Thursday, January 29, 2004

Just got home from the Thursday night group. Two new attendees tonight so it was a little more crowded and diffuse. Both are regular customers at Skein so everyone almost knew everyone. It was a little strange having different conversations going on simultaneously but it was enjoyable.

Tomorrow I'm going with one of my students to another yarn shop. She's been wanting to see what else is out there. So we'll go to Phebie's and then have lunch before I go in to work. Phebie's has a good selection of Noro Kureyon and Silk Garden so I'm planning on picking up another colorway.

I had another two new students this morning almost as soon as I walked in the door. One had knit a long time ago. She's originally from Mexico and learned to knit continental. Fortunately it came back pretty quickly. I'm really bad when it comes to continental. Not that I can't do it, but I don't look my best at it. The other student moved here from Venezuela. She'd never knit before but has done a lot of crochet. I ended up teaching her to knit continental since she kept trying to throw the yarn with her left hand. She wanted to make a hat but decided she'd better practice more before she started.

Then the sock knitters from Wednesday came back. They didn't quite finish the gusset decreases so they'll be back tomorrow. The daughter is really getting it. And she was very good at helping her mother. And there were several other drop-ins that kept me busy for the entire day. I did manage a couple of rounds on the socks and did about eight or ten rows on Robert's sweater. Falling behind faster and faster.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Another cat picture

Some friends came by on Sunday and while they were here they took this picture. I thought I could "fix" the red-eyed cat but haven't figured that out yet. But I did find this fancy framing feature. Patrick was definitely not amused by the whole process. He is just about to leap on my shoulder and claw his way to freedom. He sulked a long time after my friends left.

It seemed like I had a lot to write about when I was reading this morning. I had lots of time, I thought. Then I remembered an appointment and had to rush off before I'd even finished my daily reads. It does seem like everyone is buried in snow, at least the blogs I read. Well, there are some that aren't but a lot are. It's mostly been in the mid 70s here down to the 40s at night. We did have a little rain last night. But that's about as exciting as it's been. If I had a weather pixie you wouldn't have to be reading this stuff.

Anyway, I had three new students today. One was an absolute tabula rasa, not even any crochet experience. So that was a bit uphill. She'll come back in a couple of days for the purl part. The other two were a mother/daughter combo. The daughter has only been knitting for a few weeks, the mother for years. They wanted to make Lynn H.'s Fast Florida Footies. We had a lot of fun. The daughter really caught on quickly, the mother not so quickly. They're coming back on Friday to pick up where we left off. At the gusset. (Get it?)

And I got some more yarn from the person who gave me the partial skein last week. This time it's two skeins of Lion Brand Fun Fur and one of Plymouth Eros Glitz. I was pretty sure when she showed me what she had purchased that she wouldn't be able to work with it. I think she lasted less than five minutes. The last time she tried similar yarns the same thing happened. I made her a scarf that time but I'm not going to do it this time. I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I'll show it to Lisa and if she likes it I'll make her a scarf. Otherwise it's going to the Thursday night group to see if anyone there can use it.

It looks like I may not get to go to TNNA this weekend. I was hoping to go on Monday so I could meet Clara and catch up with some of the yarn reps I've known over the years. But some scheduling conflicts have occured and I may not be able to go unless we go early on Sunday so I can get back in time to cover the floor at Skein. (Weeping, moaning and gnashing of teeth.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Worms, and not the chenille kind

I've received two suspicious emails in the last twenty four hours. The first one I wasn't suspicious of until after I read the news about the new worm that is currently flooding the internet. I hope my Norton Anit-virus program caught it and kept it from infecting my computer but I'm not absolutely sure. I talked with my friend Bill who is usually very up on these things and computer stuff in general. He has assured me that I'm probably safe. But I'm not 100% convinced. So far everything seems to be normal but I'm hesitant to send emails for the time being. I'm not even sure if it's safe to leave comments on blogs. I hope so because I left a couple this morning before I thought about it.

I've never lost a post before. I've read lots of other blogs where this has happened. Well, this morning something happened and the post I had been working on just "froze" and I couldn't do anything but reboot. I hope this event isn't connected with the stuff in paragraph one. It may be because I tried to use Blogger's spell check. At least that's when it happened.

