Friday, December 31, 2004

Year End!

Chez knitdad is all set for the big celebration. I've put a box of tissue on every table and I have sturdy Trader Joe's paper bags next to any chair that I might be sitting in. I'll be able to just drop those soggy used tissues right in the bag and not have to get up and gather them all together every half hour or so. I'm glad I stocked up on tissue the last time I went to the market. I'll stop for some Sudafed replenishment on my way to Skein. It's going to be another wild night. Sneeze! Cough! Cough! Patrick hates it when I disturb his nap so I'm trying to keep it down.

I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions and this year is no exception. I'm always resolving to do something or other and it doesn't last much beyond the next day. My on-going resolve to finish some of my knitting projects is a joke. I know I'll start another project before I finish something so I don't really bother anymore. I just get some more plastic bags and add 'em to the on hold pile. I buy some more needles and start another project.

My street is beginning to fill with RVs and motor homes. Optimists here for the big parade tomorrow morning. I heard on the news this morning that the Rose Parade will procede even if it is raining. A couple of ladies told me yesterday that it was their duty to sit out there and watch the parade. "If the kids are marching we owe it them to be there." Not sure I follow the logic here. I did hear the bands practicing yesterday. That was fun in a sentimental sort of way. I also get to hear the Marines once a month when they do their weekend thing. There'll be a crappy rock band performing in the Carl's Jr. parking lot tonight. And there'll be long lines at the portapotties. It's just going to be a blast. Well, except for the rain part.

But, Happy New Year, one and all. I'm going to see what I have in my stash that will be good for tonight's celebration.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Not raining now but later!

You have been warned. If you're going to the Rose Parade, take an umbrella. Who knows? It hasn't rained on the Rose Parade in many, many years but this could be it.

My New Year's Eve plans are winding up or down, depending on your point of view. I was supposed to go away overnight to avoid the noise and chaos that the Rose Parade brings. I decided to stay home and keep Pat the Cat company. He gets very disturbed if I'm gone for too long and it takes several days for him to calm down. No. He's not just a cat. He's my cat!

Another weirdo day at Skein. There are lots of out-of-towners so maybe that's it. The Gnome was back again today as was the lady who comes and looks at yarn patterns for hours at a time. I imagine they're harmless but it's unsettling just the same.

We're closing at four tomorrow so that Ann Mary can get home before all the streets are blocked. Then I have another three day weekend. I worked on my scarf project today and didn't have any wrist pain. So I guess the rest was a help. Going to Mendy's tonight for the regular Thursday night group. I'm testing a new scarf pattern so I'll take that as well as my multi-directional scarf.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

It's still raining.

Just as I predicted it was very busy yesterday at Skein. I spent the entire day with brand new knitters. While I think it's important that people learn to knit, and I really try to make the process easy, it's a bit of a drain when there a six all at one time, or practically so. It always amazes me that some people grasp it so easily while others take hours to get comfortable with just the knit stitch.

I tried to get some more done on the shop sample that I've had on needles for a couple of months now. I was only able to do a partial row due to the number of students. I think it's helping my wrists though to not knit for a while. If I don't have to work tonight I will probably knit for an hour or so tonight and see how it goes.

I'm pretty sure that was a gnome we had in the shop yesterday, or a left over from a Renaissance Faire.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The dark after the dark

Absolutely inclement weather has been predicted for most of this week. And this time "they" got it right. It would be nearly impossible to tell the time of day without a clock. It's only slightly lighter now than it was at six this morning. It's been raining since late yesterday, not torrential, just fairly constant. There's quite a bit of wind as well so that my favorite palm trees are bent out over the middle of the street. And this is supposedly only the beginning. Looking at the predictions for the rest of the week, rain is forecast for New Year's Day. Wonder what will happen to the Rose Parade.

Yarn shopping went extremely well. We only went to one shop. It's took dark to get decent pictures today. I got enough of the Lana Grossa Colore for a couple of scarves and two hanks of Interlacements Oregon.

It's back to Skein today after three wonderful days off. Tuesdays are usually very busy and when it rains it's always busy. So since we have both of those things today it could be wild. If not, I have a couple of lingering projects to work on.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Man does not live by cookies alone.

And I'm trying not to either. I haven't opened any of the candy and cookie packages. But I do have one plate that was presented with only some flimsy plastic wrap. That has been my downfall. But for the first time ever I've been sensible and careful. Not much fun actually but I don't have to spend the next month trying to get rid of the extra pounds. Those cookies and candies are going to Skein to be shared with those less self-righteous than moi.

Here I am, holding aloft my new swift. I spent Christmas morning with Lisa and her mom at their house. They have a large dog. I'm wearing a paper crown that I got in my Christmas morning cracker. On the wall is a pastel drawing that I did about twenty five years ago. Well, I've been wanting a wooden swift so Lisa told her mom and lo! and behold! There were lots of other good things. Knitting books and more knitting books. And a new garden hose that doesn't fit the faucet so it's going back.

Today is yarn shopping day. A Stitch in Time is still having their 30% off on knitting yarn sale, through the end of the month. I got a super-generous package of cash from on of my students. This is a perfect match. I'm going to buy some more Lana Grosso Colore. I used it for a couple of hats and I like it, even if I can't do much knitting right now, due to a sore wrist that I'm letting rest for a day or so.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

It's a beautiful day here. Not exactly warm but kinda. Although I hear it's supposed to change next week.

My Christmas has been fabulous so far. The socks, scarves and hats were especially well received. And everything else as well. I got a new swift, one of the big wooden kind, plus some knitting books I've been wanting. And lots of other stuff that I had on my list.

I ran out of blogging time this morning so I'll try to catch up with everyone tomorrow.

Friday, December 24, 2004

What have I forgotten?

It doesn't seem possible that I'm ready but I can't think of anything that I've forgotten. Hat number four is still drying and hat number five is started. I'm going to spend the rest of Christmas Eve working on that. And it doesn't matter if I fall asleep or not. I was surprised by how much knitting I had already done so one more hat isn't going to make or break me.

The yarn I started to use for hat number five seems to have been attacked by moths. I'll have to check the rest of it to see if I'm right. It might just be that it was damaged from when I knit it originally, but I don't think so. So I got a couple of skeins of Berroco Duo today and worked on it while I was at Skein. If there's time in the morning I'll get a picture of all the hats. Wait! I cant' do that. They're all wrapped except the one I'm working on.

So it's Christmas once again. Maybe next year will be the one where I get everything done ahead of time. I suspect that won't be the case. What would Christmas be like without the last minute press? But for now I can relax and enjoy an evening of holiday music and knit just for the fun of it.

I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

One more day

All I have left to do is wrap the packages. Everything arrived today. One day early. The schedule calls for wrapping tomorrow night. I didn't quite finish the fourth hat because I made a mistake that required ripping about half way back. If I stay up a little late I can finish tonight and start number five tomorrow morning. So maybe.

We had a small birthday party tonight. One of the Thursday night group has a birthday on Christmas day. The blue scarf I made a few weeks ago was for her and she seemed really pleased with it. And we had carrot cake. Plus one of the apple breads. It was a big hit. I'll have to try that recipe again.

I got a couple of new knitting books today from I'll have to wait a few days before I can talk about them. Maybe I'll have time to read them on Sunday or Monday. Skein will be closed for three days. I'm really ready for that.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It's so relaxing!

It's true. It's late and I'm just finding the time to post. But things are getting done so I beginning to relax a bit. I've finished three hats and have started the fourth so I may make it with all five by Christmas morning. The one I'm working on now is from yarn I bought in Taos seventeen or eighteen years ago. It's going to need a wash so I'll probably do that tomorrow night at about this time. The wool is very dense so it may not dry completely. I'm not sure what fiber I will use for the last one but probably the same wool in another color.

I've also finished the baking. The sherry date nut bread got a little dark around the edges before it was done. And I took the apple bread out of the pan too soon so it cracked a little. I'll just have to be careful how I lift it when I wrap it. I found a recipe for spicy pumpkin bread that didn't call for any walnuts or pecans so that is going to those picky eaters who don't know what they're missing.

I'm still waiting for a couple of things that I ordered. What? Me worry? I was promised delivery so I'm assuming it will happen. Relax!

