Monday, March 31, 2003

So, the socks fit perfectly. Lisa was really tickled with them. Happy about that and plan to make more. In fact, I worked so long on the newest pair that my finger, the one I use to push the stitches off with, felt like it had been caught in a door. I can't remember ever working on size 2 needles or with yarn this fine. But I am really liking it. I went to Border's to see if they had the two Vogue On The Go sock books (I have a gift certificate) but they didn't have them. I didn't see anything else that I had to have so I'll wait until they have them in stock again.

I was really busy yesterday with new students and a couple of continuing ones. Tom, the new guy that started last weekend, came in again. Poor guy is really struggling with forming the stitches. He keeps grabbing both legs of the stitch and so he ends up with an extra loop and a screwed up stitch. I've shown him several times what he's doing wrong and he seems to see that, but I don't the think he really understands how the stitches are formed. He's gripping the needles so tightly that they're bowed. He was doing better by the time he left yesterday.

Skein itself was not all that busy but there were a few big sales that made up for the lack of traffic. We're still getting new customers that just can't believe that the shop has been there almost four years. The new spring and summer yarns are doing well and more stock has already been ordered. But the slow season is coming. It's already pretty warm here and once we switch to daylight savings time things will get even slower.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

What do you call a coven of unattached wiccans?

Craft Singles

This is a joke I got from Lisa so don't blame me.

I'm still trying to finish the Easter vest. It's all knit and put together but I'm having some design problems with the edgings. I don't really want a ribbing but it's beginning to look more and more like that's what I will do. I've tried an attached I-cord but that was too stiff. I've tried a single crochet edging but that was just too loving hands at home looking. The vest is a tuxedo style so it has points on the lower front. The ones I'm using are not particularly pointed but are, in fact, rather wide. I've also designed a very wide low neckline for the front. Next I'm going to try picking up and then binding off immediately. I want a sort of corded look around the edges. So we'll just have to wait and see.

Here's a blurry photo of the finished Country Trunk Socks. There were lots of color changes so there were lots of ends to be woven in. I decided to skip the Kitchener stitch and just wove the tail of the yarn through the final loops. They look fine to me and there doesn't seems to be a lump in the toe. The color is way off. I went outside to take a picture and dropped my camera. Fortunately it hit the edge of a plastic pot before it hit the cement. It seems to be working okay. Guess I'll have to remember to put the strap around my wrist in the future. The picture I took outside didn't have much better color and I didn't like the background so decided to use this one. Now I just have to wait for Lisa to try them on so I know if they fit.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I felt like doing some housecleaning this morning but I recovered and did some swatching instead. I was planning to go to see Doris and do a three needle bind off for her but she called at the last minute and said her daughter was bringing her to Skein today. So since I was already ready to go I went to Skein early. Doris came in and I did the bind off and then showed her the new yarns. She ended up getting some of last winter's yarn. I just love how she rolls her eyes when she sees the prices.

I had four students all at the same time this afternoon. Three of them were learning how to shape shoulders and necklines. The fourth one was learning how to rip, one stitch at a time. I had taken about four different projects that I thought I might be able to finish but none of them got very much attention. So I'm going to do a little now and then check out the latest news. And I still need to do the cleaning.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Except for the grafting of the toes, the Country Trunk socks are done. And why isn't the grafting done? Because I can't Kitchener stitch for beans! I've redone one sock twice and the other one I'm going to undo and try to get it to look decent. I'll probably go to Skein this afternoon and see if Joanne can show me how. Or maybe call the designer and see if I can come over for a lesson. I can usually learn stuff from a book but this one just throws me. I've checked several books as well as online. They make sense but the results are not what I think they're supposed to be.

