Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Oh, no! Not again!

This is not my original post. Blogger dropped the ball again. It's probably just as well since my original post was pretty cranky.

Not all of it. Here's the jist of what else I had to say. The new yarn shop in Monrovia is called Unraveled. I left off the "ed" yesterday. It's a neat space, a lot more boutique-y than most yarn shops I've seen. They're still working on getting some better lighting in the store so they're only open in the afternoon when there's plenty of sunlight coming in the large front windows.

There's a generous space off to one side when you first come in that is furnished with large over-stuffed chairs for people to just sit and knit, or crochet I suppose. Most of the yarn is on the opposite side of the store, at least at present. The walls are dark as is the hardwood floor. There is some exposed brick that show traces of the building's original use as a car dealer or garage. The ceiling is high and unfinished. Very trendy, or it was at one time. They will have a separate room for classes once they no longer need it for the yarns that are still waiting to be priced and shelved. I'm looking forward to seeing how the shop evolves.

The other stuff, the part I'm not rewriting, was about how Job probably didn't work in a yarn shop.

Monday, November 29, 2004

More, more, more!

This is my second try. I hate it when Blogger loses it and my whole effort just goes off into cyberville somewhere. So, let's just try this again.

I finished the knitting on the simple mohair scarf. All I have to do is add some fringe and possibly some beads. I'm hoping a quick wash will perk up the mohair a little and maybe give the whole thing more definition.

There doesn't seem to be anything in my stash that meets the requirements for a scarf for my friend's birthday/Christmas present. Fortunately A Stitch in Time is having a sale, 30% off, on their knitting yarns. So, Mendy and I headed over there this morning.

The Reynold's Cabana is cotton and acrylic and I thought it would make a great scarf. So far it doesn't. But something might happen. The other yarn is Mango Moon's wool. I heard that it's part of their effort to create jobs for women in Nepal, similar to their recycled sari silk. I think I'll make a vest with loop stitch fringe around the front opening and maybe the armholes. I'll have to see how the yarn behaves first.

There's a new yarn shop in Monrovia, Unravel, just about twenty minutes from my house. After lunch we headed over there. It's still a work in progress but it's worth the trip. We got to look in the back room at some of the stuff that isn't on the floor yet.

The big hank is Blue Heron's beaded rayon. I have no plans for this as yet but I sure liked the colors. This is a new brand for me. You can see a couple of skeins of JaWoll peeking out that I thought would be seasonally appropriate even if I don't get anything started this year. The other sock yarn, the blue/yellow Meilenweit, is actually from A Stitch in Time. I just forgot to put it in the picture.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The day after

I know I said last night that I'd never eat again. But I just can't help it. I was so pleased with the egg braid (the other one was much prettier) that I can hardly wait to cut into this one. I do have a few containers of leftovers from last night's Thanksgiving dinner. One of them is bound to contain something that will go well with this. Actually, I'm probably going to give this to Lisa to take home with her, along with the carrot bread. I may have to sample the carrot bread first though.

Having a Thursday off is very disorienting. But now that I've figured out that it's Friday I'll be okay. Only five hours today but I expect them to hectic. Well, the whole post Thanksgiving Day weekend is hectic. I know of a couple of people that are coming in this weekend that I'll be sitting and chatting with.

The scarf I started for a birthday/Christmas gift may have to go to someone else. I talked with that person yesterday and, very slyly, found out that she is somewhat allergic to mohair. But I have 18" of 60" done so I'm not stopping now. I'll have to look through the Stash and see if there's any 100% synthetic something. If not, Michael's is only three blocks from here. Lord knows they have lots of synthetic.

I got a nice email from Overstock.com thanking me for being such a great customer. I think I bought a book from them sometime last year. Anyway, they're so pleased with me that I can get free shipping if I just order something from them. Isn't that nice? Well, I did look at their book selection. It's kinda messy finding the page but I found ten or so books that I'm putting on my wish list. The prices are better than Amazon. They don't have that handy wish list thing that Amazon has though so you have to write it down and give it to the person most likely to buy you something. I'm going to see if they have any good deals on juicers.

I've heard about a new yarn shop that opened in Monrovia, just a few miles from here. I haven't been yet but I'm hoping to make it over there on Monday. Extreme excitement abounds. I hear they carry lots of Mountain Colors.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm up to my elbows in flour as I get ready to knead the dough for some egg braids I'm making to take with me to Robert's for dinner. I made some carrot bread last night. And I have the wine so I'm all set.

