Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Pop ups all over the place

I don't know what happened but two or three days ago I started getting masses of pop-ups. And I'm suddenly not able to link to my comments, at least when I'm using my regular SBC/Yahoo browser. I seem to be okay on Mozilla. And then I get disconnected from the internet for no apparent reason. I'm not sure what to do. I'll be calling TechSupport at SBC as soon as I finish this. Anyway, if you don't hear from me for a while it's probably because of this problem.

I've been busy with students at Skein for the past couple of days. Some brand new knitters and some just looking for some help. Either way works for me.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Final fling

No, I'm not on hiatus or ill or anything like that. It's just been busy around here. Most of my projects look pretty much the same as they did the last time you saw them. Some progress but nothing worth using up battery for. There is this new poncho though.

This is Artful Yarns' Celebrity that I got when we went to the customer appreciation sale at Needle in a Haystack. I'm using a free pattern from Crystal Palace. It's a simple pattern of alternating reverse and plain stockinette.

Yesterday was a fun day of yarn shop hopping. Here are few of the things I got.

Two skeins of Steadfast Yarn, hand dyed using Brown Sheep Worsted.

Nine skeins of Rio, because it was on sale, and five skeins of Wildfoote for the Mananita shawl. The rest are still in the bag.

Seven skeins of On Line Summer-Mistral. Probably for a poncho or a shawl.

One hank of Schaeffer "Anne" for some socks or a small scarf.

I also got five skeins of Araucania Nature Wool in a dark, dark green varigated. The picture was worthless. You can still smell the vinegar in this one. They were still unpacking it when I spied it. I don't know what it's for just yet.

So I'm done with buying yarn for the month. But there's a month long sale at Bishop's in Chatsworth coming up.

Patrick is a big cat. He's almost two now. I was going to throw this box out but he claimed it as his daytime sleeping post.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Oh, wow, another scarf.

What you see here is three hours of teeth-grinding torture. It's a new scarf kit from Southwest Trading Company. The scarf is called The Lost Point Scarf, but I don't know why, except it will have three long points on each end of the scarf.

I've worked with other railroad type yarns but this one is the most tedious I've run across. It's nylon and rayon and is limper than the other railroads I've used. Right now there are 156 stitches, and that's just the center stripe.

The second yarn, still in the box, is 100% bamboo and is called, appropriately enough, Bamboo. I haven't tried it yet but a friend did. I thought it was a little stiff on the smaller size needles but on the US8, which the pattern uses, I thought it was all right, not soft but not stiff.

I must remember to tell Ann Mary that this pattern and yarn are definitely not for the new knitter, unless he/she is very determined and strong willed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Where did it go?

I had this post almost ready to go and went off to check a link. When I came back the post was gone. I hate it when that happens. I've never quite figured out just how Blogger does things so it's always a guess, in this case a bad one, as to how I'm supposed to proceed. But anyway...

Skein reopened yesterday after being closed for a week and a half for vacation and TNNA show. It was a good day, made even better by one of those "small world" experiences. I was talking with one of the customers about some Cherry Tree Hill Suri Alpaca. She mentioned that she had a shop in the Oakland area but it didn't carry this yarn. I wasn't sure if she meant she owned a shop or if there was a shop she frequented. So we keep talking and pretty soon I figure out that she did indeed own a shop. And the shop is Article Pract.
You may remember her from Rachael's post from a few weeks ago.

And even more small world, she used to shop at Poobah's, the music store that used to be in the space where Skein now lives. We had a wonderful time discovering this and that she "knew" me via the blogs.

Speaking of Rachael, have you made your contribution yet? She's getting close to her goal so , please, go do it if you haven't already.

I'm getting closer to the finish line of the moving cable sweater. Two more decreases to go one the front and then on to the neck shaping. I'm having some pain in my right arm that I think is related to working with the Cotton Classic. It's a great yarn but it's a little stiff compared to wool and I think I'm a little tense with it. I may have to leave it alone for a day or two and work on some socks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Good day/bad day

I always figure it's going to be a good day when I can read all the sixty plus blogs I read everyday without my computer shutting down even one time. That's the way it was this morning.

But SBC/Yahoo is having some problems with the email and I can't get in. I did read the messages this morning but now need to respond to a couple of them and can't access anything. They have sincerely apologized for the inconvenience, of course, but still. So I'll have to try again later today when I get home from Skein.

My faithful alarm clock, Pat the Cat, has been slacking off for a few days. I've come to rely on him to get me up somewhere between 4:30 and 5:30. Now he's just sleeping until I wake him up. So I've been a little behind schedule for the past few days. It's a good thing I don't typically have to be anywhere very early.

I managed two complete repeats on the moving cable sweater yesterday. Three more rows and I'll be at the armhole decreases.

