Monday, January 31, 2005

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink

Sometimes the mind just won't work. I couldn't think of anything better so there you have it.

The Girly Girls socks from Socks, Interweave Press, edited by Rita Buchanan and Deborah Robson. I used Brown Sheep Nature Spun, 4 ply, in Victorian Pink, on size 2US dpns. The sock design itself is by Robin Fouquette and was done in an angora blend that she spun herself.

A detail shot. These socks are pretty easy once you've memorized the pattern which is only a four row repeat. The yarn was the biggest problem. It splits easily and the knit 2 together through the back loop was tedious because of it. If I knit them again I will try the SSK instead and see if it looks okay. I have some yellow JaWoll that I think will be easier to knit (Yummy in Yellow?) and also some light blue (Bitchin' in Blue?). Maybe not.

The socks are for a long time customer of Skein. Sort of a late Christmas present. She's been asking when they'd be done so I'm glad I'll be able to hand them off this week sometime.

And I'm into the third skein of the scarf I'm making for Cure for Cancer. Not sure if that's exactly the right name, but it's something like that. Anyway, it should be done sometime this week if there are no surprises. I picked up the Five Cable scarf again for a little comic relief from the other scarf.

Now that I've finished the Girly Girls I can get back to the Yukon Falling Leaves socks I started last fall. I've lost track of how many pairs of socks I have going. But I got two more sets of size 2 dpns last week and I got yarn for three more pair of socks today.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Something in the water?

Something in the water?

Well, it rained today. And just as I expected it would be, it was wild and crazy at Skein. What is it about a rainy day that impels people to go shopping? We don't even have decent parking. Maybe they think there won't be anyone else out. Or maybe it's just because they can't do anything else.

I did have a good day though. Five students and a few quick questions. The only problem was that they all came at the same time. But none of them were brand new so it wasn't as crazy as it might have been. Three friends who all wanted to learn how to cast on and do the purl stitch. Another wanted to learn to make a hat. And one who needed help undoing her bind off because she forgot she had another skein to go. Just your average rainy day.

I didn't get to leave on time. It was just too busy. Ann Mary owes me big time. I sold an armload of cashmere for a poncho. And yarn for several scarves. So I got home about two hours late. I've had dinner, played with Patrick and cleaned the kitchen. Now it's me time. Knitting as long as I can.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Never too late

Never too late

If I hurry I can still make this a Thursday post. I just got home from the Thursday night knitting group. Everyone seemed to need to spend some extra time together so the talk just kept going. And we had a mini-yarn redistribution. One of the group who has a serious yarn acquisition addiction brought a box and a bag of yarn she decided she needed to get rid of before her next batch arrived. I brought home eighteen skeins of red merino super wash sport weight. Enough for at least six pairs of socks.

It's turned cold again and we're expecting more rain although there were plenty of stars to see on the way home. We still have plenty of winter yarns to get rid of before we start putting out the new spring yarns that have started to arrive. We did get in a big shipment of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride in both worsted and bulky weights. Felting seems to be attracting more and more people. I still haven't tried it but some of the new patterns are beginning to call to me. I guess it's not too late to catch that particular bandwagon.

I managed a few more rows on the Girly Girl socks and am almost through the second skein of the pink/lavender scarf. I spilled coffee on the Koigu shop sample that I have almost finished so I'll have to give it a good wash once I sew up the two side seams. Yeah, I'm that close. I don't think we even have any Koigu left. Or if we do there's not enough to make this sweater. But we'll be getting more, eventually. Maybe late in the summer. But it's never too late for Koigu.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

It's raining. It's pouring.
The old man is snoring.

I wish. Instead it's "Hi, ho, hi, ho! It's off to work we go!" Another late night at Skein. I have some semi-promises from some of my regular daytime students that they will be in, but since it's raining again here in sunny Southern California there may be a few fair-weather folks who don't show. That's okay though as I'm also expecting someone who wants to design and rebuild her whole approach to knitting and her stash. That'll be fun. Don't get too many chances to brainstorm since I retired.

