Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Patrick grazes

Patrick grazes

I brought this grass home on Sunday night. It was part of the Easter table arrangement at Robert's house. He told me it was cat grass. I didn't know how Patrick would react or if he'd even know what to do with it. Less than a minute after I put it on the floor he was there and chomping. Now he spends a lot of time just burying his face in it. I don't know what it really is but he loves it. Pat the Sheep.

I finished the first glove last night. Well, I finished the knitting. Now I have all those ends to find a place for. Some of them will have to be used to close up some of the holes around the base of the fingers. I was sort of expecting a few ends to weave in but had no idea there would be so many. Just not thinking, I guess. Anyway, any hints on how to add fingers to gloves without all that joining and picking up. I need to cast on for the second one and get it started at least.

Instead of that I started a new pair of socks. The Feather and Fan socks from Socks, Socks, Socks. I think I finally got the German Twisted Cast On figured out. Since the socks start with garter stitch I needed a cast on that would have plenty of stretch and this one seems to be good. My friend Lammia had tried to teach me before. I could do it but it wasn't stretchy. There was an article by Meg Swansen in the last Vogue Knitting that showed how to do it. I think I was picking up the stitch on my finger backwards, underneath instead of over. Whatever I was doing wasn't working and it is now. I'm still baffled by the Austrian Twisted Cast On that is in the current issue of Vogue.

In case you're wondering, that Brillo box on the floor behind Patrick was just there while the plumber was here to repair my kitchen sink. Well, actually, it's still there but I'll get it put away along with the rest of the stuff sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What's a yarn tasting?

What I've finished and what I've started


Here are the completed Waffle Top socks. I only show them as evidence that I've actually completed something, and in a relatively short time. Only two weeks. Also, this is the best match, sock to sock, that I've ever achieved in self-patterning yarn.

Before the needles had even cooled off I started these:

My first ever gloves. I made some mittens a few years ago but they were made flat and stitched up later. These are done in the round and will have demi-fingers. The pattern and yarn are from Dale of Norway. The yarn is Daletta. It splits if you're not extra alert. But the pattern is easy. I'm a little concerned that these will be too big but since it's my first pair I'm just following the pattern. Later, when I'm more familiar with glove structure I'll make some changes.

What's a yarn tasting?

A couple of people have asked this question so I guess I'd better explain. Each person paid $10.00 to participate. That fee was deducted from any purchase made that evening that totaled $75.00 or more. The event was organized like a multi-course dinner. Each "course" consisted of several different yarns that were chosen by the shop owner, mostly from yarns that are new this season. Really it was just a chance to try out yarns that we might not have otherwise been able to test. I've never heard of another shop that has done this, and I don't know if Unwind will repeat it, but it was a lot of fun for everyone

Friday, March 25, 2005

Yarn Tasting

Yarn Tasting

The Yarn Tasting at Unwind was nothing short of a hit. Everything was well organized and flowed smoothly. We had the opportunity to sample fourteen different yarns. The yarns were presented as courses starting with appetizers: Kid Merino by Crystal Palace, Cotton Patine by Elsebeth Lavold and Optimum from Southwest Trading. The Kid Merino, a blend of merino, mohair and nylon was nice and worked up easily on size 3US. The Cotton Patine was my favorite. I bought seventeen skeins in an off white. The Optimum was pleasant to work. It's supposed to feel like cashmere and it pretty much does. I've heard that it doesn't hold up well though so I decided not to buy any.

The first course was Velourine by Fonty, Bamboo by Southwest Trading and Majorque by Fonty. I didn't care much for the Velourine. It's sort of like a thin chenille and is wrapped with a shiny viscose thread. Not my kind of yarn. But it was pretty easy to work. I'd worked with Bamboo before and liked it. I would have bought some of it but there were no colors that I would personally wear. But it's pleasant to knit. The Majorque is a blend of cotton and linen. I thought it might split easily but it didn't. If you like working on really small needles you'd probably like this yarn.