And to finish off my vacation, one more yarn store trip. Last night we went to Needle in a Haystack for their customer appreciation sale, 30% off on all full price yarns. I got some Artful Yarns "Celebrity" to make a poncho. So far I have at least four ponchos planned but none of them started. I'm really trying to stick to the moving cable sweater until it's totally done before I start anything else or go back to any of my other projects.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Last day of vacation

I was planning to go on a yarn shop trip today but things didn't quite come together so I'm spending this last day of vacation working on the moving cable sweater. There's still not much sunshine but it's very pleasant just sitting in my favorite wing chair and calmly adding stitches and cables. So far I've added one full repeat of the pattern, 16 rows. I might get the knitting part finished by the end of the week.

I managed to get almost all of my stash put back in the storage/tv room. There are still some projects that I need to finish sitting around but at least there's room to play with the cat now although he seems to prefer playing on the bed.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Gloomy day

Literally. It's almost eleven o'clock and there's still no sign of the sun. It's very pleasantly cool though. I'm sure come Labor Day and the temperature is 110F I won't remember how nice it was back in June. But it does make taking pictures and telling what time it is a bit difficult.

We, Mendy, Judy and I, went back to Unwind yesterday and had a blast. It turns out they knew exactly where the shop is because it's right across from Sheridan Gardens, a plant nursery, where they used to go buy Christopher Radko ornaments. I bought Hot Knits by Melissa Leapman. I've always liked her designs and this book is full of great things. I have already picked out one top to make and for which I have the yarn in stash. That's pretty amazing right there. And I got some yarn too. Unwind carries Lana Grosso which I haven't seen much of around these parts. So I had to have some of that. And I got some Plymouth Prato, enough to make a poncho. I forget the particulars but they have a card program where after you spend a certain amount of money you get some special discount or something. I'm already halfway there, or more, in just two trips.

After that. we went to Needle in a Haystack in Montrose. I hadn't been there in a couple of years. (There's another shop named Needle in a Haystack but it's up in Alameda, near San Francisco.) They still only have a small knitting yarn section but it's a lot better than it used to be. A young woman I used to work with at another shop now works part time at this shop. I imagine she had something to do with their upgrading their yarn selection. I got four skeins of Araucania Nature Cotton. I'm anxious to get started using this. It think it uses from 5mm to 6mm. I'll start with the 6mm and see how it looks. I only have 660 yards (600mts) so it'll probably be a poncho.

We had a terrific lunch at an Italian restaurant that is across the parking lot from the shop. Sat on the balcony and enjoyed the sun (which we had yesterday) and dodged the bees and cicadas.

I wrote about some old yarn a couple of days ago. I was considering making a poncho and I tried it out. I've since thrown it all away. Not only did I realize I didn't have enough for a poncho but it just had this really odd smell. I'm not good at throwing away stuff, especially yarn. At the current acquistion rate, however, I'm going to have to do a lot more of this if I'm going to have room to move around. I went to the market this morning and got some more of the two gallon size freezer bags to help organize my yarns so I'm planning to spend several hours today working on that.

Friday, June 18, 2004

A word about cats and candles

If you burn candles watch out for what your cat is doing! Patrick lost a little fur on the tip of his tail this morning. I don't think he even felt it. I guess I'd better use my hurricane lamps instead.

Started another poncho yesterday and worked on the red shawl at Mendy's last night. We're going back to Unwind. I think I love this store. I wonder if they got anything new since last Saturday. I gave away some odds and ends of Lamb's Pride worsted yesterday so I think I have room for something new.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Yesterday was a pretty busy day for me. I took Patrick to the vet/groomer in the morning. While he was getting all done up I went and had breakfast with Mendy. Then home to clean the floor while Patrick was out of the house. And I moved some of the stash that has been sitting around in the living room back into the stash room. Then back to the vet's to pick up Patrick. He was very suspicious about the new arrangement of the yarn boxes. And the clean floor totally mystified him. It took several hours for him to relax. But when he did he gave himself a bath. Guess he didn't think the groomer did it properly.

Here's a photo of the poncho I knit yesterday. Well, I started it on Tuesday night but most of it was done on Wednesday.

You can't really tell much about it. The yarn pretty much hides the detail. Basically it's a big roll brimmed hat but with more stitches.

This isn't much better but you can see the yarn and the stitches. I used some yarn I bought a couple of years ago at Needle in a Haystack in Montrose. Linen and synthetic blend. It's probably a little too wintery for right now but it will look good on Lisa with her dark hair.

