Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's summer again

It's summer again

It's that time of year when it's the most difficult to know how to dress for the day. Last week everyone was getting into the layered look. This week it's back to bare minimum. It was 102F here in Pasadena today and hotter over in Monrovia. But it should cool down to somewhere around 60F by about three o'clock in the morning before climbing back up again tomorrow. I don't know why we're always surprised by this. It's this way every year at this time.

But that doesn't keep people away from their knitting. Well, not everyone. One lady came in today to stock up on yarns for her Christmas knitting. I don't know her but I know that ten people on her list are getting knitted purses.

I still have a ways to go on the second sock of the pastel stripes pair. And I got started on the front of the white turtleneck sweater I'm making for Lisa. I think I'm going to rip out the last five rows and redo the increases at the top of the ribbing. The M1 increases left holes so I think I did them from the wrong direction. Trying to do these increases at Thursday night knitting was not a good idea.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005



When I get home on Wednesday night I'm usually exhausted. And tonight is no exception. I had eleven students today and eight of them were all this evening from six to eight. That's a lot of patterns and questions to deal with. I don't know how the students feel but I'm not happy when I can only give a quick answer rather than sitting with them and explaining and watching what they're doing. Fortunately all but one person was experienced enough to keep going with only a brief answer and sometimes they can help each other.

By the time I get home, feed the cat and check my email it's usually after nine o'clock and I still want to sit down and do some knitting. I did manage a few rounds on the current socks while I was at Skein and I worked some on the spaghetti squash scarf before I went in today. Anyway, I think I'll go turn the heel on the socks so I won't be too distracted to get the count right tomorrow.

I'm going to stop at Unraveled Yarns tomorrow night and see if there's still room in Annie Modesitt's workshop that's scheduled for the end of October. She's going to demonstrate some of the techniques she used in her circular shrug/jacket that is on the cover of the current Vogue Knitting. Besides, I just enjoy visiting with her.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Garter stitch and me

Garter stitch and me

Garter stitch, that most basic of all knit stitch patterns, is not one of my favorites. It's true that it helps a lot when you want to avoid a rolling edge or when you need a dense, warm fabric. But it's still pretty boring to do. And besides that I always have a hard time when I have to assemble a garment that has garter stitch anywhere in it.

Today I had a new student who needed to put together her granddaughter's garter stitch sweater. Fortunately I had my copy of Nancie Wiseman's The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques with me. I think this is the first time I've ever understood how to use mattress stitching to do this. It's so much simpler than I thought it was. And it looks a lot better than the backstitch seams I usually used on garter stitch.

Garter stitch might just become my new best friend. Umm. Probably not.

Monday, September 26, 2005

This week's projects, so far

This week's projects, so far

I spent most of yesterday knitting the back of this turtleneck sweater. It's from the Very Easy Very Vogue hardcover book. I'm using a different yarn, Tahki's Valetta, so I had to rework the pattern for a different gauge and for a size that's not included in the pattern. Sweater Wizard is a lifesaver sometimes.

The yarn is discontinued now, I think. It's a braided ribbon and is very stretchy. I'm not sure how well this is actually going to work. May be too loose to be comfortable. But I've had the yarn for a couple of years, or more, so it's time to try it.

I've added another triangle to the multi-directional scarf I'm making for a friend's Christmas gift. One more skein to go and I'll be done.

I've been using this sock as my at work knitting. The pair should be done by the end of the week.

I'm taking today off from knitting. I'm doing some fall housecleaning and then Lisa is coming over this evening so I need to get ready for that. I don't have much to do since she was supposed to come over last night but got tied up at her job and forgot, or she forgot that she was coming on Sunday and thought it was supposed to be on Monday. I'm also cooking today, which I almost never do anymore. Red beans and rice and a basic chicken soup, no noodles.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash

and spinach fettucini? Actually it's a garter stitch scarf that I'm knitting for one of my students. It's either Plymouth Yarn's Freedom or someone else's Zigane. Not a fun knit. All those little strips of fabric have to be pulled free of the stitches or the scarf is lumpy. I've been doing a few rows on it every morning and hope to finish before next Monday when I plan to deliver it.

I had a long, cranky post all written this morning but, fortunately, my ISP was being difficult so I finally just deleted it and went to work.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Assorted things

Assorted things

Today is Bess's birthday. Go say something nice and wish her a happy day. Thanks.