It was very quiet this morning at Skein which was good in a way. There was one yarn rep presenting the spring lines from her company. So since it was slow Ann Mary got to spend plenty of time making her choices. Then around noon it started. An almost constant stream of people including seven students. We have a few new yarns on the shelves but we also have lots of sold out or nearly sold out items. So there are some challenges in putting together those last minute scarves. But the kids are out of school so we've had several pre-teens in who have taken to knitting. One nine year old told one of my older students today how relaxing she found knitting. I don't know if she really does or if she just thought that was the grown-up thing to say. This particular student is having some problems conceptualizing so she found it amusing and kept saying to me all day, "It's so relaxing!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

PC shopping

Yesterday I went shopping. I still can't believe my good fortune. I found a parking space immediately at all three places I stopped. And while at Trader Joe's I found the inspiration I needed for a couple of people on my hard to buy for list.

One of the places I shopped was Macy's. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to go there. A few days ago Ann Mary mentioned that she had heard that some stores were encouraging their employees to say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy holidays", the latter being considered more PC than the former. I hadn't heard about this but there were some links this morning on Andrew Sullivan's blog. At any rate the boycott is either working or business is just down overall. There were not many people shopping. It took a little while to find what I was looking for, and a little while longer to get rung up. The woman who helped me took political correctness to a new level. She didn't wish me anything. Barely a thank you. Anyway, now Ann Mary is saying "Merry Christmas" all the time. I've been say "Enjoy your holiday" for so long that I'm having a hard time switching back.

I went to the 99cent store around six in the evening figuring it would be less busy then than later. I even found parking right away. And it wasn't busy, not like it is in the middle of the day. They had one area set aside for just sorting out stuff that people either decided not to buy or had left scattered around the store. Like cucumbers in the middle of the house cleaning supplies. This store is the best place I know of to get gift bags. Since I'll be wrapping on Christmas Eve I figured these were the best solution. I haven't received any of the stuff I ordered online yet. If it gets here at all I won't have time to wrap until then. Somebody remind me to start earlier next year.

There was a minimum of knitting yesterday. I finished another Canadian Hat and started the third one. I'd like to do two more. We'll see.

Monday, December 20, 2004


It seems I'm doing a lot of waiting right now. I'm waiting for the stuff I ordered online to arrive so I'm also waiting to wrap everything. And I'm waiting for some inspiration as to what to get for a couple of friends who fall in the impossible to buy for category. And I'm waiting to get to the market to get some more eggs and toothpicks. I've had the same box of toothpicks for over fifteen years but have finally reached the bottom. I only use them for baking so that will give you some idea of how often I bake.

And I'm waiting for my wrists to quit aching quite so much. I've been making hats using bulky weight yarn on size 8US needles.

(Patrick is waiting too. He doesn't like it when I don't drop what I'm doing and come and play. So he's also sulking while he waits.)

Anyway, working with the heavy yarn on comparatively small needles has really done a number on my wrists and my left thumb. I didn't do much knitting yesterday and won't be doing much today so that should help. I'm waiting to find out.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


are proof that God loves us and just wants us to relax.

What a day. Well, actually the whole week. Lots and lots of last minute scarf knitters with dropped stitches and those needing to learn how to bind off. If everyone who said they were coming back for lessons after Christmas actually does come back I'm going to be very busy. Somehow I think they were just saying that so I'd feel good. Cynicism forbids me.

But I've made lots of progress on my Christmas shopping thanks to the good folks at Amazon and Overstock. And I still have Monday to finish up.

I got another set of size 8US double points today so I could finish the second hat. The first hat is still on the needles but I need some more yarn which I'll get tomorrow or Monday. I bought the second set because I wanted to try them. They're from Bryson and are plastic but they have that wonderful point that Bryson uses on their straight needles that are so good for lace knitting. They have a sort of bulbous tip. I'm going to try them just as soon as this margarita wears off.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Holiday goodies!

We've been having chocolate chip cookies (Almond Roca) and madelines and some persimmon bread. And tonight we had Renee's birthday cake. Grand marnier with white chocolate shavings and some other kind of chocolate chip cookies. All with coffee. I'll be fine so long as the antacid tablets last.

I'm almost out of the wine I got for Christmas last year. Yeah, I got a lot. I'm looking forward to this year's crop. If anyone asks, I only drink red wines. And I'm not fussy. So long as it's red.

I almost finished the first of the gift hats. Ran out of yarn about seven rows before the final decrease. Guess I'll have to go back to the yarn shop. Oh darn. I did get a different yarn at Skein for the second one. I need 114 yards per hat. The bulky yarns seem to average around 50 yards so I'm buying three per hat. These hats are not cheap. But they do go fast, once you find your needles. I may have a photo in a day or so.

I delivered the black cabled scarf to Mendy tonight. She's going to do the washing and drying. I'm pleased that she liked it a lot. I need to write up the pattern before I forget the details. And maybe make another one in a lighter color so I can get a better photo.

In other knitting news. The new Gedifra magazine is out. I bought a copy mostly for archival purposes. There are plenty of spectacular sweaters and stuff. If you're super skinny and have lots of money to spend. Maybe it's just me but I'm not likely to spend $270 for the yarn for a sweater that's good for maybe half a season. That'd buy a lot of sock yarn.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Some progress

I couldn't connect this morning. Me and a lot of the rest of Los Angeles and surrounding areas. So I guess I shouldn't take it personally. But it sure tweaked my day. So I'm home later than usual trying to catch up on everyone's doings. Here's the one I've been waiting for: Rachael's marathon post. It's exciting, heartwarming and just makes me feel good.

Since I couldn't dawdle over the blogs this morning I decided I'd better get those scarves washed and dryed. Yeah. The ones I was going to do last week. I don't really have a large enough space to block a seven foot scarf so I just figured I'd lay it out on the bed. Who knew that a cat would be so attracted to wet mohair? With the whole bed to choose from Patrick decided the only place that was just right was on top of the two wet scarves. I was dreading coming home. But he apparently got the idea, after a couple of thumps on the rump, that he didn't really need to sleep there after all. So all is well and the scarves are ready for wrapping.

It was only moderately busy at Skein today. That is until I was ready to leave at four. I stayed until six and then stopped by Amigos for dinner. Before I thought about it I was having a margarita. And it was good. Now I have to see if I can find some size 8US dpns so I can finish the Canadian Hat from Sally Melville's The Purl Stitch. And start another one. There will be knitted gifts for everyone or my hands will cramp trying.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

One down

The black cabled scarf is done. Right now it's just a long mass of gnarled ribs that you couldn't figure out even if I could get a decent picture. The Plymouth Yarn rep assures me that I can put it in the washer and dryer and it will relax and flatten out. Here's hoping.

One gift has been purchased and is on it's way. The other gift I was planning to buy had already been sold out. So I guess I'm starting a little too late. Back to the list making. I got some chunky yarn yesterday to make a couple of hats. I don't have much of this weight in my stash. Right now I don't have time to go through my stash looking for something that would work.

When I went to Needle in a Haystack yesterday the owner said, "Oh, it must be Monday!" It's nice to be recognized.

Monday, December 13, 2004


That's how much shopping I've done. I really need to get started. Maybe later today. I'm going to go pay my phone bill in person. I forgot it and now it's due. How did it get to be the 13th already? I was going to pay it online but it was just too complicated for something so simple. So I'll take the drive up to Altadena. Haven't been there in years. It might be interesting. It's a gorgeous day anyway.

I'm almost done with the black cable scarf. I think I'll stop at a little over four feet, maybe five. I'm going to have a lot of yarn left over. I'm using Encore. I thought about making a hat but I don't think Encore is good for hats. It get's too soft once it's washed. But it's great for scarves.

The latest multi-directional diagonal scarf is also progressing. I have a few other projects that need to be finished for gifts so, since the MD scarf is for me, I'm not focusing on it so much.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The stoned cat

Patrick has a bit of a hangover today. Too much catnip. Usually he doesn't react much to catnip.

Last night he was really pestering me to come and play. I just wanted to knit. So I put a lot of catnip in his cardboard box, the one he likes to sleep in sometimes. I buried it under the blanket, thinking it would just be a little aromatic and enough to calm him down. He dug under the blanket, rolled and flopped around in the catnip for about half an hour and finally went to sleep. It was nice to have him quiet but I feel a little guilty about drugging him. And he got a little aggressive with the brush when I tried to fluff him up later on.

I did manage to get to the halfway point on the black cabled scarf, however.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Cat soccer

Just as I predicted. No knitting last night. But lots of fun watching Patrick play soccer. I'll be knitting tonight. I'm way behind.