I found some yarn this morning that I don't remember buying. It was probably at a thrift store since the skeins have a handwritten price of 25cents. The label doesn't give fiber content or yardage. Just says aiguille/breinaalden No. 3 and laine d'aoust. The name appears to be Imosa and the logo has the initial G.D.G. Anyway, I'm wondering if there's a way to tell if yarn has been eaten by moths as opposed to just being old and weak. I rewound the yarn so I could get rid of all the short pieces that kept showing up when I tried to work with it. If a yarn has been invaded by moths does washing the yarn do any good? Will that take care of the problem? I'd like to use the yarn for another poncho but I don't want to if there's a danger of moths. Anyone have any information about this kind of thing? The yarn is very nubby and I think if I use it double that it will look kind of like Persian lamb.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Another day, another yarn shop hop

I didn't manage to get the pictures taken but I will. I have a few more purchases to add anyway. I went to Alamitos Bay Yarn Company this morning. It's about an hour drive from here but it is so worth it. They always have great samples and lots of new yarn. I didn't buy much, just some token sock yarn.

On the way back we stopped at Stitches in Time at their new location. More sock yarn and a pattern book of ponchos. The new space is bigger but just as funky as the old one. And they're carrying some more fashion-forward yarns than they used to. I forgot to get a business card or ask if they have a web site.

I'm well underway with the second Broadripple sock. And I did a couple of rows on the red shawl. I'm about half way on that I figure since I still have five of the original ten skeins. I'm trying to decide what to use for a fringe since I don't think a self fringe would do much for the piece.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Happy Father's Day, to me anyway!

I know. It's next Sunday but Lisa came over last night for the festivities since she'll be away at a conference next week. (Is it just me or do Methodists really have more conferences and meetings than anyone else?) We had a wonderful evening.

It's really nice to have a kid that knows stuff. Not only did she bring me some rolling plant stands for my lemon tree and rose bush but she pruned both of the plants for me. I usually just lop off any old branch that I think looks like it's going the wrong way. She, however, studies the plant and makes informed decisions and the lops off appropriately.

She also brought me four grey tee shirts, which I had mentioned I'd like to have. All in the new and improved larger size that I now require. Ahem! And a Sunset book about container gardening. And we went to dinner at El Portal, a more upscale place than Amigos where we usually go. The margaritas are tasty but not as powerful as the ones at Amigos.

I spent most of yesterday, and will do the same today, working on organizing my yarn stash. Patrick is getting very nervous as cats do when you move stuff around. Half of the boxes are now in my living room waiting for me to go through them. I haven't found much yet that I'm willing to part with. Mostly I'm packaging the yarns individually instead of just letting them all mix together. I've ripped several abandoned projects and have put the yarn into hanks so I can wash them and get rid of the wrinkles. (I wish that worked on me.)

Let's see. What else?

Oh, I went to a new yarn shop on Saturday with my friends Carol and Renee. What a treat! It's in Burbank, near the airport, in an area that looks like it's being revitalized. The yarns are arranged by color and everything is priced, two things I really like.

I don't remember all the brands but there was lots of Tahki/Stacey Charles, including my current favorite Cotton Classic. And plenty of novelties from Plymouth. But, new to me, Southwest Trading Company yarns. I got some chenille looking stuff that is made from soy. I didn't get any but they also have a yarn made from bamboo. Renee bought some so I'll be waiting to hear how she likes it.

The shop is well laid out. I wouldn't call it minimalist but it leans that way. There's a "club chair" area right in front before you get to the yarns. Lots of waiting and relaxing room. Then there's the yarn area. At the back is a large table where they teach. I'm really looking forward to going back, maybe later this week if I can talk Mendy into it.

818 N. Hollywood Way
Burbank, CA 91505



If you're in the area, give them a visit. If you're not in the area, the airport is close so you could just do a fly-in.

If there's any sun later today I'll try to get some photos of my weekend shopping.

Friday, June 11, 2004

On vacation!Hooray!!

I did manage a little bit on the Broadripple sock yesterday while I was at Skein and some more in the evening at Mendy's for our regular Thursday night group.

I like it.

Skein is closed for a week or so. I'll be heading out to visit some new shops and revisit some old ones. I hear talk of Temple City Knits reopening sometime late this summer. New owner, same location. And then there's a rumor that Monrovia will be seeing a shop sometime soon.

Anyway, today I'm going to Bishop's and Happy Hooker 2, both shops that I've been to before but that was about a year ago. And I'm going back to the same two shops tomorrow. Two different friends want to go but we couldn't make the schedule work. So it's two trips for me. I'll browze today and if I see something I like I'll have a chance to think it over before committing. Of course I might buy something today and then get something else tomorrow that I saw today but didn't buy.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Have you knit these socks? I've been meaning to ever since they appeared in Knitty last summer. I finally got around to it this morning. I worked on my cable sweater last night for about three hours and didn't feel like picking it up again this morning. So, I already had the yarn, Cascade Fixation. I've used it before when I made Lynn H's Fast Florida Footies. The stretchiness of the yarn is a little unsettling at first. But once you get used to that it is fun to use.

