Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Not keeping up

I am so behind on just about everything. I couldn't even finish reading all my daily blogs today. And I didn't even sleep all that late. Well, maybe an hour.

I got sidetracked reading all about the new words that have been added to the dictionary, thanks Alison. Who knew that "Oy" was a new word? And there seemed to be a lot more pictures everywhere. Anyway, I was late.

After writing about my poncho project yesterday I had hopes of making lots of progress. I went looking for a 16" circular in a size 10.5US. Can't believe I don't have one somewhere. But where is the question. So I went to Michael's. They don't have any needles in a 10.5, circular or otherwise. So I came home and started my laundry.

I don't know about you but I hate it when someone else starts doing their laundry while I'm still doing mine. I try to be tolerant of other people's ways of doing things but this seems to be way stupid and rude. I think she got the message. Then I felt really bad because I had let myself get so angry. Then I went through a self-righteous phase. All in all I didn't feel like knitting. So I played Free Cell. Then I went back and finished my laundry and went out to dinner. So now I'm behind on my poncho. I did get three needles today at Skein, all size 10.5 in different lengths.

We're starting a knit night this week at Mendy's. I'm really happy she's going to do this. So far there are only five of us but that's enough to get started.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Stash to the rescue

What I think of as my stash is this huge mess of boxes of assorted sizes and kinds. Some Rubbermaid type things, some computer boxes as well as lots of odds and ends. Then there's the slippery stack of plastic freezer bags and other kinds of non-biodegradeable materials. Nothing is really categorized. It's all about keeping it as bug and dust free as I can until I get around to using it. I don't have a clear picture in my mind of what all I have.

I have Rubbermaid boxes, the really big ones, stacked in a corner of what is supposed to be the master bedroom. The stuff in there I haven't looked at in well over five years. Then in my bedroom there are shallower plastic boxes that Carol gave me that hold stuff I've bought in the past couple of years, sock yarn mostly. These boxes are up against the wall, on the not so visible side of the bed.

In the middle of the larger bedroom and running up the wall are boxes and boxes of assorted yarns of varying age and type. And in the living room, stacked discreetly in a corner are bags of yarn, most of which are projects I've started or at least swatched and hope to get to before this time next year. And there's a wicker chest full of yarn that was donated to me when Mariposa moved eight years ago. All unopened bags of yarn that had fallen behind the display shelves and no longer available.

So trying to find anything is a challenge. But I really needed to find something to make the poncho. I doubted that I had enough of anything to actually make the poncho but thought I might as well try to find something. So I had planned to just move everything out and start going through it. As luck would have it I didn't have to go very far.

On top of the first stack that I started to move was a sweater I had started two years ago and abandoned because it was going to be about a foot too wide. The yarn is perfect for the poncho and I have slightly more than the pattern calls for. Not only that, I have the same yarn in three different shades of brown. And I knew where the rest of the yarn was stored.

I got this yarn from Smiley's several years ago. They used to send a sample pack about every six weeks or so and this was one of the yarns. It's called Fjord, Icelandic style, 100% wool. I think it's a little like Lopi but a little denser. It was packaged by Spinrite.

So I have three different colors.

And here's where I am as of 11PM last night.

That's 72 stitches all crammed onto a size 10US, 16 inch needle. I have another 5 inches to go before I start the body. I decided to go with the lightest color because I think it's the most neutral, go with everything, color of the three.

So even though I have been spared having to go through my whole stash in search of suitable yarn I think the time has come to get really serious about getting organized. Who knows what else I may find.

Sunday, September 28, 2003


Nicholas is seven months old. And if you look carefully you can see he has some teeth now. He'll eat non-stop if you let him.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

I found it!

I used to see bumper stickers with "I found it." hailing the driver's discovery of religion. Don't panic. That's not the "it" I'm talking about. I found the pattern for the poncho I plan to knit.

I should say was planning. All these years I've remembered that poncho as being designed by Lily Chin. It's not. It's Joan Vass, a really clever designer who specializes in construction details for her best stuff. So, okay, I can live with that.

I also remembered it as using Donegal Tweed, which it does. But what I have is Donegal Tweed Homespun. Who knew they weren't the same thing? And it works on a size 13, not a size 9.

So I have nine hanks of Homespun all wound ready to become something else. I'm going to see if the regular Donegal Tweed is still available or if there's something I can substitute. A poncho takes a lot of yardage so I doubt if I have anything in my stash that will be enough. Sigh! I guess I'll just have to buy something.

