Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I still have one more day to work this year and then it'll all be over except for the celebrating. I hope you all have something planned that you really want to do to mark the occasion. As for me, I'll be knitting and keeping the cat company.

All the best for the coming year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Craziness at the end of the year

Craziness at the end of the year

Perhaps that's overstating it. Maybe it just seems like we're getting more crazies because it's that week between Christmas and New Year's Eve when lots of people are not working and are just waiting for the next big thing, like the Rose Parade. I can spend an hour or more with someone who just doesn't know what she wants and then will turn around and buy the first thing she looked at. Or maybe she just wants to make conversation and doesn't realize that the person I'm sitting with is trying to learn something.

We have had a lot of out-of-towners, here for the Parade and/or the game next week. I'm sure they like the warm weather. Well comparatively warmer. South Dakota is a lot colder than So. Cal. but we think 48 degress F is pretty cold. And highs in the mid 60s is winter here. We feel the cold even if it's not as cold as say Michigan. And besides, you can't have a Parade when it's in the minus range. And I'm pretty tired of hearing about it.

There is talk of heavy rain for the weekend, especially on Sunday night and Monday morning. If that happens there's going to be a lot of wet, cold people. I'm planning to stay indoors all day both days, except for trips to the laundry room. We're closing early on Saturday so that will give me a head start.

Thursday night knitting was cancelled again this week because Mendy is still very sick. She hasn't said but it sounds like the really bad flu that is so popular right now.

I've started another hat and knit about an inch on the latest sock today. Lisa is coming over tonight and bringing the chulo hat that I made for her friend so I can weave in the last couple of ends that I forgot to weave before I wrapped it. And we'll have a practice New Year's Eve celebration. I got eighteen bottles of wine for Christmas so we should have plenty. And there's champagne from last year, just in case. So not much knitting tonight but I expect there'll be craziness.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

One last time

One last time

In a last ditch effort to corner the market on all the yarn in Southern California I made one final trip to Stitch in Time. There's a rumor going around that there might not be any more sheep in the future. When I was there on Monday I saw this Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed. I knew there was a pattern somewhere in recent memory that used this yarn. So I went home and found it in the current issue of Interweave Knits. And it's by one of my all time favorite designers, Kristin Nicholas. Serendipity at it's finest. Too bad you can't really see what it looks like. It's a dark olive green almost charcoal tweed with flecks of beige and red. Since the sale at Stitch in Time runs through the end of the month I got fourteen skeins at 25% off. I can't make it to any of the other yarn shop sales so this will have to do for this year. I don't actually know how much I've spent on yarn this year. Does anyone keep track of that sort of thing? If I knew I'd probably get depressed and that would take all the fun out of it.

I've promised myself that I won't buy any more yarn until I catch up on some of the projects I've already either started or have planned and have yarn for. I'm not sure how likely that is to happen. I'd say not very since I already have a trip to Velona's planned for the second Monday of January. If you've ever been there you know it's impossible to not find something to buy.

I'm still on a hat kick and have completed two since Christmas. I'm trying to use up all the leftover skeins from my holiday knitting. I also have a new pair of socks that I'm using for my at Skein knitting. I need to replenish my gift box and get some stuff done for the Dulaan Project. And there's the cocoon jacket to be finished.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back to work

Back to work

Well, after a couple of days off I'm back to work and pretty much recharged, at least for the week. Another couple of days coming up will help. It was pretty busy today. There are lots of people in town for the Rose Parade which doesn't happen until January 2 instead of January 1. There are a number of churches on Colorado Blvd. where the parade takes place so there is an agreement that when New Year's Day falls on Sunday the parade will be delayed a day. And the Rose Bowl game itself is a couple of days after the parade instead of on New Year's Day the way it's supposed to be! Anyway, we were busy with people we've never seen before as well as a few regulars.

I had a couple of new students today, one brand new one and one who is trying to teach herself. (She's wrapping the yarn backwards so she has twisted stitches. She'll be back in a couple of days and we'll work on that.) The third student needed some help finishing a sweater. It came out way too small. I have it at home with me to see if I can modify it enough so it will actually go over someone's head.

Christmas was delightful. Spent the morning with Lisa and her mom. Everyone was pleased with their gifts and everything fit. I got lots of good stuff. Most everything that I had on my wish list. The books in the picture are ones that I had put on my Amazon wish list.

Viva Ponchos by Christina Stork and Leslie Barbazette I asked for because a) Lisa likes ponchos; and b) because I know one of the authors. Christina is the owner of Article Pract in Oakland. She comes to Pasadena occasionally and I get to visit with her.

I also asked for Alterknits by Leigh Radford. It's an interesting book if you're looking for some stimulus to add some spice to your knitting life. I haven't spent much time with it yet. I think I asked for it mostly because I'd read about it on someone's blog and there aren't many knitting books out there that I don't already have. (Except the be happy, quick knits, mindless stuff. I can teach it. I don't have to buy it.)

The real book, the one I really, really wanted is the Ethnic Socks and Stockingsby Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts. I have a couple of her other books. They're for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the how-to of things. This is a book I will take with me to read over dinner. It's slow going actually. But it's fascinating. I've become very interested in alternative styles of knitting and this one is definitely about that. While I may not make any of the socks in the book I'll certainly gain a lot of knowledge from it that I can apply in other situations. There are plenty of well drawn illustrations as well as text to amplify the drawings. Can you tell? I really like this book.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Biscotti for breakfast

Biscotti for breakfast

I suppose I really ought to make an effort to get to the market. I had the last of the biscotti this morning. All that's left is some butter cookies, home made, and some chocolates. They're good but they stick to my ribs and everywhere else. We're closing a couple of hours early on Saturday so I may have time to get to Ralph's then.

I picked up a sock that I had put aside to do my holiday knitting. It felt good to get back to it. I've dropped a whole bunch of stitches already so tomorrow I'll be tinking that, unless I try a different delayed project. There's always time to rip.



Some assembly required.

When I was at Stitch in Time on Monday I spotted this yarn. There was only one skein of it. And I've been in a hat making mode lately. So this seemed the perfect combination of events. I thought I'd get it done before Christmas but it's still in the hank and I've run out of time, almost, for making things. But I'll get to it soon.

This has really been a hat making season. Hats are the new scarves I guess. I did have a few people on Wednesday night who needed help with finishing their hats but there were some who just wanted to be out with other knitters. It was a fun, busy evening. I had a record number of students. And today, Thursday, there was no one at all. I have no idea why. The same thing happened last week. I hope tomorrow is busier. Although I could use the time to finish that last couple of things that I need for Sunday.

We didn't have Thursday night knitting because Mendy is ill. Probably the widely available flu. So I went to another friend's house and knitted for about three hours. And ate pastry. There was a parade in the middle of the evening. We thought there must have been a major fire nearby. It turned out to be the annual fire department parade through the neighborhood, decorated fire truck with siren. Fun.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This is Winter?

This is Winter?

Welcome to winter, LA style, or at least Pasadena. It was over 80F outside today. That's just too warm for people to feel like it's almost Christmas. Well, not everyone. I had a record day today so far as number of paying students. But it was pretty much easy stuff. And I had lots of cookies and candy to share and keep everyone happy. The orchid in the photo is from one of my newer students. I'm not sure if I can keep it where it is right now. The first thing Patrick the Catrick did was try to sample it. I'll have to put it up higher when I'm not home. He's a bit too lazy to jump on anything higher than the kitchen sink.

The notorious scarves are all done and will be delivered tonight. I did manage almost one skein on the scarf last night but still haven't touched the sock. In the photo, if you look closely, you can see the four skeins of sock yarn that I got last week. (I'm looking forward to finishing my gift knitting so I can get back to some of the abandoned socks. I'm hearing that from lots of knitters.) Anyway, tonight I have to get some things wrapped for my Thursday night group. That'll make some room. I'll be taking pictures but can't post them for a couple of days.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bear with me

Bear with me

'Tis the season. Gift giving and gift receiving. And I'm having doing well on the receiving end of the equation. Lots of chocolate, gourmet coffee, wine, gift cards and cash. And Mrs. Knitter and Pearl. (I assume Pearl is the cat sitting in the yarn bag.) I don't collect bears myself although I do have a few stuffed animal toys that are left over from a Christmas tree that I had a few years ago, when I still did trees. There are no grandchildren or small people in my life. So I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with this.

