Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Year's end

Well, chalk up another one. One more day to get all the things done that I said I was going to get done. Actually, I don't think I have any serious unfinished business. My dentist postponed my final appointment until next week. Most of my holiday shopping got done. I need to clean house, as always. My stash has grown pretty much of its own accord. So this year is ending pretty much like the last one did.

Except. I will stay home this year. I usually leave town to avoid the Rose Parade crowd and all the noise and trash that goes along with it. This year, however, I'll stay home and listen to the radio and do some knitting. Robert, where I usually go for the night, still has the flu and I don't want to take a chance on getting it myself even though he said he was getting well. We'll celebrate Christmas next Sunday, I think.

Phebie's (not Phoebe's) was a fun trip. I got some new yarns and a couple of Rebecca magazines that I didn't have. I'll try to get some photos tomorrow when I have more time. I got a tripod for Christmas, thanks Lisa, so maybe my indoor shots will be better.

Just got home from my weekly knit together. Just three of us tonight but we managed to have a good time. I started another multidirectional scarf using some Brown Sheep handpaint cotton (Kaleidoscope) that is looking pretty cute. Pics to come. We pretty much wiped out a pound of See's candy and two pots of coffee.

The big year end news is that Skein is moving. Probably around the middle of February we'll be in Pasadena. Close enough to where I live that I'll be able to walk there. The property where the shop is currently located has been sold and will become a huge Walgren's shopping center. Or that's what supposed to happen. For anyone familiar with Pasadena the new shop will be at the corner of Walnut and Wilson where Poobah's is at present. Ann Mary likes the little house and she thinks it will look good as a yarn store. I agree that it's a cute building but I'm not so sure about the location. Parking will be a problem, I think, and there are two auto repair shops on two of the other corners. There's a Chabad site on the fourth corner plus some other small businesses. An upholsterer and something that I don't recall.

I've known for a few weeks that Skein was going to move but I didn't know until today where it was going. I'm trying to see the good points of the new location but I'm having some problems. I could say "I just work here" and let it go at that but now Ann Mary is asking me what I think. A little late in the game. I like the house. It's a little funky but that could be a good thing. Except Ann Mary doesn't really understand funky. She planning on removing some sheds and the garage which will create a few parking spaces. Maybe four or five. But she'll need one of those for herself. The area is very easy to get to. It's primarily residential except for the main street. I don't think a muffler repair shop and a transmission replacement center are quite what I'd expect if I were looking for a yarn shop.

So with that, Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Final Sunday of the year

Another busy day but only for three hours! I have a couple of new students, one is six and one is seven. It's a little hard to find the right level in talking with them. I don't want to go over their heads but at the same time I don't want to treat them like they're too young to get it.

The seven year old taught herself the basics from a book so I don't think she's going to be a problem. The six year old is the daughter of one of my regulars. I think she understood the sequence but had a little hand/eye coordination problem. I didn't have enough time with her to really get her going but her mom says she's persistent and is content to sit quietly working at this kind of thing.

Carol and I are planning a trip to Phoebe's tomorrow. That's a needlecraft shop in Montclair, a suburb of the suburbs. (No site that I could find.) I saw their exhibit at the LA County Fair last September. I'm not expecting it to be too much different from all the other shops Carol and I have visited but it will be new to both of us. Carol is on vacation from the school where she works and we try to fit in at least one yarn shop expedition any time she has a week or two off. I'm not looking for anything in particular but if they have some Kureyon in bright colors I could be tempted.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

What day is it anyway?

I feel like I've just had two Sundays in a row, and it hasn't even been Sunday yet. Christmas falling on a Thursday just seems weird. I'm still recovering and trying to get reoriented.

Friday at Skein was extremely busy and we weren't even having a sale. Ann Mary doesn't believe in sales or bargain baskets or whatever you call it when there's a basket or bin of one or two leftover skeins. We do get a lot of people asking. One of my cheap thrills is to be able to sell something from the odd lots bins even if it is full price. Anyway, today was a little slower. I had a couple of students and spent some time working on the second half of a pair of socks. Almost done.

I'm not planning to make any New Year's resolutions. Not any new ones. I'm still working on the ones from last year. The one that says I'm going to get organized and get all my WIPs done before I start anything else.

And the other perennial one. The one that says I'm going to start a regular exercise program and be more careful about my diet. Of course, I have to finish all the holiday goodies before I can start that. So far I've had three boxes of cookies and some cheese and crackers. And trying to finish the huge slices of birthday cake that we had for Carol's birthday. Only one piece of that to go. I don't think I'll finish the case of wine and the miscellaneous bottles that I got though.

I got a couple of Vogue Knitting on the Go books. Scarves Two and Bags and Backpacks. The scarves book is quite interesting, more than the first one. There are a number of things in there that would be fun to make. And I could see making some things from the Bag book. Mostly I just enjoy reading the patterns. I'll have to see if there's anything Lisa would like.

One of the last minute gifts I got for Lisa was the Acorn Hat pattern from Fiber Trends and the yarn to make it. I'll need to start that pretty soon as she has a thing going for acorns right now. I have no idea why.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

My sorta odd Christmas

I had a quiet Christmas, as in I slept most of it away. I did get down to Lisa's for the morning part just as we had planned. But dinner with Robert was postponed due to his flu. I slept several hours throughout the rest of the day. I'm not getting the flu but I think I'm getting something. Might be a throat or ear infection. Too soon to tell. It just randomly hurts, mostly when I swallow. So anyway I think the extra sleep will do me good.

It was also strange because it rained today. That should be in caps. I don't remember when it last rained on Christmas. It has stopped now but I hear there's a danger of flooding up in the mountains where there were so many forest fires this year. And mud slides!

And then, Lisa's friend John, who always joins us for Christmas morning, was not there today. He's in the hospital for a few days for some tests. So that made it seem like we were short handed.

In spite of the odd things about the day it was still a wonderful holiday. I got a stack of new knitting books that I wanted. So I have plenty of reading and dreaming to do between now and the beginning of the year. Lisa loved the fruit hats that I made for her, especially the strawberry and the grape. They took pictures so maybe I'll have some to post in the near future. Her mom really liked the multidirectional scarf and the hat, both in Kureyon, and the one sock I got done.

I just brought the gifts into the house. It was raining too hard earlier today. So I'm off to leaf through the books. I've been working on a diagonal stitch scarf while waiting for the rain to stop, or at least slow down. And listening to Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

'Tis the season

Flu season, that is. I just had a call that Robert has the flu and will be unable to celebrate Christmas tomorrow. There is an outside chance that he will recover quickly but I kind of doubt it. I'm supposed to get a call tomorrow afternoon to let me know. Robert is not the kind of person who would get a flu shot but we won't talk about that.

I'll still be going to Lisa's for Christmas morning. I'll be taking some quick breads that I made as well as the hastily wrapped gifts.

Skein was busy right up to the last minute. Lots of kids home for the holidays as well as people leaving for ski trips who wanted something to knit on long car rides. I didn't finish the last holiday project. I didn't like how it looked so I've started over and will present it sometime next month.

It's nice to feel completely relaxed and be working on a project that doesn't have a deadline. Not sure what I'll do for dinner tomorrow night but I'll have a good day no matter what.

Merry Christmas!
Guess who's going to Knitters' Retreat next November? I can't begin to tell you how excited I am. I don't know all the details yet but when I do I'll be writing about it. One thing I do know though is this is one very special Christmas gift.

I need to get some more facts before I can really explain how this came about but I do know that a couple of bloggers were involved in making it happen. I'm not naming names just yet but you know who you are. And the person who gave it to me, well, she's more special than I can begin to tell you.

I'm too jazzed to even think about anything else.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

I'm just not going to talk about it anymore. I'm done with feeling panic about being ready for Christmas. It is what it is. If people get their gifts in brown paper bags from Trader Joe's that is perfectly all right. I will not put myself through this again, ever. I'm starting my holiday knitting on Christmas day. Well, some of it is for this Christmas.

And, speaking of knitting, I worked on project number six yesterday while I "did my blogs". But that's all I had time for. I still think I can finish. I have a few hours before I have to be at the dentist and then I can also work on it at Skein and tonight at Mendy's. I'm supposed to be fringing the poncho but in a world of shifting priorities that's just not going to happen.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Done, more or less

All I have left to do is wrap everything. Not that I got everything done that I meant to, but enough. There's still a couple of things due in from Amazon but there's still a couple of days to go.

The earthquake this morning was a none too gentle reminder of how subject to change everything is. No damage around here so far as I know, beyond the shattered nerves. We're constantly being warned that "the big one" could come at any time. So even a small quake is enough to trigger a flight response. I didn't actually flee but I did move out from under the chandelier.

Guess I'd better get started on the wrapping. Plus I need to see if the laundry room is available. Since I'm already depressed I might as well pay bills too.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

The storm after the lull

Saturday and Sunday were both incredibly busy. There were lines at the register most of the day and I had two tables full of students. As far as I could tell everyone got pretty much what they came for and went away merry. We still have plenty of yarn but a lot of the flashy, glitzy stuff is pretty picked over. And there are a few holes in the needle board, mostly the 13s through 17s. We're out of black in almost everything.

I finished Christmas project number five and have cast on for number six. I should be done with this one tonight or tomorrow. There's still shopping and wrapping to be done and a little more baking. And I need a birthday present for my friend Carol, a Christmas baby, a long time ago. And a dentist appointment on Tuesday. I'm making myself very nervous.