This is the red tabard that I finished on Saturday. A shop sample for Skein. I couldn't find anyone to model it so I had to lay it out on my work table. The yarn is Berroco's Suede. After you knit what is essentially a long scarf you let the center stitches ravel. To wear it you poke your head through the appoximate center of the swags and button the two sides. It's been getting nice comments although no one has decided to knit it. I suppose with the right outfit it would be a fun accessory but tricky to wear.

And this is the newest shop sample, a simple top knit with Trendsetter's Fatigues. I had to promise Ann Mary that I wouldn't show her face. I still have to write the pattern and figure the various sizes. The yarn was pretty easy to work with. A thin ribbon of what looks like felted wool with a line of machine stitches running down the middle. Knitted on size 10US needles it produces an irregular surface that feels thick and soft.

And finally. A reader left a comment about a knitting competition she's having. Knit a sweater for a featherless chicken. You can click here to get all the details. There you go, Carrie. Hope this helps.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Eyes as big as saucers

Eyes as big as saucers

Admittedly my memory is bedraggled and riddled with holes. And sometimes things that I try to remember are a bit sketchy. Some have even said my memory is selective but they're mostly lawyers so we don't have to worry about what they think. But anyway, in all my memory banks there is not trace of a recollection of rain in September. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, just that I don't remember it.

But we have it. Electrical storms are scary. We had apocalyptic thunder storms over night with, on at least one occasion, sheets of rain that pounded so hard that it woke me up. Not an easy task. Patrick was really worried. His eyes were as big as saucers as he tried to figure out what was happening. (When I was in second grade we read a story, most of which I don't remember, that had cats with eyes as big as saucers. I could not imagine what that would look like. Now I know.) I don't think I'll be walking to work today. Even though the storm is tapering off it's still projected to last for a while.

But about the knitting. I finished the red tabard that I've been working on for the last couple of weeks. I still think it's an absurd waste of yarn but Ann Mary seemes to think it's terrific. No picture yet. Maybe tomorrow, unless I forget my camera. I have a new project that's almost done, a very simple top that's worked in one of Trendsetter's new yarns, Fatigues. I should also have a picture of this tomorrow.

I spent almost the entire last two days working on the top so I could just get it out of the way and get back to some of my own projects. The holidays are coming and I have a lot to do. If I wait too long before I pick up a project I generally start something else instead. I can remember at least four pairs of socks that are in the works plus a scarf, well several of those, and a sweater for Dulaan that's about a third of the way done. I think I know what eyes as big as saucers feels like.

Friday, September 16, 2005



The things you have to do! Spent an hour or so yesterday babysitting a five month old little girl, the daughter of one of my fairly frequent students. Not exactly babysitting but holding her so her mom could knit. She's a cute thing and just about as sweet and well behaved as I've ever seen.

I'm not one of those people who really responds to babies except maybe in some kind of abstract way so I don't get all excited when I see one. But I couldn't stand that the mom was trying to cast on and knit with some size 17US needles while holding her child in front of her. I didn't actually ask if I could hold Emma but when the mom offered I took her up on it.

So, it was kinda fun after so many years. Not something I'm planning to repeat any time soon. But Emma is cute and makes the funniest faces.

Not much happening on the knitting scene. Just some plain knitting on a sock and some rows added to the current multi-directional scarf.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

No is not an option

No is not an option

Patrick, my cat, is obsessed with being brushed. He would be happy if I did nothing but brush him all day. Right not he's head bumping me to stop what I'm doing and brush him some more. It's only official though if I get up and go sit in my knitting chair to brush him. Brushing at the computer is tokenism at best. He especially likes it if I brush him while he eats. He positively gobbles his kibble if I brush him while he dines. Except, I'm never to brush his back legs. They're ticklish I guess.

I've had such a morning between brushing and internet connection that I'm really going to be late getting all the stuff done I need to get done before I leave for Skein. Even the most jaded of techies would have been excited by the number of problems I've had this morning. I lost count of how many blue screens I got, or of how many times my ISP disconnected or failed to connect. It is the weather? But I persisted and finally finished all my daily reads plus catching up on some that I only get to once in a while. No, I will not let a computer win. Well, not while I still have a little time to reboot.

I restarted the Backyard Leaves scarf yesterday. Only got about 15 rows done as I had too many students going all at once to really focus on the chart. I'm glad I got the Aurora 8 that the patterns calls for. Much better. I think I'll probably do most of the knitting on this scarf at home. You really have to pay attention on this one.