I did find another pattern, free online, that I like. You can see it here. So I may do that one instead. Or I could just make it up. Afterall, it's just a sweater from the top down, with no sleeves.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Found and not found

Judy from Brown Sheep was at the shop when I got there yesterday. She's the rep that covers the West Coast as well as being the sales manager for Brown Sheep. What a lovely lady. I don't meet many people who actually live in Nebraska. If they're all like her it must be a great place to live.

One of the things I learned from Judy is that the Wildfoote sock yarn makes wonderful lace scarves. She had a sample made from just one skein of the handpaint sock yarn. Worked on a size 6 US needle. A simple lace border and garter stitch in the middle. When it's washed, the yarn blooms just enough to give it substance. Ann Mary ordered a few skeins of their new colors. I can hardly wait. I may just go ahead with some of the current colorways we have on hand.

I still haven't found the poncho pattern. I went through several stacks of Knitters, Vogue and Sandra magazine last night. I have lots more stacks to go. It was hard to stay focused because I kept seeing things I want to make. As if! I did find some other poncho patterns but they're not right for the Donegal Tweed.

My oldest Vogue Knitting is from Fall 1984. What were we thinking? But there are a few things that are still worthwhile. I forgot. I also looked at some old Interweave Knits. I think those can safely go in the recycle bin. And the old Knitters are much better than the current ones, if you're a conservative traditionalist like me.

I don't subscribe to any knitting magazines anymore. There are enough potential projects in the stacks I already have. I even found sock patterns. I used to just skip over them but since I started knitting socks earlier this year I always check out patterns whenever I come across them. So here's a whole resource I didn't even know I had. Hidden treasure!

Thursday, September 25, 2003

More of the same

Not much happening here. It is getting a little busier at Skein though. I spent a large chunk of time working with a new knitter yesterday. She's been taking an adult ed knitting class at her local high school. All she's learned so far is the knit stitch and yarn over. She's making an afghan that is garter stitch worked diagonally. When she asked the instructor to show her how to purl she was told to wait until she finished the afghan and then they'd just see.

She really wants to get on with it so she bought a how-to book and taught herself to purl. She came in yesterday to show me and to see if she'd understood the directions properly. Which she had. Then she showed me the afghan she wants to make. She's ambitious, that's for sure.

So we spent the next two hours with PSSO, K2tog and cables. It was so much fun to see all the lights coming on as she "got" each new technique. Strange that she had such a hard time with the RS vs WS idea. Probably because she's never made a garment. But I think she will be very successful. Wonder if she'll bother going back to her adult ed class.

I worked on my current socks for most of the day. I did have a few short sessions with several of our regular customers. Just quick clarification stuff.

Working six days is beginning to get to me. I don't feel like knitting when I get home in the evening. But I made myself wind the rest of the Donegal Tweed for the poncho last night plus two additional skeins in another color way that will be used for a scarf. So now all I have to do is find that pattern. I hope it's in one of the Knitters magazines but it could be in Vogue. Maybe I'll find something I like better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Yesterday I asked for cooler weather. And I got it. Along with some dark, gloomy skies. I guess I should have given more detail. But it's really a relief.

I've been putting off using some Tahki Donegal Tweed that I have. As in years of putting off. I bought this on the spur of the moment one day at La Knitterie Parisienne. I'd more or less meant to make a poncho from it someday. It was there on the shelf just waiting. I've just needed the right motivation. So I'm going to do my first knit-a-long. I started winding the hanks yesterday. So far the yarn looks to be moth free. I'll find the pattern I've been thinking about all these years and get started sometime this week. You can go here to see who all is joining in.

I had forgotten the real color of this yarn. Kept thinking it was dark brown. It's actually a burnt orange with flecks of blue, green and gray. How nice that tweed's the thing for this year. Even the color is right.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

A Fair day

So. I went to the LA County Fair yesterday. Did you know it's the largest county fair in the US and maybe Canada? Well, it's huge. My complementary parking pass allowed me to take a long walk across a wide expanse of nearly molten asphalt.

Once I got through the security check I met Lisa. She was sipping a beer that could not have still been cold by that time. It is still quite hot here even though Fall has landed. The entire Fairplex is paved with cement or asphalt. The buildings are marginally air conditioned.

