Saturday, April 30, 2005



Here it is at long last!

The shop sample poncho worked in K1/C2 Souffle. It's taken almost forever to get this done. But at last it's here and on display just as you come in the door. It does look a lot better once it's finished than I thought it would. So now I can knit with a clear conscience on my own stuff.

It was a bit slow today so I worked on my Swizzle socks. I'm just about to begin turning the heel on the second sock. I should be done some time this coming week. Tonight I think I'm going to start a shrug. One of the ones from the current Interweave Knits. I just have to figure out which yarn and which pattern I'm going to use.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Better but not all

Better but not all

My wrist is much improved today, not that it's perferct, mostly due I think to how busy I was yesterday and didn't have time to do much knitting. I do have an appointment with my doctor for next week though. By then I'm sure she's just going to say "Why are you wasting my time?" Well, she won't actually say that but maybe she'll be thinking it. Seriously, it hardly hurts at all anymore.

I was freakin' busy yesterday. The Monrovia Moms were there, bright and almost early. We had lots of oo-ing and ah-ing over the new Katia "Jamaica" yarn and the accompanying pattern book. And then another student who knew of but hadn't met all the Moms came in. So I had a full table already when a couple of other newish students came in for their fix. The whole day progessed at about the same pace. I was really tired by the time we left at eight.

And then it was time to play with Patrick. He's usually pretty docile, even when we play, but he was ferocious last night. I would not have liked to be his scratching post. I thought he was going to tear it open. I was told that Ragdoll cats do not have a self-defence instinct. I don't think that's entirely true. There was cat hair and carpet fuzz all over the place.

I finally had some time to work a bit on my current sock project. Patrick was sleeping in my chair and was just too sweet and comfortable looking for me to move him. So I sat in his chair until he woke up and decided I looked to sweet and comfortable so he'd better get me to walk him to the kitchen for a couple of nibbles of kibble.

So it was a good, if long, day. I'm glad it's only five hours today. Oh, it rained so hard during the night that it woke me. The sun was out a few minutes ago but it's dark and gloomy right now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005



It finally happened. Last night, as I was innocently washing a few dishes, I felt something snap in my left wrist. It really hurt. This morning it feels like a bruise but I don't see any swelling or discoloration. But it does cause me to cringe when I move the wrong way. So I'm feeling my way around this and figuring out what to avoid. I knit for a while last night and it didn't seem to bother me unless I turned my hand a certain way. I may have to call my doctor.

Monday, April 25, 2005



Mmmm! So good and buttery. And hand-carried from Paris by one of my students. We had them after lunch today.

We had a knitting luncheon. It was lots of fun and very productive for me. I reworked the bind off of the first Zigzag scarf and finished one of my current socks. And got the second one started. And I worked a few rows on the shop sample poncho.

I spent most of yesterday working on the multi-directional scarf. One more skein and I'll be done with that. I'm feeling good about my knitting projects right now, even though I still have lots to complete. If I can just keep going I'll soon be able to see the top of the table next to my knitting chair.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Multi-directional as all get-out

Multi-directional as all get-out

My mom used to say things like "He's as something,something as all get-out." I was never sure what the "as all get-out" meant exactly but I got the idea that it was somehow related to extreme or exaggerated behavior. That's kind of how I feel lately.

Not that there's anything odd going on. It's just that I'm involved in more diverse things than I'm really comfortable with. When I'm trying to get to sleep my mind just keeps going over and over all the piddly things I have to do in the next few days. None of them are biggies, just stuff that will keep me from sitting quietly at home and enjoying my knitting time. It should all clear up by the end of next week. And I'm going to try to keep from getting in a similar place.

Anyway. That's the latest multi-directional scarf. I was surprised at how much of the color actually showed up in the photo, even if it is a bit inaccurate. I'm using Kureyon color 51. I like the subtle color shifts (it's as subtle as all get-out) but I'm not sure the receipient will. It's going to be a Christmas gift so I'll have to wait a while to find out.

Friday, April 22, 2005

One more day

One more day

and then it will be Sunday. This has been a very long week. Mostly because it's been very slow for me at Skein. I spent most of Wednesday and Thursday working on the shop sample poncho. It's basically stockinette and mindless but the Souffle yarn is tricky so I have to keep an eye on it. But I am almost done with the fifth skein which means I should be at the end but I'm going to have to use one more to get the width called for. I worked so much on it that my left thumb is acting up again.

Today was a lot busier. Three of the Monrovia moms came in. That is always a fun time. One finished piece and two that are in the finishing stage. I love the way these women relate and support each other. And they're unafraid to try new things. And even though they complain when they have to rip back they do it.

I also had a crochet student. She's struggling with her second poncho. Neither of us could figure out where she went awry so she's starting over and promised not to come back until she had figured it out. I think she left off a chain a few rows back. I don't know enough about crochet to fake it.