I thought I'd be able to get a lot done on it today at Skein but I had a couple of students that needed a lot more attention than most. I had completed the Garter Ripple pattern at the top and had done a few repeats of the main pattern before I went in. I did manage a few more rows but not enough to photograph. Maybe tomorrow.

I've been trying to get some pictures of Patrick but haven't had much luck. His eyes are very blue but I always get gold. I'm trying to figure out how to set the red eye mode on my camera. It's supposed to be there but I'm having trouble finding it.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Well, it's something.

I haven't had much time, or inspiration, to knit the past few days. But I did finish this pair of socks.

Regia Cotton that I got at Velona's. I had a differnt sock a few weeks ago but the pattern I was using was just going to be way too big plus the stripes looked a little over the top in the lace pattern. I have another skein of this yarn in another color way. Once I've used it I don't think I'll knit with it again. It's easy to split and doesn't have much give. I do like the colors though. They're really a lot clearer than they look here. No sunshine available.

This is the first time I've deliberately made a fraternal pair. I wasn't sure I would have enough yarn so I didn't want to waste a lot looking for the matching point. The color transitions are soft enough that the difference between the socks isn't all that apparent. And I had plenty of yarn after all.

I'm trying to get back to the cable sweater. I did manage to wind three more balls today while I was at Skein but I didn't have any time to actually work on it. Tonight is looking pretty good though.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Just so you know.

Skein will be closed for a few days starting Friday, June 11, and will reopen on Tuesday, June 22. Ann Mary is going to Columbus, Ohio, for the annual trade show and will take a few days off to try to recuperate from some of the stress and overwork of having moved the shop. The move has been very successful, at least from what I can tell. Seems to be a lot more traffic and I know I have had more students.

So I'll have a few days of vacation. And what am I going to do? Well, what does any knitter do when given the chance? I'm going on several yarn shop hops with Mendy and some of my students. There's a new shop called Unwind that I think is in Burbank that I want to check out. And we'll be going back to some places I haven't been in a while. I don't have anything in mind to buy but I'm sure there'll be something. And on the days I'm not shopping I'll be knitting on some of the still incomplete projects and maybe explore some more unopened stash boxes.

I've been so busy the past few days at Skein that when I get home I haven't put much effort into my own knitting. I almost finished a pair of socks last night but I managed to put my decrease at the wrong end of the needle and had to rip a couple of rows. That wouldn't have been so bad but I lost my place and undid some decreases that I shouldn't have so had to go back a few more rows. And then I just put it aside and played with the cat.

Except for the warmth it could be February here. It's especially dark and overcast this morning. We do have June Gloom but this seems drearier that usual. And Humid!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Carmen Tamed

When Don Jose first meets Carmen he pretends to be indifferent but succumbs to her charms, with dire consequences, before you can say "ouiseau rebel". (I hope I spelled that correctly. It's been a long time.) I reacted much the same way to this yarn when I first saw it but I was, well, seduced by its obvious sensual qualities. I should have been suspicious when I saw the small swatches that the yarn shop had made. This is one wild yarn! Definitely has a mind of its own, including a tendency to be quite loose.

I tried working with it several times. I only had one skein so a scarf was the obvious choice. Just like Don Jose gives up on Carmen, I gave up and let the yarn go its own way. But it sat around tempting me back time after time.

I didn't take a knife to it though. I cooled it off with some Berroco Glace. I held the two together and knit another simple "drop stitch" scarf. I'd never recommend this yarn to anyone. It sheds, it is overspun. I had to cut it a couple of times just to release some of the twist. (Well, that's sort of like taking a knife to it.) A lot of its original appeal is lost because the Glace really dominates. Looks like something Escamillo might have worn to work.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Rabbit! Rabbit!

Well, I did get the sock done and am a little ways past the ribbing on the second one. I also got the cast on and a couple of rows done on the moving cable sweater. I could have done more but Morpheus came by a few times during the day. I generally enjoy it when he shows up. Sometimes, though, when I'm really counting on him he stays away for hours. Especially when I have Diet Coke.

Anyway, I had a very relaxing Memorial Day. It started with a bang. I thought it was a gunshot but I guess it was just an early firecracker. (Patrick doesn't do well with loud, sudden noises. I'm kind of dreading the Fourth of July.) And there was a formation of planes that must have been part of an airshow that I was able to watch from my living room window. And later in the day a firetruck went up my street but I don't know why. Just more or less an ordinary day.

For some reason I've been wanting to have sauerkraut and hot dogs. When I was a kid my mother used to fix this for us once in a while. It's probably been over forty years since I had this. So I decided to make it for dinner. I don't know, must be something about the way I opened the can or cut the hot dogs, but it just wasn't what I remembered. But I did find out that sauerkraut will really deglaze a pan. I've been trying for months to get the scorch marks out of that pan. If I'd only known about the cleansing qualities of sauerkraut I'd have saved myself a lot of time.