Friday, February 27, 2004

No more yarn!

Not in the immediate future anyway. I was sort of thinking, planning on, going back to Temple City Knits today just to pick up a few more 50% off skeins of Cascade Fixation. But thanks to the generosity of a couple of the ladies who knit I don't need to. Almost the whole group of Thursday night knitters has been to TCK this week. I'm glad I don't have to design strategies for getting yarn inside without letting a spouse or other SO know what I'm up to. Patrick doesn't care. In fact he rather enjoys playing in the empty bags.

On the other hand, I may just drive by, since it's sort of on my way, just to see if they have anything really interesting left. I'd like some Cotton Classic just in case I ever get around to making that one decent top in the new Knitters.

If all goes well Skein will move to Pasadena next week. Will have to wait and see.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

We had rain! That should be RAIN!. I don't know how many hours it kept up but it was a long time, six or seven hours non-stop. That may not be much to people living in Seattle or Florida but this just doesn't happen in So Cal. Well, not often anyway. I was all set to write last night but I couldn't get SBCYahoo to let me in. I finally managed to check my email a little before midnight. And things are pretty water logged this morning. Several sites seem to have been washed completely away. And anyone using Typepad has had their page completely refigured. Or I think that's what caused the sudden disarray. And everything was loading much slower than I've come to expect.

So, since I couldn't work on the computer last night I sat and finished the first of the Denim Socks. Will try to get started on the second one today while I'm at Skein. I do have a couple of sock knittings beginners coming in so that seems like appropriate. And tonight is our Knit Together. I'll work on the red shawl.

The concert on Tuesday was an adventure. I took the new Gold Line downtown and met my friend at Union Station. The train ride was nice and easy. I just work myself up into a frenzy when I have to try something new. So I was crazy by the time I actually got on the train. But all went well. We heard the Calder Quartet, a new string quartet of recent USC graduates. And there was Mozart and Mendelsohn. Much more traditional music than we usually hear. Not a brilliant performance but still very nice.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Two bags full!

So here's what happened. I went to Temple City Knits and everything was, indeed, 50% off. So I got some sock yarn, enough for seven pair. And some other stuff. Two cones of Berroco Glace, twelve skeins of Berroco Soft Twist, thirteen skeins of Patons Grace, four balls of Jaeger Winter Ribbon and nine skeins of Trendsetter Solaris. Enough to fill two large bags. I thought I got some Cotton Twist but I must have put it back. It's not on the invoice or in the bags.

On the way home I stopped at A Stitch In Time, a needlepoint store. They're now carrying knitting yarn so I wanted to see what they have. Reynolds, S.R. Kertzer and Artful Yarns. And it's a beautiful shop. Very spacious and elegant. Oh, and very expensive.

So I was feeling nearly euphoric when I got home. And it got even better. USPS had delivered my book order from Knitting in the Old Way, Knitting On The Road by Nancy Bush and The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book by Margaret Klein Wilson. Someone, I don't recall who it was, wrote about these books on her blog and I got a terrible case of envy so I ordered them for myself. I've only had a little time to look through them but I can tell already that I like them, especially the Nancy Bush book. Socks rule!

I spent the rest of the day knitting. I worked about an inch on the current sock and then almost finished the multidirectional scarf. I ran out of yarn but I think Mendy had a partial skein left over from her scarf. She's checking for me as I write. And then I did a couple of rows on the Mexican Wave shawl. I'm going to a concert tonight so I won't have much knitting time today.

Monday, February 23, 2004

What to do?

For the first time in a long time I have a whole day that has nothing planned. I can work on any project I want to.

The Mexican Wave shawl. I've just started the third skein and have about 260 stitches on the current row. This project would be perfect if I were watching a movie. Which I might do later today.

The current sock project. JaWoll yarn. I'm started on the foot of the first sock. The light is good today so this one will see some action. Probably.

Or I could finish the current multidirectional scarf. I only have one skein to go.

Or I could just start another one. I have four skeins in this color way. We still have a little cold weather to go so this would be nice. Or maybe save it for next Christmas.

But then I have this Koigu, and some Cherry Tree Hill and one skein of Noro. I could start a scarf, another pair of socks or a hat. Probably won't. Just wanted to show it off.

And speaking of showing off.

This is ten skeins of Noro Shinano. Mendy found a bunch of this on eBay and decided I should share. No idea what I'm going to do with it yet. But I love having it.