I sat down to post yesterday but there just wasn't anything new or interesting. It was slow at Skein and I only had one student. I don't have to travel far from my home to Skein so I couldn't even complain about the traffic. I did find some time to work on the shop sample and started a scarf that will be a birthday/Christmas gift for a friend. I will be able to get some more done today as I wait for the bread to rise.

Besides all the things for which I'm continually thankful, good health, a warm place to live, close friends and family, I'm especially thankful for the new friends I've made this year, on-line and at the Knitter's Review Retreat. What a great bunch!

I think the scalded milk has probably cooled enough by now so I'd better get on with it. I hope you each and everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

No pictures and barely any knitting

In a couple of weeks I'll have my new glasses. I had no idea how much my eyes had changed in the past four years. I thought they were just tired from overuse. So I'm looking forward to seeing clearly again. The last time I bought frames through Kaiser there wasn't much selection if you wanted the ones that were covered by the insurance. They've changed the way they do things so now I could select anything I wanted and they apply a fixed discount, at least that's how it works if you're a senior citizen. I picked out five or six frames that I liked but most of them were too small for the tri-focals I must have. But I was pleased with the ones I decided on.

Buying glasses though is a lot like buying tires. Everything is extra. But I really need the UV coating and this time I'm getting a special coating that will make driving at night a lot easier. It's supposed to eliminate a lot of the glare from headlights. That'll be nice.

It wasn't as crazy busy today at Skein as it was last week. But I did have four students. Unfortunately they all came at the same time and all needed some pretty close monitoring. I guess I understand why so many beginners want to knit with the novelties, especially the really furry, fuzzy ones. I really wish they wouldn't do that. Half of the time I can't even see where the stitches went to so I know they don't have a clue. And then there are those who have been learning from a friend or relative who is maybe a day or two more experienced.

I'm glad I bought Annie Modesitt's Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. I've had quite a run of people who knit in the eastern uncrossed or combination manner. There are a lot of knitters from Eastern Europe and a few from South America who knit in this way, or with slight variations. I understood what they were doing in a kind of intuitive way but Annie's book lays it out very nicely and I feel a lot more comfortable helping these knitters.

So, how are your Thanksgiving preparations coming along? I went to the market yesterday because I was practically out of everything. I don't have to do anything for Thanksgiving myself. I forgot that you can get a free turkey if you spend at least $75.00 at one time. I could have qualified for two. There were so many specials that it just wasn't possible to pass them up. So now I have this turkey which I don't need but I also have a lot of coffee and oatmeal.

I love Thanksgiving week. People are starting to get all holidayish and are generally cheerful and excited. A couple of weeks from now it may be a different story.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Winding yarn

It doesn't seem like a week since it was Monday before. But since it is Monday I have lots of chores to do, the biggest, most time-consuming one being laundry. I was going to skip it but when I looked in my closet and saw only a couple of bedraggled sweat shirts I figured I'd better get on it. And now it's done and put away.

I still have to hit the market and do some picking up. Why do all my books and magazines end up all over the place instead of on the shelves? In between trips to the laundry room I have been winding yarn. All of the stuff I got at the Knitters'Review Retreat, except the sock yarn, has been wound and put in plastic bags until I can decide what I'm going to do with them and, of course, find the time.

I have a very reliable umbrella swift and yarn winder that Lisa gave me for Christmas probably twenty years ago. I love using them because they remind me of her and how much she cares for me. Someday, maybe, I'll have one of those heavy duty wooden swifts. They're nice but they don't have much sentimental value. I don't really need a fancy swift. I can only remember one time when the one I have wasn't adequate and that was because the hanks were too big around.

So, back to yarn winding.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


This is the biggest pomegrante I've ever seen. It's at least the size of a large grapefruit. It's so shiny and red and cheerful. It has absolutely nothing to do with knitting. Well, my knitbud Mendy gave it to me so I guess there's somewhat of a connection. She also gave me grapes and chilis and squash and avocados and a couple of oranges. I have no idea what to do with the pomegranate though. I'm going to take it with me to Robert's when I go over there on Thanksgiving. Meanwhile I'll just enjoy its perfection.

I was home last night for the first time this week. I worked on the brown vest for several hours and have actual visible progress. But it's still just brown, double seed stitch.

I didn't even take my shop project out of the bag yesterday. I only had one student but the shop was busy so I spent most of my day with "I just wanna make a scarf" people. And a couple of poncho enthusiasts. I really enjoy helping people choose colors and textures. I wish Ann Mary wouldn't move stuff around so much though. It's hard to find stuff when it's not where it was yesterday. But we're still receiving fall and winter yarns so I suppose she's just trying to make it all fit in.