Read the new Knitting Vintage Socks book last night, except for the line by line instructions. Very enjoyable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New book

New book

Just got the new Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. I'm glad we get an automatic shipment from Interweave. I've been waiting forever for this book. I'll be back in a few days.

Just kidding. I haven't had time to do more than look at the pictures. I'm going to start tonight and see how far I can get. Even if I never knit anything from the book it's well worth the price for all the information. I am working on the pattern that is in Interweave Knits latest issue (or was it the one before?) and am trying to figure out where I went wrong on turning the heel.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A change of plans

A change of plans

Sometimes it's hard to plan ahead. I was going to come home and get a couple of photos of what I'm working on and write a little about them. But I ended up staying until closing tonight because Ann Mary told me after I got to Skein that she needed to be away part of the afternoon. Her son came in to run the register while she was gone but he doesn't know anything about yarn or knitting. So I stayed.

And that turned out to be okay since I had five students who all arrived an hour or so before I would normally have left. The shop wasn't very busy so I could work with my students and at least greet the few shoppers who came in.

So no photos and no knitting during the day.

I did start another new project yesterday. My bi-polar student asked me if I would knit her a long scarf. She had already started but was really having problems with the yarn she chose. She gave me a pile of yarn in exchange. Mostly fuzzy, fluffy stuff that I would not normally use. But there is one hank of Cherry Tree Hill ribbon that is quite worthwhile.

I also knit a swatch for a new sweater for Lisa and then revised a pattern from the Vogue Easy Knits book to match my gauge. Haven't started that one yet.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Start Ups

Start Ups

Because I finished those Happy Stripes socks, and because sock knitting is so addictive, I started a new pair. I'm not in love with this colorway. Too much jacquard and not enough wide color stripes. But I do like working with the Sockotta cotton/wool yarn. These will be just plain knitting. I do have several other sock projects going but they're more intricate and require some quiet time in order to count.

What do you suppose this is? It's my start up of Annie Modesitt's Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Styles. I've been wanting to knit this ever since the book came out but kept putting it off until I had some quiet time. One of my friends wants to knit this for her daughter so we're planning a little mini-knit-along. I've started with some Araucania worsted but I'm still thinking about that. The pattern calls for Karabella Aurora. Skein only has this yarn in navy blue which I don't think I want. And I don't seem to have anything in my stash that would be a good substitute. If I have time today I'm going to go see if Stitch in Time has anything.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Happy Saturday

Happy Saturday

Someone, someone who is not very talented musically, started practicing his/her trumpet out in the street around seven this morning. An armada of emergency vehicles pulled up in front of the building across the street (ambulance, firetruck and police sedan) shortly after that. The leather tie on my slippers keeps coming undone and I keep tripping on it. My eyes and moustache were clogged with cat hair when I woke up.(Note to self: brush Patrick more often. Note to Patrick: Stay off the bed.) This is not going to be a good day.

That's why I'm looking at these socks. The colors and the stripes just make me laugh. I've been working on these socks for most of this week and expect I'll be done tonight or tomorrow. They'll be going to Lisa's mom for her birthday next month.

There was a break in the yarn early on and I didn't realize how much that one little knot would affect the stripe pattern. So I had to break the yarn in the same place for the second sock which worked fairly well. I'm one row off of an exact repeat and it shows if you look carefully but I'm leaving it. Socks with a history.

I expect to be very busy today. The weather is much, much cooler. I'm hearing more and more comments about holiday knitting. Hmmm. I think it's gonna be okay after all.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Minor changes

Minor changes

Not much has happened around here for a couple of days. It did suddenly become autumn, relatively. Down to 80F today from 90F the day before and supposedly it will be a few degrees cooler tomorrow. Even a couple of early students today complained of how cool it was. Jackets and shawls are coming out in preparation.

I got my car back after three days. It was expensive. But it's nice to have it again. so far, no new problems.

It was sort of quiet yesterday at Skein but today was better. I had three students all making my ribbed shrug. We've pretty much sold through the yarn it was designed for, Berroco's Zen in the multi-color ways. Now I'm going to make a shop sample using Trendsetter's Fatigues, one of their new yarns. It's going to just be a very simple, easy to do, cropped top with a small capped sleeve. No edge finishing. Just sew up the sides and shoulders. I still need a few more inches on the drapey vest.

So, not much new. Just variations on the same old things.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Dulaan, dulann, sha-na-na

Dulaan, dulaan, sha-na-na

Many of you know about the Dulaan Project and it's goal of warming Mongolia with hand knits and fleece blankets. The 2006 drive is underway and, I hear, off to a good start.