Friday, December 10, 2004

New glasses

The new eyeglasses are just swell. Except they keep slipping down a little more than I can stand. I need to stop back and have them re-tightened. Tri-focals, I've worn them for years now, are more challenging than bi-focals. It usually takes some trial and error before everything is back to normal, i.e., I don't have to think about it.

I finally got around to buying "Transitions", a booklet of patterns using Araucania Nature Wool with designs by Conelia Tuttle Hamilton. There's a large, holey scarf in it that I have been wanting to make ever since I saw it. I want to use the exact color, a sort of wheat color, but Skein doesn't have it. Neither does Unraveled. I may ask Ann Mary to order it for me. Or I may just use another color, depending on how much pressure I feel to get started. When I didn't find the yarn at Unraveled I bought this skein of Bearfoot, just because I was there and couldn't go away empty handed. Does this really work well for socks?

I got two more skeins of the Kureyon #116 for the MD scarf. Thanks, Mendy. I'm just about to add the third skein of six. And I'm maybe a third of the way through the black cabled scarf. There won't be much, if any, knitting tonight. Lisa is coming over for dinner. Which reminds me. I'd better at least go make the bed.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

But I don't wanna go!

It's one of those days when I just really want to stay home and start a bunch of new projects. I don't wanna go to Skein! The pressure to start a new pair of socks, made with two strands of worsted weight, is really building up. But I really have to go to Skein.

I had the busiest day-of-the-month-so-far yesterday. But it took the whole day. I stayed until eight last night to cover the evening class. The regular teacher was out of town again. She must have told her students last week that she wasn't going to be there because none of them showed up. But I did have a couple of brand new people plus two people that I've taught before during my daytime hours. During the day I taught two male knitters. One brand is a brand new knitter and he got it right away. The other guy is a fairly regular student who is trying to learn all the terms and techniques. And then there was the grandmother with twenty, soon to be twenty one, grandkids. And she's a quilter as well. She makes quilts for all her family, including the eleven children, at least once a year plus a sweater for each of the grandkids. And she doesn't even look the least bit tired.

Anyway, I'm going to Skein even if I don't want to. I'll work some more on the new Kureyon MD scarf. I'm about half way through the second skein. I didn't get much done on the black cabled scarf last night as it was almost nine when I got home. Played with Patrick for about half an hour and had dinner. Too tired to see. But I'm stopping at the eyeglasses place on the way to Skein to pick up the new specs. I'll either be falling down stairs or seeing through walls later today.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Holiday decor

The return of the Christmas Cactus. My sister sent me this last year and it was just beautiful. I'm surprised that it knows that it's time to bloom again. It's been outside on my balcony since last Christmas. Now it will come in again and be my Christmas tree. Unless Pat the Cat decides to nibble on it.

Satisfying progress was made on both of the new scarves yesterday. It seems though that I have misplaced a stitch on the Kureyon Multi-directional scarf. Or maybe I miscounted originally. It's not worth ripping though. I told a customer yesterday that it was okay to just work an unwanted stitch together with another stitch to get rid of it. Another customer overheard me and said, "The professional!" I'm not sure what she meant. I tend to follow Meg Swansen's advice. It's okay to fudge your knitting when you need to, so long as you know that's what you're doing and that it's not going to result in some disaster later on.

Since I was already outside to take a picture of the Christmas Cactus I decided to get one of my lemon tree.

These are the first lemons to make it this far. They're just barely turning yellow. I don't know how to tell when a lemon is ready to pick. I'm pretty sure these are not.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Black is the new

well, black. For those of us who have lived through "Red is the new Black" or purple is, or pink is, it's nice to see black making a comeback. I like black. I look good in black. I can barely see when I knit with black. Especially when I'm cabling without a cable needle.

This is the scarf I'm making for Mendy's Robert. The original photo is a lot easier to see than this electronically mutilated verion. It's a fun, easy to knit sequence of ribbing and cables that Mendy swears he will love. The best part of making a scarf for a man is how much shorter it can be.

Even Noro, famous for their wild color choices, has come up with a black-ish version in Kureyon, Color 116. I found this at Unraveled yesterday.

It's really a lot darker and the black, which looks kinda charcoal here, is very black. Flash isn't always a good thing. I think I'm going to need a couple more skeins so I'll have to go back. Which is a good thing.

I went there, Unraveled, yesterday. Without going into details, let me just say they have excellent customer service. They have put out more yarns and rearranged things a little.

The knitting lunch yesterday was a big success. Renee made Jamaican Pumpkin Soup. Spicy and full of good things including Scotch bonnet pepper. I got the fringing done on the two scarves, as planned. If this sudden, unexplained surge of domesticity continues I'll probably get them washed and blocked tonight.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Make it happen

I have finished the blue scarf and started the black one. I still have to fringe the blue scarf and the pink one I finished last week. I'll do that today while I'm at Renee's for our first ever knitting and lunch get together.

We're trying to find more time for knitting. This will be our first of maybe once a month lunches. The plan is to force more knitting time into our schedule. I'm not sure if this is going to result in much more actual knitting since it takes time to get organized and travel to and from. But it should provide more focus. So I figure we'll get three hours or so plus lunch.

It was cold and rainy yesterday. What is it about the rain that brings out the crowds? We're only open for three hours on Sunday but it was packed the whole time. I didn't have any students so I spent the whole time hustling between customers, helping them with their decisions and answering questions. Is one ball enough? How do you do the drop stitch? Can someone show me how to cast on? Do you have anything cheaper? Can I crochet with this? Do you have any poncho patterns? I don't have any size 15 needles. Can I just use my size eights? Ad nauseum.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Just another day, sorta.

There's not much to report on right now. I'm about half way through the blue scarf which is good since I'm going to start another scarf for Mendy's husband, sometime this weekend. It's strange. Just when everyone else is backing off of scarves I'm getting interested. Well, maybe not everyone but there's definitely less brou-ha-ha than last year.

It's been plenty busy at the shop this week although my student load is way down. I did have one brand new knitter today. That's always fun and interesting. You never quite know who's going to get it right away and who will struggle. Today was sorta in the middle. And a blast from the past. A new Skein customer but one I used to see almost weekly at my former shop, about ten years ago.

A fairly quiet night at the Thursday night knit together. There were only four of us. Mendy's new puppy kept us entertained most of the time though. And then there's always the desserts. Fruit flavored donuts, brownies, cheesecakes and more.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Rabbit! Rabbit!

Blue scarf

I dug deeper into the Stash and found this Patons Leila, 100% cotton. I got it years ago from Smily's. I have two or three other colors as well. It was cheap! The gauge is a tiny bit off. It's a scarf, for cryin' out loud! Anyway, I did this last night and I think it's going to be just what I was looking for. The yarn is slubby, on purpose, so there's a little more texture than is strictly needed, but, like I said, it's a scarf.

I found the pattern is the latest "Creative Knitting". Have you seen this magazine? I got a deal on the price. Probably everyone got the same deal. I thing the name is more than a little deceptive. They'd probably have called it "Easy Knitting" if the name wasn't already taken. That's not to say that everything is shapeless and low end acrylic. Some of the stuff is pretty nice. But their idea of difficulty is a little skewed. The scarf pattern I'm using is rated as Intermediate, three out of four on the difficulty scale. I'd probably give it a 1.5. On the other hand, it is fun in the way cables are fun, it just pulls you along. It's definitely going to need a wash and block when I'm done.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Oh, no! Not again!

This is not my original post. Blogger dropped the ball again. It's probably just as well since my original post was pretty cranky.

Not all of it. Here's the jist of what else I had to say. The new yarn shop in Monrovia is called Unraveled. I left off the "ed" yesterday. It's a neat space, a lot more boutique-y than most yarn shops I've seen. They're still working on getting some better lighting in the store so they're only open in the afternoon when there's plenty of sunlight coming in the large front windows.

There's a generous space off to one side when you first come in that is furnished with large over-stuffed chairs for people to just sit and knit, or crochet I suppose. Most of the yarn is on the opposite side of the store, at least at present. The walls are dark as is the hardwood floor. There is some exposed brick that show traces of the building's original use as a car dealer or garage. The ceiling is high and unfinished. Very trendy, or it was at one time. They will have a separate room for classes once they no longer need it for the yarns that are still waiting to be priced and shelved. I'm looking forward to seeing how the shop evolves.

The other stuff, the part I'm not rewriting, was about how Job probably didn't work in a yarn shop.

Monday, November 29, 2004

More, more, more!

