Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's not too late.

I think everyone knows Stephanie. I mean, the woman is practically a household word, at least in knitting circles. I actually know a couple of other people named Stephanie but if someone says Stephanie to me, it's always that Stephanie that comes to mind. She's absolutely one of the most inspiring of bloggers that I know. She gets way more comments in a single day than I get hits in a week.

Remember the Knitting Olympics from earlier this year? That was her doing. And remember how she got a lot of people motivated to donate to Doctors Without Borders during the tsunami disaster two years ago? Well, she's up to it again. You can read all about it on her blog. Just search her December 2006 archives. I think it's somewhere around the 6th. (Forgive me but I'm too old and lazy to figure out how to do the permalink thing.) In essence she's asking us to imagine that we've added a new family member and that we need to include them in our gift giving. Which I think most of us would really try to do even if we could only spend a small amount.

Now, imagine that this new family member was someone you didn't know personally but you could still include them on your list of people you want to gift. You can make a donation to Doctors Without Borders (just Google it) or you can find a link on Stephanie's blog that will take you to a page that gives you all the information you need on how to make a contribution. It's really easy. I mean, I did it and I had no problem so you know it's got to be simple.

It's never to late to remember the plight of others. But if you can do this before the end of the year it's also a great tax deduction. (If you're motivated by that sort of thing.)I think the goal is getting closer and closer. Maybe you'll be the one that puts it over the top.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A happy group! Here's everyone that was at our Thursday night knitting group party. There are two people in the photo who were not in the original shot. Ain't technology grand! Thanks, Judy, for sending the pix.

Today won't be such a fun day for Patrick. He's going to see the vet for his annual booster shots. I dread it. It's not the vet part. It's the ride in the car. He really doesn't like it and wails and cries the whole way there and back. No matter how much I talk to him and reassure him that everything is going to be all right and that this is just temporary he continues to whimper and sob about how terrible it is to have to ride in the car. He's okay with the vet though. Doesn't seem to mind how much she pokes and prods him. I will probably get a lecture on how important it is that I brush his teeth on a regular basis. Patrick doesn't like having his teeth brushed. Even more than when I brush the back of his legs. So I don't do it as often as I should.

I pulled out an old project last night and worked on it for a couple of hours. Once I figured out where I left off it was easy. I'm almost done with the second sleeve. I have to redo the cap shaping on the first one though. It doesn't fit the armhole. Sweater Wizard really let me down on this one. But there's a pattern in Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns that's almost identical to what I need so I'll just use that, plus a bit of fudging if necessary. It's raining today and I don't have anything scheduled other than the vet visit so I might even finish both sleeves and get them sewn in.

Or I might just rearrange the furniture.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Things are getting back to normal. Today was Dulaan knitting day. I spent four hours making a simple, rolled brim hat. I'm almost done with it. The hat is way too big. It's even loose on me. I'll be starting over. Like I said, things are getting back to normal.

I forgot my camera yesterday. I left it at Lisa's. The pictures of my holiday knitting are in that camera. So there'll be an indefinite delay. Maybe I'll see her this weekend and she will bring the camera, along with the two or three other things that I forgot. This whole forgetting thing is getting to be normal.

There's talk of rain for tonight and tomorrow. Not such a good thing for right now since the grandstands are still being set up for the Rose Parade. But if it does rain it's supposed to be over by tomorrow and we're scheduled for sunny weather through the weekend, including New Year's Day. Last year it poured all morning long and the parade was pretty messy. I may walk over and watch it this year. I can no longer see it from my balcony since the neighbor's palm tree has grown and now blocks my view. Or I may just stay inside where it's warm.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas! That about sums it up. Everything is done. All that's left is to load everything in my car and head out to Lisa's house. I need to be there around nine this morning. I'm looking forward to it.

I spent Christmas Eve in the kitchen. It was wonderful. I rarely have occasion to bake anymore but I do enjoy it. All the presents had been wrapped. All the knitting was done. I had the whole day to do nothing but bake. I made three different kinds of quick breads. All my favorites. Zucchini raisin nut, applesauce and carrot. I have to make the carrot bread because it doesn't call for nuts of any kind. My friend Robert doesn't like nuts in things so he'll get a loaf of that. The other two are loaded. Big chunky walnuts pieces. Mmmm!

I was going to try a new recipe, peanut butter bread. Knitting patterns aren't the only things that have errors in them. The list of ingredients doesn't include butter but the directions tell you to add it. No idea about how much. So I didn't make that one. I'll find something else to do with the peanut butter I bought. Or I'll just have it on toast.

I don't work this week until Friday. That gives me some time to clean house and get things put away. I don't think my little tree will last until New Year's. Lots of dried needles all over the place. So that will probably go tomorrow or Wednesday. Tomorrow is Dulaan knitting day. Wednesday Patrick goes to the vet for his annual booster shots. (I haven't told him yet. He does not like riding in the car.) Thursday is open except for the evening knitting group. So I have stuff to do but there's still lots of time for knitting. What to do first?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Part of what I got in the white elephant exchange last night. Three skeins of Manos del Uruguay, about 400 yards total. It's a beautiful yarn and I'm probably going to make a scarf, once I get over all the scarves I've done for gifts.