I got my car back and it's running better than it ever has. For $1100 it should be, don't you think? I'd love to get a new car but that's just not realistic right now. For that kind of money I could update my kitchen, which it sorely needs.

Anyway, about knitting. I made a lot of progress on Robert's sweater. I'd guess I'm more than 10% done since I finished the first 163 yard skein and according to Sweater Wizard I'm going to use around 1300 yards. I also knit a single wrist warmer. One of my students had a small amount of yarn left over from a scarf. She was too bored to use up all the yarn. She gave it to me and I told her I'd make her a wrist warmer. I thought we were just kidding. She keeps asking me where it is. So I did that last night.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Minimal knitting content

I've done some dumb things in my life but this has got to be one of the dumbest. Patrick the cat has a most needy sort of thing going on. He will only eat if I go stand by him long enough for him to get started. So that's not so bad except he likes to eat at about 6:30 every morning. It doesn't seem to matter how much food is in his bowl. He just needs to have someone standing beside him. I talked with his former provider yesterday and she confirmed that he has always been this way. Now I know why she wanted to find him a new home.

Well, the car repair people just called. Seems I might need a new fuel pump. I've already replaced the battery, the temperature sending unit, the shocks and several other items and still the car is acting like it doesn't want to do its job. Maybe I should just have it washed and trade it in. By the time I get through this round of repairs I will have dished out over $3000 in less than six months. Oops! Just got another call and it's going to be even more. I think I'm going to be depressed later on today.

Now for the minimal knitting content. I spent Saturday night swatching for the sweater I'm making for my friend Robert. So I got started with the actual knitting yesterday when I got home from Skein. I worked for five or six hours and finished the ribbing and a couple of inches of the body. The yarn is very textured and is nearly impossible to photograph. I'll try when I have more done. The sweater is a simple raglan pullover but there are a lot of stitches in an extra large sweater.

I didn't quite finish the first sock and made very little progress on the chenille scarf so my goals for last week were not met, except for the swatches for the sweater. But there was some progress. No new goals for this week.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Coming up short

Last night's knit together was the usual barrel of fun. Actually it's the most relaxing time I have all week. And the whole group was there. I tried a new-to-me short row shaping for the current pair of socks. It was more than a minor disaster. It's been ripped and the heel will be the same ol' square heel that I usually do.

I've been on a search for a short row heel that doesn't look like a botched surgical incision. One of these days I will find it and I'll be happy. I haven't tried toe-up socks so I don't know if a short row heel coming from the other direction would be any better looking. I'll have to get a lot more desperate for a short row heel before I try a toe-up sock. But I'm moving in that direction, by default.

I've been so busy with students this week that I've made almost no progress on my goals for the week. At this point it looks like I'll have to settle for not going in the hole. I've had very little at-home time and most of that has been taken up by playing with Patrick and keeping up with all the blogs. It's a tough life sometimes.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Some photos

Just a couple of things to show right now.

These socks are the ones I finished last Saturday night. Knit with Regia 4 on size 2 dpns, 56 stitches, top down with a standard S1, K1 heel.

The multidirectional diagonal scarf was knit with Brown Sheep Kaleidoscope hand painted cotton. Not sure if it's still available. There's no color card for it in our book at Skein. I used 35 stitches on a size 7US needle. It measures 5" x 72". I used just a little over 3 skeins. I'm going to try a matching hat with the remaining one and a half skeins.

Patrick's vet says Patrick is too fat. You can see why.

He's sleeping and I think he looks like a large turkey waiting to be plucked. So I have cut back on the amount of food he gets everyday. He gives me very pitiful looks. So far though he hasn't eaten everything so he's not starving.

Monday, January 19, 2004

And for the last time!

I had to agree to cropping the photo in order to get one of her wearing it. I'm very pleased with how it looks and she loves it. She wore it to dinner last night and felt it was easy to drive in and was nice and warm. So now I'm truly done with the poncho.

