Friday, December 31, 2004

Year End!

Chez knitdad is all set for the big celebration. I've put a box of tissue on every table and I have sturdy Trader Joe's paper bags next to any chair that I might be sitting in. I'll be able to just drop those soggy used tissues right in the bag and not have to get up and gather them all together every half hour or so. I'm glad I stocked up on tissue the last time I went to the market. I'll stop for some Sudafed replenishment on my way to Skein. It's going to be another wild night. Sneeze! Cough! Cough! Patrick hates it when I disturb his nap so I'm trying to keep it down.

I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions and this year is no exception. I'm always resolving to do something or other and it doesn't last much beyond the next day. My on-going resolve to finish some of my knitting projects is a joke. I know I'll start another project before I finish something so I don't really bother anymore. I just get some more plastic bags and add 'em to the on hold pile. I buy some more needles and start another project.

My street is beginning to fill with RVs and motor homes. Optimists here for the big parade tomorrow morning. I heard on the news this morning that the Rose Parade will procede even if it is raining. A couple of ladies told me yesterday that it was their duty to sit out there and watch the parade. "If the kids are marching we owe it them to be there." Not sure I follow the logic here. I did hear the bands practicing yesterday. That was fun in a sentimental sort of way. I also get to hear the Marines once a month when they do their weekend thing. There'll be a crappy rock band performing in the Carl's Jr. parking lot tonight. And there'll be long lines at the portapotties. It's just going to be a blast. Well, except for the rain part.

But, Happy New Year, one and all. I'm going to see what I have in my stash that will be good for tonight's celebration.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Not raining now but later!

You have been warned. If you're going to the Rose Parade, take an umbrella. Who knows? It hasn't rained on the Rose Parade in many, many years but this could be it.

My New Year's Eve plans are winding up or down, depending on your point of view. I was supposed to go away overnight to avoid the noise and chaos that the Rose Parade brings. I decided to stay home and keep Pat the Cat company. He gets very disturbed if I'm gone for too long and it takes several days for him to calm down. No. He's not just a cat. He's my cat!

Another weirdo day at Skein. There are lots of out-of-towners so maybe that's it. The Gnome was back again today as was the lady who comes and looks at yarn patterns for hours at a time. I imagine they're harmless but it's unsettling just the same.

We're closing at four tomorrow so that Ann Mary can get home before all the streets are blocked. Then I have another three day weekend. I worked on my scarf project today and didn't have any wrist pain. So I guess the rest was a help. Going to Mendy's tonight for the regular Thursday night group. I'm testing a new scarf pattern so I'll take that as well as my multi-directional scarf.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

It's still raining.

Just as I predicted it was very busy yesterday at Skein. I spent the entire day with brand new knitters. While I think it's important that people learn to knit, and I really try to make the process easy, it's a bit of a drain when there a six all at one time, or practically so. It always amazes me that some people grasp it so easily while others take hours to get comfortable with just the knit stitch.

I tried to get some more done on the shop sample that I've had on needles for a couple of months now. I was only able to do a partial row due to the number of students. I think it's helping my wrists though to not knit for a while. If I don't have to work tonight I will probably knit for an hour or so tonight and see how it goes.

I'm pretty sure that was a gnome we had in the shop yesterday, or a left over from a Renaissance Faire.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The dark after the dark

Absolutely inclement weather has been predicted for most of this week. And this time "they" got it right. It would be nearly impossible to tell the time of day without a clock. It's only slightly lighter now than it was at six this morning. It's been raining since late yesterday, not torrential, just fairly constant. There's quite a bit of wind as well so that my favorite palm trees are bent out over the middle of the street. And this is supposedly only the beginning. Looking at the predictions for the rest of the week, rain is forecast for New Year's Day. Wonder what will happen to the Rose Parade.

Yarn shopping went extremely well. We only went to one shop. It's took dark to get decent pictures today. I got enough of the Lana Grossa Colore for a couple of scarves and two hanks of Interlacements Oregon.

It's back to Skein today after three wonderful days off. Tuesdays are usually very busy and when it rains it's always busy. So since we have both of those things today it could be wild. If not, I have a couple of lingering projects to work on.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Man does not live by cookies alone.