Now that I've frittered away most of my morning taking pictures and showing off I have to decide what to do with the rest of the day. I think I'll go see if Temple City Knits is still in business. I heard last week that they had closed but later in the week I heard they were still open and everything was 50% off. I can always use some more sock yarn.

Saturday, February 21, 2004


For the second day in a row I've made it through reading all the dailies without my computer freezing up. I don't know why it does this but I suspect is has something to do with my browzer. Is that possible? My DSL connection is via SBCYahoo. This freezing up problem is a fairly new phenomenon but it's making me crazy.

We had rain and hail yesterday. It came down so hard that car alarms were set off in the parking lot next door. Foothill Blvd. was filled from side to side in a matter of minutes. It was very exciting and I'm glad I was safely inside. The cars, but mostly the trucks, driving past the shop were making huge splashes that looked for all the world like a speedboat race. And all the rain brought out the crowds. We were swamped. It's supposed to continue raining for the next few days. Wish I could stay home and mind my own knitting.

Instead I'm teaching socks today. And one brand new knitter is supposed to come in for a class. Who knows what else will happen? I picked up the gusset stitches on my current sock project while I was at Skein yesterday. That's all I could get done but I got to the foot last night. So I'm not going to finish this pair before the week is out. I'm still on the first sock. Oh well. It was an arbitrary deadline anyway.

Friday, February 20, 2004


I was all ready to pick up the gusset stitches on my current sock project. I really like how the sock looks and was looking forward to making lots of progress on the foot portion while I was at Skein yesterday. Except I was missing on of my needles. I thought I had them all when I stuffed the sock into my knitting projects I can work on at Skein bag. I searched the bag thoroughly, counted the needles a few times and finally gave up. I could have used the other size 2 needles I had with me but I'm using my Crystal Palace 8" needles and they're just perfect for the JaWoll yarn.

I didn't get home until after 11 last night because it was Thursday night knit together. I really fretted the whole day wondering what I was going to do. The needle was on the table by my favorite knitting chair. I'm so relieved. These are my favorite sock needles.

So I didn't get any sock knitting in yesterday. At least not on my own project. I have a number of students who are making socks and one of them was in yesterday. I don't know how responsible I should feel for her success. It bothers me somewhat that she's just not getting it. This is not her first attempt. But in an effort to find something positive to say, at least she hasn't given up.

Since I couldn't work on my socks I spent most of the day and last night working on the Mexican Wave shawl. That's turning out to be a popular project with students and customers. I'm almost at the end of the second skein so it's beginning to look like something.

We finally got some more Cascade Fixation so I'll be teaching sock knitting this weekend using that stretchy yarn. I think I'd better get started on the second sock of the pair I started last year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

It doesn't take much to make me happy and restore my sense of equilibrium.

A checkbook that balances even though I haven't checked it in two months;
Waking up before the cat so he doesn't jump all over me;
Getting the laundry done is only two days and not losing one single sock;
Finishing a sock with yarn left over, even it it's only about five inches.

Life is good and we are getting some rain. I don't have to be at Skein until one today so there's plenty of time to stop for lunch at Shakey's Pizza. I'm working on the ribbed denim socks (formerly known as the JaWoll socks) and it's going well. I need to make the second sock of a pair I started last summer. We've been using the single sock as a sample at Skein but since the yarn is gone and we're not getting any more I'll bring it home and make its mate. I already know these socks won't fit Lisa but they'll probably fit her Mom. So, like I said, life is good.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Yesterday's yarn shop tour was a huge success. We got to Velona's shortly after they opened and spent about an hour there. I exchanged the sock yarn for some Lana Grossa Meilenweit Multieffeckt and picked up two skeins of Big Mexico for Mendy. Renee found the Big Kureyon she needed as well as a couple of skeins of regular Kureyon she needed.

We got to Yarn Lady just as Sally Melville's class broke for lunch. I'm not sure what the class was but it sounded like it was about selecting and combining colors. We hung around there for a while and then went for lunch at a bakery/cafe next door. Neither of us bought anything at Yarn Lady's, just enjoyed the displays and checked out the Cascade. (Skein will be carrying the Cascade 220 now. Some of it arrived today.)

