Wednesday, April 28, 2004

After two days of sweltering heat it's back down to the low 80s and some rain is expected in the next day or so. I just got the sludge from the last storm washed off my car today. Oh, well. But the cooler weather has really energized Patrick. We've been playing Snake* most of this evening. I'm supposed to be working on the second sleeve of the Cotton Classic sweater. I just completed row 8. Only 157 to go.

I think I'm going to rip the current sock and go down a needle size. It's just too large and loose. I do like the eyelet rib stitch though. I think it makes the striping more interesting and it's certainly a lot more fun to knit than stockinette.

*Snake, for the more literal minded, is me teasing Patrick with an old black leather belt that looks kind of like a snake when I drag it across the floor. We usually play this until one of us gets bored.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The pictures I promised

The stripes matched pretty well, even though I thought it would never happen. This is just my basic sock pattern, top down, 56 stitches. The Crevinia yarn was easy to work with but seems a little harsh compared to other self patterning yarns I've worked with. Maybe that's why it's about half the price.

I'm using the Summer Solstice sock pattern from The Sock Calendar by Catherine Wingate and Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer. The yarn is Regia Cotton in Surf Color. The yarn splits easily and is not all that soft to the touch. But I like the colors a lot.

I'm doing the sleeves first for the Cotton Classic Cable sweater. I didn't work on it at all yesterday but I'll take it to Skein with me today. I haven't done cables in a while. I forgot how much I like doing them. And Cotton Classic is one of my favorite yarns.

Monday, April 26, 2004

It was 105F at 2:30 this afternoon. And summer is still almost two months away. It is supposed to cool off over the coming week. My air conditioning is feeble after all the years of use but it's still a help, if I stay really close to it. Patrick has been wandering from place to place all day trying to find some place cool enough to sleep. But he is back to eating. No more treats for him.

I went to the Pasadena Showcase House of Design yesterday. We had to park at the Rose Bowl and take a bus to the site. Usually the buses are small, tram-sized affairs. Not this year. They were almost Greyhound size. The house was so far from the parking I guess they decided to make fewer runs and deliver more people at a time. Anyway, it was an interesting ride. Very curvy, narrow road through was passes for countryside. The house was big and overdecorated as usual but there were some worthwhile ideas and the accessories were spectacular. One of the designers is a customer at Skein so that was special. And I know a couple of the docents so that gave it a little extra "up close and personal" slant.

Lots of excitement this afternoon though. I heard some men shouting outside and when I looked out the kitchen window I could see a couple of them starting to go at it. Five or six men had "cornered" a man in our front yard. There's a low fence around the yard and he kept trying to get away but the other guys kept him where he was. About that time four or five police patrol cars showed up. They immediately took the guy down and handcuffed him. I'm not sure what happened that caused the ruckus but it seemed the guys outside the fence had chased the other guy from somewhere around the corner and there was apparently someone else involved who had taken off in a different direction. So one of the patrol cars took off that-a-way. All this commotion lasted through a couple of loads of laundry. The last time I looked there were only a couple of cars left, but something was going on down at the end of the street by where the sauntering students cross.

And even more excitement. I went to Tommy's tonight for the first time ever. Tommy's Hamburgers has been a landmark in Los Angeles since 1946. They're famous for their chili fries and, I guess, for their hamburgers. A new one opened a couple of months ago, about a block from where I live. I've never been tempted to go to Tommy's, until today. I have no idea why, but I was almost obsessed. So after I finished my laundry I went over there. I can sort of see what the big deal is, but I don't think I'll need to go back. It is super-cheap though. Cheeseburger, chili fries and small soft drink, $5.25, and no tip.