This is what I got done last night on the breast cancer scarf. Whadda ya think? Would you buy this if you saw it at a bazaar or in a boutique? There's a lot I like about it. It's cotton, it's nubby and it's a pretty color. But is it flashy enough to attract attention? Should I give it to the glitz? I think it'll be about five feet long when it's done.

The pattern is called "Fan Fair" in Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge. It's exactly the same pattern as the Jo Sharp design in Scarf Style. Whatever. It's easy to do and goes pretty fast.

What is vic*din and why do so many people want me to buy it? For that matter, why would I need a free mortgage calculator or an imitation designer watch? I haven't heard from the folks in Nigeria for a while so I guess they found someone to help them with their currency exchange problems. But it's nice to be so well loved.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Shopping on purpose

It's easier to find something you want when you don't have anything in mind than it is to find something you want when you do have something in mind. I went looking for something interesting in pink to make a scarf for the breast cancer fund raiser. I looked and looked. I've seen so much furry, funky, fuzzy glitz that I just can't get excited about it. The more I looked the less I liked it.

I finally settled for some definitely not glitzy Paris Rainbow from Plymouth Yarns. I'm going to do some kind of variation on the feather and fan pattern. I need to have this done by Feb. 20.

Further evidence that you shouldn't go out shopping looking for something specific. I need some medium grey slacks to go with a navy blazer. How easy should that be? I went to Macy's. They didn't have anything, not even at $115. As if I would pay that much for some slacks I'm probably going to wear once. Men's Wearhouse didn't have anything either. There's a Ross Dress for Less store in the same neighborhood. I don't usually go there because I don't like the atmosphere. They had one pair of slacks in my size. It was the right color and size. The fit is fine. Geoffrey Beene for $11.99. For that kind of money I can put up with a little chaotic ambience.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Mixed messages

It was a fairly low-key weekend. Skein was busy but not crazy busy. I had seven students on Saturday and none yesterday. Ann Mary was away from the shop, attending the TNNA show in Long Beach. So on Saturday her husband, KC, and her sister were there to cover for her. And Sunday it was just KC.

The original plan was for me to go today. And I'd have liked to but I decided that it was more important for Ann Mary to have at least one day off. She had already finished what she needed to do and was just going to go back today so I could go. (You can't get in unless you're a member or are with a member.) Actually we both need this one day a week away from the shop.

I finally got my flu shot on Friday night. And had my blood pressure checked. It's still way too high so I have to work harder at getting exercise and reducing my carb intake. And try to relax more. My favorite relaxation is knitting and I'm not able to do much of that right now. My left hand is much better but still acts up when I knit for more than a few minutes. So it's slow going on most of my current projects. I'd like to finish the Girly Girl socks today but I don't think I can. Well, I can take the pain but I don't think I'd be doing myself any good in the long run.

So my other relaxation is yarn shopping. I actually have a legitimate reason for going today. There's a big fund raising event planned for the end of next month. It's a breast cancer event so several shops are collecting scarves, purses and hats to donate to the event. And they want pink. So I'm going looking for pink glitz. Not something I have in stash.

I've been trying to get my RSS feed thing going. Lisa was over last night and neither of us could figure out what we're supposed to do. Seems like we can almost get there but some things aren't clear. And then I'd like to get Bloglines going. That's even more mysterious. If you've done either or both of these things and have any suggestions or tutorials I'd love to hear from you. We did manage to get SiteMeter installed so I can check stats again. Haven't had that since last October when Blogger discontinued their bStats.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

No KC, or almost none

I've noticed that many knit bloggers will post a recipe or some such thing when they have no knitting content. Others, like myself, will talk about the weather. And a few will turn to politics in sometimes not so subtle ways.

Well, I don't discuss politics and I'm not such a fantastic cook that I feel my recipes make scintillating reading (although the apple bread I made for Christmas was exceptional). So that leaves the weather.

Did you know it's been in the upper 80s here? The tourists are running around in cutoffs and t-shirts. And people are going on about how hot it is. It's always like this in January. We used to get tans between semesters. And it'll be cold, relatively, again by next Monday. And maybe some more rain by midweek.