Then it was on to Phebie's in Montclair. This is the third time I've been to this shop and I really enjoy it. The front part is filled with beads and Brazilian embroidery fibers plus needlepoint supplies. All the yarn is in the back half of the shop. It's mostly basic stuff like Encore but they also have lots of novelty yarns. And some hand dyed skeins. I got some Schaeffer Anne sock yarn in a dark burgundy combination and a couple of skeins of a nubby yarn called Lime that I'll use for a quick scarf.

So it was a good day and not too expensive considering. Today I finished the second sock of the pair I've been making for Mendy. I plan to continue with the JaWoll socks and see if I can get them out of the way by the end of the week. I want to get back to the Mexican Wave shawl but I'm sort of in the mood to finish some of the small projects that have been accumulating.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Here we go again!

A new week. I'm up so early this morning that most of the blogs I read have not been updated.

I'm off on a repeat yarn shop hopping trip with my friend Renee. She's the mother of my faux grandson. We were on a yarn shop tour last year at about this time when she got the call from the agency she was working with that they had a child available for adoption. She hasn't had a chance to go on a yarn shop tour since that exciting day. Partly because she also had to have some pretty serious surgery that has made getting around pretty difficult and slow. So we're both excited to get out and compare yarn stores.

I'm in the middle of the heel flap on the second sock of the pair I'm making for Mendy. This is about as fast as I can remember ever making a sock. I'd really like to get them done before the Thursday night get together but I have very little time available this week. Nothing special. Just stuff to do. Anyway, I'm going to try.

Patrick got stoned on catnip drops yesterday. I'm not sure if catnip is a good thing for him. But he did get a lot of exercise which I guess is what he needs if he's going to lose some weight. He's a little cranky and pitiful this morning.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Post-birthday post

Well, it was certainly a busy week. Started on Saturday night with dinner at Taix, a pseudo-French restaurant in Downtown LA that is celebrating its 75th year, with friends Bill and Ed. Sunday was dinner with Lisa at Fuji. On Monday Mendy took me yarn shop hopping with lunch at Surf and Sand in Laguna Beach. Tuesday Ann Mary and KC took me to Foo Sheng for classic Chinese. Wednesday was a bye. Thursday was the knitting get together at Mendy's, and Friday dinner at Fanara's with one of my students and her husband. Last night I stayed home and played with the cat and finished the first sock of the pair I'm making for Mendy.

I was supposed to go to dinner at Robert's tonight but he had to cancel due to a family event. There's one more event to go but it's not until the end of the month.

I've been pretty busy at Skein as well. I have a couple of brand new knitters plus some returnees. I've been working with a couple of ladies who want to make socks for everyone on their Christmas list. It's a good thing they're starting early. And I've made quite a bit of progress on the new shawl.

Up there in the top photo you can see not only my first attempts at weaving but also the flowers Anita brought me for my birthday and the rock engraved "Thank You". There's also the candles from my cake and the card Mendy made. You can't read the fine print but it says that The Ladies Who Knit have combined to provide me with room and board at the Knitters' Retreat next November. Thanks Anita, Carol, Lammia, Mendy, Rena and Renee. What a great bunch!

And the sock. It's one of the yarns I got at Velona's. I thought I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish so I picked up another skein when I was there last Monday. Actually I had about five inches left so I'm planning to return the extra skein when I go back there tomorrow. I sure hope the second skein I bought originally will have at least the same yardage as the first one.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

A few days ago, Stephanie posted a couple of pictures of her favorite shawl. When I saw them I remembered that I had some of the Mexican Wave yarn that she used. I liked the look of her shawls and decided that the sweater I had started a couple of years ago should be transformed into something that was more likely going to be finished. So instead of working on the other current projects (three pair of socks, a multidirectional scarf, Robert's sweater, a fruit hat and a heart patterned scarf) I started a shawl.

I'm using a size 7US instead of the size 5 specified on the label. And it's all garter stitch except the yarn overs. It's nearly impossible to see in the photo but there's a gradual shift from a warm, yellow red to a cool, blue red stripe going on. Actually that change doesn't show all that well in the real thing. Maybe when it gets bigger. Meanwhile, I've got some size 7 circulars around here somewhere but I can't find them right now. I don't think I'll need them right away but, just in case, I'll pick up some new ones at Skein today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Shark fin soup and other esoteric stuff

We went to Foo Sheng last night for dinner. I had shark fin soup for the first time ever and was left wondering what the fuss was all about. Tastes the same as egg drop soup to me except for the crunchy little strings that are the cartilage of the shark's fins. A little bit of sweet vinegar does make it more interesting though. I asked KC why this delicacy is so sought after. His explanation was that it's because of the difficulty of obtaining the material and the complexity of extracting the little bits that are used. Kind of "because it's there".