I know there is someone out there who would love this bear. I think it's part of a collection; it's a little fussy to make a good toy. So for the time being Mrs. Knitter and Pearl will reside in the sturdy box they came in. I do appreciate the thought and the gift. I just don't think I'm the right caregiver for this one.

I really thought I'd be done with my holiday knitting by now. But I still have some on the needles. Two skeins to go on a scarf and half of a second sock. But I'm almost done with scarf six of the ten that Skein is doing. I hope Ann Mary has at least four done. I'm pretty tired of this project.

We've been busy for the past few days. And I'm still teaching basic hats. Tomorrow is the last late night opening for the pre-Christmas season. I expect to be very busy answering last minute questions about decreases and how to use double points. And I hope to get some help with getting rid of all this candy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Done. At last!

Done. At last!

After what seems like months and months these bedsocks are done. And I still have a week to go before I get to present them. I used some Interlacements Toasty Toes, 100% merino, that I got several years ago at a weaving show. Size 3US dpns. And a pattern that I made up based on similar socks I've seen here and there.

The hardest part was figuring out how to keep track of rows so I'd know when to shift the rib one stitch to the left. You'd think I could count the rows but in this yarn it was really difficult to see the knits and purls. I finally used a marker at the beginning of each set of four rows and then kept a scratch pad handy to record each round as it was completed.

It was so long between socks that I had forgotten how I did the toe decreases on the first one so I had to spend some time "deconstructing" the first sock. I think they match pretty well.

Now. On to the final multi-directional scarf and maybe one or two other things and I'll be able to get back to all those other projects that have been on hold for the past month.

We're having Thursday night knitting on Friday this week. I expect it to be sparsely attended, maybe only three or four people. It really throws me off when fixed events shift. It's like losing a landmark. I have a hard enough time knowing what day it is without all these changes. Even the cat is confused.

Thursday, December 15, 2005



Yesterday I went into work an hour early so I could get started on another of the glitzy scarves we've been commissioned to make. I got about 35 stitches cast on of the 80 stitches I needed and that was it. I spent the rest of the ten hours helping students. And that was good for me.

Today I knit the whole scarf and had no students at all. And I cast on for the fifth one. I hope tomorrow is better. The scarves will get done in time but I'd rather be teaching that garter stitching all day.

The new sock yarn I wrote about a couple of weeks ago is almost gone. I did get four different skeins today. I'm just going to admire them for a while though. I still have some gifts to finish before next weekend. And to wrap everything.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005



There's really a dearth of photos right now. Most everything I'm knitting is for someone who generally reads my blog. It's even hard to talk about the stuff. I can tell you though that I finished one half of a project last night and cast on for the other half right away to avoid the bad luck risk. And I can also tell you that I like the way the first half came out.

The knitting rescue mission yesterday was a success. Mostly the problem was with the actual pattern. I used to rely on Berroco to be error free. That no longer seems to be the case. My friend has been trying to get this thing sorted out for at least six rips. But I think it's on track now.

During the chatting part of the mission we both realized that we needed more of one of the yarns we bought last month at Stitch in Time. I stopped by there on the way home. Panic! They didn't appear to have any more of the colors we needed. Turns out they had just moved it but no one remembered it. I found it and was out of there in about ten minutes. I didn't want to be tempted by their 25% off on all knitting yarns sale. Really! I'm just not going to buy any yarn for a while. Unless I need it to finish something. Or if it's just irresistable. Or sock yarn.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The holly and the knitting

The holly and the knitting

I don't really "do" Christmas anymore. I mean I don't actually get out the dusty boxes of ornaments and the plastic bags of tangled lights. My only holiday decoration is the one needlepointed pillow, a design of poinsettias in a wreath. It doesn't have quite the same effect as a giant tree covered with ornaments but it's enough. And it's a lot easier to put away.

I do still have all the boxes of ornaments. Who knows? Maybe next year I'll decide to put up a tree again. I almost did it this year but I got to looking at all the yarn and knitting projects that abound in my living room and decided it just wasn't worth the effort. So I was happy when I got this holly plant from my sister. The berries aren't real. And after Christmas the plant can go in the ground. Lisa has promised to find a home for it.

It's been really crazy at Skein, at least for me. We've had to ask some people to come back at another time for help. There's just no room at the table. I had at least ten students yesterday all in a three hour time period. That's a lot of hand holding and shuffling around, trying to keep everyone busy and getting their questions answered. I'm supposed to be knitting some scarves for one of Ann Mary's relatives. That is so not happening right now. I've done two and half of the ten that she wants.

Most of the really important knitting I'm doing as gifts is done. I have a few more fairly simple things to get started. I'm going on a knitting rescue mission today but I'll be able to work on some tube socks and maybe a scarf while I'm helping. And I'll be close enough to a yarn shop that I can get another skein or two of Noro Kureyon just in case I need to make another hat.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Merry Chulo!

Merry Chulo!

It's finally done. Not blocked exactly but steamed to within an inch of it's life.

Working Lamb's Pride Worsted on size 4US needles is really hard on your hands. It took a couple of days for my hands to loosen up. After that it wasn't as painful but was still tiring. I'm working on a couple of other still secret projects using the same yarn, one on size 2US. Now that is real pain!

And I'm not even sure if I'll finish in time. I had planned to do a lot of my holiday knitting while I was at Skein. Yesterday Ann Mary asked me to help her knit ten frou-frou, glitzy scarves for one of her relatives. So I'm doing that instead of my own stuff. But it's Christmas and a little extra money isn't going to hurt one bit.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005



This is about as exciting as it's been for the past couple of days. My new license plates. So the car is officially mine I guess. Other than that there's very little that I can post. I am spending hours a day, going round and round in small circles. On sorta tiny needles. Some projects are a bit larger but I'm still going round and round.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Keeping busy

Keeping busy

There's not much I can really write about right now. Like a lot of people, I'm way overwhelmed with all I'm planning to knit for the holidays. And I am making progress but I can't really be more specific than that. But I have plenty to keep me busy.

I've taught a lot of different combinations of knitters, mother/daughter, sister/sister, father/daughter, mother/son. Saturday was my first husband/wife class. Nice, young couple. It was interesting to see how they differed. Both more or less got it right away but her knitting was a lot looser than his. He seemed to get the concept overall but she was more relaxed and less concerned with having it be right.

Other than that it was a fairly quiet weekend at the teaching end of the shop. The floor was quite busy though.

I think I've finished my yarn shopping for the year. I went over to Unraveled to see if there was anything left. There was but there's a lot less now. One of the sale items I really wanted was some Annie Blatt wool. It was still there and was 45% off so I got seven skeins of that. I wanted to get some Cascade 220 for the man's sweater in Holiday Handknits but there wasn't enough left in any color that I wanted so I'll let that go for now. I know I have enough in my stash but that's buried too far back for me to get to right now. Anyway I don't have time for that until at least March.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Why can't I have that yarn?

Why can't I have that yarn?

There's a big sale today at Unraveled in Monrovia. (If they have a website I can't find it.) A gumball sale. Your discount is determined when you check out. Your draw a number from the fishbowl and that's how much discount you get, as much as 75%. And it applies to everything, including yarns that are already discounted, some as much as 50%. I know a couple of people who are going but I'm not one of them. I stopped by last night on my way to Knit Night just to see what I'll be missing. That was not such a good idea. I'm practically depressed that I have to work today and tomorrow and Unraveled's hours do not extend either way from my hours. So no Mountain Colors or Artyarns or Noro will be coming to live with me. Drat!