So I'm going to just ignore them until I get that resolved and work on the Gunniston cap (which I've been using as my computer knitting this morning) and continue with the very easy faux fair isle socks. I started another pair of simple socks using some DK scrap yarn from my stash. It's Orlon. That'll give you some idea of how old this yarn is. If you don't know what Orlon is, go ask your mom. I was watching the war and needed something to do. This yarn was out because I just dumped it out of a bag that I needed for the other pair of socks. And I had some DPNs at hand. Who knows if I'll get back to them any time soon. Depends on when I next watch TV.

Monday, March 24, 2003

After a full week of cloudless skies and temps in the mid to high 70s it was a bit of a let down to spend a whole day in the darkness of dawn. The sun never peaked, not even once. Maybe tomorrow, but not according to MSN.

I spent a lot of today reading the war news and all the commentary that goes along with it. I did finish one sock, except for weaving in all the ends. And will probably finish the other one tonight. I've been reading this blog from Baghdad. It's touching and heartbreaking but the guy has a sense of humor. There's a very funny "photo" today that you might enjoy. Thanks Justin for the link.

Heard about a knit shop in Long Beach that's closing at the end of this month. It's a small shop with mostly high end yarns. They're having a clearance sale through the 30th. So if you're in the area it might be a good time to pick up some good deals. Send me an email if you're interested.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

I'm pretty sure the ants have been reading my email and the comments on my blog. The day after I got all those excellent suggestions on how to deal with them, they disappeared. Who knew they were computer literate? Anyway, I have a goodly supply of red pepper so I'm going to try that first. I saw a big batch of them this morning hiding in the ivy on my balcony. I wonder, if I dropped a bunch of flyers telling them it's useless and they should just surrender or give up, if they would come out waving a white flag. Or maybe I'll just get a can of Black Flag.

I got to see the new baby on Saturday. What a pleasure! Obviously he's the cutest thing I've seen in years. He was sleeping so I didn't get to hold him. He sorta woke up before they left. And the mommy brought her newest knitting project, a sweater vest from the Vogue On the Go Baby Book. It was cute too. I hope I get a picture of him soon so you can all see.

It was pretty calm both Saturday and Sunday. I did have a couple of students today. One of them is making her first sweater and is so excited about it. I think her husband is getting a little jealous of her new hobby. At least he teases her a lot about it. The other student, a man, has never tried anything like this before. Has never done any kind of needlecraft. But he had heard about the "therapeutic" nature of knitting and thought it was something he would like to try. It was a struggle but I think he'll get the hang of it before too long. After about an hour he was already commenting on knitting's addictive qualities. I was a little embarrassed because I thought he was someone's husband who had come looking for his wife. (He really did look a lot like the husband of one of my students.) I can't imagine what he thought about all the ladies sitting around talking about circumcision.

So I'm started on a new pair of socks using some of the faux fair isle yarn. And I've started the Gunniston cap aka the skin tight skull cap. And no, I haven't finished any of the other things I said I was going to.

Friday, March 21, 2003

A few days ago I was lamenting that my "learn to knit socks" book only had one heel shaping/turning style. A blog comment suggested that I consider Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. So I replied that I had put the book on my Amazon/Christmas wish list but hadn't received it. I have this book. I was looking for some baby patterns to loan to the new mom and found that I had Folk Socks and have had for at least two, maybe three years. I guess when I got it I wasn't all that interested in making socks so after giving it a casual once over I filed it away. I'm in the middle of reading it now. It's fascinating and full of good information as well as some patterns that I'm really looking forward to making.

I never thought I would become a sock knitter. It's embarassing to admit that I'm at risk of becoming addicted. (I'm still on my first pair, you understand.) I've been scrounging my pattern books and the 'net for patterns. I think I'm more interested in the various techniques and enjoy reading the instructions than the actual knitting. But the knitting is exciting too. And I still have all those Christmas stockings I wanted to make last year. Woo yay!

