Monday, February 28, 2005

Strictly speaking

Strictly speaking

When I wrote yesterday that there had been no yarn acquistion for two weeks that wasn't, strictly speaking, true.

A hank of Schaeffer Helene in the Mary Pickford colorway. And three hanks of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Yellowstone. The Schaeffer is a birthday gift from Mendy and the Bearfoot, also from Mendy, is a somewhat belated Christmas present. I'm thinking scarf for the Mary Pickford and shawl (maybe Clapotis) for the Bearfoot.

Another hank of Schaeffer yarn. This time it's Kathleen in the Indira Ghandi colorway. This was a Happy Thursday gift, or a just because. This yarn is a bulky and there are 150 yards. This will most likely also be a scarf, worked the long way.

I did get some Araucania Wool too. But it's something I had ordered a couple of months ago so it doesn't really count either. The yarn is too pale to photograph well but when I finish the project I ordered it for I'll be able to show it off. I can't remember where I put the Transitions pattern book that has the project in it. It's another scarf but it's special.

The stash grows, even when I'm not trying, or buying.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Another day in which I don't get anything done

Another day in which I don't get anything done

Some times at the end of a day I feel like I've managed to do something constructive. Other days are less remarkable, either because stuff happened that got in the way or I was just in a moping mood. Today is one of those days where I get to do stuff that isn't necessarily going to add to my knitting accomplishments or result in a tidier living room.

I'm having a late breakfast with a guy I used to work with. I've known him for ten or twelve years. And now he's leaving Southern California and moving back to Michigan, from whence he came. There's a backstory to this but it's his story, not mine. Anyway. I'll probably get to see him a few more times before the final move but this is the first of the last times.

And then there's my stint at Skein in the middle of the day. Only three hours but still it keeps me from doing anything around here. I had some really good days at Skein this week and a couple of ones where I was able to do some serious shop sample knitting.

Right after I leave Skein I'm going to the other side of LA to have dinner with my oldest friend, Robert. Ostensibly it's for Oscar viewing but mostly it'll be about wine and what's been happening since we last got together. And I probably won't get home until close to midnight.

Tomorrow looks more promising though. The need to do laundry has become critical so I'll be hanging out around the laundry room. I have to start early, before that lady with the three small ones gets in there, or I'll be all day checking to see if the room is available. I don't mind waiting for my turn but I really get ticked when someone goes off for the day and leaves their laundry in the washer and the dryer. But, I'll be knitting between loads. And playing with the cat. The one that thinks I'm home just to entertain him all day.

No yarn acquisition for two weeks. But I did order a couple of books from No new projects started. I don't count shop projects.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Oscar who?

Oscar who?

So, it's Oscar weekend. There's a lot of hype and hysteria over the Oscars here. It is, afterall, what this part of the world is all about. Movies and movie making. And that other, lesser god, television. I'm not a movie going person. I think it's been at least three years since I went to an actual movie. And probably that long since I've even rented a video. And I never watch television, unless there's a new war.

This week I'm listening to all the music that has been nominated for an Oscar. The local public radio classical station has been playing everything that has been nominated and having the composers as guests on various programs. The problem with movie music is that is sounds so, well, like movie music. I go to a lot of concerts of contemporary music and much of it sounds like it was written for a TV movie. You can tell from the music that there's going to be a corpse showing up soon.

Since I don't go to movies it's hard for me to relate anything that I'm hearing to it's setting. Right now I'm hearing the music from that Mel Gibson movie, the Passion or something like that, and it's so elevatorish. Generic feel good stuff. "Walking on water." Sounds like it could have been used for "Umbrella of Cherborg" or any other sappy love story type movie.

I'm feeling a little cynical tonight. Can you tell?

We got the new Rowan R2 yarns and magazine today. I made the mistake of actually reading the copy in their magazine. Really awful. "Marketing is your friend." Lisa frequently reminds me. What a pile of drivel! Imagine a whole line of yarns that are designed to tell you how to be unique and different. With patterns. Lots of faux-grungy graphics and gushy jargon. Maybe it's just me, but I think the designs are awful. Don't buy the book, but if you get the chance, check it out. I'd like to know what you think. (I see I've used "awful" twice. Feel free to substitute "atrocious" if you like.)