Friday, December 19, 2003


It was a quiet and slow day at Skein yesterday. So weird after the frantic day on Wednesday. Well, it did allow me time to totally finish holiday gift number four and to knit a few rows on the socks that I may finish in time for another gift.

Looking forward to the days when I'm not under a deadline. I've been reading Nancie Wiseman's Knitted Shawls, Stoles, and Scarves which is a book I got for Christmas last year. My fantasy is to make everything in the book, even the ones that I'm not too crazy about. And maybe not the Autumn Leaves shawl. Way too much intarsia in that one. I've already made the Shoulder Warmer shawl using some stash mohair.

There are a few things in the book that I've never tried. Entrelac and mitered squares, for example. I've done short rowing and lace and slip stitches but I could use more practice. One of the scarves, the Chenille Diagonal Lace scarf, is already on my needles. Just a coincidence. The only difference is the number of stitches.

I'll try to use yarn from my stash as much as possible. It should be easy enough to modify the patterns to fit the yarn available. Anyway, I'm just thinking about it during this lull in the action. Who knows if it'll actually happen?

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Oy! my aching hands!

I don't think short circular needles are good for me. Much of my holiday knitting involves the use of some size 7, 16" circulars and my hands are hurting like never before. This may not be the fault of the needles but instead the fault of trying to make too many small, round things. But I am going to power through it and I will reach my goal, if I can stay awake long enough.

We had our Thursday night knit together on Wednesday this week due to a scheduling conflict on the part of the hostess. Not that she didn't try to get it changed but she was outvoted. Anyway, it was fun and relaxing as always. I didn't do the fringing I had planned to do because I think I need to steam the yarn first so the fringe doesn't look like a band of dried out spaghetti. Instead, I worked on one of the above mentioned round things. (Next week we'll have Thursday on Tuesday.)

When I got home, after checking what had happened during the day, I started number five project and tried to stay awake long enough to listen to all of Judas Maccabeus but was only able to get through about half of it. I do like my local classical station but I wish they'd start these long pieces a little earlier than midnight. Tonight it's going to be The Chanukah Story narrated by Leonard Nemoy (instead of Theodore Bickel) so that will be neat. And it's starting at eight.

I had more students than you could shake a needle at yesterday. Most everything was easy to demonstrate and everyone went away with progress. But, oh, it was crowded and noisy. I guess it was all the chocolate combined with all the last minute frenzy of holiday knitting. I think it makes Ann Mary nervous when people start having too much fun. Must be the high school principal syndrome she carries.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


Most of the time I drive myself right up a tree with fretting about stuff. It makes me crazy if I'm going to be late for an appointment or if I forget to do something I've promised to do. I think I inherited this from my mother who was an all time high level worrier over things that nothing can be done about. She's not here anymore so I think it's my duty to pick up where she left off.

I had an appointment with my dentist this morning. I've had this appointment for two weeks. All my plans for today are predicated on getting there early so there won't be any snags with other things I have planned for today.

Last night, on the way home from Skein, I realized that I would have to take my car to the mechanic today as something wacky was going on with the engine temperature gauge. So I spent most of last night trying to decide how to get the car dealt with so I'd still be able to keep my appointment with the dentist. So I finally decided that I'd just have to cancel my appointment with the dentist and take care of the car first.

I still haven't heard from the mechanic but I called the dentist and apologized for having to cancel with no notice. "You don't have an appointment. I don't see you." I hate it when I spend all that time worrying and have it come to nothing. Now I wonder when the mechanic will call and if I'll be able to get to Skein on time.

You may have noticed that there's no knitting content. Again. Well, there is some. I finished knitting the poncho last night about 12:30. I still have to weave in the ends and attach the fringe and figure out how to block it so it doesn't look so home made.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


Do you have an Anthropologie in your neighborhood? I didn't know they had opened a shop in Pasadena until one of our customers mentioned it last week. Actually she was going to try to duplicate one of the trees they have in their window.

I've been saving a trip there until Lisa could go with me. I went scouting yesterday but couldn't find it. I thought it should be with all the other new shops that have opened over by the Macy's (the one that used to be Bullock's) but it wasn't there. I did check out the Orvis shop and liked it a lot. Anyway, I checked Erica's blog for a link and found the store location page to get the address. So last night it was shopper's nirvana.

It's been a long time since I have been so excited about a store. This place is not to be believed. Not just because of the merchandise although that's pretty amazing. The seasonal decorations are just plain clever. It's enough to make me want a tree of my own. I didn't buy anything but I will. Even if it's just a lot of different soaps and candles.

So, it's not about knitting. While I waited for Lisa to arrive yesterday I knit a few more rounds on the poncho. I think I have about 8 more rounds and then casting off and fringing it. I was getting concerned that I wouldn't have enough yarn so I did some math to see how much I'd need just for the fringe. Barring some unintentional math error I should have about half a skein left.

Monday, December 15, 2003

The way I figure it I have two more days in which to get Christmas under control. So I'm off to see what kind of inspiration I can find for those hard to buy for people on my list. Actually, there are only two of those so it should be easy to come up with something. What do you get for someone who has everything? I mean, that you can afford.

Still in the throes of knitting socks, poncho and other things that need to be done before Christmas. I worked on one of the projects at Skein yesterday even though I was surrounded by students. And I'll get some more done this afternoon after I get back from prowling the mall.

Lisa is coming over tonight. She was supposed to come last night but spaced out and didn't make it. You never get over being a parent.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

I finished another holiday present last night and have cast on for the next one. I also brought home the yarn for what I hope is the last one. Now I just have to keep plugging away. I'm not doing anything difficult but it still takes time.

I'm going to lunch with some friends today and Lisa is coming over this evening so I won't be getting much knitting done. I should be able to work on Lisa's poncho while she's here since she already knows about that.

I came home last night with a couple of boxes of candy and some cookies. Thank you gifts from customers. I feel really special. And I'll enjoy all the goodies. Especially the truffles that Ann Mary's sister made. I'm not even thinking about calories until after the first of the year at which point it may be too late.

All the people who didn't show up on Thursday and Friday decided to come into Skein yesterday. We were close to swamped all day! I had a new knitter first thing in the morning and a few quick questions throughout the day but mostly it was getting yarn into people's hands and getting them in line at the register. Some of the glitzy yarns are sold out or almost. Time to get really creative.

Friday, December 12, 2003

A scarf a day

Scarves continue to save the day. There was very little traffic today and what there was, well, scarves are still the thing. I only had one student today and she was there for five hours. At least I had someone to talk to. Ann Mary took the afternoon off, or most of it, and went for a perm. Her husband filled in for her on the register. All in all it was a long day.

Getting started on the holiday baking tonight. Some applesauce and more spiced pumpkin bread. I think that's about it for now.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

One sock is done and the second has ribbing. That's about it for today's production. Except that I worked on the poncho tonight at Mendy's and am almost 80% done. It's even colder now than it was last week. I'm pretty sure that I'll be done by this time next week, except maybe for the fringe.

I'm really anxious to start some new projects. But I still have the Mt. Hood socks to complete and the Hearts scarf. They're both so barely started that they will be like new projects when I pick them up. Somehow that's not the same.

Knit together was fun and relaxing as always. We all seem to be working on the same projects we were on last week. It was just so good to be with people who share so much, not just knitting. I took some of Mendy's stash that I've been storing so she could show it off. And we decided what needs to go back to the store.

I spent most of my time at Skein working with the bipolar student. We're on to a new scarf that is actually more challenging than anything she's done before. So far it's going quite well. I think she's making good progress overall. She still has moments when she forgets what she's doing but we have a good enough rapport that she is comfortable letting me know. And she's beginning to recognize mistakes and is learning how to fix them. Being able to really focus on her knitting seems to help her calm down when she's stressed about something else that's going on in her life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Even more decorative than I thought. The Christmas cactus is loaded with blossoms. I've never had one of these before and I must say I'm pretty impressed.

I took the shawl in today and showed it off. Ann Mary is very pleased so that's a good thing. We don't have a holiday window display as yet but when we do the shawl will probably go in it.

It was pretty quiet today considering how busy we've been recently. I managed a few rows on the socks but that was about it. I did have one student who required my attention most of the afternoon. She had made two right fronts for the baby sweater and they were both equally short compared to the back. So we got that fixed and then I showed her how to do a three needle bind off. That took a couple of tries since she dropped stitches and didn't notice it until she was finished, twice.

Renee came in with her niece and my faux grandson Nicholas. The kid's a riot. So we had a chance to play a little but he doesn't know me very well so he's a little apprehensive. He'll be ten months old on Christmas day.

I really need to do some shopping. So I'll probably be on-line a lot tonight.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Seems like there's some problem over at Blogger. Trying to log on for a couple of hours. Oh, well.

Finally, I'm finished with the shop shawl sample. The top photo shows a detail of the yarns, well sort of. It's Prism Popcorn and something fuzzy, also from Prism. The lower photo shows how the poppies are distributed across the shawl. The black background is Bouton d'Or's Organdi. Not what the pattern called for but we didn't have the Trendsetter Dulcino in stock.

I'm glad it's done even if I don't care for it very much. I've been trying to only work on it while I'm at Skein but decided to just finish it at home tonight. Now I can concentrate on holiday stuff.

It was insane again this afternoon for about an hour. One person commented that it was like the day before Thanksgiving at the supermarket. I'm not sure if Ann Mary ever got to have lunch. When I left tonight about twenty minutes after the store closed there was still one customer trying to make up her mind.