We went first to the crafts exhibits. We went in the front door and I thought I was on the Home Shopping Channel, live. So many booths selling so much junk. Gadgets and stuff you'll wonder why you bought once you get it home. The crafts part has been relegated to the back end of the building along with a stage for the high school music groups. It was a serious job getting through all the vendors and strollers and unconscious visitors but we made it without being tempted once.

It's been years since I last went to the Fair. I don't remember the displays being so crowded. It was difficult to really see the items. There were some nice looking knitted and crocheted items. Lots of afghans! I didn't see anything that really excited me though. I think I was expecting to see some more or less experimental designs but so far as I could tell everything was knit from commercial patterns. All very safe and functional.

The quilts were pretty spectacular though. Lots and lots of wild colors and clever juxtapositions of fabrics. Didn't much care for the machine quilting that most of them favored. In my day this would not have been allowed.

In another building there was a living room that had been originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It had been duplicated from a 50s decorating magazine. Except they had to flop the room to fit the space. Not terribly exciting to me since I don't care all that much for FLW. There were several other really tacky rooms too. And you could get your picture taken on the actual stairway from the old Brady Bunch living room set.

There was a photography exhibit in the same building. Pretty neat I guess but I'm not a photography sort of person so I just looked at the stuff and let it not leave an impression on me. I was glad to go back outside where at least the air was stirring a little.

Then we went through the floral building. Lots of massive displays by floral and garden designers. We didn't spend much time there as the humidity was pretty high and things were all beginning to look alike.

The Education Expo, the project Lisa is in charge of, was huge. I forget the exact numbers but they didn't have enough room for all the submissions. This is where the high school students get to show off their art work, science projects and even their writing skills. There was photography here too. "Just too much teenage angst" in some of them, as Lisa pointed out. Disgusting to report but there had also been some pilfering done by visitors. I was really impressed with the scale of the exhibit and how well it all hung together. Of course, Lisa is brilliant.

After the Fair we went to Acapulco's and had some margaritas and a good catch-up visit. Turned over the latest pair of socks.

The drive home was a disaster. I've no idea what was wrong but traffic came to a near halt just after I got on the freeway. Took two hours to get home. It should have only taken half an hour. I was exhausted and just wanted to rest. So no knitting yesterday.

It's officially Fall. I hope someone notifies the person in charge of weather to start lowering the temperatures accordingly.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Make mine Monday

Umm. I love Monday. It's my one day completely away from Skein. Even though I enjoy my time at Skein I do like a little peace and uninterrupted quiet from time to time. I feel like a Downstairs character who only gets one day a week to enjoy life. And that's what I do on Mondays.

Today I'm having lunch with a friend from my pre-retirement days and then going to meet Lisa at the LA County Fair. I'm hoping she can spend the afternoon showing me around. She's responsible for the high school art section. And later we'll go to dinner, maybe Acapulco's for some of their cheap Monday night margaritas.

I'm feeling relieved this morning. I've been worried about the East Coast bloggers and have now heard from or read on their blogs that everyone made it through Isabel pretty much intact. Bess had a marvelous post about the experience.

Ann Mary stayed home on Saturday with a very bad allergy attack. So her husband came in to run the register and I took care of customer service. It was a long, slow day. Sunday was much better. Ann Mary was back and we had a lot of traffic. I spent the afternoon with four students, all of whom I enjoy working with.

I made a little progress on my sock project. I'm about 3/4ths done with the shawl, just the right front triangle to do tonight or tomorrow. Then I can wash it. I didn't realize how much grit had accumulated in this mohair. The second skein looks like a different color way. I'm hoping everything with clean up. Then I'll need to block it. There are no dimensions given so I'm not sure how to go about it. I guess I'll just stretch it as much as I can and pin it.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

It's axiomatic.

At Skein we almost always eat our lunch in the backroom. But occasionally, when it's deadly dull, Ann Mary will decide to have lunch "out front".

I've always maintained that that is a good way to get customers to come in. Happened again yesterday. All we have to do is start getting ready and someone will come in. Maybe we should try this throughout the day, especially when it's as quiet as it was yesterday.

Another rule of thumb is "when they do come they all come at once". This is generally true. We might have a few customers scattered throughout the day but the bulk of them all seem to come at one time.

Yesterday's bulk consisted of three people. No one for a couple of hours then these three all at the same time and then no one for another hour.

Do you get the idea that it was a long, slow day? Well, it was deader than the proverbial doornail. My eleven o'clock showed up at around five and only stayed a few minutes. She promised she'd be back on Sunday. I can hardly wait.