And, if that's not bad enough, Skein got in some new sock yarn. I think there are eight new colorways. Colorways that I don't have. Some of it is XXL Trekking and some is Step. Step had aloe vera and jojoba oil in it. I don't know why it has that but I don't think it would keep me from knitting with it. Why am I not buying this yarn? The Trekking is $16.50 per 100 gram ball and the Step is $21.50. Pricey but that's not usually a problem. This year though I'm trying to be more realistic. I have three large sized plastic tubs full of sock yarn, and two cubicles of sock yarn in my living room storage wall. And I just spent a couple hundred dollars on miscellaneous yarn on Monday. And I have five or six pairs of socks started already. However, the new sock yarn is right next to my table at Skein. I can keep an eye on it. If the supply starts to get low, well, I'll just have to intervene.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why is it?

Why is it

that every time I drop one of my dpns (often)it will fall between the arm of the chair and the seat? Not on top of the seat but way down inside to that I have to disentangle myself from the knitting and take out the cushion and then dig down to find the needle. I don't even bother to try to retrieve stitch markers anymore. And then, once I'm all settled in again, the cat comes and wants me to accompany him to the kitchen so he can have a couple of nibbles before wandering off somewhere until the next time.

Progress is being made but I'm beginning to worry. Another hat is almost done though, and the secret project is nearly there too. Tonight is Knitting Night so I'll get a bit more done on the bed socks. I'm already wishing the holidays were over so I can get back to some of my bigger projects. Hope I can hold off for another three weeks.

EC to the rescue, once again. I have a new student who comes in on Wednesday evening with her mother. The mother sits and struggles with her knitting while the daughter takes a class. I was watching the mother last night and realized that she was purling clockwise but knitting counter-clockwise and going through the front of the stitch rather than the back. (Of course I didn't tell her she was wrong!) I just suggested that she try knitting though the back of the stitch. She was amazed at how much faster it was and how much better her knitting looked. "I've been knitting for sixty years and no one ever showed me that. It's so much easier!" I just love it when that happens.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Next on line!

Next on line!

This year I'm doing my best to shop only on line. And I'm determined that everything will be ordered by the end of today. Shopping on line is kind of like going to Wal-Mart. You can get there, you can see the store but there's no parking anywhere.
Mind you, I've never actually been to a Wal-Mart, except maybe once when I was in Idaho visiting my brother and he wanted to go. I think that was a Wal-Mart. I hear it's a zoo over there most of the time and right now it's like a zoo except the animals are all out wandering around.

My first attempt was at Eddie Bauer's. Everything on my list was already sold out, two days ago, or the color was no longer available. I got a new list and went there and it was fine. Last night I tried the Amazon thing. I could order but they couldn't process so I have to go back there today and see if they've figured out their problem. And then there was one more site. It wasn't working properly so I couldn't select size or color. I called this morning and talked to an actual person and she assured me that everything I wanted was in stock and would ship tomorrow. So, with the exception of Amazon, I'm done.

There is, of course, the knitting that's going on. I finished the chulo but still have to steam it or soak it to stop those earflaps from curling. And I spent some time on a secret project and then some time on another hat. Found a mistake six inches back on the scarf I'm working on at Skein. It was easier to rip than to drop down and pick up. Picking up cable rows is not all that much fun.

It's way slower this year than last year at the shop. I'm hearing the same thing from other knit shop owners. So it's not just us. I only had three students yesterday and I stayed late to help one of them. Because I like her and she has a really cute baby and doesn't often get a chance to knit.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Making hats

Making hats

Do you ever get a hankering to just make something? Or obsess over one particular kind of thing? I get this craziness sometimes. It was socks for a while. Then it was scarves. Right now it's hats.

I'm just about done with the chulo, just need to finish the last few inches of single crochet around the ear flaps. And I've started another stocking cap using some Brown Sheep worsted leftovers. (Had to buy some more to finish.) Yesterday morning, before I went yarn shopping, I cast on for another hat. I finished it last night. I think it took maybe six hours in all from start to finish. And now I'm trying to decide which yarn to use next. I'm not posting a picture yet because this hat may go in the stack of knitting things that are going to be gifts but I don't know for whom just yet. The hat was supposed to be for me but it's a little on the tight side.

So, about the yarn sale yesterday. I bought a lot of yarn. Most of it is for hats. Two skeins here, three there, and some onesies. I didn't get any sock yarn. I already have every color and pattern that they had. I did get some Euroflax to try, enough for a sleeveless top. And five hanks of Mango Moon Wooly in a green and yellow colorway that might become a vest. Still haven't used the five skeins of orange that I got last year at the same sale. There's another sale this coming weekend at another of the local shops. Fortunately I'll be working and won't be able to go.

I'm off to find my hat books. I know they're here somewhere. Meanwhile, I'm just casting on 64 stitches on size 6mm and knitting round and round.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Why I knit

Why I knit

So I can make this cute little sweater for this cute little dog who is freezing in the cold of Michigan.

One skein of Encore and the basic pattern from Dogs in Knits

by Judith L. Swartz. Just as soon as I get some of the holiday projects completed I'll be making another one. Maybe the one with all the cables.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Post Thanksgiving post

Post Thanksgiving post

I couldn't have been more wrong. We even had a jello-mold salad. And there were, in fact, two pies. Pecan and pumpkin. It was like we were in some kind of middle America feast. I'm definitely not complaining. It was everything a Thanksgiving feast is supposed to be. And I'm almost over the I'm not going to eat for three days feeling. I'm even thinking of having breakfast.

I'm looking forward to a busy day. It's finally sinking in that Christmas is coming so people are starting to knit again. Hats are big this year. Scaves not so much. Glitzy yarn is less important than the big, bulky stuff. And baby blankets! Is there a new baby boom that no one is talking about? And we keep selling out of Dogs In Knits. (We just got six more copies if you're looking for it.)

Anyway, it's going to be a fun weekend. I have some time for knitting and some friends to share it with. Gotta figure out when to go to the big year-end sale at Stitch in Time. And Needle in a Haystack is having a sale today and tomorrow. I don't think I can make it. Well, maybe after work.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you look closely you'll see that there are some leftover Halloween witches in there but I don't have a Thanksgiving image as yet. That won't happen until later today when I go to my friend Robert's for the annual feast. Anyway I thought this picture looked suitably autumnal and harvesty. And bountiful.

Robert doesn't do Thanksgiving the way my mother did. There'll be turkey and stuffing but the stuffing will be exotic in some way. And he doesn't usually have yams with marshmellows on top or gelatin salad of any kind. I expect we'll have some kind of mashed potato though. And one vegetable. Maybe a pureed red pepper soup. And only one dessert. We always had at least three kinds of pie and a couple of cakes. But there will be wine, something we never had when I was growing up. And we won't eat until nine o'clock (or later) instead of two or three in the afternoon. And there won't be football on the TV. But I won't have to help clean up. So much for which to be thankful.

So, until it's time for me to drive over to West Los Angeles I get to stay in and enjoy some quiet time, just me, Patrick and some knitting. I did get a few rows done on the chulo hat and am about half way through the fairisle band. I haven't figured out how to strand the yarn when I'm knitting with my left hand. So I'm twisting the yarn and letting the twist unwind every once in a while. I can strand the yarn with my right hand though so it's only a minor problem.

I just finished a Starbuck's pumpkin scone that one of my students brought me yesterday. And I've been practicing eating pumpkin pie because another student brought me five pumpkin pie tarts. I got to see several of my favorite people at Skein. And I'll see my daughter sometime this weekend. And gas prices are down a bit and I only need to use regular instead of premium in my new car. The list goes on and on. So much, as I said, for which to be thankful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005



I got started on my Chulo last night. Twice! I thought I needed the hat to be a little bigger. I seem to know mostly people with large heads so most hats that I make need to be enhanced. The size in the book, Andean Folk Knits by Marcia Lewandowski, seemed like it was going to be too small.

So, rather than make a swatch, which I usually do, I just cast on with a needle two sizes larger than the pattern specified. I managed to get the stitches twisted and tried to correct that at the end of the first round. That turned out not to be such a good idea. When I pulled the hat off the needles I could at least tell how big it was going to be. Very big! I put it on my head and it fell straight down onto my shoulders.

So I've started over, using the needle size specified, and I think it's going to be okay. Maybe not for the intended giftee, although that would be good, but for someone. I sure hope those earflaps can be brought under control by the crochet edging that goes on at the end. I'm using different colors from those in the book. That green just isn't something I could tolerate working on. If this works out I'll have enough yarn left over to make another one if I switch the main color to be the accent etc.