I just finished writing a pattern for Lina using the Sweater Wizard program. We're doing a bell sleeve. I guess SW doesn't know how to do decreases on the lower part of a sleeve. It did show the stitch count but didn't have any text explaining when to do the decreases. I like Sweater Wizard but you still have to do a lot of the work yourself, sometimes.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Dim Sum

What a delightful way to break up the day! I just got home from dim sum with Lina and Irene, two of my students. They assure me the place we went is the best dim sum restaurant in Los Angeles County. Judging from the crowd I'd say they're probably right. I can't describe all we had because I don't know what everything was but it was all delicious and I have enough left overs for the next couple of days. I never knew it was possible to do so many things with rice, or taro or daikon.

So now it's back to the mundane. Laundry and working on the poncho. I have managed a few more rows as well as some progress on the socks. I'm also swatching some Georges Picaud yarn that I got last year when Carol and I went yarn shop stalking.

Georges Picaud has been out of business for at least ten years, maybe more. I can't find anything specific about the company but there are some sites, mostly in French, that mention their yarns. I'm working with one called Scarlett. It's 75% viscose and 25% cotton, variegated red, pink, salmon and plum. I tried it on a US6 and am now trying a US4. It's pretty but I don't want to spend that much time making a shell. I think it will be a good carry along for some other stuff from my stash.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

It's been a dark and gloomy day. And it's been drizzling rain most of the afternoon. But that didn't keep people away from Skein. I had five people for various levels of help this afternoon including one brand new knitter. And there was a pretty steady stream of customers, mostly scarves. Between helps I worked on the crocheted fringe for the shop sample shawl. That's been about it for my knitting lately.

I have spent a couple of hours on a pair of socks and the holiday gifts. I have a shawl to rip for one of the students. She got too frustrated to deal with the Furz as she tried to rip it. So she's donated it to whomever wants it. I tried several times to show her how to handle the yarn so it wouldn't get gnarled but I guess she just wasn't patient enough and kept getting it knotted. So I'll undo the thing and have enough for a lap robe.

There's a homeless person trying to take up residence in the laundry room of my building. Most of the people who live here are not owners and don't really pay much attention to the rules and regulations, one of which is to lock the laundry room when it's not in use. So this person comes every night and if the room is locked goes to sleep in front of one of the cars in the carport area. We don't have a security gate so there's no way to keep people out. I'm not sure what to do about this, if anything.

Friday, December 05, 2003

I'm almost excited. The shop sample shawl only needs eight more garter stitch rows and it will be off the needle. Then I get to do the finishing, tedious but easier than working with all those mixed breed fibers that wind around each other and refuse to budge unless they're carefully and gently unwound one strand at a time while trying to keep the stitches from sliding off the unmonitored ends of the needle. Today for sure.

Knit together last night was fun per usual. Mendy had a couple of house guests so our head count was temporaily elevated. I put some stitches back on the needle for Mendy's cousin, 56 stitches on size US2 in a dark multi-color yarn. I'm still not sure how the stitches got off the needle but it was pretty easy to pick them up. We had lots of things chocolate and were all sent home with bags of fresh cherries. Plus I got some bagel dogs. Not sure what those are but I've been assured they are addictive. Just what I need.

What does it mean when a pattern says "increase purlways"? I haven't found an explanation in any of the standard knitting books. The increase was done in the ribbing so I just purled and then knit into the front of the stitch. I have no idea if this is correct but it looked okay. I don't much care for Sirdar patterns and this just reconfirms my distaste.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Christmas Tree

I think this will be my Christmas tree this year.

My sister, who is always ahead of the game when it comes to sending gifts, sent me this Christmas cactus. It's loaded with blossoms and buds. I don't know why I'm so lousy at picture taking. Four new batteries and sixteen frames and this is the best one.

There's no knitting content here. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Well, that was the plan

I had to be two places at one time today and it was really difficult. I had students coming at eleven and a dentist appointment at ten. I thought I could make it work but the dentist won. So I called Skein and left a message. The student arrived on time, bought some yarn and came back later. So it all worked out. But I hate it when I mix up my schedule like that. I should carry a day planner but then I'd have to remember to use it.

It was a strange, slow day today. Hardly any customers but I did have a few drop in students this afternoon. Mostly chit chat. I'm very close to finishing the shop sample shawl and will be able to get a pic maybe by the weekend. It's too scrunched up on the needle right now to make any sense of it. After it's off the needle I'll still have to do a crochet fringe on two sides. And weave in all those loose ends. Generally I don't mind intarsia but when the yarn is several different sizes and one of them has lumps like popcorn it's tedious.

After receiving several good suggestions about giving IOUs for Christmas I'm thinking that's a great way to go. I wonder what the cut off date would be before a gift was in default. Just kidding. Surely I'll be done by the end of Janurary. Or February at the latest.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


Yesterday, in an effort to jump-start my holiday spirit, I took Lisa to lunch and then set out to do some browsing at various boutiques. They were all closed. Why do shops close on Monday? Lots of restaurants used to do this but now they all seem to be open everyday.

So we went to the local antiques mall to look around. I used to love going there and all the other shops in the area. Don't know what has happened over the years that I haven't been going there but the whole area just seemed drab and dreary. Must be me though. They still had piles of the same old old-stuff that I used to lust after. Maybe I'm just over stuffed!

But on the upside. I got to see some of the socks I've knitted being worn. They looked good and didn't fall down. Lisa bought some special sandal shoes to show them off. So now I'm feeling excited about making some more.

I did manage a couple of rounds on the poncho and a little work on the holiday gifts. Today should be better since I don't have all those pesky chores to do. I'm expecting a couple of students at Skein today. This should put my cash flow back into a more positive direction.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Rabbit! Rabbit!

It's beginning to look...

like I'll make my holiday gift knitting quota. But that's a flexible number. I won't be spending much time on them today. Lisa is coming over for lunch and then we're going browsing in some of the clever little boutiques that have opened since last year. But first I have to do a little more house keeping.

I received a lot of interesting suggestions for things to do with pumpkin. Thanks for all the help. Pumpkin ravioli is definitely on the list. Thanks, John. I didn't get to try any of the spiced pumpkin bread that I made but I hear it's good so I'll have to try that one again.

I've been having this curious winding-down feeling lately. I don't feel much like trying anything new in my knitting. I seem to be satisfied with making socks and hats. Even those are pretty simple. At the same time I'm fantasizing about things to start using yarn from my stash. I'm not enjoying my current shawl project for Skein and will avoid working on it as much as I can. I'm going to try to finish it this week and then not take on any more shop projects for a while.

The poncho is progressing, but very slowly. It takes an hour to knit two and a half rounds. I'm almost 70% done. The nights have been very cold so I'm sure it will get lots of use. Even though it's not a Christmas present I hope to have it done by then.

How would you feel if you got and IOU for Christmas?

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Too much of a good thing

I've had enough pumpkin for a while. I still have some cream of pumpkin soup, which is delicious, and that will just about finish the Thanksgiving leftovers. Except for a cheesecake that hasn't been touched. How many ways are there to use pumpkin? I've had soup, pie and bread. Am I missing anything?

The past couple of mornings at Skein have been very quiet but the afternoons have been insane. I guess not everyone was at Wal-Mart. And it's all about scarves, still. A few hats for good measure. Sometimes I feel like a recording when I'm giving the construction details of a garter stitch scarf.

I have been doing some teaching as well. It's good to see so many students who started knitting less than a year ago begin to move on to sweaters and socks and even making alterations to patterns.

So, I've finished the second holiday project and am started on the third. I'm going to go work on that now.

Friday, November 28, 2003

One down, two to go!

The holidays are upon us and it's time to really get going. I didn't get much knitting done yesterday. I made some pumpkin bread in the morning and played way too much Free Cell and took a short nap.

Dinner with Robert went about as I expected. I think it was just a little after nine when we sat down. But the wait was definitely worth it. And I'll be able to repeat the feast tonight when I get home from Skein.

I'd really like to stay home today and play with my stash. Yesterday I was looking for something to use in one of my holiday projects and stumbled across several in progress projects that I had forgotten about. And lots of odd lots of yarn. I want to rip out those projects and find some project to use up those stray skeins. But I won't stay home. We had lots of calls on Wednesday to see if we'd be open on Friday. Sounds like it will be a busy day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

TGI Thanksgiving!

Is that redundant? Anyway, I'm looking forward to this holiday more than usual. I don't know why. This year it just seems extra special. I'll be having dinner with my friend Robert. It'll be late I'm sure by the time he's ready to serve. Usually it's 9 or later.

That leaves me most of the day to be at home and enjoy the benefits and blessings of my life. I'll probably spend a lot of time knitting. Since we won't be having our regular Thrusday night knit together I plan to spend at least two hours on the poncho and some more on the holiday gifts.

It was a lot busier at Skein than Ann Mary expected. I went in early again. I began by picking up stitches for an out-of-town knitter on a botched cast off. One of those extra fuzzy Multi-Fizz yarns from S.R. Kertzer.

Where did the idea originate that it's okay to leave a mistake when you're working with fuzzy yarn? A dropped stitch is going to run eventually even if you can't see it right now. And accidental increases will make your scarf wider, and even wider if you keep doing it. This one started at 24 stiches and ended up at 41. So she's going to have a trapezoidal scarf because there was no way she was going to start over.

And the day just got busier from there. I think there were more people in the last hour though than there was the rest of the day. And they were buying! I guess some of them thought we'd be closed for the weekend. Are your kidding? Most of them were just getting stocked up for a four day knitting binge, scarves mostly. I was teaching a new knitter how to do the elongated (drop) stitch even after we closed. So, Ann Mary has plenty to be thankful for, and so do I.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Let me see...