And then there was one man who has been working on a vest for a few weeks. He had lost some stitches but couldn't see where. He's using a black tweed yarn so it is hard to see. I ripped a couple of rows before I found them and got him going again. He got started on the neck shaping and lost some more stitches as well as knitting from the wrong ball of yarn. He went home to rip most of what he had done this afternoon.

As I was saying, it's been a long week. And uneventful in the extreme. I haven't started anything new. Well, I did start another multi-directional scarf. The Kureyon I'm using is so dark that I'll have to wait for a very sunny day to try to get a picture. And I swatched for a top for Lisa. I need 5.5 sts/inch and I'm only getting 5. I went down two needle sizes and am still getting 5. I'm even using the yarn called for so I can't figure out why this is happening. I'm going to try again and if it still isn't right I'll rewrite the pattern.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Zigzag Two

Zigzag Two

It's done. I spent most of yesterday finishing this scarf. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. Of course I had a few naps along the way and had to re-do the final triangle because I forgot one of the increases or something.

The silk/wool Scheffer yarn is wonderful to work with and easy to rip. I used a different bind-off from what the pattern calls for. I think it is easier to do and looks more like the cast-on end. I'm going to re-do the bind-off on the first scarf, just as soon as I can get around to it. This scarf is just over three feet long. A little short by today's standard but that's all the yarn I had. I had about fifteen inches left. Anyway, I think it will be a nice accent scarf.

So what to finish next? Some socks, maybe. I have two pair on needles. Some hats for the Dulaan Project. I have three going. I'd better stop there. It's too depressing.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Glove weather

Glove weather

Well, it's not really but today is a lot cooler than yesterday. It's cloudy and overcast. I may have to close some of the windows. These gloves might come in handy.

These are my first, and possibly only, ever pair of gloves. I finished them a couple of weeks ago but have been waiting for Lisa to come over to try them on and model them for me.

I used Dale of Norway Daletta and one of their patterns from a book of accessories. Doing the fingers was more than a bit fiddly and I'm not really happy about the gaps between them but since the pattern itself is pretty holey I figured a few more holes are going to make that much difference. The lace pattern continues around under the palm so they're very cushioned. We'll have to wait and see if that's a problem. There's another pattern in the same book that has a smooth palm that might be more comfortable.

So. It's my day off and I don't have to do anything or go anywhere. Patrick has already had his early morning play and is off taking a nap somewhere. I'm planning a whole day of knitting. If I have enough yarn I'll be finishing another Zigzag modular scarf (the one I showed on Friday) and then spend some time on any of another ten or so projects.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Not much

Not much

It isn't much but here's what I've got:

The latest incarnation of the Zigzag Modular Scarf from an Art Yarn pattern. I'm using the Schaeffer Helene that Mendy gave me for my birthday. It's a very nice wool/silk blend. It took me three tries to get this one started. Kept losing my place and not changing directions at the appropriate stitch. Now I hope there's enough yarn in this skein to make a reasonable length. I'll have to email Unraveled and see if they have more or can order another skein. I'm not good at estimating how far I can go with only 218 yards. I'm surprised and pleased at how close the photo is to the actual colors. On my monitor anyway.

The week started out just fine but went rapidly downhill from there on. Some stress inducing news from my brother and then hearing about the death of a close friend, not unexpected but so final. It's been very busy at Skein and then there was the whole tax thing. But today looks promising. I have a little time to work on a new scarf that I started a couple of days ago. Haven't talked about that one yet. And the Monrovia Moms are coming in today, or at least some of them. I'll have to tell you about them another time. But they do cheer me up no end.

Knitting night was good with several kinds of cakes and tarts to try. I don't care what anyone says. Strawberries are deceptive and foul tasting. How could anything so pretty be so ick? Coating them with chocolate is a waste of good chocolate. Other than that I enjoyed myself.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Eyelet it happen

Eyelet it happen

It's very hard for me to resist really bad puns.

This is the Eyelet Rib Scarf from the Box of Scarves. Super easy. I added a few more pattern repeats. The yarn is the Grignasco Top Print, 100% alpaca, that I got on Sunday. It's pretty nice but not as soft as I thought it would be. But I'm more used to baby alpaca. I may need to get a couple more skeins. And I definitely need to block this one. It's hard to see the pattern without stretching the scarf open.

The week started with a flock of newbies waiting for help but only one turned out to be a paying student. I did have another student in the afternoon who always pays double, just because she thinks I'm worth it. Isn't that nice? And I have three lined up already for tomorrow. As Ann Mary says, ad infinitum, "Knitting is coming back."