It's also the 20th. That's the day I usually write checks for all my monthly operating expenses. Well, it's the day I start thinking about doing it. I guess for some Jan. 20, is a little more significant.

Now the reason I have almost no knitting content: there isn't going to be any for a few days. My left hand is hurting so much that I can barely move it. I'm hoping that taking a few days off will help. I may be getting a cotisone shot. One of our customers is a doctor and she has offered to give me the injection if my Kaiser doctor won't.

I did finally finish the shop sweater sample but I ran out of yarn before I could get it completely assembled. I'm looking through stuff around here to see if I have something that will work. If not I'll just sew it with regular sewing thread.

I was able to finish the knitting yesterday because it's been a slow couple of days at Skein. There has been a steady flow of yarn seekers, just not the hordes that we've come to expect. I stayed late yesterday to cover the Wednesday night class but no one showed up by seven so I came home and played with the cat. And talked about the weather in Idaho with my brother. It's uncharacteristically warm up there. Did you know that?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Wednesday already?

Seems like we just had Wednesday. Maybe it's because my days follow such a routine that I just lose track. I don't know if I'm working tonight or not. I hope not. I seem to have less and less time for knitting. Maybe I shouldn't spend so much time reading blogs and following links.

I did manage four pattern repeats on the Girly Girl socks last night and that was only about an hour's time. Couldn't stay awake. Spent an hour on the phone with Carol. She calls almost every Tuesday night and we play catch-up. She used to come to Skein quite often when we were in Arcadia and closer to her home. Now I rarely see her. She doesn't come to the Thursday night group anymore as she has to get up too early to stay late. And I found out that my forty year old oven can still bake a store-bought pizza just fine. And I ate the whole thing without stopping. Just like when I was forty years younger. When Skein was in Arcadia there was a Shakey's Pizzaparlor right next door. I used to have pizza at least once a week. I think this is the first time I've had pizza since we moved last March.

The giftee of the Girly Girl socks came by Skein yesterday. She got to see the one sock that I've finished and is very happy. She hadn't expected anything so fancy. This isn't kind but I have to tell you. I nearly laughed out loud when she came in. She's wearing a huge artificial hydrangea on top of her head, slightly off center. It's flopping around like it's going to fall. Hidden underneath the hydrangea is a tiny little wire cage that she's put over her topknot. Wisps of multi-colored hair are sticking out in all directions. She asked me if I thought she looked like she was fifty seven. The student I had at the time is a professional hair stylist. I thought she was very kind not to have said anything. Well, you just had to be there.

I'm not sure if I'm going to the big TNNA trade show this weekend. Ann Mary is trying to arrange coverage for Skein on Sunday so we can both go. I have this sinking feeling that it's not going to work out as she hasn't said anything since last week. I'd like to go but I'll be okay with it if I don't.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Less than a thousand

Twelve skeins of Rowan Felted Tweed. One of which might be a different dye lot.

Three skeins of Zitron Loft. Fairly accurate color. Feels kinda spongy.

For some people it's all about the product. For others it's the process. For me it's mostly about acquiring the yarn.

Some progress on the second of the Girly Girl socks. Maybe a third of the way. And about three inches more done on the five cable scarf. I lost a needle somewhere along the way yesterday. Probably in the parking lot at Velona's. Fortunately I have lots of size 7US needles and the one I lost had lots of missing chips in the point so it was time to retire them anyway.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Mondays are for me.

After a couple of days like we had Saturday and Sunday I'm just ready to escape and not deal with anyone or anything for a while. Not that it's really possible but it would be nice. Mondays are for me.

And what better way to spend it than going to some not quite local yarn shops? I met Mendy and Judy just after nine this morning and off we went. Picked up Renee along the way and headed to Velona's in Anaheim Hills. They didn't have the larger size swift that I wanted so it's being ordered and they'll call me. I don't usually have a problem finding something I want when I'm at Velona's. But today, except for some Rowan Felted Tweed (see below), there wasn't anything that really demanded I buy it. I think most shops are waiting for the trade show that's coming up this weekend before they get new stuff in. Or maybe, like Ann Mary, they're just waiting for more of the winter stuff to go.