Has anything blogworthy happened yet today? Not that I can remember. I got to Skein earlier than usual because it's been very busy the past couple of Tuesdays when I got there at 11. Well, today was an exception. Oh, well. But I did get a couple of rows on the shop sample shawl done before the first student showed up.

I think that's about it. Steady stream of customers once it started and I had several people stop in for hand holding. It's amazing to me that people expect you to remember their project from six months ago, or even longer. Even more amazing is that sometimes I do. I do have a problem with names though.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Off the diet

Yarn, that is. I've been pretty good lately and haven't spent a lot of money on yarn. Most of the time when I get something it's with a store credit for having made a shop sample. So I don't count those. Kind of like iceberg lettuce.

Today it was like having a banana split with real whipped cream. Mendy and I went to Velona's in Anaheim Hills. I've been there lots of times and each time I'm amazed at the sheer quantity of yarn they have amassed in one building. And on top of that, there's the tremendous variety. The needlepoint and crochet sections alone are staggering. And the prices are usually the lowest around. Their range is from Lion Brand and Patons up through Anny Blatt and Colinette. No Koigu, though.

I've been looking for same cotton blend ribbon yarn to make the Wave and Shell Shawl that a lot of people are making these days. I'm sure if I looked carefully I'd find something in my stash that would be okay. But I didn't want "okay".

So I came home with 16 skeins of Katia "Spray". There was another yarn that I also wanted but the tab was just too high because I also got 10 skeins of Takhi "Chat". And some sock yarn and a couple of pattern books. For the first time ever, I spent more than Mendy. Not by much, but still, it's a first for me. She did get a lot more variety than I did. Scarves and hats will be happening. I just have to show her how to get started with dpns and she'll be making socks soon. Actually, one of the scarves she's making is worked in the round on dpns. Too skinny for circulars.

I finished one Christmas gift and am started on another. And, thanks to Bess I'm off in another direction on the undecided scarf that I'm making with that leftover El Paso yarn from Interlacements. I can't find the colorway on their site but they have some nice stuff anyway.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Options or whatever

This guy whose name is either Francisco or Fernando came into Skein last week to get some yarn to make a shawl or a scarf for his sister's birthday, or maybe it was for her Christmas present. He wanted either very fine lace weight or maybe worsted. But he did know which pattern he was going to use.

The pattern is basically Y/O, K2tog and then purl back on the second row. I made a test swatch while I was at Skein using some scrap yarn. It looked pretty good. So when I got home I cast on for a scarf using the pattern and some leftover yarn. Well, at first I liked it and then I didn't. I still haven't decided. I'm probably going to rip it out and use the yarn for something else. Or I may rip it out and start over on a smaller size needle with fewer stitches. I want to use up the leftover yarn or else I'll just add it to the box of other scraps.

According to my computer today is Sunday. When I woke up I thought it was some other day. Like maybe Friday or Monday. It's like this a lot of the time. With the exception of Monday I'm at Skein either at 11 or at 1. Oh, and on Saturday I'm there at 10. So either way the odds of my being on time are pretty good.

I meant to work on holiday gifts last night but kept procrastinating until I gave up and went to bed. I wonder if I'll get everything done. Either I will have one thing or seven, or somewhere in between. I can hardly wait to find out.

Friday, November 21, 2003

An ordinary day

There's nothing quite so peaceful as an ordinary day. No surprises or upsets. Yesterday was one of those days. Skein was moderately busy and I had a few drop ins that just needed a little hand holding.

Knit together was relaxing as always. One of the missing returned after having been out due to hip replacement surgery. I did get to see my faux grandson for a few minutes. He's really getting tall!

Home late as usual on Thursday. Spent an hour or so with email and then some Free Cell. All in all, a satisfactory day.

I should be knitting on holiday stuff. The predicted cold spell has arrived. I think I'll take a nap instead.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


I hate it when the phone rings late at night or early in the morning. Nothing can send me into such a panic like this does. Remember, I grew up in an era when the telephone was not ubiquitous and was pretty much reserved for emergency communications. Well, at our house anyway. So when the phone rang this morning before 8AM I immediately assumed something terrible had happened.

Actually it was something wonderful and amazing. My sister who lives in Arizona, forgetting that California is an hour behind them in the winter months, called to tell me she finally has a computer, email, the whole nine yards. She has been trying for years to talk her husband into getting a computer. So finally, realizing that she was going to buy one whether he wanted to or not, he agreed. But he balked at the price. They got one from a friend who was upgrading. So now she doesn't have to call me at some ungodly hour and scare the bejesus out of me.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday teaching a couple of returnee knitters. It was good for me. They're both semi-continental knitters. "Semi" because they each had their own bastardized version of how to do it. And good for me since I don't knit continental. Well, I can, but I don't. Except for Fair Isle. Anyway, the mother was very easy to work with and was soon sailing away on her five year afghan project. The daughter, who never learned to cast on because her mother always did it for her, was a different matter. She was like double-wrapping her needle when she purled. It was a mess. I think she's okay now but she's pretty one-way so may have slipped back into her old habits overnight. So she'll have something that looks like condo knitting.

And b/p knitter has a slowly growing scarf on the needles. I tried to show her how to loosen up her stitches so that she wouldn't have to work so hard. I know that something is going on and that she's understanding what she's doing because she was concerned that switching at this point would cause her knitting to look different. So I'm encouraged that she's getting it. I've taught her to purl but she doesn't remember it but maybe when we start the next project it will come back to her. I sorta dread ribbing.

Tonight is knit together night. I haven't seen any of the group since last week so that will be fun. More progress on the poncho is my planned knitting. I got a third circular needle so I can handle all those stitches. I've been using two needles, a la socks on two circulars, but it's still too cumbersome. I will use the third needle kinda like using dpns. I really need to finish the poncho. It's cold here, or it's supposed to be getting cold. A drop of 25 degress has been predicted for the end of the week.

If you're at all interested in pomegranates click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I could go on and on but...

It's hard to maintain the myth of a knitting blog when there's so little knitting to blog about. I have been doing a little knitting but it's mostly stuff I can't talk about right now or an inch or two more on existing, previously mentioned, stuff. So there you have it. Knitting goes on, much like life, creeping its petty pace from day to day.

Last night I went to another concert in the Southwest Chamber Orchestra series. Had an excellent time. They played four Cesar Chavez pieces, a Paul Hindemith and a Bela Bartok. I'd heard the Bartok before but the others were all new to me. Listening to this music live is so much easier than hearing it on the radio. I can almost begin to really like it, especially the Bartok.

We also took a little stroll over to the new Disney Concert Hall. It's very over the top and showy. Kinda like what I'd expect. Extensive use of expensive materials. And wine in the cafeteria for $14.00 a split. Too obviously elistist I'd say. They had a big plastic Christmas tree. Kinda fits.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


Last night I went to dinner with one of my students and her husband. A nice, pseudo-English pub place that's in a revitalized section of Arcadia, the town just to the east of Pasadena. Bodington's Cream Ale is very nice.

The street was very quiet since we didn't meet until almost 8:30. And it was cold. It felt like a scene from some sentimental Christmas movie. The shops were closed but the window displays were enticing.

I haven't done any serious browsing or shopping in a couple of years. Yarn shops excluded. Now I'm really ready for a couple of days of oh-ing and ah-ing in those clever little boutiques. I don't like malls particularly and only go to them when I'm in a hurry and know exactly what I want and where to find it. But boutiques are a whole other thing!

I'm also wanting to go antique-ing. This is a senseless activity since I'm definitely not in need of any more chairs or tables or footstools. But we drove by one of my former haunts a few nights ago and I haven't been able to get rid of the dream. I just have to go and see what's out there.

A lot of the places I want to go are closed on Monday which is sort of a mixed blessing. I need someone to come along with me and most people don't have Mondays off. Maybe I can convince Lisa that she needs to take a day off and join me.

This is not a good time for me to be shopping. It's property tax time and car insurance in addition to my mounting dental care assessments. And I really want some yarn from
The Spirit Trail and Mystical Creation Yarns. And if things work out I'm going to Velona's next Monday with Mendy.

But right now I'd better go get ready for Skein. I hope I have lots of students this week. It seems like I'm going to be needing some extra cash.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Hats off!

Just back from another bout of dental artistry. I hope this temporary crown doesn't give me the same problems I've had before. In two weeks I'll have a shining new porcelain one and then the real fun begins. Why didn't this stuff happen while my COBRA was still in effect?

My bi-polar student has sold a scarf. Albeit, it was her sister who bought it. But it looked cute on and they're both very happy. She started a hat in the round on Saturday and we ripped it out yesterday. She keeps switching directions when she picks it up. I need to convince her to only work on it when she's with me or else to learn to love its unique lopsidedness. She told me yesterday that she also has ADD. The list of things she's dealing with keeps growing.

I thought when I got her started on circular needles she would quit leaning sideways as she knits. Sometimes I think she's going to fall out of her chair. But the circulars didn't seem to make any difference. Good thing she's kinda broad beamed.

I spent two hours on the poncho last night. That's only four rounds. I have about another ten inches to go and then the fringe. And I finished the top for Lisa that was giving me fits with the armholes.

I also cleared out some of my hat inventory. I had forgotten most of them. My friend Dorris took them for her church's outreach program, along with three scarves that were just taking up space. Now to get started on some more. I like making hats but Lisa doesn't wear them so they usually just accumulate. I have a bunch of crocheted hats that I need to wash before I can donate them. Maybe I'll get to that sometime this week.