And I'm trying not to either. I haven't opened any of the candy and cookie packages. But I do have one plate that was presented with only some flimsy plastic wrap. That has been my downfall. But for the first time ever I've been sensible and careful. Not much fun actually but I don't have to spend the next month trying to get rid of the extra pounds. Those cookies and candies are going to Skein to be shared with those less self-righteous than moi.

Here I am, holding aloft my new swift. I spent Christmas morning with Lisa and her mom at their house. They have a large dog. I'm wearing a paper crown that I got in my Christmas morning cracker. On the wall is a pastel drawing that I did about twenty five years ago. Well, I've been wanting a wooden swift so Lisa told her mom and lo! and behold! There were lots of other good things. Knitting books and more knitting books. And a new garden hose that doesn't fit the faucet so it's going back.

Today is yarn shopping day. A Stitch in Time is still having their 30% off on knitting yarn sale, through the end of the month. I got a super-generous package of cash from on of my students. This is a perfect match. I'm going to buy some more Lana Grosso Colore. I used it for a couple of hats and I like it, even if I can't do much knitting right now, due to a sore wrist that I'm letting rest for a day or so.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

It's a beautiful day here. Not exactly warm but kinda. Although I hear it's supposed to change next week.

My Christmas has been fabulous so far. The socks, scarves and hats were especially well received. And everything else as well. I got a new swift, one of the big wooden kind, plus some knitting books I've been wanting. And lots of other stuff that I had on my list.

I ran out of blogging time this morning so I'll try to catch up with everyone tomorrow.

Friday, December 24, 2004

What have I forgotten?

It doesn't seem possible that I'm ready but I can't think of anything that I've forgotten. Hat number four is still drying and hat number five is started. I'm going to spend the rest of Christmas Eve working on that. And it doesn't matter if I fall asleep or not. I was surprised by how much knitting I had already done so one more hat isn't going to make or break me.

The yarn I started to use for hat number five seems to have been attacked by moths. I'll have to check the rest of it to see if I'm right. It might just be that it was damaged from when I knit it originally, but I don't think so. So I got a couple of skeins of Berroco Duo today and worked on it while I was at Skein. If there's time in the morning I'll get a picture of all the hats. Wait! I cant' do that. They're all wrapped except the one I'm working on.

So it's Christmas once again. Maybe next year will be the one where I get everything done ahead of time. I suspect that won't be the case. What would Christmas be like without the last minute press? But for now I can relax and enjoy an evening of holiday music and knit just for the fun of it.

I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

One more day

All I have left to do is wrap the packages. Everything arrived today. One day early. The schedule calls for wrapping tomorrow night. I didn't quite finish the fourth hat because I made a mistake that required ripping about half way back. If I stay up a little late I can finish tonight and start number five tomorrow morning. So maybe.

We had a small birthday party tonight. One of the Thursday night group has a birthday on Christmas day. The blue scarf I made a few weeks ago was for her and she seemed really pleased with it. And we had carrot cake. Plus one of the apple breads. It was a big hit. I'll have to try that recipe again.

I got a couple of new knitting books today from I'll have to wait a few days before I can talk about them. Maybe I'll have time to read them on Sunday or Monday. Skein will be closed for three days. I'm really ready for that.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It's so relaxing!

It's true. It's late and I'm just finding the time to post. But things are getting done so I beginning to relax a bit. I've finished three hats and have started the fourth so I may make it with all five by Christmas morning. The one I'm working on now is from yarn I bought in Taos seventeen or eighteen years ago. It's going to need a wash so I'll probably do that tomorrow night at about this time. The wool is very dense so it may not dry completely. I'm not sure what fiber I will use for the last one but probably the same wool in another color.

I've also finished the baking. The sherry date nut bread got a little dark around the edges before it was done. And I took the apple bread out of the pan too soon so it cracked a little. I'll just have to be careful how I lift it when I wrap it. I found a recipe for spicy pumpkin bread that didn't call for any walnuts or pecans so that is going to those picky eaters who don't know what they're missing.