We also got some more of the Box of Scarves and a book called something like "Knitting from the Top Down for Toddlers." Both are way more worthwhile. And some kits for shawlettes that are cute and fairly quick to knit. I'm supposed to be making a shop sample. I'm going to go work on my Yukon socks instead.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Way too busy!

Way too busy!

You may recall that I said it was very slow on Tuesday. Well, that's certainly changed since then. Wednesday and today I was swamped. Yesterday was the worse. Everything was a problem that needed fixing. One took over two hours just to straighten out the dropped stitches and get things back in order before we could begin to pick them up. There were at least eight people sitting around me at one point. It's hard to not let it show that you're in a panic yourself.

I was really ready to get out of there when the Wednesday night teacher called as said she was stranded in Bakersfield (of all places) and couldn't make it in. Ann Mary asked me to stay so I did and picked up a couple of new students in the evening.

Today was busy as well but not like yesterday. The students were more spread out through the day and their problems were much simpler. Still eight people, including a couple of brand new knitters, can be overwhelming. Most everyone is patient and willing to wait. I do have one fairly regular student who constantly interrupts and refuses to acknowledge that there are other people waiting. And she doesn't hesitate to tell other people what they should with their projects. I know she has some psychological problems but after a couple of hours of dealing with her the temptation to say something rude is almost too hard to resist.

But it's Thursday night knitting group night so it doesn't matter what happened during the day. Attendance has been a little low during the flu and rain season but should start to pick up now that we've have two consecutive days of sunlight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005



Never mind the paleness of the blue, or the slightly grey wispy clouds, there is actual sunshine outside today. Rejoice and be glad! If this keeps up the lake that is our parking lot may empty enough so that we can take our accumulated garbage to the dumpster. Well, I actually waded through the lake but some of my neighbors have been waiting and the bags sitting outside their front doors are beginning to fester. I hope they seize this chance because I just heard that the rain may be back on Sunday. Carpe diem, baby!

Ann Mary has been out for a couple of days so it's been a little short handed at the shop. Well, yesterday, that didn't really matter as it was way slow. Odd, since Tuesday is usually one of the busiest days. I'm blaming it on the rain, of which there was plenty. I did have a couple of students, one of whom is a teacher at another shop. Nice lady. But she has a very limited knowledge of knitting. I really think one needs to know about increases and more than one way of casting on if one is going to teach. But I guess it's a start. And she promised to come back for more.

I succeeded in not starting a new project. I did get started on the heel flap of the Yukon Falling Leaves socks. I'll see how far I get tonight.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The beat goes on

The beat goes on

So. I got my car back late yesterday. And my diagnosis was correct. It was the alternator. Not that I know anything about cars and their innards. It's just that a similar thing happened on another vehicle. Sometimes experience is as good as knowledge. I guess that whirring, whining noise I've been hearing for the past few months was not just the car's old age. The noise is gone now. At least I was close to home and able to get into my garage. And all those years of paying for roadside service finally paid off. No charge for towing is a good thing.

The rains and thunderstorms are still with us for another couple of days. The sun is shining right now but to the north and west the sky is a very dark grey. We might even get some hail later today. It was painful to pay for but I'm glad we had a new roof put on the condos a few years ago. I know people who have serious leaks and no hope of getting them repaired for a while. There are palm fronds all along the sidewalks and in the street so it looks a little desolated but it's no where near as bad as some of the towns closer to the beach or in the foothills. There hasn't been any work on the condo that's abuilding across the street. Too much rain.