A few Christmases ago Lisa made a contribution in my name to the Heifer Foundation. Someone somewhere got a chance to improve his/her life. If you'd like to make a difference you can go here, here or here to do it. These are just the ones I know about. There are probably others. Thanks, Teresa, Wendy and Deb for getting this whole thing off the ground.

Sunday, November 16, 2003


If you read Melissa's blog you'll know what I'm talking about. I've been following her progress through The Artist's Way and am enjoying discovering, vicariously, some of the hurdles and stumbling blocks that she finds as she goes through the process.

I found her entry today to be particularly interesting. I have been unofficially participating in NaNoWriMo and what Melissa has to say today is so true for me as well. I was surprised at how my "novel" develped, almost on its own. I've passed the requisite 50,000 words and have written the final chapter. I'm not going to do anything with my book, will probably not even save it. What surprised me was how each character came to life and how real they seemed to me.

I didn't have any plot line or even a clue as to where the story, as it developed, was going to go. About half way through I began to see how different events were related and how everything was going to come together. I'm pretty amazed that the whole thing just evolved.

When I was an undergraduate one of the literature classes I took was Popular Literature. We had to read several books that were from that year's list of blockbusters. One of the books was The Violated by Vance Bourjaily. I remember not wanting that book to end. When he finished writing the novel Boujaily said he wanted to give his characters more than he had but he couldn't give them anything but life.

Not that my book is anything or anywhere like his but I have that same feeling. I don't want it to be over. I'm still imagining what the people in my novel might be doing today. Oh, and there isn't one mention of knitting in the whole thing.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

When it rains

you get snow. We had an enormouselectrical storm last night. Actually it had rained most of the afternoon, just as predicted. But the electrical storm was the high light. I'm sure one bolt passed right through my car as I drove home. And, although we didn't have any here in Pasadena, there was snow and hail on the other side of LA. Some of the hail was deep enough to stop traffic and was over the headlights of some cars.

And continuing the analogy, we were swamped today at Skein. Even during the downpour yesterday, people kept coming in, not just to get out of the rain. I had three people as soon as I sat down. Spent the next four hours just showing people how to do stuff but mostly how to pick up dropped stitches. I do wish beginning knitters would choose more user friendly yarns than they typically do. And that they wouldn't wait until they've totally botched it before coming in for help. Sixty stitches of wiggling railroad yarn is not a pretty sight when you're trying to pick up a dropped stitch six rows below. Let them knit Encore!

But I relaxed tonight with friends at the Thursday night knit together. Feeling restored after a nice shoulder rub and some pie and ice cream. And I made more progress on the poncho. I'm up to about sixty percent. As soon as my schedule and some daylight coincide I'll try to get a picture.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Time off

It's a very wintery day here. Well, by Southern California standards. The sky is a flat grey with a few bright spots along the horizon of mountains to the north of my house. Not very inspiring but it is supposed to bring some rain. We've been waiting for this rain for several days now. So far nothing though.

Yesterday was Veterans' Day. I usually forget that I'm a veteran. I wonder if I would remember it more if I had actually been in a war zone. I spent my years as a commissary store officer. Lived for two years in Korea. That's where my daughter was born. And I had a few months at the commissary in Long Beach. Sometimes when people ask me if I was in the Korean War I get a little irritated. That would make me about ten or twelve years older than I actually am. But I think I'd feel more like a veteran than I do if I could answer yes. Most of the guys I went to Officer Candidate School with were sent to Vietnam. I'm lucky I guess that I didn't get orders there. My older brother flew in and out of Vietnam a lot during that war. He was an air force pilot as well as flew for one of the airlines that transported people there. His stories of some of the action are pretty scary. Neither of my younger brothers spent any time in the military. So I read a lot of tributes to veterans on the blogs yesterday. It made me feel good, even if I did serve on the sidelines.

I took the day off from blogging yesterday. I haven't had much to report lately and I've been busy with other things. I worked on some socks while I was at Skein. I'm just starting the heel flap of the first one. (Try to contain yourself.) There was a vendor from Plymouth Yarns there. They're coming out with some new yarns for spring that are a big leap ahead for them. Nice novelty stuff mostly. Their biggest seller, at least for us, is Eros, one of the many railroad yarns out there. They have four new colors. They also have a new version. It's a railroad but has a zigzag of thin, very thin, gold thread twisted around the railroads. I think this will make the stuff a little easier to knit. And it adds a new look, more glittery, to the yarn. Look for it at your lys within the next month or so.

I'm meeting my friend Mendy for lunch at Shakey's today. We have lots of stuff to talk about and she's going to spend the afternoon at Skein. I see her at least once a week for the Thursday knit together but we always have more to talk about than we can fit in during that time. I've only known Mendy since last February but it's more like we've been friends forever.

So anyway, I may or may not be a little erratic in my posting for the next little while. You don't get peaks if you don't have some valleys.

Monday, November 10, 2003

the beat goes on

Today, between loads of laundry, I tried for the third time to get the armholes on a top I made for my daughter to look at least half way decent. The pattern says to do a single row of crochet. Looks terrible. Clunky and shabby. Then I tried picking up around the armhole and binding off immediately. It looked okay but it wanted to curl to the outside. Now I've just ripped an inch of 1/1 ribbing. Too many stitches but I think once I figure that ratio I will be okay. I kept saying to myself, "What would Becky do? I'm sure she wouldn't let something like this slow her down.

I wore my new Blogger sweat shirt Saturday night. No one asked what the logo was. I'm glad I ordered the extra large. It's the smallest extra large I've ever seen. I was planning on it shrinking when I was it. I hope it doesn't.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Catching up

Or trying to. I'm in that two steps forward, one step back place that sometimes happens to me. Seems like every project I have tried to work on recently has had something that needed to be redone.

Beginning with the sweater that I'm still thinking about starting over. The sleeve was not only too tight and too short but I think the whole sweater is too small. Trying to decide if I care enough to rip the whole thing and start over.

Then I started a new pair of socks. The first one had to be started over. I thought it looked too big. The yarn calls for size 3 needles and I got the gauge but the pattern I'm using seems to have too many stitches for the size I want to make. So I've started that over and am back past the point where I decided to rip it out. And it does look better.

Then I started a simple hat. I finished most of it this morning and have run out of yarn. I'm using Encore held together with a strand of Stars, a furry, glitzy yarn. Ann Mary said she make a hat with one skein of the Stars. No way would I be able to do that. So I have to decide how to reknit it so the Stars will be enough. There isn't anymore of the color I'm using. I'm thinking I'll just stripe it. At any rate I'll have to rip a large part of it.

It was a hectic day at Skein yesterday. I had students almost the whole day plus the floor was busy from the time the store opened. Today was a little calmer but still busy. I didn't have time to touch the shop sample shawl either day. But at least I didn't have to take it apart.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Comment on comments

First of all I want to thank everyone who left me a comment on my "She done your wrong" post. It's good to hear that so many agree that doing it yourself is the best way to learn.

I've mentioned my bi-polar student several times before. She's been coming in to see me almost everyday. She completed her second scarf project today. It would have been so much easier on me if I had done her bind off and a lot faster. But following my own advice I showed her how and sat with her as she did each arduous step. There were not a lot of ends to weave in but we did it the same way, slowly, with me pointing out where she should insert the crochet hook and reminding her to turn the hook sideways to pull the yarn through.

I'm pretty sure we'll have to go through the same process the next time but she will eventually get it. It took about two weeks for her to become fully confident in doing the knit stitch. We did purling today. She had a much easier time learning the purl stitch. I'll probably have to get her started again tomorrow but I think she's really making progress.

She cast on for another longways scarf today. Sixty five stitches is a lot for her to get entirely right but she did it. Well there were a couple of wobbly stitches but they worked well enough. What I'm really seeing is that she is beginning to identify where the errors are. Like most of us, she'd prefer to ignore the errors and just keep going but she stops and asks for help.

Ann Mary thinks I'm spending too much time with her. She'd be much happier if I just let her buy any novelty yarn that she liked and let her struggle with it. My own self-interest won't let me do that. I'm the one who has to work with her. Plus I don't think that's a very good way for her to learn.

Anyway, I'm happy with her progress and so is she. This may be an extreme example of hands on learning but I think it applies.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

She done you wrong!

There used to be another knit shop in Arcadia or maybe it was Monrovia, but anyway it used to be just east of where Skein is presently located. I never went there. Didn't even know it was there.

From what I've been told, the owner, Catherine, was in her nineties before she decided to close up shop. I've talked to a few people who knew her and used to shop there frequently. One of the things they liked so much about her was that she would do their cast ons for them. And if they made a mistake she would rip or fix as needed.

I have a couple of students right now that used to get their yarn from Catherine. One of these students is quite proud of the fact that she never learned how to cast on or fix her errors.

I taught her to cast on a few weeks ago. She still fumes about it but does it fairly well now. Yesterday she came in with her current project. She had managed to add about four stitches that she shouldn't have. Hadn't a clue as to how it happened or what to do about it. She wanted me to fix it for her. Catherine always did.

So I explained how to rip or tink. "But I'm afraid I'll mess it up and I don't know how to get the stitches back on the needle in the right direction," she pleaded. So I said I'd show her how. I fixed a few stitches that were badly mutilated and eliminated a couple of the extra stitches. The other two were about two inches further down. So I handed the work back to her and told her she should do the rest herself. She decided to just knit a couple of stitches together at each end and keep going.