I'm still waiting for a couple of things that I ordered. What? Me worry? I was promised delivery so I'm assuming it will happen. Relax!

It was very quiet this morning at Skein which was good in a way. There was one yarn rep presenting the spring lines from her company. So since it was slow Ann Mary got to spend plenty of time making her choices. Then around noon it started. An almost constant stream of people including seven students. We have a few new yarns on the shelves but we also have lots of sold out or nearly sold out items. So there are some challenges in putting together those last minute scarves. But the kids are out of school so we've had several pre-teens in who have taken to knitting. One nine year old told one of my older students today how relaxing she found knitting. I don't know if she really does or if she just thought that was the grown-up thing to say. This particular student is having some problems conceptualizing so she found it amusing and kept saying to me all day, "It's so relaxing!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

PC shopping

Yesterday I went shopping. I still can't believe my good fortune. I found a parking space immediately at all three places I stopped. And while at Trader Joe's I found the inspiration I needed for a couple of people on my hard to buy for list.

One of the places I shopped was Macy's. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to go there. A few days ago Ann Mary mentioned that she had heard that some stores were encouraging their employees to say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy holidays", the latter being considered more PC than the former. I hadn't heard about this but there were some links this morning on Andrew Sullivan's blog. At any rate the boycott is either working or business is just down overall. There were not many people shopping. It took a little while to find what I was looking for, and a little while longer to get rung up. The woman who helped me took political correctness to a new level. She didn't wish me anything. Barely a thank you. Anyway, now Ann Mary is saying "Merry Christmas" all the time. I've been say "Enjoy your holiday" for so long that I'm having a hard time switching back.

I went to the 99cent store around six in the evening figuring it would be less busy then than later. I even found parking right away. And it wasn't busy, not like it is in the middle of the day. They had one area set aside for just sorting out stuff that people either decided not to buy or had left scattered around the store. Like cucumbers in the middle of the house cleaning supplies. This store is the best place I know of to get gift bags. Since I'll be wrapping on Christmas Eve I figured these were the best solution. I haven't received any of the stuff I ordered online yet. If it gets here at all I won't have time to wrap until then. Somebody remind me to start earlier next year.

There was a minimum of knitting yesterday. I finished another Canadian Hat and started the third one. I'd like to do two more. We'll see.

Monday, December 20, 2004


It seems I'm doing a lot of waiting right now. I'm waiting for the stuff I ordered online to arrive so I'm also waiting to wrap everything. And I'm waiting for some inspiration as to what to get for a couple of friends who fall in the impossible to buy for category. And I'm waiting to get to the market to get some more eggs and toothpicks. I've had the same box of toothpicks for over fifteen years but have finally reached the bottom. I only use them for baking so that will give you some idea of how often I bake.

And I'm waiting for my wrists to quit aching quite so much. I've been making hats using bulky weight yarn on size 8US needles.

(Patrick is waiting too. He doesn't like it when I don't drop what I'm doing and come and play. So he's also sulking while he waits.)

Anyway, working with the heavy yarn on comparatively small needles has really done a number on my wrists and my left thumb. I didn't do much knitting yesterday and won't be doing much today so that should help. I'm waiting to find out.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


are proof that God loves us and just wants us to relax.

What a day. Well, actually the whole week. Lots and lots of last minute scarf knitters with dropped stitches and those needing to learn how to bind off. If everyone who said they were coming back for lessons after Christmas actually does come back I'm going to be very busy. Somehow I think they were just saying that so I'd feel good. Cynicism forbids me.

But I've made lots of progress on my Christmas shopping thanks to the good folks at Amazon and Overstock. And I still have Monday to finish up.

I got another set of size 8US double points today so I could finish the second hat. The first hat is still on the needles but I need some more yarn which I'll get tomorrow or Monday. I bought the second set because I wanted to try them. They're from Bryson and are plastic but they have that wonderful point that Bryson uses on their straight needles that are so good for lace knitting. They have a sort of bulbous tip. I'm going to try them just as soon as this margarita wears off.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Holiday goodies!