I did get about four inches done on a new sock. And am past the armhole on the back of my current shop project.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Jeudi gras

I never did go the the store closing sale at Forget Me Knot. I didn't need to. Look what Mendy brought me:

Six sets of DPNs plus enough sock yarn for seven pairs of socks. I'll probably use the Wildfoote for myself as it's conservative enough. The other colors are mostly going to be for Lisa and a pair for Mendy, if she'll tell me what size.

It was fine food day at Skein. A box of raspberry walnut rugula, a tin of chocolate cream filled pirouettes and a jar of Sunkist jellied candies, all from Mendy, and a box of the cutest cream cakes, from Vanille de Patisserie, supplied by Lina. (Lina is from Indonesia and has some horrifying stories about growing up Chinese in that culture.) These two ladies are rapidly becoming knitting mavens all on their own. They're both full of energy and good humor.

I had a new student yesterday. She already knew how to knit but needed some help with a Katia pattern she wanted to start. In their summer book there are a couple of patterns that have a diagonal hemline. You have to cast on additional stitches at the end of a purl row, before you turn the work, then turn the work and cast on additional stitches. This makes a more gradual line with only slightly noticeable steps. I had never done a cast on at the end of a row before turning the work. But I faked my way through it and think I figured it out. Making a reverse loop on the empty left hand needle is a little tricky. I ended up doing it on the right hand needle then transferring it to the left hand needle and then purling it. It's a lot easier to do than to write about. So now I can show Lina how to do it. She wants to make the other diagonal hemline sweater in the same book.

Time to get ready for Skein. Have an early appointment today so I'll be there in time for lunch. Yesterday we had turkey subs. Wonder what it'll be today. Maybe pizza. Or maybe chicken kabobs.

Thursday, September 18, 2003


Finally, a busy day at Skein! I had three students for most of the afternoon and met the customer for the pattern. That seemed to go okay. She brought me two old pattern books that she thought I would enjoy. One of them has a number of patterns worked condo style. Just some slight modifications in silhouette will make them au courant. I didn't have time to even take my knitting out. I did work a little on the new mohair shawl last night. That's about it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003


Yesterday was a little busier at Skein. Seemed like people just kept coming and going all day but nothing really big happened. It was tedious. I started a new project using a new faux metallic yarn from Berroco called Quest. The pattern is just two rectangles sewn together on the sides and shoulders. There's a slit opening in the front. So it's pretty mindless. The yarn is easy to knit although I find I split the yarn if I don't keep my eye on it. The pattern is from their new book My First Knitting Project (or something like that). I'd rather be knitting something a little more interesting but this is what Ann Mary says she needs right now.

I didn't do any knitting last night and haven't done any this morning. I stopped for dinner at Amigo's and read a little. I'm rereading The Birth of the Modern . I can't remember the author's name right now and the book is in my car. When I go to Amigo's they always find me a table with plenty of light so I can read. I came home and read my email and checked to see if I had any comments on my blog. Then I decided it was about time I responded to a wonderful email I received a few days ago. I'd been putting this off. So I spent a couple of hours writing about myself and my life. I had a lot of trepidation about sending it after I finished it. I'm glad I did.

So today I'm going in a little early to meet with a customer for whom I've written a pattern. (How formal is that?) She lives near the shop but can only come in when she has a doctor's appointment and has transportation provided by the County. She's not supposed to go anywhere but to the doctor's but manages to sneak in a few side trips. So I'm going to go through the pattern with her. She can always call me at the shop if she has any problems. Seems like a nice lady to whom life had not been all that kind.

I've looked at the new Knitty, finally. I haven't read it yet, just checked out the patterns. Sonnet is my favorite. And BPT (I think that's right) looks interesting. I like Rosedale well enough although it seems to be the big hit with most people. I'll have to study some more. Besides, I already have plenty of projects.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Are you now, or have you ever been

a sensible person? Well, not very often. Most of the time I'm pretty impulsive. I don't like being sensible. But sometimes I do the sensible thing. Like yesterday. I really wanted to go to the going out of business sale at Forget Me Knot but I also needed to stay home and take care of laundry and other sensible things. So I didn't go. I'm sure I missed out on some great deals and I missed a chance for some good eye candy.

So what did I do? I finished


Here's a detail.

And then I did a row of Crab Stitch on this top for Mendy.

And I started this mohair shawl.