A little while later she was ready to bind off for the armholes, except she had worked about two inches beyond the bind off point. She asked me to rip it for her and I told her no. "But Catherine always did."

"Well, she didn't do you any favors, did she?" I replied. I went over the steps again and she got started. I think she's going to be much better now.

Oddly enough another of Catherine's mignons was in yesterday. She needed to know how to do a two color cast on. So I showed her, following the instructions in her pattern. I ended up doing the whole 140 stitches while she carried on about how hard it was.

She's been saying she wanted to learn fair isle, which she needs for this project. Spent some time showing her a couple of alternatives, carrying and weaving. So I got her started on the next row which required changing color every stitch passing the right hand yarn over to create the beginning of a herringbone border. I did maybe twenty stitches and handed her the needle.

She worked most of the rest of the round before she realized that something was wrong. Seems she had reversed the direction of her knitting. I told her she'd have to take it out one stitch at a time. "Could you do it for me? I have to go pick up my son. I could pick it up tomorrow."

I told her no. She could do it and she'd learn a lot from it. I was really cranky yesterday. And I'm not much better today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Rats! Double rats!

I am really upset. I've been very good about sticking to just one project at a time. (Even though I've been urged and given permission by a number of people to start something else.) So I finished the first sleeve on my simple cotton sweater. I've been following a pattern I created using Sweater Wizard.

The sleeve is barely long enough and it's no where near wide enough. Rats! I decided to change the armhole depth after I started the sweater. I put the change into Sweater Wizard and it recalculated the number of stitches I needed to pick up. What I didn't notice was that the program did not recalculate the rate of decrease. So I have too many decreases. Rats!

I've had a few other problems with Sweater Wizard. I guess I'll just have to check the patterns more carefully. I use this program to rewrite patterns for customers. I haven't had anyone come back and complain.

So I'm going to rip the entire sleeve and start over. But I'm going to start a new pair of socks before I do that. I need a break.

Monday, November 03, 2003


I really didn't mean to do it. And of course I apologized profusely. And I feel just terrible. I accidentally knocked over a cup of coffee onto a customer's little baby sweater project. I'm hoping that Ann Mary's intervention, washing it right away, will prevent any stains. If there are any Ann Mary will replace the yarn. I may reknit the portion that had already been done, if that's what the knitter wants.

Fortunately the customer is someone I've known for a long time. She was a customer at Mariposa when they were still in Pasadena so that's probably ten years. I know she knows it was an accident. But she said, I'm sure in jest, that I owe her the knitting of two sweaters. And that she has two grandsons that are lawyers.

Oh, well. As the dentist said this morning, sometimes there are complications and unintended things happen. Oops! The extraction was painless but in the process the porcelain crown on the adjacent tooth was damaged and part of it came off. Haven't been able to really examine the damage as I'm still sporting a huge wad of gauze where I used to have a tooth. I'll be getting a new crown, probably as part of a partial that will replace all those missing teeth. I don't have to go back for a couple of weeks. I'll really be happy when this is over.

In much happier news. Lisa came over last night. Hadn't seen her in a while. Can't tell you how good it feels to have her visit. We shared a bottle of wine and went to my local Mexican restaurant. What a good time I had! I showed her the poncho progress. She's really excited about it which makes me feel good. Now I feel more like pushing to get it done.

The weather is perfect for a heavy wool poncho. And it's raining on top of that. I'm cooking some pasta for lunch. It's supposed to be al dente but that seems a little ludicrous given the condition of my denti.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Rabbit! Rabbit!


Seems like I just can't very excited about my knitting right now. Maybe it's because I'm trying really, really hard to stick to one project at a time and I'm beginning to feel like I'm being punished. Or maybe it's because working six days a week is beginning to pall. Whatever it is, it's tedious.

We had rain yesterday. The sky this morning is almost totally clear. The sun is bright and the air is crisp.

I didn't even see any trick or treaters last night. There was a Halloween event at the Four Square church at the end of my street. Looked a little pathetic when I drove by on my way home. I hope things picked up later. I don't know anyone at that church but I like the way they try to offer alternatives to people in the neighborhood. They have a weekend club called No Future for the teenagers that appears to be well attended.

Well, I'd better go work on those sleeves. I'd rather start something new but I won't. Rules, you know.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Happy Halloween!

Well, I didn't have to spend a lot of time thinking up a title. And happy is the operative word. We got some rain today. I'm not sure if it was enough to have much impact on the wild fires but at least it was a lot cooler. Had to turn on the heat for the first time this season. Nice.

Nothing much to report on the knitting front. Skein was mostly deserted today except for a mini-rush when I first got there at one o'clock.

That's about it. Gonna go hide just in case the are any trick or treaters. Haven't had any for the last thirteen years but your never know.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Thursday wrap

I'm sure glad I had Thursday night knit together to look forward to today. It was a very long, slow one. Don't know what happened. The weather is much cooler and it is the end of October. Less than two months away now. All y'all better get started if you hope to get everything done in time.

I finally finished the current sock project which may be a Christmas gift, so no picture for now. Tomorrow I start the black shawl with poppies for the shop. I am almost 50% done with the poncho. Got quite a bit done on the first sleeve of the cotton sweater. The yarn is a different dye lot but I really can't see any difference in the color. But the yarn itself has the smell of green onions. Weird. Hope that goes away when I wash it.

Knit together was special tonight. Not just because of the pumpkin praline cheese cake. My friend Anita was finally able to join us. We used to knit at Joanne's and I haven't seen her very often since that ended. Maybe a couple of times. I hope she can continue on a regular basis. She brought a couple of projects to work on: the Anny Blatt drop stitch scarf and a fiddly little baby cardigan fro the Rowan baby book.

Carol is making one of those triangular sell fringing shawls. I think it's a K1C2 pattern. Mendy finished up a Nordstrom knock off scarf using a pattern that Ann Mary made. I think she's done about ten of them so far. And, as I said, I worked on the poncho.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Progress on several fronts

Well, she was back today and has made lots of progress on her newest scarf. Still having problems with unintentional additional stitches. So we went over that again. But I can tell she really feels more confident in what she's doing. We had a little talk about her next project and why I'm taking longer to show her new things. She's decided to make a roll brim hat next which I think will be a good step and I'll be there for the increases and dpns. And I now have two bottles of quality merlot and a block of chocolate.

I discovered last night, after finishing the neckband, that I didn't work enough rows on the front of my current sweater. Of course I didn't rip it! Are you kidding? I picked up the first sleeve to knit it down and couldn't get the Sweater Wizard ratio to work out. Then I checked the original pattern again. Even if I had done the correct number of rows the ratio would not have worked. At any rate, I have the correct number of stitches for the sleeves. The shoulder seam will just be a little to the front. Design feature, I'd say.

I worked on the sleeve this morning while I waited for my dentist's office to open. Looks like I'm going to be losing another tooth. That's three in as many months. Eventually I'm going to run out of teeth so this can't last forever. He's suggesting inplants. Just the thought makes me dizzy. Even if I had insurance I don't think I'd do that. I'll just have to learn to talk out of the right side of my mouth and smile crookedly.

The fires in Southern California are still raging. Except for the smell and falling ash I am not touched by them. I do have friends who have family that have been evacuated. I hope the sudden change in the weather helps. Lots cooler today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

She's happy!

The student who was having such a hard time remembering how to knit came in today. We worked together for most of the afternoon on the fancy yarn scarf. I knew she'd be happy. She was so pleased with herself. It's true that I did most of the cast on and off but other than that she did the knitting on her own.

I didn't know when she started with me what was causing her to have such a problem. Now I know that she has had some severe emotional problems and takes lots of medication. She has agoraphobia and a bi-polar disorder. I spend a lot of time calming her down and encouraging her.

She started another scarf today using some fuzzy yarn. It was hard for her. So I suggested we add another yarn that would make it easier for her to see the stitches. That helped a lot and she was doing quite well by the time she was ready to leave. I've promised her she can try the purl stitch next week. I hope that doesn't sound patronizing. I just think she'll be better off if I don't push her too much. We can always postpone if she's having too much trouble.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Jeans and genes

If this keeps up I'll have to get a whole new, larger wardrobe. I just got home from lunch at Moustache Cafe in Westwood, courtesy of one of my students. And she has at least three more restaurants she believes I should try. And for the past few weeks I've been brought all kinds of snacks and meals plus some wine. This is all good for my budget but not so good for my waistline. Three pairs of jeans this morning have joined the stack of clothes that are now too small. Something's gotta give. It may be a seam.

Skein was packed from start to finish yesterday. Two people from my past showed up. One I hadn't seen in a couple of years, the other one is more like seven or eight years. It's was hard to play catch-up given how busy the shop was but we managed a few words here and there. Almost always a delight when something like this happens.

The three sisters showed up again about half way through the afternoon and brought one of their daughters to learn to knit. They were each having their own problems with dropped stitches and accidental yarn overs. But it all went fairly well. The new knitter did quite well. It seems to me that the younger students have fewer problems than older ones. Or maybe some people just have more crafty genes.

I don't remember having any problems when I taught myself to knit. I learned from a book. It just made sense to me. I'm the only one in my family who can do this or who does anything art or craft related. My mother could sew and I remember her doing some crochet when I was young. But she only did this under duress. So where did it come from? I don't know enough about my family history to know if anyone in prior generations had any interests in this area. I hear more about people learning from their grandmothers than from their mothers. Ann Mary always says it skips a generation. I don't know. Maybe it's all just a fluke.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Falling back

I've given the clocks their semi-annual dusting so now I have the whole day plus one hour to enjoy myself. Going for pancakes and/or waffles at a friend's house this morning and to another friend's for dinner. Oh, and that little three hour stint at Skein this afternoon.