I didn't quite make it to the end of my list of goals for last week. I did finish a pair of socks and one scarf. Was just too busy with students and stuff to get any knitting done at Skein. I think I need to be more realistic about what is possible given the number of hours I'm working. So this week I'm only planning to finish the remaining scarf and the new socks I started this morning. And I'll start some swatches for Robert's sweater.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Moving right along

No pictures yet but I've almost made my goal for the week. One scarf is done, the second sock is nearly there and the second scarf is about half way. I've given myself a deadline and I'm stressing about whether I'm going to make it. I know that several people use their blogs to keep track of their progress and to keep themselves "honest" about getting things done. I think it's a pretty good idea. I've never tried it before. It's working for me but do I really need this stress? I think I can use this as a tool but I need to set some more realistic goals.

I've had fewer students this week than I've been having but I'm expecting a goodly number tomorrow. I had a few folks today that were more or less touching base to see if they're doing okay. And several friends came to just sit and knit. Maybe that's the reason I didn't get as much done today as I thought I would. And I spent a lot of time playing with Pat the cat when I got home.

I've never done any felting so I don't have any hands-on experience with it. Only know what I've read. Anyway, I was asked if a high efficiency washer would provide enough agitation to make the process work. Does anyone know, or at least have an opinion? And what is the most critical element of the felting process?

It's hard to type with a twelve pound cat sitting in your lap.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Same-oh, same-oh

There's a real scarcity of stuff to blog about. I've finished the first of a pair of socks and am about a quarter of the way through the second one. This is the pair I'm determined to finish this week. The two scarves are also moving along at what I hope is a rate fast enough to get them off the needles by the weekend. I'm starting the "bind off" segment of the multi-directional scarf and I am about half way through the chenille diagonal scarf that I started last month. I'll have some photos when these are done.

If I have time I'll do the gauge swatch and work up the pattern for Robert's sweater. I keep putting this off for some reason, probably because I know it's going to be a long but boring knit. Now that everyone else has been the scarf route I'm finding myself drawn to them. I don't even wear scarves and I don't think Lisa does either, or not often.

At any rate, once I finish this week's projects I'll start another pair of socks. I've been re-reading Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. There are several pairs that I fantasize making but I don't seem to get started. And I like this pattern too. I even have the yarn. I think the main reason I don't knit any of the more intricate socks is that I have so much of the self patterning yarn in my stash. I haven't counted recently but I think I have enough sock stash that I could knit a pair every two weeks for a year. Not that I could stick to that schedule.

And I still have a couple of sweaters that I started for myself early last year, or maybe the year before, that I ought to finish. I like them well enough. I just get side tracked. And there's also the Wave and Shell Shawl that Mendy and I are planning to make as a knit-a-long. We didn't get motivated in time to sign up for Rachael's group.

I really should make a list.

Monday, January 12, 2004


Do you remember this yarn?

It's the Sari Silk I bought a few weeks ago. Today I got around to putting it into a ball. What a mess! It is so over twisted that I couldn't use my ball winder. There are plenty of knots and some very thin spots. At $19.00 per skein I expected better quality. I realize it's made from silk leftovers but it looks like they took no pains at all to make it "nice". My feeling is that if you want to break into the US economy you'd better have a good product.

I purchased a kit about three years ago from a company called Himalaya Yarn. It contained yarn made from the floor sweepings in the carpet factories of I think Nepal. It was very crudely made and kept breaking every few feet. So I never bought any more and warned anyone who expressed an interest in it about the poor quality.

I haven't knit with the Sari Silk as yet but I'm not looking forward to it. I'll probably have to let the yarn untwist about every five feet or so. I'm going back to the shop where I bought it next week. I'll see if they've had similar complaints. Oh well, the cat likes it.

I spent part of today ripping nine skeins of Berroco Furz. This was from a super long scarf that one of our customers didn't want. She tried to rip it but didn't have the requisite patience. It wasn't really all that difficult. Somewhat like ripping mohair but no where as tedious. Now I just have to put it away until I decide what to do with it. I'm sort of thinking about this pattern that Rob has been talking about. Not sure if I can get the gauge but it would be easy enough to recalculate.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Poncho plenty!