This is my second try. I hate it when Blogger loses it and my whole effort just goes off into cyberville somewhere. So, let's just try this again.

I finished the knitting on the simple mohair scarf. All I have to do is add some fringe and possibly some beads. I'm hoping a quick wash will perk up the mohair a little and maybe give the whole thing more definition.

There doesn't seem to be anything in my stash that meets the requirements for a scarf for my friend's birthday/Christmas present. Fortunately A Stitch in Time is having a sale, 30% off, on their knitting yarns. So, Mendy and I headed over there this morning.

The Reynold's Cabana is cotton and acrylic and I thought it would make a great scarf. So far it doesn't. But something might happen. The other yarn is Mango Moon's wool. I heard that it's part of their effort to create jobs for women in Nepal, similar to their recycled sari silk. I think I'll make a vest with loop stitch fringe around the front opening and maybe the armholes. I'll have to see how the yarn behaves first.

There's a new yarn shop in Monrovia, Unravel, just about twenty minutes from my house. After lunch we headed over there. It's still a work in progress but it's worth the trip. We got to look in the back room at some of the stuff that isn't on the floor yet.

The big hank is Blue Heron's beaded rayon. I have no plans for this as yet but I sure liked the colors. This is a new brand for me. You can see a couple of skeins of JaWoll peeking out that I thought would be seasonally appropriate even if I don't get anything started this year. The other sock yarn, the blue/yellow Meilenweit, is actually from A Stitch in Time. I just forgot to put it in the picture.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The day after

I know I said last night that I'd never eat again. But I just can't help it. I was so pleased with the egg braid (the other one was much prettier) that I can hardly wait to cut into this one. I do have a few containers of leftovers from last night's Thanksgiving dinner. One of them is bound to contain something that will go well with this. Actually, I'm probably going to give this to Lisa to take home with her, along with the carrot bread. I may have to sample the carrot bread first though.

Having a Thursday off is very disorienting. But now that I've figured out that it's Friday I'll be okay. Only five hours today but I expect them to hectic. Well, the whole post Thanksgiving Day weekend is hectic. I know of a couple of people that are coming in this weekend that I'll be sitting and chatting with.

The scarf I started for a birthday/Christmas gift may have to go to someone else. I talked with that person yesterday and, very slyly, found out that she is somewhat allergic to mohair. But I have 18" of 60" done so I'm not stopping now. I'll have to look through the Stash and see if there's any 100% synthetic something. If not, Michael's is only three blocks from here. Lord knows they have lots of synthetic.

I got a nice email from thanking me for being such a great customer. I think I bought a book from them sometime last year. Anyway, they're so pleased with me that I can get free shipping if I just order something from them. Isn't that nice? Well, I did look at their book selection. It's kinda messy finding the page but I found ten or so books that I'm putting on my wish list. The prices are better than Amazon. They don't have that handy wish list thing that Amazon has though so you have to write it down and give it to the person most likely to buy you something. I'm going to see if they have any good deals on juicers.

I've heard about a new yarn shop that opened in Monrovia, just a few miles from here. I haven't been yet but I'm hoping to make it over there on Monday. Extreme excitement abounds. I hear they carry lots of Mountain Colors.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm up to my elbows in flour as I get ready to knead the dough for some egg braids I'm making to take with me to Robert's for dinner. I made some carrot bread last night. And I have the wine so I'm all set.

I sat down to post yesterday but there just wasn't anything new or interesting. It was slow at Skein and I only had one student. I don't have to travel far from my home to Skein so I couldn't even complain about the traffic. I did find some time to work on the shop sample and started a scarf that will be a birthday/Christmas gift for a friend. I will be able to get some more done today as I wait for the bread to rise.

Besides all the things for which I'm continually thankful, good health, a warm place to live, close friends and family, I'm especially thankful for the new friends I've made this year, on-line and at the Knitter's Review Retreat. What a great bunch!

I think the scalded milk has probably cooled enough by now so I'd better get on with it. I hope you each and everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

No pictures and barely any knitting

In a couple of weeks I'll have my new glasses. I had no idea how much my eyes had changed in the past four years. I thought they were just tired from overuse. So I'm looking forward to seeing clearly again. The last time I bought frames through Kaiser there wasn't much selection if you wanted the ones that were covered by the insurance. They've changed the way they do things so now I could select anything I wanted and they apply a fixed discount, at least that's how it works if you're a senior citizen. I picked out five or six frames that I liked but most of them were too small for the tri-focals I must have. But I was pleased with the ones I decided on.

Buying glasses though is a lot like buying tires. Everything is extra. But I really need the UV coating and this time I'm getting a special coating that will make driving at night a lot easier. It's supposed to eliminate a lot of the glare from headlights. That'll be nice.

It wasn't as crazy busy today at Skein as it was last week. But I did have four students. Unfortunately they all came at the same time and all needed some pretty close monitoring. I guess I understand why so many beginners want to knit with the novelties, especially the really furry, fuzzy ones. I really wish they wouldn't do that. Half of the time I can't even see where the stitches went to so I know they don't have a clue. And then there are those who have been learning from a friend or relative who is maybe a day or two more experienced.

I'm glad I bought Annie Modesitt's Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. I've had quite a run of people who knit in the eastern uncrossed or combination manner. There are a lot of knitters from Eastern Europe and a few from South America who knit in this way, or with slight variations. I understood what they were doing in a kind of intuitive way but Annie's book lays it out very nicely and I feel a lot more comfortable helping these knitters.

So, how are your Thanksgiving preparations coming along? I went to the market yesterday because I was practically out of everything. I don't have to do anything for Thanksgiving myself. I forgot that you can get a free turkey if you spend at least $75.00 at one time. I could have qualified for two. There were so many specials that it just wasn't possible to pass them up. So now I have this turkey which I don't need but I also have a lot of coffee and oatmeal.

I love Thanksgiving week. People are starting to get all holidayish and are generally cheerful and excited. A couple of weeks from now it may be a different story.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Winding yarn

It doesn't seem like a week since it was Monday before. But since it is Monday I have lots of chores to do, the biggest, most time-consuming one being laundry. I was going to skip it but when I looked in my closet and saw only a couple of bedraggled sweat shirts I figured I'd better get on it. And now it's done and put away.

I still have to hit the market and do some picking up. Why do all my books and magazines end up all over the place instead of on the shelves? In between trips to the laundry room I have been winding yarn. All of the stuff I got at the Knitters'Review Retreat, except the sock yarn, has been wound and put in plastic bags until I can decide what I'm going to do with them and, of course, find the time.

I have a very reliable umbrella swift and yarn winder that Lisa gave me for Christmas probably twenty years ago. I love using them because they remind me of her and how much she cares for me. Someday, maybe, I'll have one of those heavy duty wooden swifts. They're nice but they don't have much sentimental value. I don't really need a fancy swift. I can only remember one time when the one I have wasn't adequate and that was because the hanks were too big around.

So, back to yarn winding.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


This is the biggest pomegrante I've ever seen. It's at least the size of a large grapefruit. It's so shiny and red and cheerful. It has absolutely nothing to do with knitting. Well, my knitbud Mendy gave it to me so I guess there's somewhat of a connection. She also gave me grapes and chilis and squash and avocados and a couple of oranges. I have no idea what to do with the pomegranate though. I'm going to take it with me to Robert's when I go over there on Thanksgiving. Meanwhile I'll just enjoy its perfection.

I was home last night for the first time this week. I worked on the brown vest for several hours and have actual visible progress. But it's still just brown, double seed stitch.

I didn't even take my shop project out of the bag yesterday. I only had one student but the shop was busy so I spent most of my day with "I just wanna make a scarf" people. And a couple of poncho enthusiasts. I really enjoy helping people choose colors and textures. I wish Ann Mary wouldn't move stuff around so much though. It's hard to find stuff when it's not where it was yesterday. But we're still receiving fall and winter yarns so I suppose she's just trying to make it all fit in.

I think I'm pretty much over the after effects of my fall. My wrist doesn't seem to hurt at all and most of the swelling on the back of my hand is gone. And I don't think I'll get a black eye either. So I'm on to something else.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

All better

Well, not completely, but considerably. My left wrist was quite stiff and sore this morning but is almost pain free this evening. Overall I'd say I got off pretty easy. And since I can't quite reshape my glasses to the way they were before I fell on them I made an appointment with the optometrist. It's been four years so I probably need a new prescription anyway.