Finished the front of my simple cotton pullover last night and three needled the shoulders together. Was going to pick up for the neckband but decided to play Free Cell for a while and then it was too late. I'll try to pick up the stitches this morning while the light is good. For a ribbed collar I usually work twice the length the pattern calls for and then fold it in half and sew the live stitches down on the inside. I like the extra thick look and I don't usually have any problems with the neck being too tight to pull on easily.

I'll pick up the sleeves and knit down. Still trying to decide if I want to repeat the pattern bands on the sleeves or if I'll just do them plain. The sweater has a modified drop shoulder so I'm not sure exactly where to start the pattern bands to make them line up with the body. Maybe I'll just put one pattern band at the bottom before I do the ribbing but that might be a little too cute. Will have to wait and see.

I bought Vicki Square's Folk Bags. There's not much chance of me actually making anything from it but I liked reading the instructions. I might make Irish Cables and the Sizzling Stripes. While I like a lot of the others I know I'm just not likely to do them. Too lazy.

And I also got Men in Knits by Tara Jon Manning. I wasn't going to buy this one at first but I've used it several times at Skein and finally decided I ought to have it. And since I've been feeling like doing some cable stuff I got a couple of Sirdar pattern books: The Family Book of Denim Knitting and Relax in Aran. Sirdar patterns are not my favorites. I like the end results but I hate it that they only use text. There are no charts or schematics.

Just for good measure I got the Plymouth book For Denim Knits. There are nine designs in this book that can be made in lots of different sizes for men, women and children. Pretty simple stuff but basic is good.

I wasn't going to buy any more books. But sometimes I fall back on my promises to myself.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Dumbing down

Most of the things I've been knitting lately are pretty simple. Shop samples need to encourage people to buy and many of our customers are new or returning knitters who seem to want quick and easy projects. And that's fine. Sales are what keeps the shop going and growing.

There's been some chatter about the dumbing down of knitting. You know, warsh cloths, Darryl Hannah and similar iconoclastic references. Personally I don't think it much matters what a knitter chooses to work on.

I have one student who is so challenged by a single row of knit stitches that each row is a mini-triumph. She desperately wants to knit a scarf with one of the novelty yarns that are so enticing. Every time she comes to the shop, almost every day, she wants to know when she will be ready.

So today, in what may be one of my weakest moments, I told her she could try some of the Trendsetter Genie. (We have a garter stitch pattern that Ann Mary developed for this yarn, 65 stitches on a size 35/19mm needle. It's only seven or eight rows wide.) She was so happy I thought she would cry. So next week we will make the scarf. I will have to check each row to make sure there are no inadvertent yarn overs or dropped stitches. But it will be a beautiful scarf.

And she will feel like she's a knitter. We may not all agree on that but that's not the point. For her, it's going to feel as good as I may feel when I finish something that's very complex. Well, that's the plan anyway.

If you want something less "dumb", check out the Adrienne Vittadini pattern in the lastest Vogue Knitting, pattern number 15. Read the pattern; don't just look at the picture. I'd like to make this but I'll have to have more quiet time than I currently have.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Thursday night knit together

Home at last. I really enjoy this one evening a week when I can sit and knit without the usual distractions of Skein. It's just relaxing! It's different from knitting at home because there are close friends there who are there for the same reason I'm there. Just the company and some mostly gentle conversation. A few good laughs and coffee and cookies.

I managed a few more rows on the poncho. It's more than 40% done now. I haven't worked on it since last week at this time since I'm focusing on a single project at home. And I did get some rows done on that one last night. So my one project at a time rule has three different segments. Home, Skein and knit together. So far I haven't been tempted, well not sorely, to start anything new.

Got my sweat shirt from Blogger yesterday. They sent it as a thank you gift for having subscribed to Blogger Pro. If I have this right, they're no longer charging for this so I guess it was really kind of a refund. Navy blue, hooded and with a big Blogger logo on front. Now if summer would just leave so I can wear it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Getting it right kinda

Long, slow day at Skein but I did have one new student. This one is a winner. She's been trying to remember stuff she learned when she was about five. But when she came to buttonholes she wasn't sure what to do. So she came in for a lesson. We spent about three hours getting her clear about some of the things she was doing. Mostly about how to read a pattern. (Working with a Sirdar pattern can be a challenge. I wish they'd include charts and schematics.)

There were a few things that didn't work quite the way she expected but mostly it was the yarn. She had purchased, the day before, some very textured yarn in two colors. The pattern has seed stitch diamond shapes all over it. She wanted to do the seed stitch in a contrast color but when she realized what that would involve she decided to go with one color. After about four rows she reached the conclusion that the pattern was not going to show up at all. So she changed the yarn to a smooth one and started over. And she learned experientially the value of markers and row counters.

It was so refreshing to have a student that just "got it" right away. I did have a problem with the way she does her purl stitches. She knits continentally and was making her purl stitches through the back of the loop but knitting through the front of the loop. She even understood when I explained how this would twist the stitches. So she's going to knit through the back of the loop. At least for the moment.
I think there may be another way to deal with this but that's all I could come up with right then.

I didn't get much done on my sweater last night. My friend Carol called. Now Carol is a very heart of gold, salt of the earth type of person but when she calls you can kiss a good chunk of the evening goodbye. She's a good friend so I wouldn't think of trying to cut the call short. But after an hour I told her I really needed to go get some dinner.

So another hour goes by and it's almost 10 o'clock. I did manage a couple of rows and a few more this morning. And I finished the seemingly interminable scarf for Skein. I don't know yet what the next shop project will be. I'm not pushing for anything right now since I have holiday knitting that needs to be started.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Now, in addition to the strikes that are going on all around here, we have the return of summer. It was over 100 today in Arcadia and has been near that for the last few days. Ann Mary said it was supposed to be cooler tomorrow, by about 10 degrees, but that's still way too hot for me.

The heat, however, doesn't seem to be affecting business. Plenty of people getting into their holiday gift making. One of the new knitters (actually they are all sisters) came in today to get more yarn for another wash cloth. So at least one of them is hooked. I had several other students today as well but they were all just there for a little touch up work.

I'm trying to focus on just one project right now. A sweater I started earlier this year. I spent about six hours on it yesterday. The back is done and I'm just past the armhole decreases of the front. Maybe I'll finish that tonight. I'm feeling kind of desperate about all the projects I have going so I'm going to try to just finish things one at a time. This is a whole new approach for me and I don't know how long I'll be able to stick to it. I still have other things that I work on at Skein. Will that scarf ever be finished?

No problems at all with the tooth extraction. I didn't even need an Advil.

One of the other yarn shops in our area is closing. We've suspected this for a while but now they're having their closing sale. So we are seeing lots of knitters and crocheters that we've never seen before. Skein is a little more upscale than some of them are used to. It'll take a while to retrain them.

Monday, October 20, 2003


That's probably overstating it. I just got home from the dentist where I had yet another tooth extracted. I'm still numb so I don't know how I'll feel later. Right now I'm fine except I can't eat anything yet.

Yesterday was a madhouse at Skein. Noisier than a sports bar on a Monday night! I think it was a good day in sales as well as in the teaching department. Had a few people who just needed a little reassurance. Then one of our regular students called and wanted to know if it was all right if she came in. At the time I wasn't really busy so I said sure. What I didn't know was that she was bringing three people with her. None of whom knew how to knit. And she's not experienced enough to get them started. They wanted to learn to make dish/wash cloths. How hard could that be?

One of them couldn't stay but the other two could. They chose yarn that had to be wound first, adding to the confusion that was already going on. Then one decided she'd rather make a top than a dishcloth. It's hard to describe what it feels like to teach two absolute beginners how to cast on, knit and purl and to read a pattern in the space of half an hour. Actually I ended up staying a half hour after closing to get them to a point where they could continue. I think they're all into some other kind of needlecraft so they weren't intimidated, just awkward. The lady who brought them in isn't confident at all and still gets confused between a knit and a purl stitch. She's going to be their only resouce for the next few days. Ann Mary and I had a good laugh over that.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Knitting for food

Me: I've really had a lot of good food this week.
KC: That's good.
Me: Most of it's been provided by other people.
KC: That's even better!

Tonight, after closing the shop, Ann Mary and KC took me to dinner at an Indian restaurant. I think it was named That Indian Place, or something like that. I haven't had Indian food very often so I'm not a good judge of what's good and what's not. Doesn't matter because this was excellent.

I've started the Fiber Trends Peak Performance sock. The Mt. Hood version. This sock takes fiddly to a whole new level. All those M1s and SK2Ps make for slow going but I think I'm beginning to get a feel for them. I'm using some Silja strompegarn (does that mean sock yarn?). I was warned that the yarn is not very much fun to work with. And it does seem to be a little uneven and snags if you're not careful. I only have about two inches done after about three hours. I'm already dreading the second sock.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Just more of the same

Another busy day and more students. Mendy came in for some encourgement on her finishing on a couple of projects. And to add to her stash. Planning ahead to maybe 2007. She's always a delight. And a few of the regulars stopped by to say hello.

I just finished a huge Dim Sum. I know it's supposed to be a lunch time meal but I had pizza for lunch. The Dim Sum was supplied by one of our customers. If this keeps up I'm really going to need that Slim Fast I finally got today.