I'll get to spend some more time with the Chulo tonight. Skein is closing at six today instead of the usual eight. And tomorrow, since I don't have to do anything but bring the wine, I'll have time to maybe finish it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What's next?

What's next?

Most of the people I hang out with are knitters. And most of those knitters are trying their best to get some holiday presents done in time for the big day. I'm no exception. I just don't have any great big projects planned.

I finished one sweater last night. The dog sweater that I started a couple of weeks ago. I don't have a picture because it just looks odd without a dog in in. I'm hoping the dog's caregiver will send a picture. I spent about three hours under my new Ott light. It sure made the knitting a lot easier. When I moved to another chair to weave in the ends the light over there was definitely yellow, and almost dingy.

Anyway that's one present done. I have a couple of pairs of socks that are close to being finished, including some tube socks that I'm making for Lisa's mom. I still have to get started on the chulo hat. That may happen later today.

I'm really trying to keep things simple this year. I do have some things I need to buy but that's why the Internet was created. My goal is to get everything at least ordered by the end of this month. Of course, I still have to decide what to get. It's the knitting friends that are the hardest. Any suggestions?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Caveat emptor?

Caveat emptor?

It's been a little zany around here lately. We're sort of busy at Skein but nothing like last year. People seem to come in batches. Nothing, then total chaos. Then nothing again for a while. Yesterday was slow for the first couple of hours and then it was bagain basement sale all over the place. (Do stores still have bagain basements?)

Among the zanies of this past week was this one customer with major attitude. She came in the door with chips on both shoulders, very large chips. She practically threw her garter stitch scarf on the table and demanded to know why she was getting these thin, narrow places when what she was expecting was nice fat areas for the whole length of the scarf. Her yarn was one of those recycled silks, the ones that are made from left over sari silk. I think this one was Mango Moon.

It looked perfectly normal to me. That yarn is notoriously irregular. That's part of what makes it what it is. I've worked with several different brands of this type of yarn and it's consistently inconsistent.

"Well," she said "I'm a new knitter and you should have told me." Told her? Even if she we had known she was a new knitter, I doubt if either Ann Mary or I would have thought to tell her "Oh, by the way, you're going to get some spots that are narrower than others."

Ann Mary tried to placate the woman but there was no way she was going to accept responsibility for her own lack of experience. I don't know what Ann Mary may have told the woman when she bought the yarn. I try, when I know I'm dealing with a new knitter, to steer people away from tricky yarns or to at least caution them about the potential frustrations. On the other hand, the business exists to sell yarn. If someone wants to buy who are we to stop them?

Anyway, it was an unpleasant scene with no reasonably satisfactory resolution. The woman took her yarn and stomped to the door. "I may be back," she threatened. And she was. She forgot her purse.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Knitting the right way

Knitting the right way

So there I was, sitting comfortably with my one student, just enjoying the peace and calm of a slow afternoon. An older couple comes in and begins to browse a bit. The man, husband I assume, comes over to me and tells me he used to knit when he was young. Learned it in Switzerland where he grew up. It's all very nice and I'm ready to hear his reminiscences. Suddenly, the wife, I assume it's the wife, turns around and announces to any and everyone who was in the shop the she would just love to come back in and teach everyone to knit the right way. (I knit with a right handed throw.)

"He's the teacher," the husband explains.

"Well, I suppose he's just knitting the way he learned," she replies.

I felt just, well, gobsmacked, as I've heard others say. I have had a few other knitters who felt that their way, continental, was better. One farm lady absolutely refused to consider that there are alternatives to knitting her way. Hers was the best and only acceptable way. I'm glad she lives in Bakersfield and doesn't get into the city very often.

My late friend Joanee used to tease me about my knitting style but she did accept that for me to change from throwing to picking would be way more difficult than the payoff would be. But she never told me it was wrong.

Where do these people come from? I've heard stories from other knitters of people, strangers, taking their knitting away from then and showing them how it should be done. Without being invited! I'm afraid those knitting nazis might find out that a pointed stick has more uses than for knitting if they were to try that with me. Well, if I weren't too gobsmacked. Who put them in charge?

I find it fascinating that knitting has evolved in different ways all around the world; that totally non-connected cultures could have come up with something that ends up looking pretty much the same in the end, all via different routes. I love watching how other people knit. Even the ones who throw the yarn the way I do are so varied in the "how" they do it that it's like handwriting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

It's never too early

It's never too early

See my new Ott Light? It's an early Christmas present from Renee and Mendy, both of whom I taught to knit and are also members of the Thursday night knitting group. I'm not sure if Renee knew that Mendy was going to give me the light before Christmas, well this much before Christmas, but Mendy couldn't wait. She's like that. But I'm really pleased to add this to my list of things that make knitting even more enjoyable. It's never too early for Christmas.

I think I might be losing my grip. I went to two yarn shops yesterday and did not buy anything. Not even any dpns, my usual standby. I was tempted by some Noro Silk Garden while we were at Phebie's Needle Art but, as my friend pointed out, that's not enough to make a multi-directional scarf, at least not as wide and long as I like them. And it was too much for a hat. So I put it back. I think having a car payment, something I haven't had in fifteen years, may be causing me to over-react.

Besides, I have plenty of yarn. This sock, for example, is being made from some yarn that another friend gave me last year. It's a gorgeous red superwash wool. I have lots of it. I'm going to rip this sock and return the yarn to stash. It looks okay in the picture but it's really not working out very well. I've already ripped it once and gone down a needle size. It still looks disproportionate. And I do think it's going to be too stiff to be comfortable to wear. It's never too late to rip out a project.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mondays are the best!

Mondays are the best!

Ah! Monday! My day off from Skein. And this one doesn't include anything like chores. Just going shopping, again. This time with one of my students who has been knitting for almost a year but has never visited a couple of the yarn shops in our general area. So we're going to Stitch in Time (that'll be three weeks in a row for me) and then out to Montclair to check out Phebie's NeedleArt. I haven't been there in several months so it'll be fun to see what's new out there. Phebie was in the class I took from Annie Modesitt a few weeks ago. Anyway. They carry a lot of the same things that everyone else does but they also have stuff I don't see anywhere else. And they have beads. My friend will enjoy that part.

My daughter, Lisa, was over this weekend so I was able to get the measurement I needed before I could continue with the Cocoon jacket. I still haven't checked but I think I'm close to being all right to put in the waste yarn for the armholes. I've been stricken with the urge to knit some socks so I've been doing that for the past couple of days. No picture yet. I think the yarn I'm using is a little stiff but maybe it will soften when I wash the socks. Besides, they're specifically for Christmastime so it won't matter that they're not the softest socks in the world. Well, that's my theory. I'm also working on a Skein project and finishing up another way-too-long scarf for another friend. What can I say? She likes them that way.

Speaking of Skein. I was swamped yesterday. We're only open for three hours. I maxed out within five minutes of opening. I had several people who will come back another time. There are only so many chairs you can fit around the table. I had a couple of people sitting at the front end of the store, up where we have the pattern catalogs, that were also trying to get some help so I kept rotating between the tables. It was hectic but we got through it and I have some pocket money for today's shopping.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Is it Friday?

Is it Friday?

No Thursday night knitting this week as our hostess is out of town. I was home last night. I thought it was Saturday when I woke up. When you have a sort of iron-clad routine these changes can be disastrous. But it's Friday after all so I have another evening to get my house in order, literally, before my daughter comes over tomorrow night. Another change in the routine. Fridays used to be our get-together evening, then it was Sunday. Now it seems it's whenever we can get our calendars to match. I haven't seen her in three weeks so I'm looking forward to this visit.