I think I'm pretty much over the after effects of my fall. My wrist doesn't seem to hurt at all and most of the swelling on the back of my hand is gone. And I don't think I'll get a black eye either. So I'm on to something else.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

All better

Well, not completely, but considerably. My left wrist was quite stiff and sore this morning but is almost pain free this evening. Overall I'd say I got off pretty easy. And since I can't quite reshape my glasses to the way they were before I fell on them I made an appointment with the optometrist. It's been four years so I probably need a new prescription anyway.

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to knit this morning. I found if I kept my wrist straight there was no pain. I think the exercise was good. I didn't have a lot of time to knit today as I had students most of the time. I do little bits of knitting when I'm working with them but that's about it.

I worked on the brown vest tonight at Mendy's. Didn't get much done though. Talked a lot about the Knitters' Retreat and the possibility of having one on the West Coast. And about blogging. Who we read and why. I've added several to my daily reads, people I met at the Retreat mostly. Cherry pie and truffle brownies.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Watch your step!

Very busy day! I worked the Wednesday night class schedule today, covering for Nancy who is out of town. I was busy from the time I walked in the door until eight this evening.

We have a backdoor at Skein that we don't use except for mobility impaired people. When people leave by that door we always caution them about the small step as they leave. So all day long I'm telling people to watch their step. I wish I had had someone with me tonight as I was walking to my car to remind me to watch my step. I tripped on an uneven place in the sidewalk and in spite of my efforts to regain my balance I managed to fall. Not quite flat on my face but on my left cheek bone. My glasses were bent but not broken. A couple of small cuts above my eye and my left eye is bloodshot. I think I'm okay. A little pain in my left wrist but I don't think it's serious. I don't think anyone saw me so my dignity is pretty intact. I just hope I don't have a black eye in the morning.

I finished the neckband on the shop sample sweater but I'm going to have to take it out and redo it. It's a little too floppy. Two steps forward, one back.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

And now it's Tuesday

This is the beginning of the third week that I've had this cold. I think it's the same cold but it could be a new one. Sitting as close as I do to people all day I could have picked up a new one. Anyway, if I had good sense I'd stay home today. But I'm one of those people pleasers who doesn't like to disappoint others. So, since Tuesday is a big day for students, I'll go in. And I am going to a concert tonight.

I worked most of the night. I woke up every fifteen minutes it seems like. I was helping someone with a toe-up sock. Very irritating pattern that didn't make much sense but the person insisted that it was essential to do exactly what the pattern wanted. Usually if I wake up whatever I'm dreaming goes away. Not this time. I can't figure out why we'd want to make a sock with velour and have to continually adjust the number of stitches using decorative increases and decreases. But I must say I was very impressed with my flexible bind off.

I did finish the back of the brown double moss stitch vest and have cast on and worked a few rows on the left front. But no pictures until it's done.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Well, it's Monday

Now that I'm on the winter schedule at Skein, six days a week, this is really an important day. I'm happy to not have anything scheduled. I'm planning to knit most of the day. We've been so busy at Skein that I haven't had much energy in the evening to work on my own projects.

Currently I'm trying to finish this double moss stitch vest that I started last spring. The yarn is from Unger. I think they're out of business, at least under this name. This is the kind of project that you can work on for hours and still be in the same spot.

And I finished the Midwest Moonlight scarf on Friday night.

From Scarf Style by Pam Allen. Designed by Ivy Bigelow. Lots of people like this scarf and have asked it they're getting it for Christmas. I used Grignasco's Sweet Print. Nice yarn. Easy to work with and it's machine washable. Oh, and I got it on sale.

Friday, November 12, 2004

One man's stash

One man's trash is another man's stash! Well, it isn't exactly trash but one of our Thursday night knitters thought she had too much yarn, as if that's possible, so she brought a pile of stuff last night for all of us to share. I would have felt really bad to admit it out loud but I really wanted it all. But I restrained my enthusiasm, for a while anyway. When I couldn't stand it any longer I annoucned that if no one else wanted this

I'd be pleased to find a place for it in the stash that knows no shame.

Two pounds of scottish tweed, around 1700 yards. The color is a little more intense than the photo. Who cares if I don't know what I'm going to do with it?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Just one more

Okay. So I thought I was done with the Knitters' Retreat Review. But I forgot about the Swap Table. Got something to get rid of? Want to add something to your stash? This is where we got the chance.