Here, at long last, is a photo of the completed poncho I started last October. It's been finished for a few weeks but I just got around to having it cleaned and blocked. I tried, very unsuccessfully, last night to get some pictures. They just came out all yellow and sickly looking. This one's too blue but I'm done trying.

This one is a more accurate depiction of the color. I used some 100% Icelandic wool that I've had in stash for at least seven years. I have ten skeins each of the same wool in two other brown tones. I don't think they're gonna become ponchos. Right now I consider myself done with the poncho-a-long and will notify Alison just as soon as I finish this post.

Lisa has seen the poncho in progress and is excited to finally get it. Not that it's really very cold here, and this poncho is very warm! I'll try to get a pic of her wearing it when she comes over next weekend.

Not much else that's news. Still busy and running way behind on most of my projects. Well, technically, I'm not behind since nothing has a deadline other than what exists in my own mind. I will finish two scarves and a pair of socks this week, or else.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I finished the two scarves last night and took them to work today. Now I'm back to working on my own things. I made a lot of progress on the multidirectional scarf tonight while I was at the Thursday night knit together. Two of us were working on them and one person was just trying to get started when we broke up. The fourth is getting ready, just has to find the yarn.

There's not a whole lot to say about today. Just another day in knitting nirvana.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Scarf it up!

It's not as if I had no projects of my own. I have plenty both in the works and in the planning stages. So what am I doing? I'm reknitting a plain ol' scarf for one of my students. It's not plain looking but it's still garter stitch. One strand of Trendsetter Eyelash and one of their Sorbert. She's been working on this scarf since last winter and has made a number of errors both of omission and commission. She had dropped an edge stitch and marked it to be picked up later even though the scarf narrowed noticeably at that point.

I asked her to rip it back and pick up the stitch which she half-heartedly agreed to do. Unfortunately she didn't rip whole rows. So some of the edge stitches were still attached and the yarns were getting almost hopelessly entangled. I couldn't stand it so I took it from her and told her I would fix it. It took a couple of hours over a couple of days to undo the Gordian knot she had created. I actually ended up cutting the yarn off the scarf and straighening it out. Then I ripped maybe seven or eight rows before I found one that looked reasonably correct. I've reknit those and am finishing the scarf with the salvaged yarn. I hope she doesn't have any more yarn at home that she's planning to use. I think I'd better just leave enough yarn to bind off and check with her before I do it. It's a potentially beautiful scarf that's big enough to use as a shawl and I know she has at least $100 tied up in yarn. I don't want her to get discouraged and not finish it as she has with other projects.

When I get this one done I have at least one scarf to knit for my bi-polar student. She got distressed with some yarn she had to have and gave it to me. She's always very generous to me so I will knit the scarf and return it to her. She gave me some more yarn today, two skeins of Trendsetter Vintage, that's she thinks is a jinx to her. This one I'll probably keep for my gift stash. Maybe not.

I'm still working intermittently on the multi-directional scarf. It's so much fun to show it off. I'm about 80% finished with this one and have enough yarn to do one more in the same color way. And there's still the chenille diagonal stitch one that I started a few weeks ago. And the heart motif one from Fiber Trends that I've done one repeat of since I started in back in October.

Patrick, my new pet, seems to be adjusting to his new surroundings. We're getting along very well. I got him some toys today and he played with them this evening, at least until I got tired of retrieving the ball from some place he couldn't reach. His favorite thing to do though is wrestle a bath towel. Still no interest in the yarn or needles. Like a kid, he prefers the bags that things come in.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Mail call

I got a genuine, handwritten card a couple of days ago from Clara Parks of Knitters' Review letting me know that someone, a secret friend, is contributing to my trip to the Knitters' Retreat this year. I'm still not sure who the secret friend is, but I've got a pretty good idea. I'm still amazed at what can happen when you put something out "to the universe" and see it materialize. So just as soon as I know who it is, I'll let you know, provided it's okay with my secret friend. Did I tell you how excited I am to be going to this event?