Yesterday afternoon I kept hearing all this yelling and shouting coming from down the street. Finally went out to see what it was. (Actually I just had to go to the post office.) Anyway, there was a small anti-war demonstration going on. Maybe 50 or so kids and a couple of older (surviving hippie liberals) folks carrying placards printed with lots of trite, over simplified slogans. The cop ratio was pretty high. I don't think the affair attracted much attention. Certainly nothing like the one in Westwood. And the traffic still flowed pretty well. At the bowling alley the big screens were taken up with the war coverage. Normally we can watch whatever sporting event is on that evening. People were complaining about the sameness and the repetitive comments. How quickly we get bored these days. Actually, I think sporting events are just about as boring. Did you think war was supposed to be entertaining?

Apropros of nothing in particular, does anyone have a good way of getting rid of ants? I'd rather not use commerical bug killers. I'm more interested in repelling them than in killing them.

I've added a new web ring to my page, over there just underneath the knitting bloggers. It's the Men Who Knit ring. It's small right now but I have hopes it will grow pretty quickly. The ring was set up by Jerry Gaiser of When Knitting Was a Manly Art fame. Check it out.

It's a beautiful, warm day here. I'm off to Skein to see what's going to happen next.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

No pictures today afterall. Too busy to finish any of the projects that I thought I would. And today I'm trying to make some changes to my blog template. That's not going well at all.

Had a great afternoon at Skein with several folks I hadn't seen in a while. Then after the shop closed Ann Mary took me and another of the instructors to dinner at a Chinese seafood restaurant. We had Alaska king crab. Those babies are really ugly. And I didn't think it was all that tasty. But then I don't care much for seafood. But we had a very nice time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Just finished weaving in the ends of my "USC" beanie. It's okay I guess. I've started the gusset on the second sock of the Country Trunk socks. This one looks much better than the first one. And I finished the knitting of the Easter vest. I'll try to get the side seams sewn today and I think I'm going to use an applied I-cord edging. Gotta get ready for Skein so pictures tomorrow, maybe.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Well, after the torrential rains on Saturday we had a gorgeous day on Sunday. And the weather continues to be sunny and pleasant. Except we have some pretty strong winds. Palm fronds caught in the nest of TV dishes on our roof. Shrubs scraping the windows making spooky sounds.

It was so busy at Skein on Sunday that I didn't even bother to get my knitting out. I had five students and several other folks just looking for a little assist. The noise level was incredible. I guess some people just talk loud. When you have two of those people together it makes everyone else have to talk louder so it just goes up and up. And another thing! I hate it when people start handling my knitting or someone else's without first asking permission. It is just so presumptuous. I really came close to slapping someone's hands on Sunday. I really don't care if you grew up in a different culture. Get a little couth, please! And leave your noisy, runny nose kid outside.

Yesterday I went on a house call. One of our customers is no longer able to drive and doesn't have ready access to transportation. She just turned 90 last month and she's just such a pleasure to be with! She called me and asked if I could come and help her with the neckline on a sweater she's making. So I went to see her yesterday morning. After getting lost for about ten minutes because of some wrong assumptions about the directions I got to her place and spent about an hour catching up on all that's been going on in her life as well as answering her questions about Skein and about her sweater. It was so much fun just to be with her. I'd like to be able to take her shopping or whatever she needs to do but I'm pretty sure she won't be able to get into my Blazer. Maybe I can find a small, sturdy footstool. Have to wait and see how that plays out.

After my knit-aid visit I went to Glendale and had lunch with one of my former co-workers. Always fun to catch up on what's happening with the old group. Not many of them left nowadays. (I'm so glad I got out of there when I did.) So then I came home and did some laundry and took a nap. Didn't get much knitting done at all this weekend. I've been working on the ribbed beanie as I read blogs this morning but now I'm ripping out the decreases. Haven't figured out a decent looking way to decrease a 2/1 ribbing so I'm just going to switch to SS for a couple of rows and then do a four point decrease. I managed a few rows on the second sock. I'm waiting to hear from Lisa about what length I need to make them.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Rain! we have lots of rain and are expecting more, depending on which news service you read. But we had plenty today. It was a little bit of a negative for some folks but not every one stayed away. I think it was a pretty good day at Skein. I had three students, two of them were there for most of the day. The last one didn't arrive until shortly after four. I was supposed to leave in about half an hour but she had driven for forty five minutes in the rain to get there so I stayed an extra hour so she would be able to learn all the basics. Normally that would not be a problem. But I forgot that I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner and a concert (LA Chamber Orchestra). It all worked out though. We skipped the preconcert lecture and just enjoyed our margaritas and dinner. And the student was doing fine by the time I left.