I was surprised to read yesterday that Ryan's "Cuzzin Tom" is being returned from Mongolia to the US. You can read about it here. I hope this turn of events doesn't adversely affect the Project itself.

I ordered a couple of things from Cafe Press. A tee-shirt in organic cotton and a tote bad. They're both really big. I'm hoping the tee will shrink a bit when I wash it. I haven't transferred my knitting stuff from my Fiesta Yarns tote bad to the Dulaan bag but I will, soon.

The week got off to a slow start at Skein yesterday. I'm hoping for lots of students today and for the next week or so to make up for the amount of money I've spent on my car. I'm still working on the droopy, drapey vest for my shop sample project. And I have a few pairs of socks in process for when I'm home.

Patrick is just hoping it cools off soon. Actually this is one of his favorite sleeping positions. I kept waiting for him to fall off of the chair but he managed to stop and turn the other way. It is supposed to be much cooler by the weekend, even down into the seventies. That's hard to imagine since it's still in the nineties today.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The end of Marissa

The end of Marissa

I know you've all been waiting for this day, the day that I post a picture of the finished Marissa. I tried to do this yesterday but by the time I finished the finishing it was too late to get a decent image. Today isn't much better but at least you can see the lace insert. The color is a little off, but it's red, not the billious orange I was getting in yesterday's attempts.

Overall I'm pleased, just tired of looking at it for now. Maybe when I see it on Lisa I'll be happier.

The pattern is from Hot Knits by Melissa Leapman. I used the yarn specified, Classic Elite's Provence, a hard-finished cotton yarn. Four hanks. This is my first experience with this yarn even though it's been around for years. I like working with cotton but I don't think I'll be hoarding this one. I prefer Tahki's Cotton Classic or Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece. And I have lots of each of those in stash. And another four skeins of the Provence in red and eight hanks in a sorta magenta color.

I spent my Labor Day holiday doing the finishing. It was a quiet and fairly peaceful day, except for the dog barking next door and the kids crying downstairs. No one was working on the condo construction and there was very little traffic when I went out to have lunch at Amigos. But it's back to the knit mill today. I'll be walking as my car is having combustion problems again.

Friday, September 02, 2005

World famous secret project photo

World famous secret project photo

Remember how I said I would post a picture of Lisa's birthday socks if she sent me a picture? Well, she did, and here it is. I had to mess around with the color a bit to make them appear more like their real selves but I couldn't get it perfect. This is close though. I was pleased that the stripes came out as a good match even if there is a one row difference.

It's hard to imagine having a holiday weekend right now. The horror of the situation in New Orleans and Mississippi is too overwhelming to even think of celebrating. Find some place to donate, if you can, and continue to press for more effort from our government. Wringing hands and pointing fingers are not much help. Maybe later.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The neckline

The neckline

Here it is, the neck band I was so excited about last night. I'm still very pleased with how it came out, and that I had so few problems getting it right. Click on the photo for a better view. There's so little left to do on this that I'm really looking forward to the weekend when I'm pretty sure I'll finish.

Another busy day at Skein and now I'm about to head out for my Thursday night knitting group. I'll take Marissa along and a multi-directional scarf just in case. Maybe tomorrow I'll have something new to talk about.

How can you tell?

How can you tell?

How can you tell that the knitting gods really do love you and want you to be happy? Well, one way is when you have to pick up 135 stitches evenly around a neck edge and it comes out perfect the first time. Or it's so close that it doesn't matter. Or maybe they were just looking the other way. Or maybe it's to make up for the bad time you had on the short row/three needle bind off the night before. Whatever. I'm done with the neckband on the Marissa. Even the bind off looks good. But no picture tonight. It is after midnight and all. But I'm so pleased with how it came out that I couldn't wait to at least write about it.

I got an email from Cafe Press that my Dulaan merchandise had shipped. I'm getting a tee shirt and the tote bag. I've been trying to get the Dulaan Project button to show up on my blog but I haven't quite figured out the code. Anyone using Blogger that knows how to do this? If so, please let me know. Ryan has been a big help in getting me started but she's not familiar with Blogger's inner workings. So I got most of the way with her advice but I need a little more help. Please.

It's been a very busy two days for me at Skein. I'm already past my "quota" for the week. But it was quiet tonight so I got to come home about an hour early. Otherwise I'd never have finished that neckband tonight.