Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Except for the three rows I worked on the Midwest Moonlight scarf and the five rows I did on the new Sweet Pink top there is no knitting content to be had. We could talk about the weather. I mentioned last week that it would probably be over a hundred by the time Labor Day gets here. Well, it's heading that way. I walked to work in ninety degree heat this morning.

Walking for pleasure and fitness is one thing. Walking because you have to is quite another. But I did get my car back late this afternoon. "You should be good to go," she said. I couldn't resist reminding her that that was what she said the last time. The $738.00 tab rattled me so much that I forgot my knitting stuff and had to go back.

I did have four students today. I didn't realize how many school teachers we have as customers. Three of the four were school teachers just coming in for some last minute help before they return to work on Thursday. There were several last week too, including one who just retired and isn't going back. Man, was she happy!

I'm getting ready to cast on for one more of Stephanie's ponchos. I have some Soy Ribbon that I got to make a shawl but I think I'd rather do a poncho. And Lisa says she really likes ponchos. It's a varigated yarn so I'm not sure how it's going to look but it won't take long to find out.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Happy Birthday, Lisa

Today is the actual day but we celebrated on Saturday night. Everything went well and she loved her gifts, including the newest poncho. And the Broadripple socks. However, due to the humidity and possibly the wine and beer, there are no photos. We went out for sushi. Well, she had sushi. I don't like seafood, even when it's cooked, so I'm not likely to have sushi.

But I did manage a photo of my newest project.

Hmmm. It looked much more in focus on the preview. Oh well. It's going to be a sleeveless top. I'm using the Grignasco Sweet Print that I got on sale at Needle in a Haystack a few weeks ago. I added a lace border instead of ribbing similar to one that Bron did a few weeks ago and I'll do the armholes using a technique that I picked up from Kim Hargreaves in the Rowan Summer Tweed book from a couple of years ago. According to the Sweater Wizard yarn calculation I should have plenty.

I still owe emails and thank yous to lots of people who commented or sent emails about the knitting help pricing as well as suggestions to help with my tingling arms. Just in case I miss someone let me do it publically. I haven't had any more discomfort since I figured out the chair problem but I am paying more attention to my posture and trying to take breaks and exercise.

And the car is with the mechanic for diagnosis. They seemed a little confronted when I mentioned that it might have something to do with the last work they did. I'm waiting for a call, check book in hand.

Friday, August 27, 2004

A knitting injury, sorta

When I woke up this morning both my arms felt like they were asleep. They were tingling, mostly around the wrists and in my hands. Actually this started happening last night and I assumed it was from having knit for too many hours without sufficient breaks.

After I had showered and got myself ready for Skein I noticed the tingling had stopped. So I concluded that it wasn't the precursor of a heart attack but I made an appointment with my doctor. (The earliest appointment for a physical is a little over a month away. I hope it's not really serious.)

Later, at Skein, I noticed the tingling had started again. I also noticed that the chair I sit in strikes me just below the left shoulder blade. I had been feeling like I had a bruise there but again just thought I'd been knitting too much. Now I'm convinced that it's the chair that's causing the problem. I'll have to be careful not to lean back and put up my feet when we're not busy.

And now my car is acting weird again. I walked to work today so I didn't notice it until tonight when I decided I needed to go get some stuff for Lisa's birthday celebration tomorrow night. The mechanic is closed for the weekend so I can't do anything until Monday. I can't decide if I need a new car or a new mechanic.

But, despite all my trials and tribulations, I have made lots of progress on the Midwest Moonlight scarf. I took it to work on today and it motivated a couple of book sales. We're down to three copies now. And almost no poncho patterns. We got the newest Rowan and Jaeger special books today though and there are ponchos aplenty in them.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Lookee, lookee!

It's here already, the two skeins of Wildfoote that I won in Margene's comments contest. Isn't it beautiful? Will it be socks? Or the cutout hearts scarf pattern from Fiber Trends? I have some time to decide. Gotta finish some of this other stuff first.

We got the new Interweave Knits Crochet magazine today. We only got eight and two are gone already. There are some very interesting things in it. Even a few things that I with very limited crochet skills could make. I will probably buy a copy and see if I can work my way up.Most of the designs are from people I only know from knitting. Annie Modesitt, Shirley Paden, Norah Gaughan to name a few. Lily Chin is there too, but that didn't surprise me.