I'm still fiddling my way through the socks. And the hat. I hope to finish tomorrow or Monday on both of these projects and then finish the Easter vest. Then, if it's still cool enough, get back to the cabled raglan sweater. Haven't touched that one in at least a month. And the gray merino sweater still needs to be finished. The shop sample shell is almost done. I'm only working on it while I'm at Skein so even though it's a really easy pattern it's taking a while to get done. (And I really don't like working with the yarn.)

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Au revoir, Carolyn. For those of you who may not already know, Carolyn, Dangerous Chunky, has decided not to "blog" anymore. I was so saddened by this earlier today that I felt like I had lost a close friend. Carolyn was so encouraging to me in my early blogging days. We never met face to face but I always felt I knew her personally. Probably many of you did as well. I sure hope whatever she's moving on to is rewarding and makes her happy. If anyone out there is in touch with her, please let her know that I wish her all the best and will miss her tremendously.

It's difficult to make changes and hard to make the decision. I belong to three different mail lists and am considering dropping out of two of them and possibly all three. I have to really look at them and decide if I am benefiting from them and if I'm interested enough to make a contribution. And then there's my bowling league. I had to let my team know that I would not be continuing after the end of this season. I've know these guys for the last five years or so and we're all good friends. But it's time to leave. I'll miss it but will remember it with fondness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Got the second set of US4 dpns and have started the second sock. I don't expect to have much knitting time for the next few days but will try to finish this pair by the beginning of next week. I also got some Brown Sheep Wildfoote to make a "skin tight skull cap", a pattern I got from one of the lists I belong to. The pattern is apparently based on a late medieval or early renaissance cap.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I went as far as I dared on the first sock and am just a little short of the toe shaping. I was going to start the second one when I discovered that I do not have another set of size 4 dpns. And I thought I had at least two of everything. Apparently I was misguided. So I set that aside and worked on the Easter vest instead. Now I realize I could have just transferred it to smaller needles but I don't always think of these things until I'm doing something else. But I really appreciated all the comments and encouragement.

Went to Joanne's tonight for our regular Tuesday. It was just the two of us. We spent most of the time comparing notes and quips about the various students we have at Skein, some of which we share. That was fun but not entirely nice. I got a lot done on the vest. And I found the other skeins that I had misplaced so I have plenty if I decide to add ribbing. Don't think I'm going to do that so I'll probably weave a scarf. Or how about another hat?

I found two skeins of Regia Jacquard that I forgot I had. I'm trying to work a gauge on size 2. Man, that stuff is tiny. I also got out my learn to knit socks book and read through it. Other than the ugly patterns it was pretty good. But it only shows one way of shaping the heel so I'm going to be doing some online searching. I already have a bunch of sites that I've saved. I'm still not saying I'm going to be making a lot of socks, I just want to be prepared, just in case. (I'm looking for some Koigu so I can make the Crusoe socks from the newest Knitty.)

Current hat project is a ribbed beanie in Rowan Aran Magpie, from stash. It is accidentally in the USC colors. So this hat will go to the father of the new baby. And I remembered a baby sweater that I have all but finished that will be perfect for the baby. I'm sure it's around here somewhere.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Sock progress to date.