I wanted to start a new pair of socks last night but I couldn't find my horde of dpns. I know they're around here somewhere. I'll have to remember to buy some today as I don't have a clue where I put the ones I already have. I know most of the size 2US are in current projects but I'm looking for some size 4US. And I need some size 11US for the chunky socks in Knitscene. I know I don't have any of those. And a size 10US 16" circular. I can't believe I don't have one of those but apparently I don't. And I might as well get the yarn for the dog sweater I'm supposed to be making. And find a new pattern since the book I was planning to use was purchased yesterday by someone who doesn't wait too long.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I got nothing

I got nothing

Spent an hour on the phone with some guy named Brian in New Delhi this morning. I think I got most of what he said. Anyway the connection problems I was having seemed to be fixed. Of course I had to download something that used up even more of my limited space availability. I really have to go get some more memory.

Well, it was cold and rainy yesterday. One would have thought there would be all kinds of people thinking about knitting. One would have been wrong. It was a slow day, until the evening people started showing up for classes. Then I got busy and had a problem keeping everyone going. It amazes me that some people can just get how to make a knit stitch so quickly while others can totally blank out on the sequence. I had one of the latter last night. That took way more time than I usually have to spend supervising each move. I think, I hope I'm right, that she finally got it. If she comes back today I'll know it didn't stick. But there were others who just make it all worthwhile.

Another newish knitter who knits in what Annie Modesitt calls Eastern combined. I guess it's time to re-read Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. I get the basics but some of the changes that you have to make elude me. And then there was the woman who practically defied me to teach her to knit because she's left handed. That could be interesting. We'll see if she comes back for a class.

Anyway. The "I got nothing" means I didn't get to do any knitting at all. Well, a few rows of stockinette but that doesn't really count.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Aw, shucks, ma'am!

Aw, shucks, ma'am!

Ann Mary gave me a souvenir yesterday. I wasn't going to buy it. This isn't the sort of magazine that I would buy even if I am in it. And besides, I didn't want it to look like I was overly impressed with myself. But it would be false for me to say I'm not tickled senseless to be included in the men who knit section. Thanks Leslie , you made my day!

It's turned cold again. (Cold is relative, I know.) And it's maybe going to rain. (My poor car is going to get wet.) And I have to go to work. Work is fine but I don't get to spend much time knitting and today would be ideal. I don't have anything finished or even far enough along to show you. I'm grinding away on a long scarf, and have started the second sock of a pair of bedsocks. These are both drudges. The Back Yard Leaves scarf has another repeat. I'm slowly finishing some things before I start anything else. But I've got to start those anything else pieces pretty soon. Christmas just isn't all that far away.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005



Yesterday Mendy and I took our new knitter friend for a yarn shop crawl. It was really just a couple of local shops but still it was exciting to show her what is available out there.

We started at A Stitch in Time in San Marino. This shop is, or was, primarily a needlepoint shop. They now carry knitting yarn and there's a whole separate section called Hodge Podge that is chock full of gift items for the home and accessories to wear. They also have the best prices overall of any shop in the area.

Even though I only meant to buy an Addi Turbo I ended up with this yarn, Basics from Lana Grossa, in two colorways named Joker. Wool and nylon that works on a size 10US. I only got two skeins of the two colors.

And then someone told me about the 75% off rack in the back of the shop. At 75% off you have to buy something even if you don't know what you're going to do with it. So I got these three balls of Yang Ribbon. It's true that I don't know what I'll do with it, probably use it as a carry-along or maybe a knotted edging of some sort.

The next part of the ritual yarn shop crawl is to have lunch. We went to The Peach Cafe in Monrovia which is conveniently located next door to Unraveled. I love this shop. I usually get by there at least once a week although I don't always buy anything. This time I got another Addi Turbo, a 47" one for the Cocoon jacket. (I'm already crowded on a 29" one.) Anyway, I ran into three or four friends from Skein and answered a couple of knitting questions and reminded someone how to bind off. And I bought a copy of Jane Ellison's Naturally Noro. We had this book at Skein but I waited too long and the last copy was sold last Saturday.

Meanwhile, the inductee was having a good time and finding all sorts of things she might like to have at some point. She has a lot more self-control that Mendy or I have. But I think she'll catch on pretty fast.

And besides all that, we drove in my new Element, which is just about as fun as it gets.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Good gadgets

Good gadgets

I've been doing a lot of pretty simple knitting lately. Projects for Skein are almost always aimed at the novice knitter or at the instant gratification market. I'm even doing scarves for a friend who only wants the simplest of knits. Most of these things are knit while I'm as work. So when I get home I'm usually looking for something a little more interesting.

I'm stalled at the moment on the Cocoon jackets, waiting for a measurement that I need, so I decided to get back to the Back Yard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style, designed by Annie Modesitt. I had started a few weeks ago but got sidetracked by some other things. I managed three repeats last night. It's really a fun knit.

And it was helped along by this, a magnetic clip board. I'm not much on gadgets when it comes to knitting. A row counter, some stitch markets and a pencil and paper. But this clip board is definitely worth giving a try. It was given to me a couple of years ago on one of my many birthdays. I hadn't tried it until last night. It really makes following the chart a lot easier.

Thursday, November 03, 2005



Yesterday was wild. People were waiting for other people to leave so they could have their chairs. It was two deep all around the teaching table for much of last evening. I like it when it's busy but it would make more sense if everyone didn't come at the same time. But that's part of the package when you offer classes on a drop in basis.

I was really beat by the time we closed at 8PM and anxious to get home and work on my Cocoon jacket. I'd been thinking about it all day. That and worrying about my car sitting out on the street because there was no room in the miniscule Skein parking lot. Everything was okay. Anyway, I did manage to stay awake a couple of hours and worked a few rounds before things got all blurry and I couldn't knit for yawning. I have two hours to work on it this morning.

I need to keep pushing so I get a lot done before I loose interest.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

From start to start

From start to start

It's hard to believe that it's been a week and a half since I took the Cocoon Jacket class with Annie Modesitt. And that I got stalled after only a few days. This is the beginning. We got through most of this while we were in class. I wasn't real happy with the way the center starts. It leaves a big hole that has to be sewn up later. And I didn't like the charcoal yarn either. I'm using the same colors and yarns that are used in Vogue Knitting. The dark spot doesn't show up in their photos. Maybe they doctored the picture or something. But whatever. I thought it looked too much like a target.

So I changed it. Last night I ripped everything I had done and rewound the yarn. I decided to try the circular cast on that is in Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls. I couldn't get over how easy that was. And I changed the starting color to the multi-colored yarn. I like it so much more. I only have to weave in the tail from the cast on and I'm done with that. No sewing!

So far I've only done one repeat of the pattern rounds, 17 rows per repeat. This seems to be growing rapidly. I'm already on 24" circulars and will probably move to 29" after another 17 rows or maybe 34. I did get a 32" Addi Turbo while I was at Stitch in Time on Monday so I'm set for that.

I expect the jacket will grow more slowly as 8 more stitches are added almost every other round. Doing the twisted strand rounds takes a while but the effect is worth it. I don't know why the white background in the photos came out looking so peachy. Maybe it's the flash. I imagine there will be other color variations as I go along. If one of them is anywhere near accurate I'll let you know.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In my Element

In my Element

Just what I've been waiting for. Finally a new car! I've wanted one of these Honda Elements since they first came on the market.

Yesterday, while driving to A Stitch in Time for a little yarn sampling, I started having some more problems with my Blazer. Enough already! So I went online and got some pricing from Honda dealers in my area. This is the only way to buy a car. No hassle, no haggling. I think I spent less that three hours at the dealership including the test drive.

It's not the most exciting color in the world but I preferred it to the silver grey color they also had available. It sure feels different to drive but I'm very pleased with it. I had to take it out just for a little driver training this morning. I wonder if everyone noticed.

Almost no knitting yesterday and my hands do feel better today. I had no time to knit today while I was at Skein but I'll do some tonight.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween, of course

Happy Halloween, of course

This is my last two day weekend. For the next five months I will be working six days a week at Skein. I'll be at Skein from one to four on Sunday, in addition to my regular hours the rest of the week.

I've pretty much taken this weekend off from knitting. I finished one sock of a pair and have started the cuff for the second sock. But that's about it. My left hand thumb has been a bit sore so I'm giving it a rest for a couple of days. And I have my copper bracelet which may or may not be of value. But it looks good anyway.