I did get re-started on the shop sample poncho yesterday and have about three inches done. Not much else happened. Mostly I took naps and played Free Cell. I really wanted to start something new but kept telling myself not until I finish something. Who knows when that will be? As much as I enjoy knitting I'm surprisingly uninterested right now. On the other hand I'm not comfortable with not doing something. So I pick up a project, work on it for a bit and put it down. I guess that's progress but it's so meagre. I wound some yarn Sunday night while we tried to get a decent picture. No picture but I sure would like to see how that yarn's going to look. Maybe just a swatch wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Monday, February 21, 2005

New Swift

New swift

The pictures we took last night were really bad. Must try again when the light is better. Lisa came over for our bi-weekly dinner. And we remembered that we were going to take pictures of the new swift. I thought one of them looked pretty good but looking at it again this morning I decided that you don't really need to see me looking that stupid and the swift didn't look much better.

My car has developed another problem. I think it's the alternator this time. I wonder how many times over I will pay for this car before it's done. Anyway, I had to walk to work yesterday which isn't all that bad. Except, as you may have heard, we are having rain. Lots of it. But I managed to get to Skein during one of the brief breaks. Lisa picked me up which was a good thing since by then it was ankle deep at all the curbs. Anyway, I need to figure out how to get my car to the mechanic. And I need to check to see if they have time to work on it today.

In knitting news, I've ripped the shop sample poncho. The K1C2 Souffle yarn is a little trickier to work with than I thought. I think I knitted two stitches as one somewhere along the way, a couple of times actually. Anyway I was missing two stitches and haven't been able to find them. I didn't like the cast on anyway. So I'll try to get that restarted today. And I'm making some progress on the second sock of the Yukon Falling Leaves. I have about an inch more to knit of the neck of the Dulaan project and then I get to the more interesting section of increases and pattern.

Friday, February 18, 2005



Pretty uninspiring, that. It's just turned out to be that kind of week. Nothing really spectacular to report. The rain showed up yesterday for a few hours. Just ordinary rain. No floods that I've heard about, just heavier than usual traffic.

Patrick is on the endangered species list. He spent half an hour meowing and stomping all over me this morning, demanding that I get up so he could eat. I finally did. He ate about three pieces of kibble and promptly went back to bed. I must tell him about the boy who cried wolf.

There's a phenomenal cobweb holding up one corner of my kitchen. Don't know how long it's been there. I'll see if I can deal with that this weekend.

From 60 to 0 in 24 hours. We've been swamped at Skein. Yesterday you'd have thought we were closed. Strange. Rain usually brings out the hordes.

Yes, I have been knitting. Row after row of stockinette on the souffle poncho and row after row of garter stitch on the latest multi-directional scarf.

See. I told you it was a mishmash.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Weather or not

Weather or not

Winter is dwindling down, at least around here, but we've been promised several days of continuous rain. It was supposed to have started yesterday but has been rescheduled to start tomorrow, or possibly late tonight. Folks have been finishing up their ponchos so they can wear them at least once before the season ends and the fad is over.

But speaking of ponchos. Have you seen the new "Knitters" magazine? Now there's a pub that needs to keep up. I lost count of how many ponchos there were in there. Several more than strictly necessary. I don't actually buy this magazine but I look at it while I'm at Skein. I used to subscribe but the issues I like are too few and far between. I might buy this one just for the man's sweater pattern. I don't have a copy in front of me so I can't check, but there may be one or two other patterns that I like. I refuse, however, to even look at the newest Vogue K1.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Flat Earth

Flat Earth

A long time ago, five or six centuries, most people believed that the earth was flat. And some people apparently still believe it. It doesn't matter whether these people believe it or not, the earth is not flat.

I have never believed in copper bracelets or magnets for therapeutic use. I have some copper bracelets that I wear sometimes because I like them. Now, I still don't believe in their healing powers but I don't have as much pain in my wrist as I did before I started wearing the bracelet every day. So the question is: does the bracelet work whether I believe in it or not? Or is it just because I haven't been knitting as much recently as I was during the pre-holiday rush to get everything done?

I used to work with a guy who swore by his copper bracelets. He was a golfer and never went without the bracelets, one on each arm, and told me he no longer had any pains. Another friend saw me wearing a bracelet and said "I hope you know those things don't work."