I've been looking at a lot of different knitting technique books lately. I treated myself yesterday to Simple Socks by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts. Well, it was my birthday after all. And I've been trying to read it at Skein but it's kind of hard to follow sometimes, especially when the shop is busy. So I thought I'd better just get it so I could try to follow what she's talking about and try to reproduce her different cast-ons. So far it's a little like shark fin soup.

Ann Mary told me she ordered a lot of Koigu when she was at TNNA. Now that's some esoteric stuff I can get behind. I don't know when it's supposed to arrive but I've heard some grumblings from other shop owners that the Koigu people are very slow with the deliveries. I suspect it's because everything they can produce is going to Indiana and we out here in La La Land just get the leftovers. If there are any. But I'm hoping we get some soon!

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

It's the big one!

Today, at approximately 4:20 PM, Central Time, I'll reach that landmark known as 65. It's been a long time coming. But like all birthdays I've ever had, it's just one more.

It's nice to have a fuss made over me. I could do without the references to canes and wheelchairs though. I'll be at Skein today, same as always. Passing along the wisdom of the ages, knitting-wise. Should that be aged? And then Ann Mary and her husband are taking me to dinner at one of their favorite mandarin restaurants. And tomorrow everything will be back to usual. Thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes. It really does feel good to be so loved.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Who has time to knit?

Imagine a warm sunny day. It's probably in the mid 70s outside. Our table is by the window overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Catalina Island is in clear view. Lunch at the Surf and Sand in Laguna Beach. The menu is slightly nouvelle and the service is attentive. And we have one more yarn store to visit before we head back to Pasadena.

Mendy picked me up this morning and took me yarn shop hopping for my birthday. We stopped first at Velona's in Anaheim Hills. It's normally about an hour's drive but today took a little longer due to traffic. But it's one of my favorite destinations. I picked up some sock yarn that I needed to finish a pair of socks I started a few weeks ago and several other things that I'll show when I have time to take pictures.

After that we went to The Yarn Lady in Laguna Hills. This is their new location which I hadn't seen yet. It was wonderful! They had lots and lots of neat samples as well as a wide selection of colors in lots of different yarns. The shop is large and spacious. There was a table of knitters taking a class as well as spot teaching going on all over the place. I didn't buy anything as I thought I had already spent enough and we still had one more shop to go.

After lunch we went to Strands and Stitches in Laguna Beach. A small, charming shop right on the Coast Highway. I found some Kureyon and some Koigu that I thought I ought to have. And that's it! Strands and Stitches was Mendy's first yarn shop so she enjoys going back there to visit. We didn't stay very long as it was getting late and the traffic was going to be even worse than it was in the morning.

Lisa came over last night to celebrate. We had a great time. I now have a couple of new sweat suits and will retire my old ones to the dust cloth bin in the very near future. We had a great time playing with the cat and the went for sushi. Well, she had the sushi. I prefer cooked food.

Anyway, I've only had a few minutes here and there to do any knitting. I'll be home tonight and hope to finish the current scarf and spend some time on Robert's sweater. After seeing all the samples at the shops today I'm really ready to start a bunch of new things. Be patient. I'll get over it soon.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Just so you know

I'm still here. There hasn't been much new to write about. I'm at the end of the second skein of Kureyon on the Multidirectional scarf. I got two or three new people started on it in the past day or so. I've been pretty busy this week with new students as well as a few continuing ones.

I'm going to meet Ann Mary and KC tomorrow morning at the new shop. This will be the first time I've seen the inside. I never went to Poobah's, the shop that was there before. I'm curious to see how it looks before it's converted. If I don't forget my camera I'll try to get at least some exterior photos.

I managed to get all the yarn I had been stashing in the living room moved into the primary holding area, aka, the den. I didn't get any plastic boxes yet so everything is still in bags and stacked precipitously on top of the stuff that was already in there. So now there's just Robert's sweater and my current sock and scarf projects in the living room. That's where I knit most of the time. There's no room in the den.

Friday, February 06, 2004

And then I started this

I just can't get into anything very serious lately. There are lots of challenging, time-taking projects on my list of things I really want to knit. Someday when I'm feeling motivated.

