the filing that needs to be done.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Art imitates life or is that life imitates art? The final episode was pretty emotional but felt genuine. All the families remained true to themselves. But I did think some of the scenes were a little melodramatic. But what the heck. I found the whole thing very enjoyable. Too bad about Mark and Karen. Nate and Kristen are so happy. They're both terrific. I wonder if Gordon will continue to mow his own lawn. Adrienne was very impressive in her summation. Lots of strong character there. But you gotta love the kids. All of them. So that's it for Frontier House.

I reknit the armhole decreases on the lavender sweater. I like them much better. I decided to decrease one stitch at each end of every row instead of two stitches at each end of every right side row. I think the slant of the decreases should follow the direction of the decrease and this does. So I'm back on track and have started the front.