A very slow day today. Not one student. So I finished the foot on the second Broadripple sock and will graft the toe tonight. If I don't start another pair of socks right away I will only have four, or maybe five, pair still in the works. But I think I'll work some more on the Midwest Moonlight scarf.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

A little strange

So, this lady comes into Skein today while Ann Mary is having her lunch. When I asked her if I could help her find something she said, "You had a shawl on display when you were in Arcadia. Do you still have it?" I asked her if she could be a little more specific.

"No, I can't. I remember it took two balls." Well, we've only ever had one shawl that fits that description. "No, I remember it was kind of triangular. And I don't think it was this yarn."

I drug out all the shawls I could find and none of them were the right one. Turns out that the first one I showed her was the right one after all. It's a very simple garter stitch rectangular shawl. I don't know what Ann Mary said to her to convince her but I was glad she came back to take over.

Just out of curiosity, what do yarn shops in your area charge for lessons? Are they private lessons or are they more or less drop in? Skein charges $15.00 for an hour and a half. And it's totally drop in. Now, I think this is very cheap. I've seen prices in Los Angeles that are in the $30 to $45 range but I think that's for one on one.

I had a new student this afternoon that came in to have me figure out where she was on a baby blanket she hadn't touched in nine years. I told her the price ($15.00) and said that it was for up to one and a half hours. It only took me a few minutes to figure it out and she stayed long enough to work one row of the pattern. She expects to come back and use up the rest of her hour and a half. I told her it was the same as at the doctor's office. You pay the same price, no matter how long you're kept waiting in the consulting room. I don't think she saw the connection.

What do you think? Should she be able to come back and use up the remaining time? I could, of course, make it take longer to solve her problem. Her yarn wasn't even from Skein. In fact, we've never seen her before.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The right place, at the right time

Timing is everything, or so I've been told. And I have to believe it now. Yesterday Margene decided to run a contest based on her total number of comments. I figured, based on the number of comments that she had already received that I wouldn't have a chance but I wanted to leave her a comment about the Lost Points shawl she's getting ready to start. Whaddayaknow? I won some wonderful Wildfoote Handpaint yarn. Thanks, Margene. This is a rare thing. Go say hi!

I guess we all like comments or we wouldn't have those clever little links that allow us to do it. I usually feel shy about leaving comments, especially when it's a blog I've never commented on before. Unless there's some compelling reason I usually hold back for a while until I feel like I really have something to say. And I do try to respond to all comments, usually via email. I think I'm a little behind right now but I'll catch up soon.

Not much new on the knitting front. Just working on the projects that I've already written about. The week started well for me. Four students on a Tuesday isn't all that common. It's feeling like autumn around here but I don't expect it to last. It's always over a hundred on Labor Day, a couple of weeks from now. More and more fall yarns are arriving. A huge shipment from Rowan today but it hasn't been opened yet. And we got the latest "Knitters". I'll leave it to you to judge.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A most pleasant and quiet weekend. I just got home from Phebie's, one of the few yarn shops that are open on Monday, at least around here. I stopped on the way to help my friend Dorris with the gauge on her newest project and then picked up my friend Carol. Neither of us really had to have anything but we went just for the fun. I did get a US13 circular I needed and three skeins of Araucania Nature Wool in a dark, mottled burgundy. I tried to get a picture but neither of them were worth the editing time. We stopped at China King on the way home and gorged ourselves on their buffet.

I spent a few hours yesterday working on the Midwest Moonlight scarf from Scarf Style.

It's an easy pattern and I like the yarn, Grignasco's Sweet Print.

I'm about 20% done. Now for the hard part, making myself finish it. I don't know what the opposite of startitis is but whatever it is I have it.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


It appears that there's no such thing as a razzleberry per se. According to my search a razzleberry pie is a combination of raspberries and blackberries with lots of sugar and cornstarch, baked in a two crust shell. It was a relief to me because I thought there might be strawberries in there and I hate strawberries.

We got the additional copies of Scarf Style this morning. So if you're looking for a copy, and don't want to wait for Amazon, we have eight left.

Six students today. One was the husband of one of the others. I don't get a lot of male students. The few I've taught seem to be much more analytical in their approach. I can only think of two or three who've stuck with it once they understood it. It's hard to say but I think today's student will probably stick with it. Will have to wait and see if he comes back next weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

It's been one of those days

I spent more time undoing my knitting than knitting. I tried to do the gusset on my Broadripple socks while I was at Skein. Somehow I've decreased at a different rate on one side than on the other. Ripping Fixation is tedious. I still have four or five rows to go, one stitch at a time.

I also managed to work six or so rows on the Feather and Fan scarf, on the wrong side. Ripped them and started over. Repeated the same mistake a few rows later.