I didn't get a photo of the whole table, actually two tables, but this is what I rescued. Two skeins of JaWoll sock yarn and seventeen balls of Ravello. I felt a little sheepish taking this from the table since I hadn't brought anything to add. But I was repeatedly encouraged. Well, the sock yarn I didn't feel so guilty about. But the Ravello? I love this yarn. I made a shop sample a couple of years ago with it and it's fun and easy to use. I'm not sure what this will become. It is pretty orange after all. We'll see what Lisa says.

I'm back at Skein and have been overwhelmed since Tuesday. I stayed an extra two hours yesterday and am going in an hour early today. But this is Thursday Night Knit Together and I'm not gonna miss that.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wrap Up

I went to the Knitters's Retreat fully intending to spend a lot of money on yarn. And I did. There was a Marketplace on Saturday afternoon. When it was over I had enough money for a cheap dinner, if I'd needed one.

Carodan Farm Wool Shop was there with some of their wool as well as lots of commercial yarns.

I got a couple of skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn and three hanks of their wool. I could get the sock yarn locally but I was being supportive. Their wool is nice, a little scratchy, but I got enough for a generous scarf or small shawl.

I didn't buy any of Stony Mountain Fibers' yarn. Most of what they had was roving and I don't spin. But I did get a hank of Interlacement's Cheyenne. Enough for a vest or poncho.

My biggest splurge was at Spirit Trail. I had a hard time deciding just what to get. But it was all going fast so I went for the stuff that I knew I'd love to work with.

I was surprised at how different the color in this yarn is in the California light from the light in Virginia. It's much warmer and more coral than I thought it was when I bought it. I love the way it feels. So soft but with substance.

Jen's sock yarn. What great colors! They're a lot deeper and more intense than the photo shows. Will I ever have enough sock yarn?

A needlepoint kit from Clara's Window and Annie Modesitt's book, Confessions of a Knitting Heretic, personally autographed.

It's probably a good thing that there weren't any more vendors. But I did go yarn shopping on Monday.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

More Knitters' Retreat

Sunday morning in the Large Lounge. Lots of knitters and spinners. Lousy photo. I think I know who some of these people are but am not sure enough to point them out. But anyway everyone is busy. The room is noisy. I think we're waiting for lunch.

The food at Graves Mountain Lodge is plentiful if nothing else. I had heard about the family style meals and all so I was looking forward to that. And there was lots of food. I thought it was a little bland and repetitive. I think we had fried apples with every meal. And usually some kind of apple dessert, with ice cream. But the meals were fun. Lots of laughter and animated conversation.

The countryside around Graves Mountain Lodge is beautiful if not breathtaking. What is breath taking is the climb up the hill from the Main Lodge to the residence lodges at the top of the hill. I only remember walking it once. Half way up the hill I met Wendy and L-B. This made a perfect photo op. I had not met either of them before. Both really nice ladies.

I've been waiting for almost a year to meet Bess. It was her entry last year that really motivated me to go on the Retreat in the first place. Plus, we've exchanged lots of emails and have become good friends on-line. That's her on the left in the photo. She was in much demand to teach drop spindle knitting.

And here she is in the finishing class she led on Sunday morning. Not to carry on too much about this but meeting Bess was fantastic. We had lots of good time chats. I was sad to say goodbye.

Saturday morning Annie Modesitt, an unacknowledged standup comic, presented her chart reading seminar along with "cabling without a cable needle". I've been trying to cable without a needle so was looking forward to that part. Didn't work for me. My technique is more like Wendy's. So I talked with her and she verified that I understood it. And by the time the class was over I was making cables and not dropping too many stitches.

After the market, which I'll talk about tomorrow, I went with Annie, Kathy, Alissa and Connie to a local winery. Here they are tasting the local brew. Actually it was pretty good stuff. I didn't buy any because I already knew that my one piece of luggage was going to split wide open if I added one more thing. Annie shared a bottle of chardonnay before we went down to dinner (supper?)on Saturday night. My room was next door to Annie's so we had a chance to chat privately a couple of times. I really admire her and her committment to the knitting community. I hope I can meet up with her again next year when she comes to California for some teaching gigs.

After dinner on Saturday night Jennifer handed out the still wet skeins of wool that members of her dye workshop had worked on the day before. Some amazing colors there. I didn't have a good spot so the photo doesn't really show much except the crowd. See that bright orange stuff on the table? We had a needle felting presentation and that's some of the stuff being used to make pumpkins. It was interesting but I'm not crafty enough to get into that.