I began to get behind along about here. The Sorbet course was Jewel FX from Berroco. I've never worked with this yarn, alone or as a carry-along. Worked alone it's harsh and unpleasant. It's mostly rayon but the 6% metallic was scratchy.

The Main Course was Cotton Angora from Debbie Bliss, a very nice, soft yarn that felt good in my hands. Good yardage and at $8.00 a ball a pretty good deal. Then I tried the All Hemp from Hemp for Knitting. Very stiff yarn. I didn't like the way my cast on looked as I couldn't get it even. I understand the hemp is good for kids things because it's so durable. I might go back and get a ball of it to get a better sense of it. There were three more yarns in this course: Amerino by Laines du Nord, Glace by Berroco and Rapture from Reynolds. I didn't have time to knit with these. The Amerino is a bit of a novelty yarn, two strands plied that look like they'd be a nuisance to knit. Glace I've used before. It's okay for a ribbon but it's easy to pierce. The Rapture is a lofty silk and wool blend that would make a beautiful sweater or jacket. I will swatch this one before I buy.

And then there was Dessert. I only sampled the Isis from FFF. Another not my kind of yarn. It's a flat tapelike yarn that works on a 5US. Very hard to see the stitches in the swatch but not particularly difficult to knit. The other two yarns were Cherio from Skacel, a paper yarn that's printed with playful stylized flowers. It looked pretty stiff in the sample that I saw worked up. People were comparing it to Handi-wipes. The Macao yarn from KFI looked like a larger version of the Isis but it has a slightly softer hand.

There wasn't much time to shop. But I did get that Cotton Patine. I've been wanting to use if since I first saw it last year. I had a generous gift certificate left from Christmas so I used that and a little of my own money. If I had had more time I'm sure I would have bought more.

There were about twenty five people. A few of them I had met before at Skein. It was very enjoyable and I'd probably sign up for another Tasting if there is one. We were each given a hand out that had all the pertinent information about the yarns and most of us taped small pieces of the yarn next to the names. Each sample had enough yarn to make a decent size swatch. I don't think anyone did though. Too anxious to get on to the next course. I will work up the yarns I didn't have time to try. And see what kind of pattern I can come up with for the Cotton Patine.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Technical difficulties

Technical difficulties

It's been a real techie nightmare here today. I've seen more blue screens than I care to remember. Generally I only have problems in the morning while I'm reading blogs. Some days everything is fine. But I persist.

No rain today but it's pretty cold, by LA standards. Skein was good today, busy but not overwhelming. And I had my Thursday night knitting group to look forward to. And that was good too. I have a triangle and a half to go on my multi-directional scarf and I'm about half way through the gusset on the second waffle sock.

Tomorrow night I'm going to a Yarn Tasting at Unwind Yarn in Burbank. We get to sample fourteen different yarns and all we have to do is bring our own needles. I have a gift certificate from Christmas that I'll be able to use while I'm there. Woo yay! I've lost the list of yarns but I remember there's some Bamboo from Southwest Trading and some of their merino that's supposed to be softer than cashmere. Most of the list was yarns we don't have at Skein so I'm looking forward to seeing them and trying them out. No problem there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Weather or not

Weather or not

Yesterday I decided I'd walk to Skein. Showers were predicted but it didn't look like it to me. It was cloudy but not gloomy. So I walked. It started to rain around the middle of the day. So I walked home in the rain. Those showers were pretty intense, lightening and thunder. Not what I'd call showers. Rain was predicted for today so I drove to work. It was gorgeous all day. But since it was my late night I'm glad I drove. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow. I think we're close to breaking some kind of record.

The past two days have been very busy for me. Five students yesterday and seven today. I even taught crochet to a couple of people today. One of them already knew how but she was running into trouble understanding the British terminology and it had been a number of years since she had done any crochet. So I played translator while she worked the hook. I still haven't committed to actually making anything but I can tell it won't be long. Some of the Rowan patterns are interesting.