Started a new scarf from Scarf Style tonight at knitting group. Had to rip three different times. I kept getting the two sides mixed up.

On the up side though, I had four students today and we had razzleberry pie for dessert at the knitting group.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Mid-week yarn shopping

Last week it was Unwind Yarns. This week it was Needle in a Haystack (no web site). They are having their end-of-summer clearance. Thirty to forty percent off their summer yarns. I didn't know what they'd consider summer yarns so I wasn't sure what to expect. They had several Plassard yarns that were tempting but even at forty percent off they were more than I wanted to spend. I ended up with thirteen skeins of Sweet Print. Three skeins in the same colorway I got a few weeks ago plus ten in a pink to white color.

So why was I so conservative? Well, Mendy is going to going to Albuquerque next week and will be dropping by Fiesta Yarns with my shopping list. And Alamitos Bay Yarn Company is having their fourth anniversary sale at the end of the month. And we just got a bunch of new stuff from Cherry Tree Hill at Skein. I might be a spendthrift when it comes to yarn acquisition but there it a limit, no matter how abstract.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Scarves - the Next Generation

Just when I thought the scarf craze was beginning to taper off, along comes this book: Scarf Style by Pam Allen, editor of Interweave Knits. Partly I was surprised because I hadn't heard any chatter about it. Skein got five copies on Friday and they're all gone. Ann Mary said she had ordered more so there's hope.

There are thirty one patterns by twenty nine different designers, including some of my favorites, Annie Modesitt to name just one. And the range of difficulty is wide. Some are quite simple while others are pages long. There's a section to help with designing your own. Each pattern has a brief introduction to the scarf and its origin or inspiration.

I haven't read all the patterns yet but so far they seem clear and easy to follow. Certainly there are some scarves in this book that I'm not likely to make but there are plenty that I'd like to.

Here's one that I started yesterday, from the Design Notebook section:

It's a knit on the diagonal garter stitch. I'm using some Soy Chenille that I got at Unwind Yarn and a carry along that came from Velona's. The soy is easy to work with but the color seemed a little flat. I was looking for some metallic that I know I have in my stash but I came across this one first. It has almost the same colors as the soy chenille but a little brighter.

And here's the one I'm making using the Jo Sharp Feather and Fan pattern:

I've had this angora/merino in stash for several years. I made a shawl from it originally. I'm pretty sure I have enough to finish this scarf. Just have to find it.

I know these are pretty simple but I'll get to Annie's scarf just as soon as I can.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Still life with cat

This may well be the kind of crochet that gives crochet a bad name. I freely admit that I know slightly more than zilch about crochet but I had to try this yarn and the pattern promised quick results. I think the colors were taken from an old Wurlitzer jukebox. The yarn is Plymouth Outback Mohair. I used a size Q hook. It was, indeed, a fast project.

I pulled out an old scarf project and worked on it this weekend. Very relaxing except for the part where I realized I wasn't going to have enough yarn. And I can't get anymore. Not sure what I'm going to do but I'm thinking of adding some crocheted flowers on the short end.

One of our customers the other day said she was a crosheter. Another customer tried to correct her and told her it was pronounced croshayer. She said,"Yes, I know. But I like saying crosheter." And when I was working on the shawl the other day, KC said to me, "Oh, you're croshetting." I have to agree, it is kind of fun to say.

I'm going to see if my friend Carol can give me some pointers on crochet. Like how to figure out what to do when you turn and work back. I wasn't sure where I was supposed to start the next row so I just improvised. I think I did it wrong because the shawl drecreases pretty rapidly. But I didn't run out of yarn.

Friday, August 13, 2004

The operative word

Whenever I take photos it's always a bit of a crap shoot. You can guess what the operative word is. But, because I promised, and because this is a knitting blog, and you're supposed to have photos if it's a knitting blog here are some.

This poncho really looks much better on a body but there aren't any here, except me and Patrick and that really doesn't work. Thanks, Stephanie for a fun, quick project.

A close-up of the fringe.

We had our yarn distribution session as planned. I think everyone was pleased with the selections and with what they took home. Here's mine.

On the left, some stuff from Mystical Creations, at the top, some Schaeffer Anne, already wound in balls and a skein of Trendsetter Sonoma, for a hat.

On the right, sock yarn, woo hoo!. Two skeins of Fortissima Colori in a grey and Easter egg color "tweed". And two contrasting skeins of Stahl Hobby Kids sock yarn that I will use to make mismatched socks. I've been thinking about this yarn ever since it was brought in, months ago.