So it's a little blurry, it's a sock! This is where I am now, about twenty rows past the heel. The socks were designed by my friend Nancy Attix. The solid red color is Galway 100% wool from Plymouth Yarns and the multicolor stripes are Mountain Colors in four different color ways. The fuzzy stuff is Mountain Colors Feathers.

I hope I have enough of the multicolor to do the second sock. I'm going to finish the second set of repeats and then do the other sock. I can finish the toes and however much more I might need to do in the solid color.

Chris asked if I was addicted yet. I don't think so. There are a few things I need to work out. I have a learn to knit socks book that I'm going to dig out and see what other kinds of heels I can do and I need to try the toe up approach as well. I have some Opal Brazil that needs to be used but I'm not sure what gauge or needle size I'm looking at. Right now I think socks are a little too fiddly but I may change my mind if this pair comes out at all. There's a lot of weaving in of ends to be done. I'm pretty sure the next pair won't have all these yarn changes.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Not a lot going on here. It was pretty quiet at Skein today. The weather was beautiful so I expect lots of folks were gardening or sunning at the beach. Saturday was busy though. Several continuing students and pretty good sales.

I've turned the heel on the first sock of my first ever pair. I'll try to get pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

The backlighting makes this look a little more dramatic than it really is. This is the first version of the now celebrated London Beanie using the four point decrease. Instead of decreasing using a K2tog at equally divided intervals this one uses a SSk and a K2tog consecutively at 4 fixed points with one row worked even between each decrease round.

This is the second version of the four point decrease. On this one I inserted a single knit stitch between the two decreases. I haven't washed and blocked this one yet so it's a little messy looking. I tried inserting the knit stitch to minimize the gap between the two decreases that I got on the first version. Still deciding if I like this one any better.

I've decided to start the decreases sooner on these hats when I use either of these decreases otherwise the hat is too long and comes too far down over the face. I saw a "store bought" version tonight that I liked, except for the really garish colors. It was done with ribbing from start to finish. I didn't get a good enough look to tell how the shaping was done. Probably just machine stitched. I'll have to see if I can get to the mall and see how they're done commercially.

Anyway that's the saga to date of the hat shaping.
Another Beanie off the needles last night. This time I used a slightly different decrease. I added a single knit stitch between the decreases on Joe's four point decrease. I'm still trying to decide if I makes a significant difference. In any event, I like this decrease a lot.

A very good day at Skein yesterday. Three of my new students came in to get started on new projects. One of them had finished her first sweater last Friday and over the weekend had completed another sweater for her second granddaughter in the same yarn and using the same pattern in a smaller size. Started the second student on her first sweater ever. She's using one of Berroco's new yarns, Nimbus, and one of their patterns. The gauge swatch looked really good. She's so excited, in spite of the razzing she's getting from some of her friends about taking up knitting. "What are you going to do when you get old?" She and another of my students knit at their sons' hockey practice.

The third student is so enthusiastic that she can't wait to start her first sweater. She bought the yarn yesterday plus yarn for the second sweater and ordered yarn for the third. She told me she's getting up an hour or so earlier so she can get her other work done so she has more of the day available for knitting. And she's actually getting a lot done. She's a lot of fun to be with and has a way of infecting others with her excitement.

Going to the dentist this morning but when I get home I will try to work some on the current in process stuff. At least until time to go bowling.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Finished another Beanie, this time using the decrease I got from Joe. It's still drying so no picture yet. I tried it on before I washed it and I really like the decrease. I discussed it with one of my knitterly friends who had checked out the image on Joe's blog. She also thought it looked better and was very impressed by the earflap hat. So I'm now decreasing on another hat and will use the same decrease but I will start the decrease a little sooner than before. I think the one that's still drying is a little too long.

Went to Joanne's for the first time in three weeks. She's been having some construction done and didn't want to have people over while her house was such a mess. It was nice to get together again. I started the socks I mentioned yesterday. So far so good. Didn't really make much progress as we spent a lot of time just chatting and catching up.