Oh, about the knitting. I finished the spring stripe socks. I am almost done with the first sleeve of the Cotton Classic sweater and I started another pair of socks. If it's cooler in the morning I'll try to get some pics.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Patrick likes his treats. He gets a few every night around 7 o'clock. When he hears me shake the plastic container he comes running from wherever he is. I wasn't home until after eleven last night so I gave him his treats then. This morning he's refusing to eat his regular kibble. I don't know if he doesn't feel well, doesn't like the Science Diet anymore or if he's just trying to manipulate me into giving him some more treats. I think it's the latter. I just opened a bottle of pills, for me, and when he heard the rattling he went bananas. So we'll have to see. He has eaten a few bites of kibble, but begrudgingly.

It wasn't all that busy yesterday at Skein, until just before four when I was getting ready to leave. I did finish the shop sample poncho. TG for that. I may get a photo today, if I don't forget the camera. The yarn I used is nearly gone so we'll try to direct people to some alternatives.

I'm off to wind a couple of skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic to take with me today. I'm starting a cabled pullover that's in their new summer catalog, the same catalog as the poncho pattern. Cotton Classic is one of my favorite yarns. So if it's a quiet today as it was yesterday I should get at least half a sleeve done.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Getting rid of the past

It's a lot more difficult than it sounds. I had a call on Monday from Rescue Mission asking for donations of clothes and wearables that they could use to help the homeless etc. So I said sure. I have plenty of clothes that I no longer wear, for various reasons but mostly because they appear to have shrunk over time. Anyway, they called again last night to remind me. So I bagged twelve grocery bags with shirts, jean, shoes and lots of stuff. I made sure it was outside my door prior to their pickup time. Well, it's still there. I didn't get a phone number so I don't know how to reach them. I called the one Rescue Mission I could locate and they weren't the ones.

This is the second time these people have failed to make the scheduled pick up. I've called another, similar agency and am waiting for them to call. Their machine only mentioned pickups for major appliances but I'm hoping I can talk them into picking this stuff up. I don't want to bring it back in. It was hard enough to get it bagged and, now that I've accepted that I'll never be able to wear those things again, I don't wan't to go through that stuggle all over.

A lot of the clothes are things I haven't worn since I retired. Ties, dress shirts, slacks. Some shoes that were not comfortable. Caps and hats that I've bought as souvenirs. A baby blanket I made and never got around to giving. An afghan I made for my mother twenty or more years ago. All things that I've just held on to through inertia or mistaken hopes that I'd be able to use them someday.

I need to apply the same ruthlessness to my stash. I know I have yarns that I will never use. Some are just dated. Some I don't like anymore. I know I'll have similar thoughts about the yarn as I did about all those clothes. "I might be able to use this someday," or "I remember when I bought this (or who gave it to me)." The biggest reason, though, is how much money I have tied up in those skeins. I just need to let go of that and all the other reasons and just get it done. Not that I'll be getting rid of everything but I've got to do something.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

A little over halfway

Maybe I should retake this photo. Nah! I'll wait 'til the second sock is done. These socks are knit with Cervinia's Forever Jacquard. I got the yarn at Phebie's a few weeks ago. The yarn was much less expensive than most sock yarn ($5.00 per skein). It feels fine to work with and there were no knots. I'll have to wait and see how well they wear.

After three tries at starting the second sock from the same point I gave up and decided to make a similar but not matching second sock. After studying the first sock I realized I had managed to turn the cast on inside out. No wonder I couldn't find a match! They'll be close enough.

Monday, April 19, 2004


Four or five years ago my sister sent me a basket filled with amaryllis. They bloomed in time for Christmas, which is what they were supposed to do. I've managed not to kill them and here they are today, blooming for all they're worth. I recently transplanted them and they seem very happy. These are on my balcony, site of Patrick's recent foray into the outside world.

Yesterday was one of those rare days when I didn't have to go anywhere. I did meet a couple of friends for lunch but mostly I stayed home. Luxury! I worked some on one of my current sock projects and took a couple of long naps. I stopped by Michael's on the way home from lunch to see if they still had the Paton's Grace on sale. They didn't and I didn't like any of the colors they had. Well, not enough to buy any.