After we had lunch we headed home and stopped at Phebie's in Montclair. I picked up a couple of Addi Turbos and another set of Clover dpns in size 2US. And three skeins of Zitran's Loft for another scarf.

I loaned some of my pattern books to one of my students so she could choose something to make for her husband. I hadn't looked at these books for a while so had mostly forgotten what was in them. So when she returned the books I decided to check them out. One of the books, Men In Knits by Tara Jon Manning, has a cardigan pattern that I like a lot, the cabled rib cardigan. Velona's had some Rowan Felted Tweed in a bright olive green that I think will be perfect. I don't usually wear cardigans but this one really appeals to me.

Friday, January 14, 2005

"Bring 'em on!"

The new projects, that is. The President has noted that sometimes words have consequences that you don't intend. Sorta like be careful what you ask for. Well, there'll always be someone looking to twist or spin what you say or do. So I'll just keep on starting new projects and not fret about the consequences.

I love starting new projects. I've started three just this week. And it's only Friday. I have three more days until my new week starts on Monday. I started another multi-directional scarf last night using the Araucania that I got last week. I haven't finished anything yet this week but I may get the first sock done of the Girly Girl pattern. The five cable scarf needs to be finished by the end of the month and I may make it by then. I've finally started the second sleeve of the shop sample I've been working on for several months. That may be done by the end of next week, depending on how busy I am at Skein. I'm not thinking of anything new right now but who knows. I may.

We're planning a trip to Velona's on Monday. I'm trading in my new swift for a larger one. I don't have any idea what else I may buy but I'm pretty sure there'll be something I want. Maybe some Kureyon or sock yarn. And some more needles.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Is it a virtue?

Or just a good defense mechanism? Patience, that is. Probably the single most frequently uttered comment about my teaching. I hear it from students, talking to one another, or directly to me. And Ann Mary stresses it a lot when she tells people that she has a knitting teacher. It's enough to try my patience. Really!

Of course I'm patient. What good would it do if I weren't? That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes wish they'd just go away and leave me alone. So sometimes I mock it up and it looks like I'm being patient when really I'm just trying to cope.

We had a call mid-afternoon from the Wednesday night teacher that she couldn't make it back from San Diego in time for her class. Ann Mary asked if I could stay and I agreed. How hard could it be?

Pretty hard! I usually teach one-on-one. That's how it's set up. I had five brand new knitters all show up at once. My mind is in a panic and I'm telling myself to just calm down, we'll get through this. Then two more people showed up. They're regular students who know their way around a knitting needle but like to come in just for the social stuff. I'm glad they were there. (Oh, he's so patient!) Then, four more showed up. These we had to turn away as there was no room at the table.

So I had to shift from individual to group teaching, a thing I wasn't prepared for. I did sit with each of the new knitters and got them started. (I cast on for them and showed them how to do the knit stitch.) After everyone had fumbled through a few rows with me roaming around the table, I tried showing everyone at once how to bind off. Not entirely successful but it got them started thinking about it. So I hand held each one until they got it.

Then it was time to learn to cast on. That went a little better, except for the slip knot. Why is that so mystifying to so many? I still had to show each person, up close and personal, how to do the long-tail cast on, but by this time it was easier. They all had more self-confidence with the needles and weren't so afraid of making a mistake.

Anyway. It was exciting and exhausting. I much prefer sitting with each person so I can get a better sense of how they're doing. And helping them see the logic of the knit stitch. That's the newest comment I heard. "He's so logical!" Well, perhaps.

I hope the ones we had to turn away last night were not also turned off.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Pleasure and pain

For years and years I refused to knit socks. I'd go on and on about how silly it was to spend all that time making something that could be purchased with so much less effort and for a whole lot less money. I think the real reason I didn't make socks was because I was intimidated by the multiple needles and the apparent intricacy of doing the stitches.

A couple of years ago I had to begin to understand how socks were made. I had way too many people asking for help for me to just say "I don't knit socks." So, with the help of Nancy Bush's Folk Socks and some on-line tutorials I began. Now I love knitting socks. I probably have ten or twelve books devoted to sock knitting.