We've been having chocolate chip cookies (Almond Roca) and madelines and some persimmon bread. And tonight we had Renee's birthday cake. Grand marnier with white chocolate shavings and some other kind of chocolate chip cookies. All with coffee. I'll be fine so long as the antacid tablets last.

I'm almost out of the wine I got for Christmas last year. Yeah, I got a lot. I'm looking forward to this year's crop. If anyone asks, I only drink red wines. And I'm not fussy. So long as it's red.

I almost finished the first of the gift hats. Ran out of yarn about seven rows before the final decrease. Guess I'll have to go back to the yarn shop. Oh darn. I did get a different yarn at Skein for the second one. I need 114 yards per hat. The bulky yarns seem to average around 50 yards so I'm buying three per hat. These hats are not cheap. But they do go fast, once you find your needles. I may have a photo in a day or so.

I delivered the black cabled scarf to Mendy tonight. She's going to do the washing and drying. I'm pleased that she liked it a lot. I need to write up the pattern before I forget the details. And maybe make another one in a lighter color so I can get a better photo.

In other knitting news. The new Gedifra magazine is out. I bought a copy mostly for archival purposes. There are plenty of spectacular sweaters and stuff. If you're super skinny and have lots of money to spend. Maybe it's just me but I'm not likely to spend $270 for the yarn for a sweater that's good for maybe half a season. That'd buy a lot of sock yarn.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Some progress

I couldn't connect this morning. Me and a lot of the rest of Los Angeles and surrounding areas. So I guess I shouldn't take it personally. But it sure tweaked my day. So I'm home later than usual trying to catch up on everyone's doings. Here's the one I've been waiting for: Rachael's marathon post. It's exciting, heartwarming and just makes me feel good.

Since I couldn't dawdle over the blogs this morning I decided I'd better get those scarves washed and dryed. Yeah. The ones I was going to do last week. I don't really have a large enough space to block a seven foot scarf so I just figured I'd lay it out on the bed. Who knew that a cat would be so attracted to wet mohair? With the whole bed to choose from Patrick decided the only place that was just right was on top of the two wet scarves. I was dreading coming home. But he apparently got the idea, after a couple of thumps on the rump, that he didn't really need to sleep there after all. So all is well and the scarves are ready for wrapping.

It was only moderately busy at Skein today. That is until I was ready to leave at four. I stayed until six and then stopped by Amigos for dinner. Before I thought about it I was having a margarita. And it was good. Now I have to see if I can find some size 8US dpns so I can finish the Canadian Hat from Sally Melville's The Purl Stitch. And start another one. There will be knitted gifts for everyone or my hands will cramp trying.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

One down

The black cabled scarf is done. Right now it's just a long mass of gnarled ribs that you couldn't figure out even if I could get a decent picture. The Plymouth Yarn rep assures me that I can put it in the washer and dryer and it will relax and flatten out. Here's hoping.

One gift has been purchased and is on it's way. The other gift I was planning to buy had already been sold out. So I guess I'm starting a little too late. Back to the list making. I got some chunky yarn yesterday to make a couple of hats. I don't have much of this weight in my stash. Right now I don't have time to go through my stash looking for something that would work.

When I went to Needle in a Haystack yesterday the owner said, "Oh, it must be Monday!" It's nice to be recognized.

Monday, December 13, 2004


That's how much shopping I've done. I really need to get started. Maybe later today. I'm going to go pay my phone bill in person. I forgot it and now it's due. How did it get to be the 13th already? I was going to pay it online but it was just too complicated for something so simple. So I'll take the drive up to Altadena. Haven't been there in years. It might be interesting. It's a gorgeous day anyway.

I'm almost done with the black cable scarf. I think I'll stop at a little over four feet, maybe five. I'm going to have a lot of yarn left over. I'm using Encore. I thought about making a hat but I don't think Encore is good for hats. It get's too soft once it's washed. But it's great for scarves.

The latest multi-directional diagonal scarf is also progressing. I have a few other projects that need to be finished for gifts so, since the MD scarf is for me, I'm not focusing on it so much.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The stoned cat

Patrick has a bit of a hangover today. Too much catnip. Usually he doesn't react much to catnip.