There used to be an old house across the street. It was there this morning. I heard a lot of noise outside and saw a flatbed with a bulldozer on it. Five minutes later there was no house. Three or four loads later there is nothing left except the torn up lawn. All the history, all the memories wiped out in just a few minutes. This seems to be happening a lot around Pasadena. Making room for more condos mostly. One family homes have become so expensive that most people cannot afford them. And condos are going for incredible prices. My own place has tripled in market price since I bought it. I guess I'm fortunate that I'm not looking for a place to buy.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Shock and aw!

Nicholas, my faux grandson, is almost fourteen months old. Here he is sitting on the steps of the church where he was baptized. Aw, how cute, eh!

When I got home from Skein I was shocked to find that Patrick was missing. Usually he meets me at the door when I get home so I was a little concerned but thought he must be sleeping somewhere. Nope, no cat. Then I noticed that the screen to the balcony was open. I don't know how he got it open, or if it was left open by accident last night. Fortunately the people who live below me have a metal awning over their patio. He was on the awning, checking out whatever it is that cats check out. The bluebirds have a nest somewhere and they were furious. He was just about to figure out how to get down from the awning. So I went and got a box of treats and rattled them. That was enough to call him back and into the house. He's a ragdoll cat. Ragdolls do not have a defense instinct so they're supposed to be kept indoors. Patrick wouldn't know what to do if he were attacked. He doesn't usually try to get out. I think he's just curious and doesn't realize he's not supposed to go out. I did see him trying to open a cupboard the other day so I guess he's figured out what a door is. Anyway, I've locked the screen now.

It was cold and rainy here today and that brought a lot of people into Skein. I had a record number of students today. No time to sit or knit. There were even a few phone calls from people who wanted me to correct their mistakes. Mistakes that they couldn't even describe. Not all that easy. My favorite solution is "Rip it out and start over." That usually gets their attention and they decide they'd better bring it in. But this time we were able to fix it.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I'm not sure that knowing a huge earthquake is predicted for Southern California, sometime in the next five months, is going to add much to my quality of life. I do not like earthquakes. I wouldn't mind at all if this team of scientists has its theories proven wrong. But I'll be stocking up again. I think most of my supplies are past the use date by now. It's just difficult to know what to stock up on.

I took my toe-up sock to the Thursday night knit together. Not to show it off but to get some input and suggestions. Everyone pretty much agreed that the pattern was flawed. They liked the lace pattern though. So I'll rip it out and try working it from the top down in a different stitch pattern.

Mendy was in Alberqueque last week and brought us all back some beautiful skeins of Fiesta Yarn. The ones I chose are 100% silk La Luz in a color called Pecan. It has a beautiful sheen and looks more coppery to me than pecan. This definitely shawl material. She also gave me two hanks of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn that she couldn't remember what she bought it for. The color is Aslan. I can hardly wait to try it out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Ugh! what a long day! The Wednesday night teacher had to be out of town today so I stayed until eight to cover her class. There are usually seven or eight people in her class but since they knew she would not be there most of them elected to stay home. I did have three people though. They were all very appreciative and we had a good time. But I'm used to leaving at four. Besides, I paid my income tax today and that should have been enough.

I did have some other students during the day plus a few "just a quick question" people. Actually, the day went pretty fast. I just don't think I'd want to do it all the time. I managed a few more rows on the shop sample poncho but that was about it. I'm going to go relax with my MD scarf for a while.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The guys over at Eddie's Towing Service are having a slow week. It's spring break. Very few cars inappropriately parked at the fast food places on the corner. But on the upside, it's much quieter than usual on my street. Of course, there are still the garbage trucks and the gardeners using their mowers and blowers.

I've been a little preoccupied with other things but I do have a couple of photos for a change.