I'm trying to interest people is something a little more challenging that a garter stitch scarf. Hence, the recent spate of scarves using smaller needles and more traditional yarns. Only limited success so far, but I'm pushing.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Sometimes you're the bug

Sometimes you're the bug!

I could hardly wait to get started on the Grignasco Alpaca that I bought yesterday. I could just see how it was going to look. I cast on and worked the first triangle of the next Zigzag scarf. At that point I could tell that the yarn was way more subtle in the stripe department than I had thought. So I put that aside for a while.

I went with Mendy to A Stitch in Time today. I told her about the alpaca disappointment and she reminded me of some yarn I had in my stash that she thought might work. So I started planning what I would do with that yarn. Make the scarf a little wider. Just need to figure out how more stitches would impact the zigzag.

I didn't buy anything at Stitch in Time. Well I got some Mango Moon needles for the birthday of one of my students but that doesn't really count. The shop has lots of stuff to choose from but it's mostly novelty yarn and I'm more than a little tired of that. But that was okay. You can't always find something that has to come home with you. We went to lunch and had our Evil Jungle Thai Pasta Salad. (That's the only thing I've ever had at this particular restaurant. Why mess with a sure thing?)

So, anyway. I came home and started my laundry and sat down and cast on the stitches for the first triangle. I had figured out how to account for all the extra stitches. And everything was looking pretty good. Then I noticed how much the yarn was pooling and I could tell it was going to be that way the whole length of the scarf. Not what I had in mind. So I ripped that and put it aside. I think I'll try it again with fewer stitches and see what happens.

So I look through some patterns and find a lace rib that I think will be good for that alpaca. I've done a couple of repeats and so far it's okay. Meanwhile I find out that the washing machine isn't going through the whole cycle and my clothes are soaking wet. I didn't tell you that the same thing happened the last time I did laundry. The service people have been out three times and still haven't figured out the problem. I think they're related to the mechanics that work on my car.

So I'm the bug today. But it's okay. I'm enjoying playing around with the pattern and I have plenty of yarn choices if the ones I'm trying don't work out. Oh, I forgot to mention. I went to the market. I had no idea so many people went shopping at Ralph's at six o'clock in the evening.

Smooth as silk

Smooth as silk

I just finished the La Luz Zigzag scarf that I started on Friday. It looks pretty much the same as what it did last week except it's about three feet longer. I enjoyed every minute of working with the La Luz. I do have some of the solid colors and have a couple of ideas about what I'm going to do with it. I made a top last year but ripped it out because I didn't like the way it looked. So I'll have to see if a second try, using a different pattern, will be better.

I drove over to Burbank today to see if I could say hello to Annie Modesitt between classes. She was teaching at Unwind Yarn this weekend. I couldn't take any of her classes but wanted to at least say hi while she was here. We were able to get away for lunch for an hour. She had rented a convertible and was having a grand time driving around with the top down. Burbank doesn't seem to have any chic little places to have lunch so we ended up at a coffee shop named Corral Cafe. We had to hurry but we managed to cover a lot of stuff. I'm glad I went.

While I was at Unwind I picked up three skeins of Grignasco Top Print, 100% alpaca. Very soft. I'm planning to make another of the Zigzag scarves but I'll see if I can find another way to end it. Not too happy with the way the silk one looks.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

La Luz

La Luz

That's the name of the yarn I'm using for this Zigzag scarf. It's from Fiesta Yarns.

It's 100% silk. It's incredibly soft and, well, silky. The sensation of it moving through my hands is wonderful. The colors in the actual fiber are much more subtle and varied that what you can see in the photo. There's soft sage, pale salmon and a steely blue/grey that you can't really see here.

The variegated colorway is something new for this yarn. Only the solid colors are shown on the Fiesta Yarn page. Mendy brought this one skein to me from her last trip to visit her dad in New Mexico. (Mendy is very thoughtful, kind and generous. We love her lots and lots.) I'm using a modified version of the Zigzag modular scarf from Art Yarns. I'm not sure how long the scarf will be and there's no yardage label on the one skein. But it'll be long enough. Did I mention how silky this yarn is?

I walked to work yesterday. Right. My car was in for it's bi-weekly visit with the mechanic. Just a little sputtering and nearly cutting out when I was driving to Monrovia on Thursday night. The mechanic couldn't find anything definite that would be causing the problem although he experienced the same phenomenon when he took my car for a long drive. It seems I don't drive enough and don't accelerate as fiercely as the car needs. So I'm supposed to really gun it when I go up the ramp to get on the freeway. And start using a higher, more expensive, grade of gasoline. Gas is already $2.499/gallon for the 87 octane. The next higher grade is another ten cents per gallon. Let me see if I have this right. I'm supposed to drive more, which I don't really need to do, spend more money on fuel and waste it getting on the freeway so my car will run smoothly? I'm not sure I follow.