This is some old, old yarn. Can't remember what it used to be but it's a color that Lisa likes. So I'm using a pattern from Nancie M. Wiseman's Knitted Shawls, Stoles and Scarves.

I'm not sure why my photos are so blurry. There's no sun here yet so I just took these indoors. Maybe next time.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Summer hot, summer not!

It's about time for me to harvest all these peppers. If I wait a few more days the peppers will all turn a brilliant red. They're pretty tasty and not too hot. Once in a while there's one that makes you notice.

This one's hotter. It's a little difficult to see the peppers but this plant is loaded.

Anyway, summer's about over. Just another week and we'll officially be in Fall. I'll still be able to wear this.

Crappy photo. Don't know why it's so dark and it looks like a stone carving. Here's a closer view:

Still not a very good photo. I'm using some Emu Cottons On Aran that I got at a weaving show several years ago. I like the yarn but there are several breaks in each skein so I'll have lots of ends to weave in when I'm done. This is the back. I'm about a third of the way through the front but have taken a couple of days off from knitting to see it that will help me get over the aches and pains I'm having in my hands and shoulders.

We decided not to go to the Knit Out in Santa Monica. Ann Mary was not well and took the day off on Saturday. I told her we should skip the Knit Out as she needed to take it easy. She did work on Sunday but you could tell she wasn't at her best. I haven't heard from anyone who went to the Knit Out so I don't know how successful it was. Anyone?

We finally got the Rowan and Jaeger yarn shipment. I've looked through the boxes but we don't have anything on the shelves as yet. I like the new Jaeger book that features their Natural Fleece and Fur. Some fun designs but probably way too heavy for our climate. Very theatrical! That might work around here.

Friday, September 12, 2003

O L D Syndrome

I once worked with a guy who told me he was suffering from O L D syndrome. Took a while for me to catch on. But I think I'm getting it in the worst way. My hands are aching and my neck feels stiff. Not sleeping like I did when I was young and innocent. Do you want to hear about the foot cramps? Maybe it's all because of my current project though. That heavy cotton is really a pain. Making some progress. But by the time I've done ten or twelve rows I have to stop for a while and exercise my hands.

I'm still trying to decide which of the sweaters in the Verena Knits for Men I will make. And I have some serious language problems. I can muddle my way through patterns written in French or Spanish but German is just not part of what I know anything about. But through the miracle of the Blogiverse I will be getting some help from Maus. What a neat lady! Now I just have to choose.

It's Knit Out this weekend in Santa Monica. Skein will not be having a table there this time but we may go over early and look around before opening the shop at 1 o'clock. They're upped the price from free to $250. I hear there is only one shop signed up to participate.

And now I hear there's another yarn shop closing. Forget Me Knot in Bellflower is closing after years and years. Carol told me they had been there for something like 35 years, not always under the same owners. Their going out of business sale starts this coming Monday. Not sure if I'll be going. They have pretty nice yarn, mostly mid price range. And they carry lots of crochet supplies, and needlepoint. Seems a strange time to go out of business though with knitting being so hot right now and the holidays coming up. Maybe I'll just go and say goodbye.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Another late post

I usually do my blog posts in the morning after I've worked my way through my daily reads, about two and a half hours. This morning, in addition to going to Skein early, there were so many posts that talked about the events of 9/11 that I was longer than usual in my reads.

What a day! How can I ever forget or even adjust to the new reality we all live with now. There's always the memory of how vulnerable we are no matter how hard the government may try. And then the memory of that day and the horror of the events and the changes wrought in so many lives. Lives of innocent people who were just going about their everyday business. Tomorrow is the opening day of the Los Angeles County Fair. My daughter, as part of her job, will be there with throngs of people. This frightens me no end. There is nothing to suggest there will be a problem but even so I pray for her safety even as I rely on the security system and the good will of all the others who will be there.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Hoisted on his own petard

I'm not exactly sure what that phrase means. I've always assumed it meant something like being caught up in one's own misdeeds or literally being stabbed by one's own knife or sword. Well, how about being hoisted on one's own dpn? Yesterday I managed to stab myself in the arm with one of my size 1 dpns. Just a fluky thing really. I was just about to start a new segment of my current sock project when somehow the needle flew out of my hand. The needle ended up perpendicular for just a brief moment, just long enough for my arm to catch the point up and just enough force from my arm to cause the needle to jamb into my arm. It was far enough in to be able to just hang there. No real damage, just a couple of drops of blood. Ann Mary said, "Now I can see why they don't let those things on airplanes." That may be overstating it but I was surprised at how easily the point went in, and the needle didn't break.