I never used to be bothered by the change to or from daylight savings time. That doesn't seem to be the case this year though. I was awake even before the cat this morning. I'm glad I can take a nap later, if I need it. I was glad though yesterday when I was able to set all the clocks back an hour. I had forgotten that the change was happening.

I think I'm going to go to Stitch in Time later today. Even if I'm not knitting I still need to go see what's new. I was busy enough last week to have a little extra yarn cash. I'm just waiting to hear if any of my knitting buddies want to go.

Friday, October 28, 2005



Wanna see my newest stash additions? One of the Thursday night knitters decided she had too much yarn on hand and gave the rest of us a chance at it before she passed it on to Good Will. I almost never say no to yarn. Well, there was some stuff from Target that I passed on a couple of weeks ago, but that's really the only time I can remember.

Sixteen skeins of Berroco X-Press.

Fifteen skeins of alpaca/cashmere blend.

Thirteen skeins of GGH T ribbon.

It's too soon to tell what any of this will become. Right now I'm just enjoying having it stacked up on the buffet so I can admire it.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Catching up

Catching up

Well, the dryer is finally fixed. The people over at the laundry room service company do not regard it as an emergency when their machines break down on the weekend, even if there are people who only have the weekends to do laundry because they have like jobs and stuff to do during the week. I'm fortunate in that I can probably get three loads done before I have to leave for work this morning. That may be pushing it a bit but if I'm a little late at Skein, well, I'll just say I had an emergency.

I finally finished the companion to the hat scarf but, even though I remembered to take my camera, I did not remember to take a picture. Maybe I'll do it today. Now I can get back to the Poppy scarf that I'm knitting for the friend who gave me all that nice yarn a few weeks ago. I worked a few rows last night before leaving Skein but I think I might have forgotten the yarn over row that I was supposed to do. Have to check that before I get started again. If I only worked three rows I'll be all right.

I'm about to start another new project. I never thought I would do this but I'm going to make a sweater for a dog. Poor Miranda! She's a tiny Maltese that has always lived in Southern California but now finds herself transported to Michigan. Michigan, for crissake! And she's not enjoying the cold. I did find a simple pattern that's almost exactly the right size without any tweeking. Now I just need to see what I have in house that I can use.

Usually I'm pretty tolerant for airheads. I mean, I'm generally thought of as extremely patient with students. But when four airheads descend all at the same time, first thing in the morning, I get a bit tense. That was the scene yesterday morning.
We got through it without any real harm being done except I don't think a couple of them really got any better. They just wanted me to fix it so they could go away and mess it up again. Which one of them did and came back later in the day to have me fix it again. All this was bad enough but it also kept me from spending time with one of my good friends who had a rare opportunity to come in for a while.

But the day got better and I went out to dinner after work and had a wonderful time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Knitting diversity

Knitting diversity

This is one of the books I got from Overstock last week. I almost didn't get it because it just seemed like something I'd never be interested in. I had seen it on a couple of the blogs that I read though so I added it to the list of other books I was getting. I sorta planned to delete it from my cart before I checked out but then I didn't. And I'm really glad I didn't. Turns out this is my favorite book of all the ones I got. And there's a chulo hat in there that is the perfect pattern for a Christmas gift I'm planning. And there are lots of bag patterns that are just big enough to be interesting to knit without taking over my life. Of course I'll need a whole different yarn inventory. I don't think I have any llama and I can only recall a couple of alpaca skeins.

And then, yesterday, I noticed this new book at Skein. Folk Hats by Vicki Square who also wrote Folk Bags. I'll probably never actually make anything from this book but it's a fun read with plenty of drawings of the construction details as well as text instructions. There's a wide range of difficulty, from the fairly simple Cossack hat through the Samurai Warrior helmet.

Sometimes I really get distracted by all there is to be knit. I bought the new Knitscene magazine yesterday along with the Folk Hats. There are several things in it that I can see myself making, including the chunky socks and the wrist warmers and several of the sweaters. Never mind that I'm already making the Cocoon jacket and several scarves and at least six pairs of socks. I sure could use some focus.

I've already talked about this book in a previous post but it's occupying more and more of my knitting fantasy life. (Sorry about the crooked photo. Just looking at it brings on the vertigo.) All these patterns combined with my burgeoning sock yarn stash! I haven't even mentioned the two new sock yarns I got. Some Lorna's Laces and some Cherry Tree Hill. Really, I only meant to buy needles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Who is this woman?

Who is this woman?

And why is she smiling? Is she about to subject a room full of nervous knitters to the tortures and rigors of knitting the Cocoon Jacket? Does she have lots of witty and sometimes corny jokes to tell? Is she just giddy with all the traveling she's been doing while spreading her knowledge and skills to unsuspecting students? All of the above?

That must be Annie Modesitt, designer and teacher of knitting and all round good sport. Last night she held sixteen of us captive while delivering tips and hints of all sorts but mostly leading us through the ins and outs, tricks and pitfalls, of knitting the Cocoon Jacket (or Twisted Float Jacket as it's named in Vogue Knitting). I haven't had a chance to talk with any of the other students so I don't know how they felt about the class but I thought it was definitely worthwhile. I could probably have made the jacket without the class but it will certainly be quicker to get it going. In fact, we had started the actual piece before we left for the evening.

There were a few people who had never worked on dpns so there was time for them to practice that. And some people, including myself, had never tried inserting waste yarn into their knitting or picking up the stitches later to begin knitting in the round. Annie used my swatch to demonstrate how to do it so I still haven't actually done it but I don't think I'll have any problem.

The twisted float stitch is actually pretty easy to do. It's somewhat like knitting fairisle but you deliberately twist the yarn as you alternate the stitches, bringing the new yarn over the dropped yarn. You end up with what looks like a braid on the wrong side of the garment, but the wrong side is the right side when you're all done.

This is going to be one big undertaking so I don't expect to really get much done until after the beginning of the year. But I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Stay loose

Stay loose

It' a good thing to keep a flexible schedule. I just got an email from a friend who wants to make her first trip to Velona's. I haven't been there in months and have been wanting to go. Anyway, I can't do laundry today as I had been planning since the dryer is malfunctioning or not functioning at all and the repair person won't be here until tomorrow.

I do have a scarf that I'll be taking with me to work on while she drives. It's the companion piece to the hat I made last week. It's just simple knitting in the round so this will make it a lot less tedious to work.

Tonight is my class with Annie Modesitt. We're making the pizza jacket, or that's what we're calling it. The one that was on the cover of Fall 2005 Vogue Knitting. I need to wind a couple of hanks of yarn and find some dpns and markers. But I can get those at Velona's if I can't find them around here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

'Tis the season

'Tis the season

Time to get all those hats and scarves started, and finished, for the holidays and the cold weather. This hat is from the latest Filatura di Crosa book, Winter 2005. It uses their Love yarn, a blend of wool, mohair, acrylic and nylon. It's pleasant enough to work with and the hat, and still-in-process, scarf will be a warm addition to someone's wardrobe. This one can be seen at Skein now, the scarf maybe by the weekend or next week.

If you work in a yarn shop, or hang out in one a lot, you'll have noticed how things are picking up. I'm still getting new students as well as many continuing ones. Hats seem to be more popular this year than scarves although scarves are still a big item. I don't see as much felting as I did earlier in the year. Are bags out?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

La même chose

La même chose

In the three plus years that I have been blogging I have not been tagged with a meme until now. I think I know what I'm supposed to do, at least with this one. Let me know if I'm not doing it right.

10 Years Ago

It all runs together after a while. I know I was visiting my mother several times a week in the retirement hotel where she lived. She had dementia and I was the designated care giver.

Mariposa, the yarn shop where I had been working part time, had moved to So. Pasadena and I had decided not to continue. I think that was about the time I decided that spinning was not for me so I got rid of everything spinning related except my wheel.

5 Years Ago

My mother had died the year before and I was still dealing with the aftermath. Paperwork mostly. I had also decided to take an early retirement but was convinced to stay another year, which turned out to be a good thing. I think this was about the time I tried weaving. My late friend, Joanne, was my teacher. Weaving was okay but didn't stick anymore than spinning did. I still have the loom Joanne gave me. It's still has it's false warp and the scarf I never completed on it.