I like the multidirectional diagonal scarf. A lot. I have several students started on them. If you've made one you know how addictive, and fun, they are to knit. So here's my current one. Kureyon #126 on size 9, 35 stitches. I have three skeins but I think I'm going to get one more. I'm still working on the JaWoll socks that I started on Tuesday but I couldn't quit thinking about this yarn.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Is that all?

Not much happened since yesterday, at least on my knitting. A little progress here, a little progress there. Nothing completed. I did break down and start a pair of socks using one of the blue JaWoll yarns that I showed a couple of days ago.

Most of my at home time has been devoted to sorting through my stash. The part that's stacked up in the living room, in a corner behind a chair. Patrick was fascinated by the additional running room he has. I'm hoping to get some more plastic storage boxes soon so I can add this stuff to the pile in the den. And I got all the books and magazines put back where they belong.

I got to see the Mango Moon recycled silk today. I didn't know the company was so close to here. It's in Laguna Beach, not right next door but close enough. Unfortunately they no longer do retail. We should be having some of this soon. I think I'm going to like it. A lot! I already know it's softer than the Sari Silk I got last month. Will have to wait until I can work with it to see if it's spun any better. I only saw a couple of skeins and there was no color card. I understand they sort it into only two colorways, jewel and earth. And it is heavy so will probably work best as a bag or vest but they do have some patterns for pullovers and cardigans, even a throw.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Deep in the heart of texture

If you like texture, especially if it's the yarn that does it, you'll like this sweater. This is the lower part of the back of Robert's raglan.

I knew it wouldn't be easy to photograph and that it would be a boring picture. But it's really good looking in the flesh. The yarn is called Monnalisa and is from Lanas Stop, a Spanish company. It's cotton, linen, acrylic, nylon, polyester and some rayon. I've had some problem maintaining gauge as the yarn is quite stretchy. I may need to rip back some as I think it's going to be too long as knit. I might have lost track of how many rows I'd knit. So I'm doing one of the sleeves to see if the pattern is correct or if my gauge is off.

Monday, February 02, 2004

The stuff that dreams are made of

Patrick likes to wake me up early to watch him eat. He can be quite insistent. He not only walks all over me but butts me with his head and meows in a most pitiful way until I finally give in and get up. I don't know why he wants me to stand beside him while he eats.

This morning, after only about four hours of sleep, he began his tromping and nudging routine thereby interrupting my dream of knitting socks with Tahki's Cotton Classic. Not that I would actually even try it, but in the dream it seemed quite possible. And for some unexplained reason I had sample skeins in all their colors. That would be nice IRL. Anyway, in the dream I was able to knit socks at an incredible rate and rip out and start over in the most effortless way. Would that it were so.

No knitting yesterday. Lunch and dinner engagements plus too many students to knit while I was at Skein. Maybe today since I'm home the whole day with nothing to do except laundry. I need to rip back a little on my current sock project as I didn't start the toe shaping soon enough. Maybe I can get that done and start the second sock. Dream on!

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Rabbit! Rabbit!

Brrr! It's cold in here. I should turn on the heat but it'll be warmer soon. I hope. It's Swap Meet Sunday and the people next door are having a moving/yard sale so there are lots of people to-ing and fro-ing on my street. It's not raining and it's generally a pretty day. Good way to begin another month.

I'll be getting older in a few days. In fact, I'll be officially old. But that's okay because my cost of medical insurance will radically decrease. When I was in my twenties I thought it would be fabulous if I could just make it to sixty. That way I'd get to write 2000 as the year and I'd be in a new millineum. Well, I'm here to tell you, that is not enough. There's still a lot of stuff I haven't tried not to mention my yarn stash that needs to be used up. And there's lots of yarn I haven't bought any of as yet.

Here's some stuff I got last Friday when I went to Phebie's. It's Classic Elite Fame. I'm not sure if this yarn is even still available. They only had five skeins but it should be enough for a skippy top, or very long scarf. Our trip was a lot of fun and my student nearly ODd.

I woke up this morning from a dream about knitting socks. Toe-up, with fair isle patterns on the the top, black yarn with red and green flowers. Too much. I think I've read too many sock knitting books lately.

A gift from Lammia. Nice stuff. I haven't tried this brand as yet. But I'm sort of in a blue mood, colorwise, so this is quite timely.