I did finish the back of the cotton sweater I'm making for myself but didn't cast on for the front. I'll probably do that next, before I get ready to go to Skein. The weather has changed radically from last week. Much cooler and no sunshine. Too gloomy for photos. Maybe later in the week.

It's still slow at the shop. I've been taking socks to work on between students and customers as they're easy to stop and start. Yesterday there was so little going on that I got really fidgety and didn't want to work on the sock anymore. This was before the injury. So I helped Ann Mary put out some of the new fall yarns. First we had to clear some space so we pulled a lot of the more obviously summer yarns and put them in plastic bags to hibernate until the spring. We filled that space with some S.R. Kertzer yarns, Fizz and Multi-Fizz and their railroad yarn Kitty. And some Sari ribbon. Looks nice and it'll give me something to push over the next few weeks. I really like the Fizz and Multi-Fizz. They're basically eyelash yarns but they have a bigger core strand and are thereby easier to knit with. The eyelash part has more body so the yarn knits up fluffier. Makes a great scarf but also works well as a trim.

Well, time to take another stab at my ribbing cast on.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Why I'm thinking of moving to Idaho

As I mentioned a few days ago, I live very near a community college. There are a lot of students and plenty of traffic in the area during the day. This much I can deal with and accept as part of living near a college. What I can't abide is the students' insolent, sauntering attitude that is exhibited as they cross the street to any one of the fast food places across the street. And starting their walk after the light has already turned yellow.

Yesterday I had to go out for a little while to do some errands. Should not have taken more than an hour. So I wait my turn through two signals worth of sauntering students. First stop, the post office. No parking available. Just one driver trying to parallel park. Oy! Okay, I'll come back later or just drop my stuff in an on-street box. So on to the market.

Plenty of parking at the market. But they don't have any reduced fat cheese. I can live with that. Shouldn't have it anyway. I bought some frozen entrees. I never buy those things but these were on sale and would be handy for when I really want something warm but don't want to cook. Not enough cashiers for the size of the crowd but I get out of there, finally. Back to the post office. No parking. So I find a box and drop off my envelopes. On to the bank.

No parking. Drive around the block, dealing with construction vehicles and workers. Still no parking. Okay. I'll just drive to another branch on the other side of town. Have to drive through the sauntering students again. Get to the bank and there are people driving the wrong way, clearly marked by the way, and blocking people trying to exit, the right way. Find a place to park. Notice all the handicapped parking is occupied by cars not bearing appropriate plates or tags. But I don't have to wait at the ATM. Things are looking up. Try to back out but the drive is blocked by someone turning around so they can exit the wrong way. Finally. I'm on my way home.

I get to my street. It's blocked by a police vehicle. I look up the street and see four firetrucks plus miscellaneous emergency vehicles. So I'll just drive around the block and come in from the other end. It's also blocked. I talk to the officer who is sweating profusely in his heavy uniform. (It's only 82 degrees, for crying out loud!) He says it'll be another five minutes or so. I decide to go to Rite Aid where I only nearly got run over by a lady talking on her cell phone. I kill about 15 minutes there, just for a little margin.

My street is still blocked. So I figure I'll go buy some gas. Being a good and considerate citizen I drive forward as instructed by their sign. That pump won't accept ATM cards at the moment. Drive to another pump and pay $2.11 a gallon for regular. It's still hot outside and I'm getting a little concerned about my frozen entrees.

I drive back through the sauntering students and drive up to the other end of my street and wait for another 15 minutes. People are entering the street while the officer is explaining to other drivers that they can't get in. People are exiting the street. Finally, he gets on his motorcycle and leaves. So I figure everything is okay.

Well, I do manage to get home and park after squeezing past all the emergency vehicles and an on-coming police car. I put my groceries away. The entrees seem to be okay. There's still plenty of activity across the street. This goes on for another hour before all the trucks are gone. There are still people milling about. I've been gone for over two hours. And I never did find out what the commotion was all about.

My brother lives in Northern Idaho. He took me for a drive during rush hour. There were about five cars on the highway. He was so smug! But then he lives near the Aryan Nation stronghold. There are no sauntering students, however.