I also started working at Skein sometime that year and I'm still there.

1 Year Ago

This far back I can remember. I was getting ready to go to the Knitters' Retreat.
That was an exciting time. I can't make it this year but I'm planning to go next year.

5 Snacks

I'm not much for snacks, per se, but if and when I have them I like:
tortilla chips with salsa
popcorn, with or without butter
fruit, oranges and apples usually
peanut butter on whole wheat pita bread
just about any kind of chocolate, even milk chocolate if I'm desperate

5 Songs I Know All the Words to

Silent Night (English only)
Flower song from Carmen (French only)
99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall (I've only sung it once all the way through)
This Little Piggy Went to Market

5 Things I'd Do with $100 million

Build a studio
Hire a travel agent
Buy a Jaguar
Hire a housekeeper
Start a trust fund

5 Places to Run Away to

Taos, NM
South of France
Venice, Italy

5 Things I Would Never Wear

Aramis cologne
Anything kelly green
Double breasted suits

5 Favorite TV Shows

I don't watch TV. The last time I watched anything was at the beginning of the second Iraq war. Sometimes when I'm at Amigos for dinner I catch some of whatever ball game is on, usually soccer. If I wanted to watch TV at home I'd have to move a lot of yarn first.

Five Biggest Joys

Spending time with my daughter, Lisa
Yarn shop crawling, and lunch with my knitting buddies
New books, usually knitting
Weekends when I don't have to do any housekeeping chores
My Thursday night knitting group

5 Favorite Toys

My computer, of course
My collection of knitting needles
My yarn stash
My knitting books
My new paper shredder

5 People to Pass This on to

I think everyone I know has already played this one, so none.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A little of this, a little of that

A little of this, a little of that

This year will be remembered by future generations as The Year of Weird Weather. We have had thunderstorms since late Saturday night. Not just ordinary thunderstorms either. Even a heavy pelting of hail mid-afternoon today. Size of quarters, at least. Totally freaked Patrick out. He hid under the bed until it was all over. At one point the light was pea green. Very unsettling, at best.

The Knit-Out was a pretty good success from what I hear. I saw some pictures of the crowds and bits of the fashion show. We got a few visitors (looky-lous) but that's about it. And I wasn't busy. But still I'm glad I didn't go. I've done one Knit-Out and that's enough.

I decided to gather together all the knitting books that I have scattered around the living room. Right now they're still in an unorganized series of piles on my dining table. Then I remembered that I needed to go pick up a package from the post office. More books! I've only flipped through them so far but I'll be posting about them as I get to it. Some good stuff and some disappointments. That's what happens when you shop by title only and haven't seen the book IRL.

I worked a couple of hours each on two of my projects and will spend a couple more hours tonight on another one. If I spend two hours a day on each project I'll need a longer day. I did finish one multi-directional scarf on Friday so at least one Christmas gift is done.

My browser can't find my email. I wonder if it's the weather.

Friday, October 14, 2005

97 in the shade

97 in the shade

No kidding. That's how hot it was today in Pasadena. It's supposed to be 75F tomorrow and rain on Sunday. I hope the rain does wait since the Knit-Out is tomorrow.

I could hardly wait to get home tonight so I could sit and knit without having to stop every three stitches to answer a question. Of course that's what I'm supposed to be doing but I had some socks I was working on and having a hard enough time keeping track without all those "What did I do?" and "Can you fix this?" interruptions. Plus I had four new pattern books that I wanted to go through and pick out the ones I'd like to make etc.

So I spent an hour or so decreasing a gusset and then another hour practicing my fairisle technique. Bet you thought I had abandoned that project. Nope. Just not enough time for everything I want to do. My stitches are getting better and I don't drop the left hand yarn quite so often. I think I might be going to run out of the orange color though so I'd better start thinking about what color I can add.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

One or two degrees

One or two degrees

I don't actually know Rachael, as in having met her face-to-face, in the flesh etc. I do know her on-line, of course. Most everyone does. But I do know Christina who knows Rachael. How many degress of separation is that?

Anyway. My day started with a big hug from Christina and then another one that she delivered in person from Rachael. Is that not a great way to start the day? One of these days, who knows when, I'm going to get up to Oakland to see Christina's shop and to meet up with Rachael.

Does everyone have their copy of Sally Melville's newest book? Color. I got mine yesterday and have been through it a couple of times. Not in great detail but enough to know that I think it's worthwhile, at least for the technical information. The patterns are secondary and I think that's what was intended. They're mostly pretty simple and are good for applying the color techniques that are well illustrated and documented.

Skein has sold all its copies and I don't know if more are on the way. We did get in a new Debbie Bliss book, Simply Soft, that has some fun things in it, especially if you like shrugs or boleros.

(I don't know why that partial entry is showing up. And for some quite unknown reason I can't delete. So ignore it.)

One or two degrees

One or two degrees

I don't actually know Rachael, as in having met her face-to-face, in the flesh etc. I do know her on-line, of course. Most everyone does. But I do know

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Anyone for crochet?

Anyone for crochet?

I don't know what's happening but I can't seem to get Blogger to stay connected from my regular browser, if that's the right phrase. So I'm over at Mozilla and things seem to work just fine. I've had problems ever since I downloaded the new SBC/Yahoo browser. I think I need to go get some more memory.

Anyway. I'm getting more and more people asking for crochet. Mostly I use crochet to set in sleeves or finish edges once in a while. But I have next to no experience when it comes to garments. I did help a couple of people today who wanted to assemble some afghan squares and one who was putting together a sweater knit in Rowan Ribbon Print. Big, loose stitches made mattress stitch unacceptable. Crochet was perfect for that. But I really need to go somewhere and learn how to do this. If only I could get over my attitude.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Who needs to go yarn shopping?

Who needs to go yarn shopping?

The student for whom I recently knit the nine-foot long spaghetti squash scarf has requested that I knit one now using this Tahki Pansy yarn. Five skeins of that so it will be another overly long scarf. She likes 'em like that. She loved the first one even if I did have to keep reminding her to be careful to not trip. So what do I get for doing this?

Two skeins of Colinette's Isis, for starters. And

five skeins of Silk Garden, four balls of Schachenmayr Donna, the sorta greyish pink, four balls of Schachenmayer Vision, an olive drab ribbon that I've wanted since I first saw it years ago, and one hank of what I believe to be another Colinette Isis.

Not that I really have time, or room, for more yarn, but isn't it nice? I took a look around my living room yesterday and realized that the projects have taken over again. Time to stop starting new stuff and finish up some socks, a sweater, some scarves and now this new project.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Revised revision

Revised revision

The new plan is that I will not be staffing the Skein table at the Knit Out this coming weekend. Ann Mary took one look at the number of students that arrived first thing last Saturday and realized that I'm of more value at the shop. Of course, the week is young so everything may change again if she can't find someone for the booth.

There was just too much wining and dining this weekend, especially the wining, to get any knitting done but I have spent most of today working on the Valetta turtleneck that I started last weekend. I'm almost done with the front neck shaping and may be able to get one of the sleeves started before I pack it in for tonight.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Corrugated Ribbing

Corrugated Ribbing

Because so many people asked, well three anyway, here's my progress on the corrugated ribbing. The small amount doesn't reflect the actual amount of time I've spent doing this. But I have finished the ribbing and am now trying to design something for the body of the hat. It will probably be fairly geometric and maybe a little Pop Art looking as that seems to be the easiest way for me to go right now. Really, it's about getting some practice in working with yarn on two hands, not about a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Also, I'm thinking I might just make a flat, square hat instead of trying to figure out how to shape the top and at the same time make it all look like I planned it that way.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Monrovia Moms today. I don't know if the whole batch is coming in or just a few but either way it will be fun. They're all taking a class with me later this month as opposed to from me. We're doing Annie Modesitt's shrug workshop. Looking forward to that one, a lot.

I will be staffing the Skein table at the Knit-Out next weekend after all. Money talks. I still don't think this is the best plan but it's what Ann Mary has decided so there you go. I hope it's cooler by then. I don't do well when it's over 90F in the shade. Maybe it will rain.