I've started the heel flap on the second waffle sock. There hasn't been much time to work on it but I still think I'll be done this week. I'm already debating which pattern to try next. I should probably go back and finish the Fiber Trends Peak Performance sock I started a year or so ago. I wonder where I put it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Waffling or waffle-ing

Waffling or waffle-ing

It is with some trepidation that I try to post again. Will just have to see how Blogger behaves today.

Here is sock one and the start of the second. Here's the pattern I'm not using but it's very similar. It's almost the same except I'm only using 64 stitches and I'm not continuing the pattern on the foot of the sock. I saw the socks that my friend was making and thought they looked cute and would be easy to knit. She's the area rep for Plymouth Yarn and she was using their Sockotta, a yarn I've used before and which I like. So I bought a skein and cast on last Thursday. I should be able to finish these this week. The sock pattern is called Waffles, hence the corny title.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Just wondering

Just wondering

What's up with Blogger? I never used to have problems and now it happens all the time. I just lost my post. Not that it was a biggie but still.

Anyway, I'm just about done with the first sock of the current pair, only 8 rows to go. And then I'll cast on immediately for the second one. And that's about it for the knitting content.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Don't bother me

Don't bother me!

Patrick wants to take a nap. Every morning, after he's had his breakfast, he crawls back in bed. He gets cranky if I disturb him so lots of mornings I don't make the bed. Today though I'm on a quick clean up bender so he'll have to move for a bit. Lisa's coming over this evening so it's time to pick up stuff and tidy a little. Cats don't understand this. They'd rather you just leave stuff where they're used to it being. I'd do that but I'm losing track of where stuff is.

It rained yesterday morning and it was unusually quiet at Skein. I was just beginning to enjoy making some progress on the shop sample poncho when my first student arrived. Ugh! Don't bother me! But she's one of my favorites and we had most of the next hour just to fix a few problems and chat. I'm writing a pattern for her to make a sweater for her husband.

The day got busier after the sun came out a little after noon. I had six more people before it was all over. Of the six, three had problems that were caused by errors in the pattern. Real errors, not just problems with interpretation. (This is happening way more than it used to, or so it seems to me.) So it turned out to be a good day for me. Well, there was that one lady who came in five minutes before closing that wanted me to teach her to knit. And we actually made it. She kept referring to the slip knot as a peace sign. Stuck in the 60s, that one. Well, if you try real hard, it does sorta look like a peace sign.

I only have two more Sundays to work, including today.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Kinda gloomy Friday

Kinda gloomy Friday

Last night was Thursday night knitting. Small group but still fun. I worked on a couple of my many mini-projects, the current socks and the brown Araucania multi-directional scarf. And we had freshly made key lime pie and strawberry cake and equally freshly made lemon muffins. No wonder I don't get much done or lose much weight.

It's been a little slow this week at Skein. I wonder if other shops are experiencing the same thing. The whole week the weather people have been warning us that there's going to be rain all weekend and it looks like they might be right. It's not raining yet but it looks like it could start any time. So this slow thing might continue for a while. Overall, not many students this week. But it's hard to predict. I could have big batch today. It's one of those it's not over 'til it's over kind of things.


We do indeed have rain. And I had seven students today. All at the same time.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Erin go meow!

Erin go meow!

It's me nameday. Thanks, but I'm really not a saint, just yet. Been feelin' a little under the weather but I think I'm recovered. Spent a lot of last night just running all over the house, making lots of noise and clawing the one good chair that's left.

I need to tell you what the Old Guy did. He was working with that whirly, squeeky machine that he puts his yarn on and he did this really dumb thing. He was trying to get one of the wads of yarn ready to put on the squeeky thing. He figured he'd give the yarn a few whacks so that it wouldn't stick together so bad. What he forgot though was that the chandelier over the chair he was using to whack the yarn on was really low. (He ought to fix that.) Anyway, he was just whacking that yarn good and proper and it got caught on the chandelier and knocked a couple of crystals off and one of them broke. He didn't say any of the words that I would have. He just stood there looking stoopid. I went over to see if I could help but he made me go away. All I wanted to do was help pick up the broken crystal. Anyway, that's what happened.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Pink Gift

Pink Gift

Perks are a good thing. Like my lunch is always provided courtesy of Skein. And I receive nice gifts from different students quite often. Today, for example, I got a bottle of plum wine from one student who is just returning from a business trip to Japan and Hong Kong. And last week there was a bottle of Shiraz from another student who knew it was one of my favorites. Most of the time I get candy, cookies or wine. I've never, that I recall, received yarn. (Yarn that I get from my Thursday night group not included.) Until yesterday.