The pickets at the supermarket next door seem to be enjoying themselves. They've set up a charcoal grill and picnic table. The weather is pretty nice, not quite hot. So I guess for the moment they're comfortable. I heard today that the strike is expected to last until Thanksgiving. I don't know how they predict that but by then the weather should have changed so we'll see how enthusiatic they are by then.

Well, off to do another repeat on the Fiber Trends scarf and to correct my row count on the poncho. Maybe there'll be an update photo tomorrow or Monday.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

All the news that's fit to blog

I just got home from the Thursday night knit together. There were only three of us this time. Renee is away for a few weeks so unless I can recruit a few more people it's going to be quite intimate for a while. Still had a good time even if I did mess up the row count on my poncho again. Only a few hundred stitches to rip in order to find out where I really am. I really should attach my row counter to my knitting. Maybe then I wouldn't forget to turn it.

The new student I wrote about last week, the one who kept forgetting what she was supposed to do next, came back in today. Ann Mary said she'd been in a couple of other times when I wasn't there. She's still having a few problems but has made a lot of progress. Today she learned that Lion Brand Homespun is not a good yarn for someone who's having her problems to knit with. I have to hand it to her though, she's determined and optimistic.

Very busy day again. I had four students working away on their projects. One is trying her hand at a felted bag. She's so funny. Everytime I show her something new she mutters. "Oh, God" or "damn" seem to be her favorite explitives. And she sort of rolls her eyes. The thing is though, she really gets it. She started with a lace pattern afghan but ripped it out after two skeins because she thought the color was too boring, not because she had problems with the stitches. Her first project, which she was doing in an adult ed class, was a garter stitch afghan. I asked her if she finished it and she said "Are you kidding? I gave that thing away, needles and all." I think she's going to be terrific in a very short time. Once she gets used to the prices of quality yarns and decent needles.

Then, late in the day, another new-to-me customer came in. "I'm desperate" she said. Another Christmas stocking disaster in the making. She had messed up the heel shaping. So we fixed that. She had been slipping the stitch for the PSSO but had been passing the stitch after the K1 over the stitch. So then we picked up the stitches for the gusset, using the color she said we were supposed to use. After about six rows of decreasing I discovered that she was using the wrong color. Ripped out the wrong color and started over. While she was doing that I was looking at the photograph of the stocking. "I have some bad news for you," I told her. "You're supposed to be using stockinette and you've used garter stitch."

"You mean it isn't knit every row? I thought it looked kind of funny." Well, it really does. She has a very short, squat snowman and the lettering is undecipherable. "I thought about using the imitation stitch but then I thought it looked okay." (She meant duplicate stitch.) "Well, I did the K2/P2 ribbing right." I don't know what she did but it looked a lot like garter stitch made up of alternating ribs of knit and purl. So she's going to do another stocking for a different relative and then decide if this one looks too bad in comparison. If it does she'll start over. You should have seen her intarsia. Very creative. She took the whole thing pretty well, considering. It's no wonder she didn't remember her last stockings, done 21 years ago, looking like this one. (I checked the pattern and there is no where that it specifically says to use st st.)

Yesterday was also pretty busy. The scarf traffic is picking up at last. A friend drove up from Long Beach to sit and knit for a while. Haven't seen him in several months so it was a good time. He's making his first sweater and is doing quite well. He brought me a copy of the Patons Forever Favorites pattern book that was given away at the Knit Out in Santa Monica last month. Very thoughtful. And there are a few things that I could easily add to my to do list.

And one more thing. This is weird, at least to me. I've noticed over the past few days that whenever I open a particular one of my daily reads I lose my internet connection. Is this possible or coincidental? It happened three days in a row, always with the same blog. So I have deleted it, at least temporarily. I did notice that there was a comment, "Done, but with errors on page". That's some kind of powerful error!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

That was Tuesday

Last night I went to Southwest Chamber Music"'s first concert of the new season. It was so last century! In fact this whole season is pretty much about 20th century music, especially prior to 1950. Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Chavez and Varese. I used to hate the music from the early part of last century. Now I quite like it. So much of what's being done now sounds like it's written with a movie or TV show in mind.

Oh well. This is a knitting blog. I didn't get much done yesterday at Skein. It was busy! I had to leave early because of the concert. There were three or four people working on stuff when I left. I think they were all on track so I wasn't worried about that. I just think I missed out on some fun people. It was busy all day.

I lost a knitting needle during all the uproar. A new customer, recently returned to knitting, had all her needles spread out on the table. I guess when she gathered them up she just picked up my size 10 bamboo and I didn't notice it was missing until I was leaving. Ann Mary offered to replace it but I'm pretty sure I have some others. I hope when she notices it she will bring it back.

I worked on the second sock for about 20 minutes while waiting to go to the concert. I have a couple more rows to go before I'm sure that I got the starting point correct to make the second match the first. I think next time I will try to match the starting point before I begin.

And I think I need to renew my subscription to Vogue Knitting. Thanks for the notice.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I forgot

Yesterday I said I was going to start blogging in the evenings. I forgot I won't be home tonight because I'm going to a concert in Downtown LA. So I decided I'd postpone the schedule change for a day.

I was planning to take the new MetroGold train. But they're on strike as of last night. I'm a little unsure of what the plans are for meeting up with the person I'm going to the concert with. All I know is that I'm supposed to go to his house if there's a strike. Which there is. But not sure what time I'm supposed to be there.

We also have a supermarket strike going on. I should have gone to the market on Friday but I didn't. I'll just have to brave the pickets and get what I need. There are some markets that are not affected so I guess it's not such a big deal. But I hate going to markets whose floor plans I don't know. But when you're out of Slim Fast you have to sacrifice your pride and ask for help.

So. I did a lot of knitting last night. Spent an hour on the poncho. Then I did my first chain stitch cast on for the Fiber Trends "Falling In Love" scarf. Not sure if I did the cast on exactly like the Vogue knitting book says but I have one pattern repeat completed. And then I got started on the second sock. So not too bad for an evening's work.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Late start

I'm a little late posting today. I decided I'd better do some chores this morning before I got too wrapped up in my daily reads. I think I'm going to switch my reading and writing time to the evening. Seems like when I get home from Skein I don't feel like knitting so I spend most of the time playing Free Cell and answering email. So I think I'll try knitting first thing in the morning. Most of what I work on at Skein if for the shop so not much progress is made on my own things.

I just finished sock one of a new pair. Well, not really new since I've been working on them for a few weeks. So I'll try to cast on for the second sock later today. I'm 30% done with the poncho and may work on that some more later today as well.

I'm on my way to Border's to see if they have any of the new knitting books I've been reading about. And I need to look at a copy of the big Vogue knitting book. Sarah suggested I check out their version of the provisional cast on using crochet. I don't have that book in my library. We do have it at Skein but the shop is closed today. And I want to get started on the scarf tonight.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

No title Sunday

It's a beautiful, sunny day here. It would be perfect for taking pictures outside. I have nothing to take a picture of. I've been working on the plain ol' st st scarf for Skein and on the poncho. They still look pretty much like they did the last time.

I added a couple of scarf patterns to my knitting pattern favorites this morning. Patterns I found via Fillyjonk's Progress. I also printed out the instructions for Bonne Marie's poncho. These patterns are gonna be perfect for using up some odds and ends that have been lolling about in my stash of leftovers. Now to find the time.

It's been busier at Skein the past few days. A couple more new students yesterday. And I have at least two coming in today. It's only a three hour stint so I expect it to go pretty fast.

I bought a pile of Brown Sheep handpaint sock yarn. A couple of their new colors and some solids that I will use for lace patterned socks, if I ever get to it. I tried the crocheted provisional cast on for the first time. Have to do that over as I think I used a hook that was too small. Couldn't get the needle to go through the bumps very well and I tended to end up with split yarn. So maybe tonight I'll try that again. If I don't come home and collapse as I usually do.

I'm off to lunch with some friends at our favorite cheap Chinese restaurant. We haven't been there in a while. They failed the county's health check about a month ago. Now they're back with an "A" rating. They've never done that well before. Usually they're only a "B". At $4.25 for all you can eat Chinese it's hard to resist.

Friday, October 10, 2003

In through the front, run around back...

I had a new student yesterday. That's not big news. I get new students all the time. What made this one memorable was how much trouble she had. I've only had one student who gave up entirely. This one is not going to but I may give up teaching.

I'm pretty sure she has some emotional or psychological problems that are getting in her way. She seemed to blank out in mid stitch and just not be able to remember what she was supposed to do next. Literally! She seemed to do better when she thought I wasn't watching her.

For most people I cover the knit and purl stitch, casting on and casting off during the first session. Sometimes I do less if the student is having trouble. We're still on the knit stitch here. She wants to make one of those things you wear around your neck, with fringes. You mean a scarf? Yes. And I want to make a purse.

While all this was going on, one of my other newer students came in so I could check and correct some of her projects. This lady is having some problems of her own and is beginning to despair of ever getting it "right". I think it did her a lot of good to see someone who was having more difficulty than she was. She was very sweet and encouraging to the new student.

Last night's knit together was a lot of fun. Those three hours go by so fast! I'm still trying to recruit a couple more people. Brought home a bunch of rugula and cake which is a good things since I keep forgetting to buy more Slim Fast. You gotta have something for breakfast.

About an hour after the new student left she called me to find out what she was supposed to do. I tried to describe the steps. Well, I'm on my cell phone so it's kind of hard to do it. Can I come in tomorrow? So that's what I'm looking forward to today.