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to knit this morning. I found if I kept my wrist straight there was no pain. I think the exercise was good. I didn't have a lot of time to knit today as I had students most of the time. I do little bits of knitting when I'm working with them but that's about it.

I worked on the brown vest tonight at Mendy's. Didn't get much done though. Talked a lot about the Knitters' Retreat and the possibility of having one on the West Coast. And about blogging. Who we read and why. I've added several to my daily reads, people I met at the Retreat mostly. Cherry pie and truffle brownies.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Watch your step!

Very busy day! I worked the Wednesday night class schedule today, covering for Nancy who is out of town. I was busy from the time I walked in the door until eight this evening.

We have a backdoor at Skein that we don't use except for mobility impaired people. When people leave by that door we always caution them about the small step as they leave. So all day long I'm telling people to watch their step. I wish I had had someone with me tonight as I was walking to my car to remind me to watch my step. I tripped on an uneven place in the sidewalk and in spite of my efforts to regain my balance I managed to fall. Not quite flat on my face but on my left cheek bone. My glasses were bent but not broken. A couple of small cuts above my eye and my left eye is bloodshot. I think I'm okay. A little pain in my left wrist but I don't think it's serious. I don't think anyone saw me so my dignity is pretty intact. I just hope I don't have a black eye in the morning.

I finished the neckband on the shop sample sweater but I'm going to have to take it out and redo it. It's a little too floppy. Two steps forward, one back.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

And now it's Tuesday

This is the beginning of the third week that I've had this cold. I think it's the same cold but it could be a new one. Sitting as close as I do to people all day I could have picked up a new one. Anyway, if I had good sense I'd stay home today. But I'm one of those people pleasers who doesn't like to disappoint others. So, since Tuesday is a big day for students, I'll go in. And I am going to a concert tonight.

I worked most of the night. I woke up every fifteen minutes it seems like. I was helping someone with a toe-up sock. Very irritating pattern that didn't make much sense but the person insisted that it was essential to do exactly what the pattern wanted. Usually if I wake up whatever I'm dreaming goes away. Not this time. I can't figure out why we'd want to make a sock with velour and have to continually adjust the number of stitches using decorative increases and decreases. But I must say I was very impressed with my flexible bind off.

I did finish the back of the brown double moss stitch vest and have cast on and worked a few rows on the left front. But no pictures until it's done.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Well, it's Monday

Now that I'm on the winter schedule at Skein, six days a week, this is really an important day. I'm happy to not have anything scheduled. I'm planning to knit most of the day. We've been so busy at Skein that I haven't had much energy in the evening to work on my own projects.

Currently I'm trying to finish this double moss stitch vest that I started last spring. The yarn is from Unger. I think they're out of business, at least under this name. This is the kind of project that you can work on for hours and still be in the same spot.

And I finished the Midwest Moonlight scarf on Friday night.

From Scarf Style by Pam Allen. Designed by Ivy Bigelow. Lots of people like this scarf and have asked it they're getting it for Christmas. I used Grignasco's Sweet Print. Nice yarn. Easy to work with and it's machine washable. Oh, and I got it on sale.

Friday, November 12, 2004

One man's stash

One man's trash is another man's stash! Well, it isn't exactly trash but one of our Thursday night knitters thought she had too much yarn, as if that's possible, so she brought a pile of stuff last night for all of us to share. I would have felt really bad to admit it out loud but I really wanted it all. But I restrained my enthusiasm, for a while anyway. When I couldn't stand it any longer I annoucned that if no one else wanted this

I'd be pleased to find a place for it in the stash that knows no shame.

Two pounds of scottish tweed, around 1700 yards. The color is a little more intense than the photo. Who cares if I don't know what I'm going to do with it?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Just one more

Okay. So I thought I was done with the Knitters' Retreat Review. But I forgot about the Swap Table. Got something to get rid of? Want to add something to your stash? This is where we got the chance.

I didn't get a photo of the whole table, actually two tables, but this is what I rescued. Two skeins of JaWoll sock yarn and seventeen balls of Ravello. I felt a little sheepish taking this from the table since I hadn't brought anything to add. But I was repeatedly encouraged. Well, the sock yarn I didn't feel so guilty about. But the Ravello? I love this yarn. I made a shop sample a couple of years ago with it and it's fun and easy to use. I'm not sure what this will become. It is pretty orange after all. We'll see what Lisa says.

I'm back at Skein and have been overwhelmed since Tuesday. I stayed an extra two hours yesterday and am going in an hour early today. But this is Thursday Night Knit Together and I'm not gonna miss that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wrap Up

I went to the Knitters's Retreat fully intending to spend a lot of money on yarn. And I did. There was a Marketplace on Saturday afternoon. When it was over I had enough money for a cheap dinner, if I'd needed one.

Carodan Farm Wool Shop was there with some of their wool as well as lots of commercial yarns.

I got a couple of skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn and three hanks of their wool. I could get the sock yarn locally but I was being supportive. Their wool is nice, a little scratchy, but I got enough for a generous scarf or small shawl.

I didn't buy any of Stony Mountain Fibers' yarn. Most of what they had was roving and I don't spin. But I did get a hank of Interlacement's Cheyenne. Enough for a vest or poncho.

My biggest splurge was at Spirit Trail. I had a hard time deciding just what to get. But it was all going fast so I went for the stuff that I knew I'd love to work with.

I was surprised at how different the color in this yarn is in the California light from the light in Virginia. It's much warmer and more coral than I thought it was when I bought it. I love the way it feels. So soft but with substance.

Jen's sock yarn. What great colors! They're a lot deeper and more intense than the photo shows. Will I ever have enough sock yarn?

A needlepoint kit from Clara's Window and Annie Modesitt's book, Confessions of a Knitting Heretic, personally autographed.

It's probably a good thing that there weren't any more vendors. But I did go yarn shopping on Monday.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

More Knitters' Retreat

Sunday morning in the Large Lounge. Lots of knitters and spinners. Lousy photo. I think I know who some of these people are but am not sure enough to point them out. But anyway everyone is busy. The room is noisy. I think we're waiting for lunch.

The food at Graves Mountain Lodge is plentiful if nothing else. I had heard about the family style meals and all so I was looking forward to that. And there was lots of food. I thought it was a little bland and repetitive. I think we had fried apples with every meal. And usually some kind of apple dessert, with ice cream. But the meals were fun. Lots of laughter and animated conversation.

The countryside around Graves Mountain Lodge is beautiful if not breathtaking. What is breath taking is the climb up the hill from the Main Lodge to the residence lodges at the top of the hill. I only remember walking it once. Half way up the hill I met Wendy and L-B. This made a perfect photo op. I had not met either of them before. Both really nice ladies.

I've been waiting for almost a year to meet Bess. It was her entry last year that really motivated me to go on the Retreat in the first place. Plus, we've exchanged lots of emails and have become good friends on-line. That's her on the left in the photo. She was in much demand to teach drop spindle knitting.

And here she is in the finishing class she led on Sunday morning. Not to carry on too much about this but meeting Bess was fantastic. We had lots of good time chats. I was sad to say goodbye.

Saturday morning Annie Modesitt, an unacknowledged standup comic, presented her chart reading seminar along with "cabling without a cable needle". I've been trying to cable without a needle so was looking forward to that part. Didn't work for me. My technique is more like Wendy's. So I talked with her and she verified that I understood it. And by the time the class was over I was making cables and not dropping too many stitches.

After the market, which I'll talk about tomorrow, I went with Annie, Kathy, Alissa and Connie to a local winery. Here they are tasting the local brew. Actually it was pretty good stuff. I didn't buy any because I already knew that my one piece of luggage was going to split wide open if I added one more thing. Annie shared a bottle of chardonnay before we went down to dinner (supper?)on Saturday night. My room was next door to Annie's so we had a chance to chat privately a couple of times. I really admire her and her committment to the knitting community. I hope I can meet up with her again next year when she comes to California for some teaching gigs.

After dinner on Saturday night Jennifer handed out the still wet skeins of wool that members of her dye workshop had worked on the day before. Some amazing colors there. I didn't have a good spot so the photo doesn't really show much except the crowd. See that bright orange stuff on the table? We had a needle felting presentation and that's some of the stuff being used to make pumpkins. It was interesting but I'm not crafty enough to get into that.

I'll have some pictures tomorrow of the stuff I bought and maybe some chatter about my trip.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Knitters' Retreat

That pretty much sums it up. Everywhere you turned there were knitters, spinners and fiber fanatics.