A few weeks ago an elderly lady came in to see if I could help her. Her daughter had died and left a number of unfinished afghans. Unfortunately the piece that she brought was crocheted. I explained that I really didn't know much about crochet and didn't think I could help her. She was so disappointed. So I said I'd try. It turned out to be a fairly simple fix, just some double crochet clusters. So I showed her what I thought she needed to do and walked her through a few repeats. She left with her multi-colored afghan having thanked me over and over.

Yesterday she came back. I only vaguely remembered her. She brought me a gift bag containing this yarn and the needles. Then she reminded me that her daughter had died leaving all those unfinished afghans. She had been saving the yarn and needles and thought I would appreciate having them. They were part of a floral tribute from her daughter's funeral.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Quiet, please. The cat's asleep.

Quiet, please. The cat's asleep.

(I'm trying to re-create the post that just evaporated into the mind of Blogger.)

Monday was a stay-at-home and do laundry kind of day. And some time for serious knitting. Well, not serious, but intense. And I did that. Mostly though, I watched Pat the Cat sleep. He isn't feeling his usual stop-everything-and-come-and-play-right-now self. He seems to be eating okay. He's just not very active. So I played nursemaid which mostly consisted of patting him on the head or scratching his chin when he wanted. I wonder if he has allergies. He's been sneezing a little more than usual lately, once as loud as a human sneeze.

He is better today. We played a little bit but he lost interest pretty quickly. He's sleeping right now so I'm trying to not make any sudden loud noises. Not like when I caught a hank of yarn in the chandelier and knocked off a bunch of crystals that went everywhere and one broke. That was really noisy and made Patrick come to investigate. He found the one that broke and was thinking about trying to eat it but I stopped him before he got to it.

I spent about four hours working on the latest sock last night. I've started the gusset decreases. Had to stop several times to let my thumb come unstuck. I didn't get much other actual knitting done but got some more hanks wound.

So now I'm getting ready for Skein. It's a gorgeous day and I'm looking forward to seeing some of my regulars as well as wondering who else will show up. Patrick is awake now and sitting on the kitchen counter watching the birds and scowling at the dogs and squirrels. It's nice to be able to open the windows again.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The complaint department is over there

The complaint department is over there!

One of several things that I retain from my est training (yes, I'm one of those) is that it's useless to complain about something to a person who can't do anything about it. If something happens that you don't like or approve of it does no good to talk to someone who can't do anything about it. Or so I believe.

Skein will be closing on Sundays after the end of this month. This is not a new thing. It was closed last year during the same time, April through October. I spent a lot of time yesterday listening to one woman grouse about this. I tried explaining that it made sense from Ann Mary's point of view. She just kept on and on. I finally directed her to Ann Mary. This woman does not buy anything. She brings her granddaughter in for lessons. I don't think she'll have much impact.

And then there's the questions of prices. I hear it all the time. It's true that Skein's prices are higher than some other yarn shops. So? There are other shops and there's online shopping. And I have nothing to do with the prices. I shop other places when I feel the deal is better elsewhere, or if there's something I want that Skein doesn't carry. Sometimes, even with my discount, I get a better price, especially on accessories. So, since I can't do anything about it, complain to Ann Mary if you want to complain.

I've been busy with other stuff for the past few days so haven't made much progress on any of my current projects. But today is my day off and my laundry is almost done so I have the rest of today to fiddle with my knitting. I've wound a bunch of hanks and got them put away for now. I'm still working on Dulaan projects and have a sock well underway. I'm not complaining though. I make the decisions.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

How long is permanent

How long is permanent?