It rained today and is pretty cold, by our standards. So the orange Beanie is very handy.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Monday again! Probably my favorite day since it's my one day that I don't have to go anywhere or do anything. Not even laundry! So I usually spend most of the day online. I'm more likely to write comments or follow up on links on Monday. I have a couple of friends who complain that I'm "always on the computer" and they can't reach me. But neither of them have offered to fund DSL for me. So I've knitted most of a new London Beanie while I read the blogs and my email.

Sometimes I feel like I should be doing more challenging things. I think I've mentioned this before. But I really enjoy making hats and trying out random color combinations. As soon as I finish the current hat I'm starting another one in a different yarn at a different gauge.

I also remembered a pair of socks that I started a year or so ago. Think I'll see if I can find them and work on them for a while. I need to get Lisa's foot size so I'll know when to stop. These are from a kit that is put together by a friend. They're sold under the name Country Trunk and use a combination of Mountain Colors and Plymouth Galway. She also does mitten kits. Since I've been helping so many people with their socks I think I can muster the courage to make some myself.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Saturday and Sunday are pretty much alike as far as I'm concerned, except I don't spend as much time at Skein on Sunday. But pretty close. Seems like we always have someone come in just before closing on Sunday and we almost never turn anyone away, no matter what time it is. And then someone else comes in. I think we had as much business after closing today as we did during the posted hours. And it all works somehow. I had a student that needed just a few more minutes and she was in a panic that she wouldn't get to where she needed to be. So I didn't leave until almost an hour after we closed.

So I'm home and getting ready to work on the Easter vest. I'm also looking around for a baby sweater pattern to make for Nicholas, the new baby. I think I'd like to do something with lots of cables. Sounds like a Debbie Bliss. I do have some of her books so there should be something there. By the time I get it done we'll be past sweater weather so I guess I'll make a one year size.

I don't know what happened but I kept pushing buttons and trying different things and finally got my images to upload from my camera. Here's the latest London Beanie.

And the back view. I don't like the way the decreases gather and cause a sort of ruffled effect. I'm working on another one right now and thanks to Joe I have a new decrease to try. I think it will look a lot better. I should know in a couple of days.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

There was this faint buzzing sound and then nothing. Something has happened to my USB connection to my camera. We, Lisa and I, had just loaded some pics she took onto my computer. Then she took some pictures of me wearing my latest London Beanie. We tried to load the pictures and nothing would come up. The photo editing program seems to work but no images appear. So for the time being, no pictures.

From what I hear the adoption went okay and the new baby is home with his new parents. I have a baby blanket that I knit a year or so back that I need to get wrapped. Hope I get to see the baby soon. I'm wondering how the new parents are feeling after a couple of nights with a baby in the house.

I have two new students. They are recently retired school teachers and have been best friends since kindergarten. They were both born in Pasadena and have lived here all their lives. So far working with them has been especially nice. They both seem to appreciate my somewhat methodical approach to teaching knitting. And we're not doing scarves!

And then there's the other two new knitters I've been working with for the past week or so. They're so rhapsodic about knitting. They don't mind correcting mistakes and are so excited that they are learning how to do this. They've each planned enough projects to last them for the next six months. And purchased the yarn already.

Then there's my regular Friday afternoon doom and gloom knitter. This week was extra pitiful. Over and over with all the things that had gone wrong during the week and how that was making it hard for her to knit and couldn't I just do her bind off for her, etc. But she's a good customer so we put up with it. Although I did finally tell her she could choose to be happy if she wanted to. I think it went over her head.

Started a new shop sample. It's called "That Seventies Top" and uses a Meunch Yarn called Verikeri. There's not much to it except for the yarn which is a braided ribbon with gold metallic slubs every few inches. A little irritating to work because of the size 11 needles and the slinky nature of the yarn. I've only done about three inches of the six inch ribbing but people are suddenly discovering the yarn and we've sold a lot of it.