And in other depressing news. I finally got around to completing my income tax stuff. I'm trying not to think about it. Let's just say that what I owe would have been at least six or maybe seven sweaters. Or ten if I shopped at Michael's. But it's done and electronically transmitted. Pat the Cat was very patient with me while I worked on it, only occasionally coming over to see it I was done yet and would like to play Snake for a while.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Annual Amaryllis

Annual Amaryllis

These blooms are a little post-peak but they're still sensational. There are lots more stems that are about to bloom but this stalk is first and seems to have the largest blossoms. The original three bulbs that my sister sent me for Christmas five or six years ago have multiplied to seven or eight. I think they thrive on neglect.

Not much really on the knitting front. I did start a new pair of socks with the Reynold's Swizzle and am just starting the foot on the first.

The color's a bit washed out here but you can see some of the subtle stripes as well as the brighter red and gold. I'm just ribbing, K6, P2, for the legs and the top of the foot. The yarn is pretty nice although there are a few slubs that I don't think are supposed to be there.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Palm Monday

Palm Monday

I know I've written before about how much I like the palm trees that line my street. I love the long, elegant line of their trunks and the raspy rustling of the fronds. When the breeze is just right the trees sway in a classic tropical paradise sort of way. Of course, like in most things, there's a downside. These particular trees don't actually bear fruit, except for the crunchy, messy seeds that drop from them once in a while. And on days like today when the wind is pretty fierce the dead fronds are blown off and into the street and yards. There have been several that have blown onto my roof where they land with a loud, unsettling bang. Patrick is freaking out. The street is a hazard for the cars parked along the curb or even just driving by. But it's fascinating to watch the trees and how much they can bend without actually breaking.

It's been great having two days off instead of the one day weekend that I'm used to. Yesterday I had lunch with a friend who is moving home to Michigan and then I came home and cleaned house for a while. Lisa came over for the evening. She needed to use my sewing machine and it was our bi-weekly dinner. I had finished one and half pair of gloves, the ones I showed early last week, and she tried them on. I was pleased with how they looked and she said they're really be perfect for her late-night keyboard sessions. I'm hoping to finish them tonight or sometime this week at least.

Today I've been yarn shopping. Went to Velona's in Anaheim Hills with one of my students. It's about a forty five minute drive but so worth it. I wasn't planning to buy anything but ended up with eight skeins of Kureyon and two hanks of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn. After we had lunch we went to Unraveled in Monrovia and I got a skein of Reynold's Swizzle Sock Yarn and a circular needle. I'll probably have pictures tomorrow or later in the week.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Three years and counting

Three years and counting

That's right! I've had this blog for three years. Actually a few days longer but I didn't know about archiving when I first started so I don't know the exact date. Somewhere around the middle of March but I observe April 1 as the date since that's as far back as I can document. Anyway, it's three years. That's almost all the time since I've been officially retired.

I'm the person for whom the phrase "the unexamined life" was coined. I don't spend a lot of time wondering about why I do or don't do things, or like or don't like things. I tend to just go with what feels good or seems right at the time. I don't watch television or listen to any music other than classical so I'm almost totally out of touch with a lot of pop culture stuff. I've never seen a reality program, or wondered what they're all about. Well, I've wondered but haven't been interested enough to find out. I have a few special friends that I really care about but most people fall into the acquaintances category. I am more reclusive than most people I know. When I do go out it's usually because someone has asked me and I go so as not to disappoint them. So it's really unlike me to have a blog. Something so public is just not what I'd expect of me.

The whole blogging thing has really expanded from where it was when I began, especially the knit blog community. I do read some blogs that aren't related to the knitting world but mostly I read knitters' blogs. On average I spend two or more hours a day just reading blogs. I leave comments occasionally. Lots of times I think about leaving a comment but hesitate out of a fear of rejection or think that it would be presumptuous. Yet I love getting comments and seeing my blog listed as a daily read or favorite on someone else's blog.

My blog is pretty plain when you come right down to it. There are some pretty fancy blogs out there and some that are very witty and entertaining. These people are either inately gifted or spend a lot of time thinking about what they're going to write. I am more likely to start a post not knowing what I'm going to say. I do take care not to offend or post anything that would intentionally hurt someone. I don't talk a lot about what goes on at Skein because someone was using what I wrote in a negative and destructive manner.

I've made some really good friends because of my blog. And I've actually met some of these people. And if my summer travel plans work out I'll be meeting more.

But three years is a long time. I'm probably going to cutting back on the amount of time I spend reading blogs as well as the frequency of my posts. I don't have any definite plan in mind. I love having a blog and I love it that people take the time to read it.

So I celebrated today. Instead of plain oatmeal I had oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins and real butter. I'd have added milk but the milk I have is so old that I'm afraid to open the container.