You really can't see the lace pattern. Well, maybe if you try really hard. I've worked on the sock for almost a month. I'll probably rip it out and reuse the yarn in a different pattern. Getting the toe started wasn't that big of a deal and the foot went along fairly well. And I even managed the heel with no serious difficulty. Since this was my first toe-up sock I followed the pattern slavishly. There's a yarn over at the beginning and end of the instep and it makes the junction of the heel stitches with the instep really, really loose. I could sew it up on the inside but that would be cheating more than I like. Also, the two sizes larger needle for the bind off was a bad idea, at least for me. Looks like a ruffle and I'm pretty sure that's not what was intended. But I did get some sock blockers.

We went to Velona's again yesterday and I got three skeins of Noro's Cotton Kureyon, just to try it. I started this multi-directional scarf last night. I like the yarn okay but the colors are a lot harsher than in the regular Kureyon. I use the SSK decrease in the short rows rather than the SKP. Last night I tried slipping the second stitch as if to purl. Didn't work. I guess that second stitch really needs to be twisted.

I hope to finish this scarf in the next day or so and then back to socks until I get caught up.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Busy, busy day today. It didn't look like it was going to be when I first got to Skein. I was expecting a small group of young girls for a knitting class this afternoon but that was about it.

There were three of them plus the mother of one. It turns out they all knew how to knit except for the mother. And she took to it right away. The girls mostly sat and worked on projects they had already started. They learned at school from one of our favorite customers. And they enjoyed shopping for yarn for their next projects. They're already hooked. Mom brought some cookies since she didn't have any apples.

And at the same time I had another student who already knew most of the basic stuff, just wanted to be sure she had it right. And a couple of others who needed some pattern deciphering.

And the store was jammed.

I now have four pairs of socks in process. But I still have some needles that aren't being used so I may try something else tonight. Or I might turn the heel on my toe up socks. But there's also a cabled pullover in the new Tahki book that looks like it would be fun to make. And I have the yarn in my stash.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I should have checked the batteries. No picture of the birthday socks because they're going away before I'll have a chance to get more batteries.

I started a new pair in the Cervenia Forever Jacquard last night. I hadn't checked the yarn very closely when I bought it so I was surprised when I realized it was one of those self patterning yarns. Not what I expected. I also cast on too many stitches so I ripped about four inches today and started over.

Not much else going on right now. Just lots of started projects that I'm not making much progress on. The new 11 to 4 schedule is working pretty well except not everyone knows yet. Two people came in just before four today so I stayed an extra hour. Generally not a problem.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I had planned to go to the market yesterday after I got home from my yarn shop hop. But it was a very long day and I was very tired. So I didn't go. So it's popcorn for breakfast, again! I had better go to the market soon as there are only two bags left.

We did have a grand time. Spent almost two hours at Velona's. That place is just mind numbing, especially if you've never been there. Chris and Rose are the best! We spent some time over lunch wondering if they're husband and wife. I've always assumed they are because Rose talks to Chris like he is her husband. If he were an employee I don't think she'd tell him to "Hush! You're holding up the customers!" right in front of everyone. You just can't talk like that to an employee.

When we left there Velona's was nearly $1000 to the good. And my part was only about $32. Got a couple of skeins of Regia Cotton sock yarn and a copy of the latest Vogue Knitting. Then it was off to lunch and Yarn Lady.

Yarn Lady is impressive but after two hours in Velona you're kinda burned out. We only stayed there about an hour and a half. They had a wall of Koigu. That's the first time I've seen that much Koigu in one place. I almost didn't buy anything but I felt it was my duty to show them support for having brought that much yarn to the West Coast. So I got a couple of skeins in a turquoise colorway. I would have bought the orange mix but I think I already have it somewhere around here.

The traffic was already at a crawl by the time we left so the third shop, Phebie's, will have to wait for another day.