So I wear the bracelet, not believing in it, but have a lot less pain. Go figure.

Actually, I haven't had much time to knit since the beginning of the year. It has been so busy at Skein that even though I take out my current project it usually just stays there. I'm currently working on another multi-directional scarf using Araucania wool. (It's too dark for a picture.) People are fascinated. I got three people started on their own today. And a couple more who say they're going to make one as soon as they finish their current project.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

I've started a new project. This one is for the Dulaan Project. It's going to be a neckwarmer. The pattern is one I found at Mossy Cottage, the inimitable Ryan who is the driving force behind the Dulann Project.

I'm using some washable merino sport weight that I got a few weeks ago in a yarn destash. I was going to use it for socks but it splits too easily at that gauge. It's perfect for this though. Easy to knit on size 5US. I'm making the adult size to start with but I'll make a couple of the smaller size as well.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

How old?

How old?

Me and the representative candles. No one dared to put the full amount. But now it's over and we can get on with the next year.

Thanks to everyone who sent birthday greetings.

Not much new on the knitting front. Pretty much the same as before. Working on the new poncho sample for the shop and a few rows here and there on some socks that I started last fall. Photos t/k.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

It's official

It's official!

At about 4:20 this afternoon another year was added. Ann Mary's sister Clare made a wonderful Black Forest cake for the occasion. I have lots left over to take with me tonight to the knitting group. I had actually forgotten it was my birthday until the first call came this morning a little before seven. It was great to hear from so many friends and relatives early in the day.

Not much knitting news today. Just rows and rows of stockinette on the new poncho. Three or four students took up most of my time including a couple who are flying to Switzerland on Saturday and wanted to learn to knit so they'd have something to do on the long flight. I hope neither of them drops a stitch or needs to bind off before I see them again in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Taking it easy

Taking it easy

Patrick has been upgraded. He now has this snazzy wicker basket instead of the Staples cardboard box that he has put up with for the last year. Lisa brought this to him last weekend. He was getting a little big for the cardboard box. So, first class instead of economy.

It was a little slow for me yesterday but today was good. Almost like a party. I have one group of knitters that always come together. They're all good friends and love teasing one another. They decided about a month ago to learn to knit. They're all making the same hat. The competition is fierce but friendly. And they're actually very supportive of one another.

Another student came in to finish her multi-directional scarf and to get started on her first pair of socks. She had recently taken a workshop at another store on making a felted bag. It was interesting to hear the difference in teaching styles. It amazes me to hear that some people still think there's only one way to do something.

Started a new shop sample today. Another poncho! I'm using Souffle from K1C2 and their pattern for a drop stitch fabric. There's not enough to show yet but it's basically stockinette. You drop every sixth stitch when you're done and let them run the length of the knitting. Sew the two pieces along the shoulders. And that's it. Not interesting, but fast.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Yarn Diet

Yarn Diet?

When it comes to yarn acquisition I have about as much will power as I have when someone serves pizza.

I went to Needle in a Haystack yesterday, fully intending to drop off the scarf and leave. Well. There was a table full of stuff marked 30% off. It would be like throwing money away to waste such an opportunity. I got four skeins of Gedifra Distrato. That's the blue/green stuff.

And there were only these three skeins of Naturwoll, in an orange colorway that I already have. But I thought maybe I'd need a little more. So just to be on the safe side, these three skeins have come home with me. Now I just need to find the other five. I'm pretty sure they're in one of the bags over in the corner.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The Kickoff

The Kick Off

You might think that's a reference to yesterday's Super Bowl game. And it could have been except we didn't have a Super Bowl event at Skein. When I told Ann Mary that a couple of the other yarn shops in our area were having Super Bowl parties she said, "What's a Super Bowl Party?" After I explained she decided that would be too much trouble. And actually we didn't need it. From start to finish it was a wild and wooly day.