I had a super time. The setting is beautiful.

The view from my room early Saturday morning. The locals kept telling me that the leaves were more spectacular a week or so before. This works for me just the same.

From the front porch of the main lodge. The whole weekend weather was perfect. In fact, the whole weekend was perfect. I have more to tell. I have to work on the photos a bit so I'll probably have that for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Time to go

Well almost. In about eleven hours I'll be up, up and away, going to the Knitters' Retreat. So what am I doing, sitting here? I have to pack and decide what projects I'm going to take. That will depend on how much I can squeeze in the one bag I'm taking. And I'll need a little room for stuff I know that I'll buy.

I think I'll take the Aran Sweater project, the Midwest Moonlight scarf and a sock project. That should be plenty. Oh, and my homework which I finished last night.

So I'm outta here. See you on Monday. (How am I going to survive without my daily blog reads?)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's over.

I just read that John Kerry has called George Bush to concede. So I guess it's over for now. I stayed up way too late. I kept waiting for a surprise.

So it's on to the next big thing. I'm leaving for Virginia tomorrow night, late, for the Third Annual Knitters Retreat. I've mentioned this before but now that it's just about to happen, well, I can't begin tell you how much I'm looking forward to it. I hope the cold I managed to pick up over the weekend subsides enough that I'm able to enjoy myself and not be a hazard to everyone else. I'd better go see what kind of weather conditions they're having in Virginia.

Pat the Cat doesn't care. Cats just wanna have fun. He's driving me over the edge with his squealy little meows, whining like a spoiled child, insisting that I come and play with him. I've tried to explain that I'm busy but he just keeps on squeaking. He's a very big cat and that little squeak is just so ridiculous.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Did you?

I got to the polls about twenty minutes after they opened. It was crowded but things were going well. I didn't get to use one of the fancy new touch screen machines. We had not punch cards but cards that you blotted with a special pen. I had to do it twice. First time I didn't have the ballot seated properly so nothing showed up. I made sure to get the "I Voted" sticker so I can wear it at Skein all day.

The background in the photo is the current hat project. I'm about half way done. I never found the yarn for the other hat so it's on hold, perhaps for a long time. At first I couldn't remember where I got the yarn I'm using. The label says Spinnerin and the price was $1.19 so you know it was a long time ago. Spinnerin isn't around anymore. I think this is yarn I purchased at Super Yarn Mart when I first started to knit. It's orlon/acrylic. It might have come from Woolworth's though. Neither of these stores is still in business. I'm surprised at how soft the yarn is even after all these years of being in storage. If I'm remembering correctly I made one of my first cabled sweaters with this yarn. The color is actually a lot darker than what you see here. More of a maroon.

And now I have a cold. Bother! Really bad timing.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Rabbit! Rabbit!

Just one more day

And maybe then the constant ringing of my phone will stop. I don't answer my phone until I know who's calling, or unless I'm expecting a call from someone. Anyway, I get lots of calls and there's no one there or there's no message after the beep. I've had calls from George, John and even Arnold. I doubt if they'll call again after tomorrow. Well, maybe Arnold. But definitely not either George or John, depending.

I'm not a politically active person. I mean I vote and all that but I don't engage in political conversations/arguments. I do listen to as many informed people as I can and I read a bit of the news and spins that come across my browser page. I realize this is how it happens in the US. But I'll be one of many who will be glad to have it over. Enough with the polls. There's even one here about how many people are expecting problems at the election sites tomorrow. My plan is to go early, while I'm on my morning walk. If there's a delay it won't be a problem. There's a Starbucks across the street.

The knitting picture is even more of a toss-up/tie. There are many projects that are not participating as well as those I'm undecided about. I had to rip about two inches of the back of the shop sample sweater. Turned and went the wrong way by mistake. At least it was clear what had happened and the solution was easy. I finished the first hat for the chemo cap collection at the Retreat and am almost two thirds through the second one. But the other ball of yarn has disappeared even though I knew it would be needed. Just didn't have the time to secure it when I started. The orange silk vest has been ripped completely. I found some patterns that are updates of tops from the 1930s that I think will work better. Well, that's the current thinking.

Halloween has come and gone once again. I went to Robert's for dinner. He carved a couple of pumpkins for his front porch. There's something that's so wrong about white pumpkins. But they were cute. Nice dinner with fresh apple pie for dessert. And we're back on standard time. The extra hour was a big help.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Just checking in

It's been so busy at Skein this week that I haven't had much time to work on even my shop sample project, a Koigu child's sweater. But I am almost done with the back. The front is done. I'll try for a photo or two tomorrow or Saturday, depending on my progress. I've been swamped with lots of scarf knitting questions, and corrections, as well as people who are just confused about the pattern instructions.

We were a small group at Thursday night knit together. But I got to see the new puppy and she is way precious. So tiny and so ferocious. Mendy says she's not an Apricot but a separate class called Red. She's really dark. And a handful. Literally.

I am almost finished with the first chemo cap I'm making to take to the Knitters' Retreat next week. I think I'll be able to get one more done. And now I can focus on what project(s) I'm going to take to work on. I should probably think about what to take to keep warm. It's been in the high 60's here, and for us that's cold. I do have a ride from Dulles too. So that's one less thing to fret about.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

New Toy!

Well, actually she's a miniature poodle. Not mine. Patrick would be too confronted if I even mentioned a dog. This is Mendy's new baby. I can hardly wait to meet her when I go over there on Thursday. I've never seen a poodle of any size in this color. Last I heard she was named Brandy, but that was still an open discussion.

I have abandoned the attempt to cable without a cable needle. At least for now. I spend way too much time fiddling with the loose stitches. The only advantage I can see for me at present is not having to keep up with the cable needle. I think I can do that. I managed a few rows yesterday on the Aran sweater. I think I'll be okay to take it with me to the KR Retreat.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Feeling frustrated

I'm trying to teach myself how to do cables without a cable needle. Without much success. I spend more time rescuing the stitches than I save by not using a cable needle. I think I understand what I'm supposed to do so maybe I just need more practice. The Aran sweater I'm making has lots of cables, mostly two and four stitches so this should be an ideal time to learn. I'll be looking for some links later today. I need more markers first.

I'm feeling burned out with my knitting. Maybe I have too many projects going. I took most of yesterday off and just read a book. This is not a good time to let my knitting go. Ann Mary keeps suggesting more projects that she wants me to knit for the shop. The holidays are coming. And there are two projects that I need to finish for one of my students who go herself way in over her head and pleaded with me to help her out. I'm going to one of the other shops in my area later today. Maybe that'll help shake this off. At least I'll have the additional markers.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Friday wind up/down

I worked on the Midwest Moonlight scarf last night while I was at Mendy's for the weekly knit together. I hadn't touched this scarf in over a month so it took a few minutes to get the pattern going. I like the pattern and the yarn a lot. I still have about a ball and a half to go before I'm done. If I don't get distracted by any of the other projects I should finish in a few days.

Here's what it looked like a few months ago. It's the same now, except longer.

I need to get back to the Aran I started last month. I want to take this project with me when I go to the Knitters' Retreat in a couple of weeks but I don't want to have to fuss too much with the set up so I'll have to get the stitches picked up across the front of the saddleshoulders and get the pattern started so all I have to do is knit.

I was just on the phone with Bess whose post about the KR Retreat last year got me really interested in attending. This is the first time I've actually talked with her although we've been exchanging emails for a long time. What a hoot! and a thrill! Only a couple of weeks to go.

Meanwhile, I'd better get back to packaging my current projects. I have to do this every few weeks or I lose track of where I am. I'm really bad and sloppy about putting things away when I'm done so after a while my living room becomes a tangled mass of needles and yarn. It's really a good thing that the cat isn't interested in my knitting. Or maybe it would be better if he were. Anyway, back to that before I get ready for Skein.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Un-progress report

I spent a lot of time yesterday working on a hat to take with me to the Knitters' Retreat next month. I ripped it out at the end of the day because it was about ten inches too big. So much for knowing what you're doing. I've also pretty much decided to rip the La Luz vest as well. I've finished the crochet edge on one armhole. It just doesn't do it for me. I don't want Lisa to have to have this vest dry-cleaned and blocked everytime she cleans it. Plus, I'm not sure that blocking is going to fix the problem. Actually I think I feel better knowing that I'm going to rip it. I've put far too much into it, trying to save it, and still don't like the results.