I did spend a few hours knitting last night. I'm working on a cotton sweater for myself. I have about 10 rows to go on the back but had to stop because my arms and shoulders were starting to ache. I'm going to try to finish tonight and cast on for the front. I'm going to saunter through two and a half inches of K2P2 ribbing.

Monday, September 08, 2003


I taught two people to purl yesterday. Why is this a big deal?

One of my students was taught the knit stitch at another shop and has been contently making her scarves, row after row of the same stitch. Now her son wants a "Harry Potter" scarf but he doesn't want the bumpy look of garter stitch. She didn't want to work in the round so had to bite the bullet and learn to purl. (See, Hannah, it can be done.)

While she was practicing her new found skills another lady arrived who wanted to learn to knit. She had already tried to teach herself but the beginner's book she had didn't really deal with the how to knit part. So I cast on for her and showed her how to do the knit stitch. After an hour or so I showed her how to purl. And then how to cast on and off. Student number one was so impressed. "You've already learned the purl stitch!"

I almost always teach the knit and purl stitch in the first session, time permitting. I don't see any benefit in postponing the purl stitch. I think it's much easier to do than the knit stitch anyway. And it opens up so many more options than just knowing the knit stitch. There are some people that I can't do this with but most of the time it's no problem at all.

Anyway, that's my Knitting 101.

Saturday, September 06, 2003


Lisa came over last night and tried on the Interlacements top. It fits. I still think the armholes are a little low but she seemed okay with them so all I have to do now is a row of single crochet and it will be done. I noticed when I was doing the three needle bind off that the needles I've been using have turned a nice russet color. Hmmm. Guess I'll need to add some vinegar to the rinse. Wonder how much and what kind to use.

Blogger was down this morning so I couldn't open any of the blogspot blogs. Cut my reading time in half, at least. And I couldn't post. So it's Saturday night and I'm just about to go out to dinner. Still too hot to think about cooking. When I get home I'm going to study the new pattern magazine I got in the mail yesterday, Verena Knits for Men. I looked through it quickly and I don't think there's anything I can make as is. All the sweaters are very heavy and have massive turtlenecks. Not at all the kind of thing we need in Southern California. But the patterns are good looking and I can maybe revamp them. And it's all in German.

Skein was a little busy first thing this morning but the rush died down before lunch. The afternoon was pretty quiet. But Renee came in with Nicholas and I played with him for a while. I'll have to see if she can send me an updated photo. He's just the best!

Friday, September 05, 2003

Nearly done

Sewn up, ends woven in, just need to crochet the armholes and block it.

And a little closer view.

I used a Berroco pattern that worked to the same gauge that my yarn gave me so I didn't have to make any changes. I used two strands of yarn. One strand is embroidery floss and the second strand is a furry cotton yarn called El Paso that I got from Interlacements Yarns. I like the striated look. The cable shows up better IRL. I'm waiting for Lisa to try it on before I do the last bits. The armholes look like they might be a little deep. If that's the case I'll add some ribbing instead of the row of single crochet the patters calls for.

Another quiet day at Skein. After the crowd on Wednesday it seemed unreal. I spent most of the afternoon doing some finishing and knitting a few rows on the current sock project.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Less than perfect, but okay

In a more perfect world all the gardeners and trash pick up trucks would come on the same day. Instead we get some each day. And the neighbor's dog is trying his best to scare them all away. Oy!

But anyway. Yesterday I had six students. All at the same time. Four of them just needed a little attention now and again but two of them were brand new. A mother and daughter team. The daughter is a crocheter and that seemed to be giving her some problems. The mother remembers knitting with her grandmother when she (the mother not the grandmother) was a little girl. She had far fewer problems. I think they both did well and we covered a lot more stuff than I usually do in a first lesson. They had some extra time so stayed about an hour longer than originally planned.

I didn't get to spend as much time with Mendy as I would have liked. She brought three, or was it four, projects that she's working on. I'm going to do the finishing for her on one of them, crocheting the edges and seams. She'll be back later in the week for another demo of cabling. Just not enough time yesterday to really get into it.

I made a swatch last night using the Stop Monnalisa yarn. Not happy at all with it. The yarn is very crunchy and non-giving. You know how when you switch from knit to purl for ribs or cables you get those loose stitches on the last knit stitch? Well, it's really pronounced in this yarn and it looks like a column of holes. I'm going to keep working on the swatch and see if I can develop some technique for dealing with this. So far it works best if I just ignore it and keep my tension loose instead of trying to draw the stitches tighter. I do like the knit stitch surface though so I can always make just a plain sweater. It'll look good when it's done, even if it is boring to knit.