I wish I had a separate room for teaching though. It's really hard for students to concentrate when we're surrounded by shoppers and all the noise that goes with it. Many times I have to consciously block the background noise so I can teach. And teaching on a drop-in basis has its own risks. Sometimes the mix is so diverse that the switch from one level to another is a challenge requiring a deliberate shift on my part that can break my focus. And then I get overwhelmed by all the background stuff again. I don't like the feeling that there are odds and ends of questions that haven't been answered. But there's not much I can do about that right now.

I've been sort of in the dolbrums lately. Not really happy with what I'm working on. I do have a couple of finished things to show.

The Paris Rainbow scarf that I made for the cancer cure drive. I'll be taking this to Needle in a Haystack today. The photo makes the scarf look a lot softer than it is though. It's a textured cotton so it's heavy. I stopped short of my original intent because I thought the weight would cause too much stretch. I like the look but it was pretty mindless knitting.

The long awaited shop sample done in Koigu. I can't explain why this took me so long to finish. I loved working with the Koigu and the pattern, as you can see, is pretty simple.

See the cute little picots. That's about the only thing that saves this sweater from absolute blah. The neck band refuses to behave though. I've redone it twice and it still wants to flop forward in front. I hope we get some more Koigu soon.

Now about The Kick Off. Lisa was here last night to start my birthday week long celebration. A bottle of champagne (Perrier-Jouet that I've had chilling for at least two years, maybe longer), a bottle of merlot (Deer Valley on sale at Ralph's) and then some house chianti (a half-carafe that we didn't finish) with a large The Works pizza at Avanti's (voted best goumet pizza for seven years running). I managed to stuff myself way beyond comfort level but I enjoyed every forbidden bite. And I have one piece left for lunch today. But I think I've had enough wine for a while. And I have four new sweat shirts (extra large if you must know) and nine new pairs of socks. I haven't decided what I'm going to get myself for my birthday. Other than a gym membership that is.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

More of almost the same

More of almost the same

After an evening of reproaching looks, and pitiful meowing, Patrick seems to have forgotten all about getting his tail flattened. He's still defying the laws of chance by sitting very, very close to the wheels. And the way he flips his tail around is just inviting disaster.

I started the fourth skein of Paris Rainbow last night for the cancer cure scarf. I don't think I'll need the fifth one as the scarf is already nearly four feet long. And I did the hemming on the shop sample sweater, except for one sleeve. I've had at least five people comment, "Are you still working on that?" It's getting a little embarrassing.

It was busier today at Skein. I had four students pretty much all at the same time. So that was better for me. New yarns and new books are arriving daily. Huge Berroco shipment yesterday and more Trendsetter. Can you say glitz? We also have a lot of Lamb's Pride right now in both worsted and bulky for our felting fans. We even have kits for needle felting. Personally, I'm waiting for the Habu yarns to come in. I'm already setting aside funds for that.

So what am I going to do with the extra skein of Paris Rainbow? It'll be the start of some knitting for this. Please read the details and see if you can't join in as well.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

It was bound to happen

It was bound to happen!

No matter how many times I've warned him of the danger of sitting under my computer chair Patrick still insists on sitting close, just in case I decide to get up and play or give him treats. Sometimes he puts his front paws up on my leg and bumps my hand with his head to make me stop typing and do whatever it is he wants. Have you figured it out yet?

I don't usually answer my phone until I know who is calling but tonight when the phone rang I rolled over to grab it. Unfortunately Patrick had his tail right in front of one of the wheels. I thought something was wrong with the chair there was such a screeching sound. So I rolled over it again. Poor kitty! He was very perturbed. But I notice he isn't sitting by me right now.

And it wasn't even an important call. Just the NRA looking for a hand out. No way that's going to happen.

About the knitting. Today was pretty quiet at Skein. I only had one student and hardly any other distractions. I spent most of my time undoing the mattress stitching I had done on the shop sample and redoing it. I still have to hem to sew down tomorrow. And then I have to wash it because of the coffee I spilled on it last week.

If Patrick is still talking to me I will play with him for a while and then work on some of the other projects that are stacking up around here.