On the upside though, I just cast on for another hat. When I joined in the round I forgot to check if the stitches were twisted. But it all came out just fine. This one won't be too big and it'll fit someone, somewhere.

I bought a few new knitting books yesterday, including the new Vogue Holiday issue. We finally got the Tahki, Stacy Charles and Filatura di Crosa books so I needed all of those. And I picked up the new Hollywood Knits Style by Suss Cousins. I received her first book as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago. Like the original there isn't a lot of good stuff in the second book but there are some simple things that will work well for when I need something to knit that doesn't require a whole lot of attention. I haven't had time to memorize the other books but overall I'd say they're pretty much trendy/faddish sort of things. I'll show them to Lisa and see if there's anything she'd like. Since I almost never finish anything, except socks, it probably doesn't really matter.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Wet Wednesday

It's still raining. We're into day three, or maybe it's four. Last night was the best so far. Not torrential, just loud and steady. I walked to and from Skein yesterday but it wasn't raining then, just a few drizzles. I may have to drive today if it keeps up the way it is right now. I love the rain, especially since I don't have a long commute anymore.

I was checking out the Knitters Review Forums last night. I've been trying to hook up with anyone who is attending the Retreat next month and who would be driving from Dulles to the Retreat. So far I haven't heard from or connected with anyone. I do have an option but I don't want to inconvenience anyone. Anyway, I noticed that there is going to be a collection of chemo hats at the Retreat. So I'm getting started on another project just as soon as I finish here. I just have to match up some available needles with the right size yarn. That's more of a challenge than it should be.

I got all the knitting done on the La Luz vest last night and have started the crochet around the armholes. I was feeling a little depressed about how the vest was coming out but the crochet is really making a difference. Still no buttons though.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


What I didn't mention yesterday was that while I waited for the defragging to complete I also started a new project. How's that for a convoluted sentence?

Years ago, before I really got seriously overtaken by knitting, I bought some yarn for a sweater that I had seen in Vogue Knitting. Not knowing very much about fair isle, or anything else, at that time I decided to have the sweater knit for me by someone who was touted as knowing all there was to know about knitting. Actually it was the mother of one of my co-workers.

In those days Manos del Uruguay was available in a dk weight, or more of a worsted light. (I can't bring myself to type "lite".) I remember I kept buying more and more skeins as the knitter kept running out of some of the colors. It was during all this buying that I got to know the ladies at Mariposa, a now defunct needlework shop where I worked for a number of years.

In due course the sweater was finished. It had a fair isle yoke with a repeat of the motif just above the cuff on the sleeve. I tried on the sweater and discovered I couldn't even lift my arms. The floats on the inside were so long that they were dangerous and had no give at all. At the time I didn't know what was causing the problem. I was that much of a novice. So I just paid the knitter and put the sweater away. A couple of years later I decided to rip the sweater and preserve as much of the yarn as possible. It has been sitting for about twelve years just waiting for its turn.

I don't know how much of the yarn I have. I could weigh it I suppose but I know there's not enough to make a sweater and I have too many scarves going already. So I'm making a watch cap. I like making hats and caps. I usually have a stash of completed ones on hand but I seem to have depleted that. If I get it done I'll be able to wear it when I go to the KR Retreat. In any event, it's a good project to work on while watching paint dry or while Ad-aware is checking for spies.

I have finished the back of the La Luz vest and only have the upper portion of the right front to knit, which I'll probably do tonight. Then a little crochet around the armholes and the neck and then knit the button bands. I guess I'd better see if I have any suitable buttons which I probably don't so I'll see if there are any at Skein. I don't like going to Jo Ann's if I don't have to.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Right on time for the official start of the rainy season here in Southern California. And also perfect timing for the house next door. The landlord decided he needed to fertilize with the good stuff. I hope the rain speeds up the process. Phew!

I've been watching my computer defrag itself this afternoon. That's a lot more exciting than the stockinette stitch I'm doing on the silk vest. At least you can read the progress bar when you're defragging. With the vest it's more like you're struggling to stay even. Actually, I'm getting close to the back neck and shoulder shaping but that's still about four inches once the center stitches are bound off.

I think I've experienced a new rite of passage. Starting tomorrow night I'll be taking a cholesterol control pill. It seems like everyone in my age group is on some variant of this drug. I guess it just goes with the territory. And then there's the exercise and diet watching. I don't like either of those. But I'll get some new batteries and dust off the old Walkman and the walking shoes and get started. And I'll finish my last grapefruit tonight since I won't be able to have it again once I start the new pill.

Friday, October 15, 2004

What's a tlapauhcolcotl?

On Tuesday night I met my friend R for an evening at theSouthwest Chamber Orchestra and a concert of music composed by Carlos Chavez. The percussion ensemble Tambuco joined the regular members of the orchestra for a wild and raucous concert. Several of the instruments that figured in the music were reconstructions based on ancient Aztec relics found in the area around Mexico City. The teponaxtle, the omichicahuaztli and the tlapauhcolcotl were mixed in with rattles and gourds and glockenspiel and lots of drums of various sizes. It was, as I said, wild and raucous.

So the new concert season is off to a great start. Most of SWO's repertory is contemporary or mid-twentieth century. It's a lot more fun to watch than it is to listen to all by itself.

There's nothing new on the knitting front. I've completed the left front of the La Luz vest and have started on the upper back. I may make the Halloween deadline after all. But I'm really having a hard time sticking to it. I didn't buy any yarn this week either. So it's a little dull around here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Blocking La Luz

"Silk yarn is a very delicate fiber. It should be treated gently and carefully. Because this yarn is an unplied silk, it should never be washed in the machine or it will fuzz and pill. We also recommend that you use a zip lock baggy and put the ball into the bag and knit from it. We recommend only dry cleaning for this fiber. Since silk does not have a 'memory,' do not flatten the yarn for it will not rebound, and will always be flat."

So how do I get this

to look like this?

Just a few more rows, six maybe, and I'll be at the armhole divide. The lace pattern along the botton edge really wants to curl. The photo on the pattern instruction sheet shows the lace as flat and open. I wonder if I'm supposed to flatten the yarn contrary to the care instructions.

I've never tried to block silk. I wonder if it's done the same as any other blocking.

There will be some single crochet around the armholes and the neck. The pattern doesn't call for it around the bottom but I think I might have to try that.

Anyone have any ideas?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Let me just get this out of the way first. There was only a minimal amount of knitting this weekend. Maybe four or five rows on the La Luz vest. Just too much else to do.

Saturday night Lisa and I went to hear a Scottish harper, William Jackson, perform at Cal Tech. The performance was great. He's a very quiet, gentle man with a soft sense of humor. I don't know anything about Scottish harp music but it didn't matter. The performance was beautiful. He also played some tunes on the penny whistle, or as he called it "the pretty penney whistle".

Even though Cal Tech is just a few blocks from where I live I had never been on the campus. I think I'd like to go back and wander around during the day. The architecture is somewhat eclectic and pseudo-Mediterranean, except for some of the newer buildings and parking structures. And I noticed there were lots of pools and small ponds scattered through the open areas. Very nice.

Yesterday I went on a home tour. One of my students is an interior designer and is on the board of the local chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers. She gave me a pair of tickets to tour five different homes that all had newly renovated or remodeled kitchens. My friend Robert joined me. At lot of driving was involved but it was all worth it. I thought we were only going to see kitchens but we got to see large portions of the rest of the houses as well. Let me just say, some people really live well! There was the eight bedroom colonial, a newly constructed castle, a 1940's ranch house, a Spanish hacienda and a relatively tiny English cottage. I got to see lots of the San Gabriel Valley that I had never seen before.

Patrick is giving me fits this morning. All he wants to do is play. We've already played way beyond my interest level and still he's whining and begging for more. I guess I'd better go see what he wants.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in Canada. What a great idea! Start the holiday season a month earlier.

Friday, October 08, 2004

It's been a quiet week over all. My knitting projects continue apace but nothing is really close to completion. The child's sweater in Koigu is moving along. Just started the back today, the front was done first. I worked on the La Luz vest last night at Thursday night knitting. I still have about five inches of plain knit until I reach the armhole divide. Everything else is on hold until the vest is done.