I have a bunch, probably thirty skeins, of Reynold's Paterna yarn that is labeled as mothproof. I wonder how long moth proofing lasts. I've only had this yarn for about twelve years. I got some of it out last night to make this hat for my next Dulaan project project. (Thanks, Bonne Marie.) Everything was fine for the first three rows then the yarn broke. It looked like a nice clean break so I just picked up the new tail and kept going. Pretty soon though, it appeared that the yarn had been pretty well sampled by some hungry moth or other fiber loving creature. I'm not sure what I'm going to do now. I'll probably rewind each skein and examine them for damage and see what I can save. I thought the label said "Permanently Moth Proofed" but in rechecking I find it doesn't say "Permanently."

In other knitting related news. I will be permanently, however long that is, adding Wednesday night to my class schedule. That's the night that Skein offers crochet classes in addition to knitting. The current Wednesday night teacher has decided that her main job as a yarn rep doesn't leave her any spare time. The only problem with this is that I don't crochet enough to feel confident about teaching it. And I'm not sure I want to expand in that direction. First I'll have to find a crochet teacher for me. I've asked Ann Mary to change her presentation and tell people that we don't currently have a teacher for crochet. It would help if I liked the look of crochet but I don't so I'm not much motivated to take it up.

Let's see. In addition to the hat that I tried to start I also started a pair of socks using some Sockotta that I bought today. Worked on those tonight at Thursday night knitting. I just finished ripping four rows of pattern because I wasn't paying close enough attention. This is sure happening a lot lately.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Plain brown vest

Plain brown vest

I dug out one of my imcompletes a couple of days ago, a vest I started for Lisa sometime last summer. First off it was a big surprise to find I was farther along than I remembered. I thought I was still on the back but found that I was almost done with one half of the front. I have no recollection whatsoever of knitting that piece. But now it's done and I've started the other front.

I'm using some Unger wool that I got at Mariposa at least seven years ago. I don't think Unger is even is business anymore. The stitch pattern is just double seed so it's not a very exciting knit, but it goes fast on size 8US needles. I tried for a photo but it's so dreary here that nothing photos well. Maybe by the time it's done there'll be some sunshine.

I'm really trying to get caught up on projects that have been accumulating around here. There are some that just need to have the ends woven in and some that need to be ripped. And it's time to reorganize the stash once again. Sort of like spring cleaning I guess, but a lot more rewarding.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

See the pretty socks?

See the pretty socks

I've been really hankering to start a new pair of socks.

See the pretty cables? I don't either. So it's time to try something else. I like the colors in the Wildfoote sock yarn. I like the pattern, Conwy from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush. They don't work together though. I thought maybe if I just kept going it would get better. Then I realized that on size one dpns it would be too much of an investment. So I'm looking for something else for the yarn and a different yarn for the pattern.

But here's the neck warmer that I finished for the Dulaan project. There's a second version with different increases that I'm thinking of trying next. I still have almost sixteen skeins of this Superwash Sport yarn from Asa Gjestal Spinneri. I like the color and the yarn is easy to knit.

My car is home. I hope I have lots of students this week. I could have paid for my trip and the fee for the Knitters' Review Retreat with what it cost me this time. Well, almost. Anyway I have wheels again.

Monday, March 07, 2005

First Fruit

First Fruit

It's been two years. But here's the first harvested lemon from the tree Lisa gave me two years ago for Father's Day.

Not enough for a lemon pie but still. I do have a recipe for lemon bread which takes the juice of one lemon for the glaze.

I'm sorta grounded today as my car is still with the mechanic. The problem hasn't been diagnosed yet. Walking to work hasn't been too bad. I'm more out of shape than I thought so I'd probably better continue walking even after I get my car back.

