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.