Last night he was really pestering me to come and play. I just wanted to knit. So I put a lot of catnip in his cardboard box, the one he likes to sleep in sometimes. I buried it under the blanket, thinking it would just be a little aromatic and enough to calm him down. He dug under the blanket, rolled and flopped around in the catnip for about half an hour and finally went to sleep. It was nice to have him quiet but I feel a little guilty about drugging him. And he got a little aggressive with the brush when I tried to fluff him up later on.

I did manage to get to the halfway point on the black cabled scarf, however.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Cat soccer

Just as I predicted. No knitting last night. But lots of fun watching Patrick play soccer. I'll be knitting tonight. I'm way behind.

Friday, December 10, 2004

New glasses

The new eyeglasses are just swell. Except they keep slipping down a little more than I can stand. I need to stop back and have them re-tightened. Tri-focals, I've worn them for years now, are more challenging than bi-focals. It usually takes some trial and error before everything is back to normal, i.e., I don't have to think about it.

I finally got around to buying "Transitions", a booklet of patterns using Araucania Nature Wool with designs by Conelia Tuttle Hamilton. There's a large, holey scarf in it that I have been wanting to make ever since I saw it. I want to use the exact color, a sort of wheat color, but Skein doesn't have it. Neither does Unraveled. I may ask Ann Mary to order it for me. Or I may just use another color, depending on how much pressure I feel to get started. When I didn't find the yarn at Unraveled I bought this skein of Bearfoot, just because I was there and couldn't go away empty handed. Does this really work well for socks?

I got two more skeins of the Kureyon #116 for the MD scarf. Thanks, Mendy. I'm just about to add the third skein of six. And I'm maybe a third of the way through the black cabled scarf. There won't be much, if any, knitting tonight. Lisa is coming over for dinner. Which reminds me. I'd better at least go make the bed.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

But I don't wanna go!

It's one of those days when I just really want to stay home and start a bunch of new projects. I don't wanna go to Skein! The pressure to start a new pair of socks, made with two strands of worsted weight, is really building up. But I really have to go to Skein.

I had the busiest day-of-the-month-so-far yesterday. But it took the whole day. I stayed until eight last night to cover the evening class. The regular teacher was out of town again. She must have told her students last week that she wasn't going to be there because none of them showed up. But I did have a couple of brand new people plus two people that I've taught before during my daytime hours. During the day I taught two male knitters. One brand is a brand new knitter and he got it right away. The other guy is a fairly regular student who is trying to learn all the terms and techniques. And then there was the grandmother with twenty, soon to be twenty one, grandkids. And she's a quilter as well. She makes quilts for all her family, including the eleven children, at least once a year plus a sweater for each of the grandkids. And she doesn't even look the least bit tired.

Anyway, I'm going to Skein even if I don't want to. I'll work some more on the new Kureyon MD scarf. I'm about half way through the second skein. I didn't get much done on the black cabled scarf last night as it was almost nine when I got home. Played with Patrick for about half an hour and had dinner. Too tired to see. But I'm stopping at the eyeglasses place on the way to Skein to pick up the new specs. I'll either be falling down stairs or seeing through walls later today.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Holiday decor

The return of the Christmas Cactus. My sister sent me this last year and it was just beautiful. I'm surprised that it knows that it's time to bloom again. It's been outside on my balcony since last Christmas. Now it will come in again and be my Christmas tree. Unless Pat the Cat decides to nibble on it.

Satisfying progress was made on both of the new scarves yesterday. It seems though that I have misplaced a stitch on the Kureyon Multi-directional scarf. Or maybe I miscounted originally. It's not worth ripping though. I told a customer yesterday that it was okay to just work an unwanted stitch together with another stitch to get rid of it. Another customer overheard me and said, "The professional!" I'm not sure what she meant. I tend to follow Meg Swansen's advice. It's okay to fudge your knitting when you need to, so long as you know that's what you're doing and that it's not going to result in some disaster later on.

Since I was already outside to take a picture of the Christmas Cactus I decided to get one of my lemon tree.