And then, today, I got a package from Bron that contained a clever row counter she created for use with circular needles. I'm not sure if she's marketing these or not but maybe if you asked she could tell you how to get one. So much better than trying to keep track with one of those Katcha-Katcha thingies or ye olde pencil and paper. Thanks, Bron!

I postponed my dental appointment for today so I could go into Skein earlier than usual. The rep from Rowan/Jaeger, Tahki/Stacey Charles was coming in and Ann Mary wanted me to cover the floor while she looked at the new yarns. That was the plan anyway. All she would have to do was go ring up anything I sold. She spent most of the morning ringing up sales. Such a crowd of yarn hungry shoppers. And I had a couple, make that three, students who came in looking for some reassurance and problem solving. Anyway, Ann Mary got to see most of the yarns but it was pretty hurry-up the whole time. Fortunately the TNNA trade show is coming up at the end of the month so she'll have another opportunity to see what's out there. Did you know that pink was supposed to be big this spring?

I had half a lunch at about 2:30 and Ann Mary had hers right after that. We were both a little delirious by then. Things calmed down for a short while after that and then picked up again around 4:30. There were still a couple of shoppers there when I left at a quarter after 6. Business it booming! Who knows how long this knitting craze will continue. You should have seen the "How do you make a scarf" dance routine that the yarn rep did. One of the reps from a different company is predicting no end to the craze. Personally, I think it will last another year or so. I do think we've created a lot of new knitters. And some of them will continue and become more and more expert. I hope so anyway. So long as "fashion" promotes the look knitting will remain a hot item. After that, we'll just have to wait out the cycle.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Pat, the cat. Or, pet the cat.

Meet Patrick, my new cat. I've been thinking about getting a pet and when one of my students said she needed to find a home for her cat I decided to go ahead. He's about a year and half old, has blue eyes, incredibly soft fur and is very big. He weighed 11.8 lbs. at his last physical, a week ago. He's a lilac point ragdoll. He likes to be petted a lot, especially around 3 in the morning. It's also difficult to get him to pose. (I changed his name from Pickles to Patrick. I'm sure he will like it a lot better.)

Now, about the knitting. I'm still working on the two scarves and have a pair of socks started. I also need to start a sweater for my friend Robert. I gave him the yarn last night when we finally got together for Christmas. He's decided he'd like a raglan pullover, just plain. So I'll do a gauge later today and plug it into Sweater Wizard and get started.

Friday, January 02, 2004

What a difference

a tripod makes. Lisa gave me a tripod for Christmas. I can't get over how much better my indoor photos are. It's very overcast here today so about the only light available was the overhead and the flash. I did use "sharpen" on these photos but I think they would have read pretty well without it.

This is the current multidirectional diagonal scarf. The yarn is Brown Sheep Kaleidoscope that Mendy gave me. I love the yarn and I love making this scarf. The color is actually pretty dark and the color transistions are softer but still a pretty good representation of what the scarf looks like, in progress.

This is a hand dyed yarn from a new company named Steadfast Yarns. I don't know anything about the company except they're in Idaho. The yarn itself is Brown Sheep worsted that they buy and then dye. I got this when I went ot Phebie's last Monday. I think it'll have to be scarves since I only got two of each color.

And this is Sari Silk from Muench Yarns. I got two skeins of this. The other one is a different colorway and I gave it to Mendy. There's 111 yards per skein so this will also become a scarf. The sample they had going at Phebie's was garter stitch on size 17 needles. Felt pretty soft. At $19.00 per hank it's a little pricey. But once in a while it's just the right thing to do. And Lisa will love the color.

I really need to go finish cleaning house and getting ready for work. And if there's time I'll work a little on the scarf. Need to start another project soon but haven't decided what it will be.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Here we go again!

Another Rose Parade has come and gone. I watched a little of it from my bedroom window but it's better on TV. So I just ignored it for the most part. The streets are covered with debris. I guess the city will start cleaning up tomorrow. It's times like these that I really get discouraged with the human race.

So I had a pretty quiet day. I worked on the multidirectional scarf and looked through some knitting magazines. And took a couple of naps. Not really much to report. I just wanted to get the year started.