"Can we play now?"

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Phoenix Fable (yarn)

I didn't notice the literary connection when I purchased these two yarns yesterday. But I thought it was kind of a nice coincidence. Oh well, anyway.

This is Phoenix from Soy Silk in the colorway Canyon. For a medium sized, triangular scarf. Well, that's the current plan.

And this is Fable from Artful Yarns. You can't really see the subtle colors but there are actually four plies, one each of olive, old gold, light olive and what may be a grey. This is for another poncho.

Tonight is Knit Night and we're supposed to be having a stash redistribution. We've been trying to do this for a couple of months now. I think tonight we'll at least have the majority of the group there so everyone (almost) will have an equal chance. I wonder what I'll find.

The Brighter Day socks in process. I'm thinking of ripping these and finding a more interesting use/pattern. The Opal yarn is incredibly soft. I just think it would show better with some texture. Any ideas?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Time to Unwind

Just got home from Guys Knit Night at Unwind in Burbank. Check out their site to see the new shop hours and the special events that are planned. We went on Wednesday night because that's the night that men get a 10% discount on any purchases, or for anyone who buys yarn to make something for a male can also get 10% off on that item. Plus Mendy had a birthday card from them that entitled her to a discount on her purchases.

I didn't buy very much this time. Three skeins of Soy Silk Ribbon and three hanks of Artful Yarns Fable. It's too late to try for pictures but I'll try in the morning. I'm almost done with the Stephanie poncho, just need to finish the fringe. When I finish this one I'm going to make another, similar one, with the Fable. The Soy Silk Ribbon is for a simple triangular shawl. Skein doesn't carry either of these yarns and I've never worked with them so I'm looking forward to that.

I'm closing in on filling up my discount card. I think I only need about $50 more and then I'll get a $30 discount on my next purchase.

I had six students today which is very nice. They all came at the same time. That was not so nice. The youngest one, she's twelve, is terrific. She's making socks for the first time and you can just tell she really gets it. Her mom, meanwhile, is still struggling with knit versus purl. Everyone else was somewhere in between, except the one who can't figure out the slip knot. She has signed up to take knitting classes at one of the local high schools. I wish them well.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Quiet and hot, i.e., quite hot!

It seems the current hot spell has wiped out most of the knitters. Even our usual noontime rush was reduced to just a few people. I did have a couple of students late in the afternoon.

The shop was quite uncomfortable as well. It's an old building and not adequately insulated. The air conditioning just couldn't cope. It seemed cool when I first got there but by the end of the day, ick!

I did get some more yarn today.

A gift from one of my students. There's actually another skein of it that's wrapped in a ball. She said she couldn't knit with it. It's actually a lot prettier than it appears in this overly dramatic photo. I guess it wasn't really a gift since, in exchange, I undid a big, tangled batch of Noro for her. She said she didn't realize that you needed to put it in a ball as you ripped it.

Hmmm. I see Blogger has tweaked its format again.

Monday, August 09, 2004

It's anon.

So the sun is out and it's plenty hot here. Patrick and I are taking it as easy as possible.

I don't know what happened in my post yesterday but the two links that I typed ended up pointing to Blogger instead of where they were supposed to. I was very pleased to get a quick reply from Blogger telling me what the problem was. So I've fixed it.

This is two pattern repeats of the Yukon Leaves socks. The yarn is Regia 4 f├Ądig Color (1937) that I've had in my stash for a while. These are definitely for working on at home. But I think I'll enjoy knitting them.

These are the ones I finished yesterday. Fortissima Colori Socka Color (9048). The solid stripes match pretty well but the patterned stripes are all different. Amazing what a slightly different starting point can do. I actually started these a long time ago but I had lost track of a stitch and it took me a while to find it. I had done a K2tog without realizing it.

Here's the beginning of the poncho that Stephanie posted on her blog a couple of days ago. I really like the Araucania Nature Cotton (the web site is still en construction) but I'm not sure how it's going to behave knitted this loose. Probably long enough for the current poncho craze to pass. I just finished the second skein. It's too bunched up on the circular needle to get a decent picture but I hope in a day or so I'll be done and then I'll show you the finished piece.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

I might have gone to Long Beach today to visit Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, or I might have gone to lunch with a former co-worker, or I might have stayed home and worked on the poncho I started yesterday.

I ended up not going to Long Beach. It's too hot and gas is too expensive and I wasn't planning to buy anything. I didn't go to lunch because I had already turned it down because of the trip not taken. And I didn't work on the poncho.