I'll have some pictures tomorrow of the stuff I bought and maybe some chatter about my trip.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Knitters' Retreat

That pretty much sums it up. Everywhere you turned there were knitters, spinners and fiber fanatics.

I had a super time. The setting is beautiful.

The view from my room early Saturday morning. The locals kept telling me that the leaves were more spectacular a week or so before. This works for me just the same.

From the front porch of the main lodge. The whole weekend weather was perfect. In fact, the whole weekend was perfect. I have more to tell. I have to work on the photos a bit so I'll probably have that for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Time to go

Well almost. In about eleven hours I'll be up, up and away, going to the Knitters' Retreat. So what am I doing, sitting here? I have to pack and decide what projects I'm going to take. That will depend on how much I can squeeze in the one bag I'm taking. And I'll need a little room for stuff I know that I'll buy.

I think I'll take the Aran Sweater project, the Midwest Moonlight scarf and a sock project. That should be plenty. Oh, and my homework which I finished last night.

So I'm outta here. See you on Monday. (How am I going to survive without my daily blog reads?)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's over.

I just read that John Kerry has called George Bush to concede. So I guess it's over for now. I stayed up way too late. I kept waiting for a surprise.

So it's on to the next big thing. I'm leaving for Virginia tomorrow night, late, for the Third Annual Knitters Retreat. I've mentioned this before but now that it's just about to happen, well, I can't begin tell you how much I'm looking forward to it. I hope the cold I managed to pick up over the weekend subsides enough that I'm able to enjoy myself and not be a hazard to everyone else. I'd better go see what kind of weather conditions they're having in Virginia.

Pat the Cat doesn't care. Cats just wanna have fun. He's driving me over the edge with his squealy little meows, whining like a spoiled child, insisting that I come and play with him. I've tried to explain that I'm busy but he just keeps on squeaking. He's a very big cat and that little squeak is just so ridiculous.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Did you?

I got to the polls about twenty minutes after they opened. It was crowded but things were going well. I didn't get to use one of the fancy new touch screen machines. We had not punch cards but cards that you blotted with a special pen. I had to do it twice. First time I didn't have the ballot seated properly so nothing showed up. I made sure to get the "I Voted" sticker so I can wear it at Skein all day.

The background in the photo is the current hat project. I'm about half way done. I never found the yarn for the other hat so it's on hold, perhaps for a long time. At first I couldn't remember where I got the yarn I'm using. The label says Spinnerin and the price was $1.19 so you know it was a long time ago. Spinnerin isn't around anymore. I think this is yarn I purchased at Super Yarn Mart when I first started to knit. It's orlon/acrylic. It might have come from Woolworth's though. Neither of these stores is still in business. I'm surprised at how soft the yarn is even after all these years of being in storage. If I'm remembering correctly I made one of my first cabled sweaters with this yarn. The color is actually a lot darker than what you see here. More of a maroon.

And now I have a cold. Bother! Really bad timing.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Rabbit! Rabbit!

Just one more day

And maybe then the constant ringing of my phone will stop. I don't answer my phone until I know who's calling, or unless I'm expecting a call from someone. Anyway, I get lots of calls and there's no one there or there's no message after the beep. I've had calls from George, John and even Arnold. I doubt if they'll call again after tomorrow. Well, maybe Arnold. But definitely not either George or John, depending.

I'm not a politically active person. I mean I vote and all that but I don't engage in political conversations/arguments. I do listen to as many informed people as I can and I read a bit of the news and spins that come across my browser page. I realize this is how it happens in the US. But I'll be one of many who will be glad to have it over. Enough with the polls. There's even one here about how many people are expecting problems at the election sites tomorrow. My plan is to go early, while I'm on my morning walk. If there's a delay it won't be a problem. There's a Starbucks across the street.

The knitting picture is even more of a toss-up/tie. There are many projects that are not participating as well as those I'm undecided about. I had to rip about two inches of the back of the shop sample sweater. Turned and went the wrong way by mistake. At least it was clear what had happened and the solution was easy. I finished the first hat for the chemo cap collection at the Retreat and am almost two thirds through the second one. But the other ball of yarn has disappeared even though I knew it would be needed. Just didn't have the time to secure it when I started. The orange silk vest has been ripped completely. I found some patterns that are updates of tops from the 1930s that I think will work better. Well, that's the current thinking.

Halloween has come and gone once again. I went to Robert's for dinner. He carved a couple of pumpkins for his front porch. There's something that's so wrong about white pumpkins. But they were cute. Nice dinner with fresh apple pie for dessert. And we're back on standard time. The extra hour was a big help.