Thursday, October 06, 2005



It's not much, just a simple little hat, but it's my first completed item for this year's Dulaan Project. I used some Plymouth Kokonut yarn that came to me from one of Skein's former customers, a lady who at 93 decided that she can no longer knit. I worked the whole thing on dpns which was slower than if I had used a circular but then I couldn't find a circular in the right size in my stash of available needles.

I think this hat is too thin to be of much help in the cold Mongolian winter though. So I've decided to try my hand at Fair Isle knitting. I know how to do it but don't have much actual skill in the execution. So, last night, after finishing the red hat I decided to cast on and try some corrugated ribbing for the next hat. I stayed up way too late because I was having such a good time. Not that everything was perfect but I did get it going. And I just finished a couple more rounds this morning. I'd like to stay home today and work on it some more. I'm like a brand new knitter first discovering the addictive powers of needles and yarn.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Can spring be far behind?

Can spring be far behind?

This is a partial view from my balcony this morning. I've mentioned before how much I like palm trees. There are palm trees all along my street and I never tire of admiring them. But they don't change color in the fall.

It's still very warm here but we're getting busier at Skein. The holidays are really getting close. Some knitters are planning ahead and getting started. I have a few things done and a few that are still in the planning stage but I have the yarn at least.

There's going to be a Knit-Out in Pasadena. Saturday, October 15th in Memorial Park which is quite near Old Town, from noon until five. I don't think I'll be there since Saturdays are very busy for me at Skein. Anyway, it's a fund-raiser for breast cancer research. There's going to be a fashion show, organized by Barry Klein of Trendsetter Yarns. Skein will have a booth or table there but I don't know who's going to staff it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Some more sock pictures

Some more sock pictures

A couple of days ago I was looking around for a new sock pattern. I checked through several books but didn't find anything that I really wanted to make. I started looking for my SocksX3 book but couldn't find it. So I settled for this pattern based on one in Sensational Knitted Socks. This one has an alternating eyelet on either side of the rib.

I still wasn't entirely satisfied. I kept looking for the missing book. Then I remembered that back at the beginning of the summer when I got all those storage cubes for Father's Day that I had put away a lot of the then current projects. The book was in one of the bags, along with a barely begun Feather and Fan Sock. I spent most of yesterday working on that project. Is it just me or does Wildfoote really split easily? Anyway, I'm almost to the heel which I think I'm going to change from the original pattern.

Here's the current bedsock. This one I pick up and work on a little each morning or evening. I got this Interlacements Toasty Toes yarn five or six years ago at a weaving show. It's a very soft merino and angora blend, or I think it is. The pattern is a variation of one I found in Socks by Rita Buchanan and Deborah Robson.

I took my copy of Nancy Bush's new book, Knitting Vintage Socks with me last night so I'd have something to do while I waited for dinner. I had forgotten that this bedsock pattern was in there. It's very similar to the one I'm already making but with enough difference that I think I'll try that next.

I have a lot of sock books. I need to get them organized.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Quiet weekend

Quiet weekend

This is my alternate weekend. The weekend where I don't have any chores to do, or guests to prepare for. So far I haven't even opened the front door. (But I will later as I'm meeting Mendy for lunch and a bit of a yarn browse at Unraveled.)

No pictures because you've already seen them but I finished the pastel stripes socks. I started a baby/small child hat that I will use for my Skein knitting for the next few days. I'll put it in my Dulaan project box when I'm done. I started the hat because I wanted to show one of my newer students how to work on dpns and how to join in the round, etc.

That didn't work out so well though. I had one brand new knitter show up and she had such anxiety stuff going on that it took all my attention/resources just to keep her from collapsing in a jiggling heap. She has issues that are totally unrelated to knitting and wants to use knitting to help her calm down. I don't know if she's on any kind of meds. If she isn't, she ought to be. If she is, they aren't working. Far worse than my bi-polar student ever was. The student who recommended her came in later in the day and apologized.

But, about the hat. I'm using some Plymouth Kokonut dk in a bright red. The yarn came to me from a woman who is almost 93 and has decided that she can't see well enough to knit anymore.

Since I finished the pastel stripes socks I was impelled to start another pair. I'm using some of the Sockotta that Lammia gave me a couple of weeks ago. They're based on a pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. And I also have some bedsocks going. Does anyone have any good bedsock patterns? This one is just a spiral and it's not very entertaining.

So. A quiet weekend. Just some easy knitting and unscheduled naps.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's summer again

It's summer again

It's that time of year when it's the most difficult to know how to dress for the day. Last week everyone was getting into the layered look. This week it's back to bare minimum. It was 102F here in Pasadena today and hotter over in Monrovia. But it should cool down to somewhere around 60F by about three o'clock in the morning before climbing back up again tomorrow. I don't know why we're always surprised by this. It's this way every year at this time.

But that doesn't keep people away from their knitting. Well, not everyone. One lady came in today to stock up on yarns for her Christmas knitting. I don't know her but I know that ten people on her list are getting knitted purses.

I still have a ways to go on the second sock of the pastel stripes pair. And I got started on the front of the white turtleneck sweater I'm making for Lisa. I think I'm going to rip out the last five rows and redo the increases at the top of the ribbing. The M1 increases left holes so I think I did them from the wrong direction. Trying to do these increases at Thursday night knitting was not a good idea.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005



When I get home on Wednesday night I'm usually exhausted. And tonight is no exception. I had eleven students today and eight of them were all this evening from six to eight. That's a lot of patterns and questions to deal with. I don't know how the students feel but I'm not happy when I can only give a quick answer rather than sitting with them and explaining and watching what they're doing. Fortunately all but one person was experienced enough to keep going with only a brief answer and sometimes they can help each other.

By the time I get home, feed the cat and check my email it's usually after nine o'clock and I still want to sit down and do some knitting. I did manage a few rounds on the current socks while I was at Skein and I worked some on the spaghetti squash scarf before I went in today. Anyway, I think I'll go turn the heel on the socks so I won't be too distracted to get the count right tomorrow.

I'm going to stop at Unraveled Yarns tomorrow night and see if there's still room in Annie Modesitt's workshop that's scheduled for the end of October. She's going to demonstrate some of the techniques she used in her circular shrug/jacket that is on the cover of the current Vogue Knitting. Besides, I just enjoy visiting with her.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Garter stitch and me

Garter stitch and me

Garter stitch, that most basic of all knit stitch patterns, is not one of my favorites. It's true that it helps a lot when you want to avoid a rolling edge or when you need a dense, warm fabric. But it's still pretty boring to do. And besides that I always have a hard time when I have to assemble a garment that has garter stitch anywhere in it.

Today I had a new student who needed to put together her granddaughter's garter stitch sweater. Fortunately I had my copy of Nancie Wiseman's The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques with me. I think this is the first time I've ever understood how to use mattress stitching to do this. It's so much simpler than I thought it was. And it looks a lot better than the backstitch seams I usually used on garter stitch.

Garter stitch might just become my new best friend. Umm. Probably not.

Monday, September 26, 2005

This week's projects, so far

This week's projects, so far

I spent most of yesterday knitting the back of this turtleneck sweater. It's from the Very Easy Very Vogue hardcover book. I'm using a different yarn, Tahki's Valetta, so I had to rework the pattern for a different gauge and for a size that's not included in the pattern. Sweater Wizard is a lifesaver sometimes.

The yarn is discontinued now, I think. It's a braided ribbon and is very stretchy. I'm not sure how well this is actually going to work. May be too loose to be comfortable. But I've had the yarn for a couple of years, or more, so it's time to try it.

I've added another triangle to the multi-directional scarf I'm making for a friend's Christmas gift. One more skein to go and I'll be done.

I've been using this sock as my at work knitting. The pair should be done by the end of the week.

I'm taking today off from knitting. I'm doing some fall housecleaning and then Lisa is coming over this evening so I need to get ready for that. I don't have much to do since she was supposed to come over last night but got tied up at her job and forgot, or she forgot that she was coming on Sunday and thought it was supposed to be on Monday. I'm also cooking today, which I almost never do anymore. Red beans and rice and a basic chicken soup, no noodles.