Have you seen The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville. We only got three copies and they're already gone. I thought the first book, The Knit Stitch, was worthwhile but this one is even better. Lots of good technical stuff and some pretty good patterns. I hope Ann Mary follows through and orders some more copies right away.

Comments are still down but they should be back over the weekend. Thanks, Teresa , for the update.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

School's open!

I live less than a minute from a community college. I can see it from my balcony. I always forget about the traffic chaos that ensues when classes resume. I don't know if it's inadequate parking facilities or cheap drivers but on- street parking is at a premium, especially on my street. There's a one hour parking limit to try to control this but most folks just ignore it. The Pasadena Traffic Control people come by once in a while and hand out a few citations but that doesn't seem to have much effect. Anyway, one of the fun things about this is watching people try to parallel park. I have a good view from my kitchen window. Some people are pretty skilled while others will struggle for five minutes and still end up two feet from the curb. I watched one yesterday who couldn't manage even with two car lengths to work with. (Hey! you get your diversions where you can.) All this extra street activity makes getting out of my driveway a little risky. I have nothing against SUVs per se but they do block the view.

First day of the new schedule at Skein wasn't too bad. It was a little busy but not crazy. No students, though. But I was really tired when I got home so no knitting. I'm stuck between needing to finish some things and wanting to start some new ones. Neither is happening.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Foiled again!

I tried, I really tried, but just couldn't get the Interlacements top finished. I have to stitch the side seams and they're giving me fits. The yarn is fuzzy and it's reverse stockinette so I'm having trouble finding where to stitch. I'm thinking I'll just back stitch them after having ripped the first few attempts at mattress stitching.

Gotta go. I'm starting my new schedule at Skein today so don't have all morning to mess around. Plants need a drink before I take off and I need to find a project to work on, unless I just take the boring socks.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Rabbit! Rabbit!

Welcome, September!

I don't remember ever wanting it to be September so much as I have this year. It's been a long, hot summer (was that a movie title?) and even though it's cooled a little we still have a few more weeks of really warm weather it's starting to feel like fall. And it's still dark when I get up in the morning. And knitting starts to be even more appealing.

Well, I hope so anyway. We had absolutely no business at Skein yesterday. I did have some company though. Three of our regulars came for the afternoon. We're only open for three hours on Sunday. Spent part of the time figuring out a problem with one of the patterns in Rowan's Tadpoles and Toddlers, that may not be the exact title. One set of bind offs was missing. New knitters have a hard enough time without pattern errors. It took some doing to convince her but after actually doing the work she was able to see what the error was. Not sure if she actually followed all the steps I went through to figure out where the error was.

Do you work both shoulders at the same time or do you do them separately? This issue has come up several times this past week. I generally work them separately. I don't like the "attach a new ball and bind off the center stitches" approach. I find it leaves a gap at the beginning of the bind off that is difficult to conceal when adding the neckline finish. So I usually continue with the same ball and work across the center stitches, binding off as I go. Then I work the left shoulder. Then I work the right shoulder, reattaching the yarn on the wrong side. Again, I think it's more of an issue for new knitters than for those who have absorbed the shoulder/neckline shaping concept. Rowan patterns tend to have you work the shoulders separately while Jaeger patterns have you work them at the same time. Since they're essentially the same company I wonder why they don't so them the same. Guess it's really not important though.

Had a Labor Day dinner with my friend Robert last night. Grilled steaks with a couple of salads and fresh apricot cheese cake. And some home made pickled jalapeno peppers. Now I know what to do with my burgeoning crop. Anyway, the sweater I was planning for Robert will definitely not be big enough. So I guess I'll get that one and figure out something else, much larger, for him. I'd better get started soon. The next four months are going to be busy!

Ann Mary asked me if I could come in earlier a couple of days a week, probably Tuesdays and Thursdays. It's not actually a problem since I'm already going to be there anyway but it will mean I have to get myself together a little sooner in the morning.

I really ought to be doing laundry but I think I'll celebrate by going to Border's and maybe see what's on sale at Macy's while I'm in the area. And sometime today I will finish the Interlacements top. Just the neckline shaping to do and then sew it together. Finished the boring ribbing on the second sock and now I'm into the boring leg. Almost forgot. I have to block the Christmas stocking so while I have the ironing board set up I'll probably iron a couple of shirts. Such an exciting life!