I decided to do a few rows on the second sock of one of the pairs I currently have in the works. I just kept going. Those self-patterning yarns are sort of like a cable pattern. Just one more repeat or one more stripe. Anyway, I finished the sock. Pics anon.

And then I started another pair of socks, the Yukon Falling Leaves. Pics anon. But tonight I'm working on the poncho. Stephanie left instructions for us to make her latest poncho while she's away on vacation. I'm using the Araucania Nature Cotton that I bought specifically to make a poncho but I didn't know until I saw Stephanie's poncho which one I was going to make. Pics anon, when there's enough to show.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

You did what?

I couldn't believe it either. I actually taught someone to crochet today. I don't usually admit to knowing how to crochet mostly because I don't think I know it well enough to teach it. And until recently I haven't seen anything that I'd like to make using crochet.

I had a student today who knows a little, very little, about knitting. She wanted to make a knitted flower that she had found a pattern for.(for which she had found a pattern.) It required working with dpns as well as keeping strict count of stitches. She made a pretty valiant effort but finally gave up. "All I want to do is make a flower!" She had another pattern, a crochet one, for a very simple flower shape. We got through it and she was pleased. So was I.

I got my car back. I had to get a new fuel injector, a part that had been replaced earlier this year. They did discount the part but it still cost me just under $700. It's a good thing I have a large stash because there won't be any enhancing for a while.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


My car had been with the mechanic since early yesterday morning. I still don't know what it's ailment is and have not heard a word. I did call late yesterday and was told that they're still checking it out. I do not like the sound of this. I hope they're just too busy to find out and not just finding lots of things that need to be replaced.

So I'm walking to work. It's not far, maybe a mile, but it's hot and humid here. I don't look my best by the time I get there. But we survive. I'm covering for the Wednesday night teacher again today. This is a good thing as I get her share of the take which, while not large, will partially defray the car repairs.

Yesterday was a more than usual fun day. My friend Mendy was able to break away from her day job and spend the afternoon at Skein. We worked on a couple of projects that she's been stalled on until she could find the time to take some lessons. And then we went to dinner. And what a dinner! Bruschetta, arugula with shaved mozzarella salad, ravioli di pollo with grape tomatoes and flourless chocolate cake. And a couple of glasses of merlot. Gale of the eponymously named restaurant stopped by to show us pictures of her newest Welsh terrier. What a great lady! And what a great day!

On the knitting front. Not much happened. I turned the heel on a sock and got started on the gusset decreases. I now have a copy of the Fibertrends Landscape shawl pattern and am considering using it for the Cherry Tree Hill lace weight merino that I showed a couple of days ago. I'm also considering the Pacific Northwest shawl pattern. I know I have that pattern around here somewhere.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Death by chilis

I've been gradually testing these chilis that Mendy's husband gave me. So far I'm doing okay, except for the hiccups. Those bright red ones though really push the limit. The others, so far, are tasty but they do leave a little tingle.

And in the Be Careful What You Ask For category. I went to Needle in a Haystack today. I just needed to pick up a couple of skeins that Mendy had on hold but I thought I'd look around. I tried for nearly an hour to find something to buy. It's not that they didn't have lots to choose from but I guess I just wasn't ready. I did pick up another skein of the Araucania Cotton to add to the four that I got last month, just in case, and a couple of skeins of Grignasco's Sweet Print.

It's a cotton/polyester/acrylic blend. I think I have something in stash that will work for a simple scarf. And while I was there I did help a new knitter figure out her pattern instructions. She's promised to come to Skein tomorrow for a class.

On the way home my car was acting strange. So I guess I'll have to leave it with the mechanic tomorrow. I'm thinking clogged fuel line or something like that. Good thing I didn't spend a lot on yarn today.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

rabbit! rabbit!


My friend Robert used to have an African Grey named Kofi. He didn't look a thing like this.

This is African Grey lace weight merino from Cherry Tree Hill. You'll notice the prominence of orange.

I wasn't sure how the orange would blend in with the other, very muted colors. I think it looks pretty good. Now I just have to find something to do with it. There are 2400 yards. I'm thinking shawl. Any other suggestions or patterns for shawls that would work with this yarn?

I've been wanting to go visit some of my favorite yarn shops but events have kept me from doing so. We got this yarn in at Skein a few weeks ago and I've been waiting for someone to buy this hank so I wouldn't have to. But no one did. And since I haven't bought any yarn in at least a month it seemed the thing to do. And besides, I used a store credit I had for making a sample. But I still want to go yarn shop hopping.