Most of the socks I've knit have been just plain knit but using self patterning yarn. I have done some with stitch patterns though. A couple of lace things and the Broadripple socks. I prefer using five needles instead of four. I don't get ladders when I use five needles and the knitting itself seems easier.

Enter the Girly Girl socks.

This sock is from Socks by Rita Buchanan and Deborah Robson. Because of the stitch pattern I'm working on four needles. I've just finished the gusset decreases and my hands are killing me. The pattern itself is simple enough, easy to memorize and read. But the actual knitting in bone crushing. There's a single purl stitch at the beginning and end of the lace pattern on needle number two. Making the transition from purl to knit or knit to purl at that point requires that I really tug on the yarn to prevent ladders. After a couple of hours of that last night I just had to stop.

I don't think this would have bothered me a couple of years ago. But things change. I'm not about to give up. I still have to finish this first sock and make another one. And Lisa likes these so I'll make another pair. Maybe I'll figure some way to shift the pattern so I don't have to switch needles at this particular juncture. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Houston, we have sun!

It's back. The sun is back. And a day sooner than expected. What a relief!

So I spent a few minutes yesterday starting a new project.

Using up some old acrylic. Five cables, C6F, on size 7 needles. Practicing cabling without a cable needle. A six row repeat is just enough to keep it interesting and easy enough to tell when it's time to cable.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Gray or Grey

I'm never sure which spelling is correct. I suppose I could look it up but I like living in a gray or grey area. Maybe I'll check later. Anyway. I really like that color, or non-color if you will. It's the color I most often pick when I buy new clothes. I like it in just about anything except the sky.

We have gray skies. Sometimes charcoal, sometimes mist, but always gray. And it appears we'll have it for another couple of days. And rain. There's a mini-lake where my parking space should be. Unless I go buy some boots I wont' be able to take the trash to the dumpster. I know there are worse things but I'm not used to having trash sitting around. Not that I'm a great housekeeper but I do take the trash out on a regular basis. Stepping over bags and boxes and the cat is getting tedious.

Today is a quiet day. Nothing really scheduled except maybe lunch. I'll go find some brightly colored yarn and make a hat. Or work on some of the socks. Just anything that isn't gray.


In the US the preferred spelling is gray with grey listed as a variant. In England it's the other way around. So I guess it doesn't matter.

Friday, January 07, 2005


I mean the weather, not my cold. My cold is nearly gone or almost completely masked by the Coricidin I finally broke down and bought last night. But the weather cold is just beginning. Rain, heavy rain, is predicted for today and tomorrow with still more rain for the following couple of days. If my theory holds true we should be very busy at Skein. Rain just brings 'em out. And they're noisy and rowdy.

I finished another scarf last night at our Thursday night group. A simple, one skein thing using Artful Yarns' Shakespeare. The pattern is on the ball band. And I also finished a poncho using Southwest Tradings' soy silk ribbon, except for the fringe which I will do today while I'm at Skein, if I'm not too busy. Is it true that ponchos are out? I just got the Berroco newsletter this morning and their new books seem to have plenty of ponchos of assorted kinds. Well, I won't tell anyone.

It turns out that the person who wanted ultra violet for her socks really meant primrose. Glad I showed her a sample before I started. I looked through my stash but didn't find anything suitable. I did find some Brown Sheep Nature Spun in Victorian pink. I've started a pair of socks in that using a pattern from Rita Buchanan's Socks, a book I got for myself from The pattern is called Girly Girl. My scanner is defunct so I can't get a picture. But they are really just what the name suggests.

It was almost depressing and at the same time stimulating to look through my stash. Depressing because there's probably no way I could ever knit all that I have. Stimulating because I have so many fantastic yarns that I've managed to forget. What a dilemma! I'd better go get started.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Fotos and FOs

We had a respite from the storms today, but today only per the current weather forecast. Ann Mary sent me home early today because I'm not over my cold yet and she thought I needed to go home and rest. It's true I wasn't very perky but mostly because I didn't have anyone to work with this afternoon. But a little unscheduled nap will be nice.