There are no yarn shops close enough to walk to, unless you count Michael's, so there won't be any browsing today. I just finished the Dulann neck warmer this morning and am considering what to take on next. Probably something from Knitting on the Road. Lisa tried on the Yukon Falling Leaves socks when she came over last night. They were a little loose but fit well enough. If I do those socks again I'll go down to a size one. Anyway, I'll start some socks and then probably work some on the brown vest I started last summer.

Friday, March 04, 2005



If you think this sounds familiar it's because it is. It's raining again. It's rained a lot this winter and it's gonna rain a lot more I guess.

I wouldn't care so much if my car wasn't at the mechanics. Again. No idea what the problem is this time. Poor old thing just wants to keel over and die everytime I come to a stop. So not only do I have a sick car but I'll have to walk to work, in the rain.

But we had a lovely time at Thursday night knitting. It was so good to see our missing friend and to spend time with her. I didn't have much that was exciting to work on. Just some more on my current multi-directional scarf. And a few more rows on the butterfly shawlette. No, I didn't finish it. I was busy enough at Skein that I couldn't work on it very much. But soon.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

By the time I get to Thursday

By the time I get to Thursday

I'm usually out of stuff to write about. And today isn't much of an exception. I stayed at Skein until eight yesterday because the Wednesday night teacher called in again to cancel her appearance. The day had been pretty slow so we weren't expecting anyone to show up. Well, I did have three students, one of whom had to leave almost immediately because of a family emergency. Anyway, I had a good time with the two remaining ones. I even helped with a crochet pattern. I don't actually crochet but I can figure things out if I have to. The other student was starting the heel flap of her first sock. So that was kind of a snap. The down side is that I don't get home early enough to do much knitting. By the time I've played with Patrick and had some dinner it's already late. So I go a couple of rows done on the neck warmer and crashed.

I did get the butterfly made for the current Skein project. Really vague directions so I'm glad I had a picture reference. So today I'll finish, or nearly, the final ball for the scarf proper and be able to sew the ends together, after I gather them a bit, and then attach the butterfly. My hands are longing for some socks to knit. I may have to succumb.

It's Thursday night knitting again. We're meeting at a different spot this week. That'll be strange. We've become so accustomed to Mendy's place that we just all make ourselves at home, helping ourselves to whatever we need. Sugar, cream, more coffee? But we're all looking forward to the evening as we haven't seen this person for a few weeks. We love her a lot and have missed her.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Newest WIP

I'm about halfway through the Butterfly Shawlette that I'm making as a shop sample. This comes as a kit from Needful Yarns. It's a very easy knit of K3/P3 with a garter stitch edge. The main yarn is Kristine, a very loosely plied novelty. The first ball was fine, the second one is a pain. One of the plies doesn't feed well so I'm getting bunched up stitches. I'm having to knit with almost no tension to keep the yarn from separating. There's a second yarn in the kit that's called Crystal. It's used to make the butterfly wings. There are several colors available but Ann Mary chose the grey one. The whole thing is really just a scarf but it's a change.

I made lots of progress on the neck warmer that I started for the Dulaan project. Thought I'd never finish the seven inches of ribbing that is the neck. I've worked through the first third of the increases. Even though there are more stitches now it feels like the rows are going faster. Just having those make ones to do is enough to keep me awake. I hope to finish tonight or at least get to the final section of K2/P2.

Only a few more weeks and I'll start having two days off each week. Skein is open on Sunday from November through March. I'm looking forward to having that additional day. Lots of new people yesterday. We've been at the current location for almost a year and people are still discovering us as well as those who are just discovering that we've moved. The new location is so close to where I live that it makes it hard to even consider going elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Leaving Yukon Leaves

Leaving Yukon Leaves

Not that you can tell much about them but here they are. Finally, after months and months, they're finished. Even the kitchener toe is done. I started these socks last August. I think the openwork will show up a lot better on some actual feet. At least I hope so.

Now to decide what to finish next. The brown vest? The moving cables sweater? Any of a number of socks? The Dulaan neck warmer? The list goes on.

A little later

In my excitement over being done with these socks I forgot to post a link to the pattern. You can find it here.