I did finish the birthday socks, at about midnight last night. I'd take a picture but the only available light is barely enough to see by. It's almost 10AM but it looks more like 5. Maybe later, when I get home from Skein, there'll be more. But I have to go to the market so it may already be dark.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Patrick's chair

The fact is, Patrick has his own chair. It's exactly like mine. Two wing chairs that I got when I first moved to Pasadena fourteen years ago. They needed to be reupholstered even before Patrick moved in. He's done such a job on them now that I don't think I'll ever bother. Anyway. I don't like to sit in his chair because the light isn't very good for knitting. Sometimes, in the daylight, I will sit in his chair if he's sleeping in mine. Lisa says Patrick likes to sleep in my chair just because it's mine. That makes me feel good but it doesn't help when it comes to being able to see what I'm doing.

Last night we tried sharing my chair. That worked fine until Patrick got bored and decided to mess with my knitting. I have a big scratch on the back of my hand to prove it. After that I snipped his front claws. He's being somewhat meek today except I've had to swing him around in his favorite plastic box several times just to make him happy. And besides, the chair isn't really big enough for the two of us. Patrick really needs to lose weight!

Two long naps kept me from finishing the birthday socks. And I didn't even work on anything else. Maybe today while I'm riding in the back seat. Going to Velona's and Yarn Lady's with two or three friends from Skein. I'm not planning to buy anything. I hear there are some new sock yarns out there though.

Sunday, April 04, 2004


Daylight savings time, again. I didn't reset all the clocks last night so that's up first for today. Then it's knit, knit, knit. All day. I was planning to go yarn shop hopping but that trip was postponed until tomorrow. I didn't tell anyone else so I'm not expecting to be interrupted.

Pat the cat is sleeping in MY chair. He's going to be grouchy when I wake him up. But I don't care. He gets to sleep there all day, every day. Today it's my turn. I'll finish the birthday socks and spend some time on the vest I'm making for Lisa. And back to the toe-up socks. And maybe start the Forever Jacquard sock yarn, just so I can see how it works up.

I bought the last copy that Skein had of the latest Tahki magazine. I have some of their Chat yarn that I got at Velona's and there are a couple of patterns in the new book that just might be the thing. As usual, I have way more planned than I'll ever get done. But that's part of the fun.

Friday, April 02, 2004

About yesterday

First of all, thanks to everyone who wrote congratulating me and encouraging me. I have to confess. I don't always know what I'm going to write when I start. I knew I wanted to mention the anniversary. I didn't know I was going to write about feeling discouraged. And I certainly didn't mean to convey that I was going to give up my blog.

I think lots of bloggers go through those periods where it seems like a burden to find something that is suitable. Or appropriate. At any rate that's how it is for me. It wasn't until I started getting comments that I re-read what I had written and realized that I had made it sound like I was quitting, or thinking about it, and that I was looking for some kind of pep talk. And perhaps at some level I was but not up here where I live. Sorry about that. And thanks for the pep talk.

Now, about knitting. I got a couple of rows done on the red shawl last night and then worked on the birthday socks. I'm hoping to get those done by this weekend so I can get on to something else.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

rabbit, rabbit!

No foolin'!

Today is my bloggiversary. The second. Those of you who were paying close attention will remember that I don't know exactly when I first started my blog. My archives start on April 1 so that's the date I use even though I know I posted before that. Anyway, it's a close approximation. Two years! and still droning on.

I will admit that it's been a little ragged of late. There's not always a lot to record. I read a lot of blogs and sometimes I think I'll just give it up. There's so much talent, knitting and writing, that it just takes my breath away. I have to remind myself that it's not a competition. So, like I said, here I am, still droning on.

I finished a sock last night and will cast on this morning for the second one. Although I should vacuum and stuff like that. I keep looking at my toe-up sock and wanting to work on it but I need to finish these socks by this time next week and given how things come up that interfere with my knitting time I'd better just stick to the second sock. Tonight is Thursday knit together and I have been working on the red shawl there. I'll take it along just in case I need a break.