Anyway. Since we have a little light this afternoon I took a few pictures.

This is the Interlacements Oregon that I got a week or so ago. On sale at Stitch in Time. The orange is not quite that "glow in the dark" intensity but you get the idea. I'm thinking scarf or small shawl.

These two hats are the last of the ones I made for Christmas. The gold color is mine and the greenish striped one is for Lisa's mom. The pattern is from The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville, the Canadian hat. They're really warm, worked on a size 8US needle using bulky yarn. I made five of these all together.

I finished the latest multi-directional scarf a couple of nights ago. This is Noro's Kureyon #116. Here's a detail:

Since I don't wear a scarf on a regular basis I am surprised at how much warmth it adds. I've worn it to Skein the past two days to show it off to some of the people who saw me working on it. But I don't think I'll wear it often. Keeping track of a scarf is a pain.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

File under

be careful what you ask for.

Yesterday when I arrived at Skein, Ann Mary gave me some money that was owed for a couple of students from last week. I told her sister Clare that that was a good thing since I was out of cash and was hoping I'd have some students that day.

About that time it all began. I was swamped for the whole day and an hour beyond. Not that that isn't a good thing but it does get pretty tense trying to keep six or eight different people going at the same time, all working on different projects. Plus answering questions about yarn and needle size for all the just wanna make a scarf people.

I did have a first time experience though. I've taught several mother/daughter combos. This was the first time I had taught a father/daughter combo. They were both left-handed to boot. I don't teach left-handed knitting. I teach everyone the right handed throw method as I see knitting as a two-handed activity and I get away with it. I have worked with people who knit continental but I'm not very proficient at it myself.

The daughter had tried to teach herself from a book, with only moderate success, but she had enough knowledge that it wasn't hard to get her going. I don't know how she convinced her father that he should take up knitting but there he was, willing to give it a go. I kept wanting to call him Ed, for some unknown reason, and that isn't his name, but he'll always be Ed to me. I would guess him to be in his late sixties or maybe even older. Judging from his faded Marine Corps tattoos and his really calloused hands I'd say knitting was the least likely thing I'd expect him to do. He didn't exactly do a stellar job but he was determined. I thought he might bend his needles at one point. He developed his own little rhyme to help him through each stitch. It'll be interesting to see if he continues. His daughter seems to be determined that he will.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

We can all help!

Please take a moment to visit Stephanie's blog. If you feel llke making a contribution is just some anonymous thing her idea will change your mind. If you've already made a donation elsewhere, great. But her approach may help you make another one.

Monday, January 03, 2005

It's a New Year, after all!

I couldn't help but notice as I was reading "My Blogs" this morning the number of references to "what you do on New Year's Day is a prediction of what you will do the rest of the year" thingie. I really, really, really hope this is not true. That would certainly make this coming year one of my least productive, but I would be getting a lot of sleep. I did a little knitting and took lots of naps.

I didn't watch the Parade although I could hear the bands and the cheering crowds when the Parade finally got to my house. It's about an hour after the Parade starts before it actually gets this far down Colorado Blvd. A couple of hours later and it was all over for another year. All that's left are mounds of debris and empty bleachers. But the weather was wonderfully cooperative. Bright, sunny morning. After the parade was over the clouds moved in and the rest of the day was dark and gloomy.

I had to go out for a while yesterday. No food in the house. So long as I was out anyway I stopped by Unravel in Monrovia to see how it's going over there. They finally got some overhead lights so they should be opening more hours. Christine said she'd be sending emails later this week with the class schedule and the new hours. I got three skeins of Araucania Wool in a mushroom color and four balls of Tahki's Shannon. I need some sock appropriate yarn in ultraviolet to make socks for one of my students. So far no luck on that. I may just end up using some Jaeger Merino Superwash.

I'm supposed to go to lunch today with a former co-worker but I'm going to cancel since my cold is worse rather than better. Plus we're in the middle of a series of thunderstorms. I'd rather not deal with the chaos that is California drivers in the rain. It's really dark here. So no pictures yet.