I went outside a couple of minutes ago to take a sky picture. I don't know what's causing that big column of smoke. It seems to be gone now but there's a lot of traffic coming down my street so I assume the fire department is on the scene and is redirecting the rush hour traffic.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Gettin' ready

I got my Knitters' Retreat packet a couple of days ago. I have a few things to do to get ready for this trip. I haven't been anywhere requiring advancd planning for a long time. It's hard to believe that I'll be on the other side of the country for the first time in twenty years and that I'll be meeting Bess and Jennifer and Clara and Annie and who knows who else. (I just had a phone call from American Airlines letting me know that my departure and arrival times have changed, on both ends of the flight, not by a lot but enough that my obsessive worry over details would have been totally thrown off if I hadn't known about it. Funny. That phone call really makes this all seem more real and I'm much more nervous than I was.)

I still haven't figured out how I'm going to get from Dulles to the actual retreat. I've checked on the KR forum but haven't seen anything that looks like a discussion of transportation issues. I'm arriving at 6:32AM on Friday and leaving at 5:40 on Sunday. Anyone out there who needs a passenger or wants to share a rental? I wonder how long it takes to get from Dulles to Syria, VA. Here I go, fretting about stuff.

Not much change on the knitting front. I knit another six rows on the La Luz vest and am almost finished with the Berroco scarf. I had to rip about four rows on that last night as I had lost a stitch some time during the day. Patrick really had a hard time resisting the sequin yarn. He kept putting his face about two inches from it. You could just see him measuring the reward versus punishment thing. But he resisted after a couple of verbal admonishments. But he did mutter a lot about how it just wasn't fair.

I still don't know where the guavas (thanks, Evonne, for letting me know what they are) came from, or if they're ripe enough to eat.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

More stash,etc.

When I got home yesterday there was a plastic bag sitting by my door.

I don't know what these are, or who left them. At first I thought they were figs, then I thought maybe cactus pears. Now I'm thinking they're some kind of pomegranete.
And maybe someone left them at the wrong door.

I got started on the La Luz vest using Fiesta Yarns Sunflower Vest pattern.

So far I have done eighteen rows at 226 stitches per row. There's only a small amount of lace at the beginning then it's stockinette for the rest of the way. There are some serious problems with the pattern. Well, serious may be too harsh but still, some of the yarn overs were left out of the stitch pattern. And some of the row endings are just plain wrong. Other than that everything is fine.

Here are my newest goodies:

Meileweit Cotton Multiringel sock yarn. I'm not sure I can hold off. I should probably hide this in the sock yarn bin and finish something else first. But those colors are just too fun and funny to resist.

The two wound skeins are yarns that Mendy gave me. She got them from Mystical Creations and didn't like the weight. I got the Yang Ribbon to go with them. If Berroco can run four yarns together so can I. Actually it's lots of fun to combine different multicolors. Kaffe always said so.

And just because it was on sale, seven skeins of Isis ribbon from FFF. I don't know anything about FFF but I'm seeing more and more of their yarns around town. I seem to suddenly have lots of lavender blue yarn. Gotta watch out for that.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Done stuff and new stuff

This is the Soy Silk Chenille scarf that I started at the beginning os September. Yesterday, in a fit of cleaning and finishing, I sat down and got it done. It's about five inches wide and a little over six feet long. The colors in the photo are only a pale approximation of the real thing but you get the idea. Doing the diagonal pattern was slightly more interesting than a plain garter stitch. I'd have made it wider but I wasn't sure how far the yarn would go. I do have some left over that I'll probably use in scrap scarf.

And I finished these Saturday night. I need to wash and block them. Part of the yarn felt like someone had dropped a jelly sandwich on it. All the stripes matched until I got to the toes. I must have been one row off when I started the second sock but they're close enough for a galloping horse.

And I am about half way through this. I'm making this for Skein as a shop sample. It'll cost you somewhere between $85 and $100 to make, depending on where you buy your yarn.

These little pumpkins are the La Luz I showed last week. The color is very washed out here. Last week's photo is more accurate. Anyway, Ryan suggested that I could make something for Halloween. At first I thought not but I checked with Lisa and she said she'd like to have a vest or top. I can do it if I put aside the Aran and a couple of other projects that I've been trying to finish. Christmas is still a couple of months away so what's the problem. The silk is lighter than air and easy to knit. I just have to decide on (find) a pattern. I only have 1050 yards so that's a constraint. Mendy is bringing me a pattern she got from Fiesta Yarns that uses this yarn. The one I saw online is plain and that may be all I'll be able to do. But the yarn is very pretty worked up. Even though it's a solid there are enough variations in intensity to make it interesting to look at.

Friday, October 01, 2004

More is more.

There may be times when "less is more" is appropriate. Like weight loss or hours in the work week. But generally I think more is more. Like pizza and chocolate. Or yarn stash. And there's nothing like surrounding yourself with enthusiastic enablers. Having a set of friends who share the same philosophy has lead me to the very edge of my ablility to store my yarn and we won't talk about the damage done to my checking account.

It used to be that you had to get out of the house and actually go to a yarn shop if you wanted or needed some more stash. And while I still do that, a lot, it's much easier to just click a few keys and in a week or so you'll have that new stuff that you don't know what you're going to do with but have to have just because you don't have it already.

Now, I already have some of this:

But I didn't have these colors. This is Fiesta Yarn's La Luz. One hundred per cent silk. Goldenrod and Bluebonnet. 210 yards per skein. I already have the color Pecan. There are five skeins of each color. And I haven't begun to think about what I might do with it.

Also from the same source:

La Boheme. A two strand yarn. Mohair, wool, nylon and rayon. Three skeins at 165 yards each. Big scarf or small shawl probably. The colorway is Aster.

When I'm not working on my yarn collection I've been doing a little knitting. Almost done with the back of the Koigu child's sweater, about halfway through the second Hang Glider sock and I finally started the second half of the Choo-Choo poncho that has been hiding under a pile of new yarn for over a month. Still need to finish the second shoulder strap of the Aran sweater. I'm thinking I should retire again but not when there's so much new yarn out there.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

1.12 Sox

Well, it's not much but that's all there is. I finished the first sock and started the second. I think I was lucky and got the second one to match the first but it's a little soon to tell.

These socks will go to Lisa's mom for her birthday in a couple of weeks. I'm calling them the Hang Glider Sox. Lisa told me that her mom had taken a class in hang gliding and loved it. I don't know why this surprises me so much. And delights.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Almost no knitting content

I never did have the time to do any knitting yesterday. A few rows on some socks I'm trying to finish for a birthday next month. But I did get everything else done, including laundry, that I needed to do. And I had a wonderful visit with Lisa. I hadn't seen her in almost a month so we had lots of catching up to do.

It wasn't insanely busy at Skein but a steady flow of customers. And four students. We got in some Araucania Nature Wool Chunky. I hadn't seen that one before. Should be nice for felting or a very warm sweater. I already have a couple of colors in the worsted weight and I've used their Nature Cotton. I should probably get some of this just because. Anyway, there's lots more coming. Novelties and stuff for baby things mostly. And some great new sock yarns. I'm glad I don't have to justify my yarn purchases to anyone but me.

Monday, September 27, 2004

It was so foggy this morning that it was literally impossible to see across the street. It's cleared up a lot now but it's still very hazy. Very happy that I don't have to go out early anymore and have to deal with the traffic.

Yesterday was so totally different. It ended being very hot but I was at the beach so it wasn't so bad. I went with two friends to Alamitos Bay Yarn Company that is right in the marina in Long Beach. I talked with one of the owners for quite a bit while my friends were shopping. She is always so pleasant and friendly. The shop was packed! I love going there because they always have lots of garments on display and they have gorgeous yarns, mostly Trendsetter and Prism but good selections from other companies as well. They've opened another space a few doors down from the main shop. They call it The Living Room. It's where they have knitting classes and seminars. Very comfortable and quiet. I got a couple of skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn.

After we had lunch, at a nice place right on the water, we went to Velona's. I know. I was just there last week but my friends hadn't been in a while. I figured I might as well get this:

I almost bought it last week but decided I didn't need two new sock yarns. But now I have it after all. And I bought a copy of the current Vogue Knitting since I didn't get one at Skein and there are a couple of thing in this issue that I might consider making, if I ever get caught up on the current pile of projects.

I haven't had much time for knitting this weekend. I am almost done with the second shoulder of the Aran sweater that I started last Monday. I hope to finish that today and pick up the stitches for the front. That's a little doubtful though since I'm having lunch with Evelyn, a former co-worker, and then Lisa is coming over tonight. I have to do a little vacuuming and stuff like that before she gets here. And laundry if there's time.