These are the first lemons to make it this far. They're just barely turning yellow. I don't know how to tell when a lemon is ready to pick. I'm pretty sure these are not.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Black is the new

well, black. For those of us who have lived through "Red is the new Black" or purple is, or pink is, it's nice to see black making a comeback. I like black. I look good in black. I can barely see when I knit with black. Especially when I'm cabling without a cable needle.

This is the scarf I'm making for Mendy's Robert. The original photo is a lot easier to see than this electronically mutilated verion. It's a fun, easy to knit sequence of ribbing and cables that Mendy swears he will love. The best part of making a scarf for a man is how much shorter it can be.

Even Noro, famous for their wild color choices, has come up with a black-ish version in Kureyon, Color 116. I found this at Unraveled yesterday.

It's really a lot darker and the black, which looks kinda charcoal here, is very black. Flash isn't always a good thing. I think I'm going to need a couple more skeins so I'll have to go back. Which is a good thing.

I went there, Unraveled, yesterday. Without going into details, let me just say they have excellent customer service. They have put out more yarns and rearranged things a little.

The knitting lunch yesterday was a big success. Renee made Jamaican Pumpkin Soup. Spicy and full of good things including Scotch bonnet pepper. I got the fringing done on the two scarves, as planned. If this sudden, unexplained surge of domesticity continues I'll probably get them washed and blocked tonight.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Make it happen

I have finished the blue scarf and started the black one. I still have to fringe the blue scarf and the pink one I finished last week. I'll do that today while I'm at Renee's for our first ever knitting and lunch get together.

We're trying to find more time for knitting. This will be our first of maybe once a month lunches. The plan is to force more knitting time into our schedule. I'm not sure if this is going to result in much more actual knitting since it takes time to get organized and travel to and from. But it should provide more focus. So I figure we'll get three hours or so plus lunch.

It was cold and rainy yesterday. What is it about the rain that brings out the crowds? We're only open for three hours on Sunday but it was packed the whole time. I didn't have any students so I spent the whole time hustling between customers, helping them with their decisions and answering questions. Is one ball enough? How do you do the drop stitch? Can someone show me how to cast on? Do you have anything cheaper? Can I crochet with this? Do you have any poncho patterns? I don't have any size 15 needles. Can I just use my size eights? Ad nauseum.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Just another day, sorta.

There's not much to report on right now. I'm about half way through the blue scarf which is good since I'm going to start another scarf for Mendy's husband, sometime this weekend. It's strange. Just when everyone else is backing off of scarves I'm getting interested. Well, maybe not everyone but there's definitely less brou-ha-ha than last year.

It's been plenty busy at the shop this week although my student load is way down. I did have one brand new knitter today. That's always fun and interesting. You never quite know who's going to get it right away and who will struggle. Today was sorta in the middle. And a blast from the past. A new Skein customer but one I used to see almost weekly at my former shop, about ten years ago.

A fairly quiet night at the Thursday night knit together. There were only four of us. Mendy's new puppy kept us entertained most of the time though. And then there's always the desserts. Fruit flavored donuts, brownies, cheesecakes and more.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Rabbit! Rabbit!

Blue scarf

I dug deeper into the Stash and found this Patons Leila, 100% cotton. I got it years ago from Smily's. I have two or three other colors as well. It was cheap! The gauge is a tiny bit off. It's a scarf, for cryin' out loud! Anyway, I did this last night and I think it's going to be just what I was looking for. The yarn is slubby, on purpose, so there's a little more texture than is strictly needed, but, like I said, it's a scarf.

I found the pattern is the latest "Creative Knitting". Have you seen this magazine? I got a deal on the price. Probably everyone got the same deal. I thing the name is more than a little deceptive. They'd probably have called it "Easy Knitting" if the name wasn't already taken. That's not to say that everything is shapeless and low end acrylic. Some of the stuff is pretty nice. But their idea of difficulty is a little skewed. The scarf pattern I'm using is rated as Intermediate, three out of four on the difficulty scale. I'd probably give it a 1.5. On the other hand, it is fun in the way cables are fun, it just pulls you along. It's definitely going to need a wash and block when I'm done.