The other part of my haul. A hank of Schaeffer Helene, a 50/50 wool/silk blend. Another candidate for a scarf since there's only 218 yards. Or maybe some wrist warmers.

It was a fantastic party. Lots of really delicious, interesting food and free-flowing wine. Who knew knitters could be so wild and silly! There were actually three different yarn exchanges. One person destashing two times. So those weren't technically yarn exchanges. We drew numbers for our turn at picking what we wanted from the wide assortment. I didn't participate in those since I really, really don't need any more yarn. I took a couple of hanks of Colinette Isis for the white elephant exchange that were much admired and lusted after. I think the person who won them was very pleased.

It's finally turned cold enough here for people to think seriously about Christmas. It was 36F when I went out for my morning walk. That may not be cold where you live but it is here. It's a bit warmer now and I'm trekking back and forth to the laundry room. Gotta take care of the mundane. When that's done I have nothing specific to do the rest of the day. I think I'll check out my recipe file and decide which cakes and breads I want to do for Christmas morning. And try to finish one more scarf.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Brown paper packages, wrapped up in string, or in my case, red ribbon. Couldn't find any string. I've just spent the last four hours wrapping fifteen packages, including one birthday present and the white elephant gift. I sure hope there are no surprise guests tonight because I'm fresh out of knitted items.

How's your holiday prep going? I'm nearly done except for some more wrapping for Christmas morning. I don't think I have anything else to buy. One package is yet to arrive but I have faith in FedEx. I'm pleased that I got all this done in time and that now I can get back to my regularly scheduled projects.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Find the cat. Lisa's cat, Jeremy, rarely makes a public appearance. I guess he thought this year's tree trimming was an appropriate time. Give up?

There. Can you see him now? I don't think I've seen this cat more than three times in all the years he's lived with Lisa and her mom. I hear he's very cranky.

Speaking of cranky. I'm getting there myself. Seems like the more projects I finish the more they keep popping up. But I am almost done with the holiday stuff. Finished some hand warmers and a hat over the weekend. One more scarf is past the half way point. I'm working today so probably won't get a lot done but tomorrow is the day I have to wrap some of these things for our knitting group's holiday dinner party. I think I'll be ready.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

As it turned out, yesterday's errands didn't take all that long. Traffic wasn't as bad as I expected and I didn't even have to wait in any lines to make my purchases or to pick up the package. So I was out and back in just over and hour. I still have a couple of items to go but those I can get at work.

I worked on some wrist warmers yesterday until I realized there was a problem with the pattern. At least I had a problem. I've written the designer and am waiting to hear back. So I found a different pattern on line. It too had some major errors. Typos mostly. And I changed a couple of things. I made SSKs where the pattern called for SKPs and made an SSSK where the pattern called for SK2P. I almost never use the SKP anymore and wonder why anyone would. But that's just me. And I used a one row buttonhole instead of binding off on one row and casting on on the next row. I think it's neater and firmer.

So I just finished the first of the wrist warmers and am getting ready to cast on for the second one. I think I'll take the time to chart the pattern as it will be easier than reading text and I'll have it in case I want to make another pair sometime.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I don't know what happened to yesterday. I remember thinking I'd sit down and blog even though I didn't have much to say. Just a quick hello sort of thing. Next thing I know it's way late and time for bed. Someone even reminded me that my blogging has been kind of sporadic.

It's hard to blog about knitting when everything you're working on is a secret as most everything I'm working on is for someone who visits this blog from time to time. I know. That's stating the obvious. But that's how it is right now.

I started a pair of fingerless gloves for someone and I worked on a hat for someone else. I'll get back to those today. We didn't have our Tuesday Dulaan knitting because Mendy is still trying to recover from whatever virus that's been wrecking havoc with her. I did knit a small hat for the project though. I had started it the week before and needed to finish it so I could use the needle for the other hat.

I had worked about half of that hat before I realized that it just didn't look all that great. So that's started over. If this comes out better I have three more just like it to make before Christmas. If it doesn't I'll just go back to my basic stocking cap pattern and get them done.

I have to go to Petsmart today. Patrick is down to the last few nibbles of kibble and we could certainly use some new litter. I dread going. Petsmart is in the same shopping complex as Best Buy and Old Navy. I just know it's going to be a madhouse. And another trip across town, in the opposite direction, to pick up a package that USPS didn't leave. I'm bracing myself and plotting the least likely to be crowded routes.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Roger's Gardens has lots of interesting things to see. I was especially tickled by this bank of ornamental cabbages. I'm tempted to get some and put them on my balcony but since it's already overcrowded out there I'll probably just forget it.

It was a beautiful, cool day. There was talk of rain but there wasn't any. Well, it did rain later that night but while we were out and about it was all sun, all the time.

A planter filled with anemones. You can see how sunny and bright it was.

There were lots of temptations. Rooms filled with every kind or tree ornament, wreathes, garlands, whimsical dishes. Just lots and lots of stuff. I don't want or need any more stuff but I love to look at it.

Holiday knitting proceeds apace. I spent half an hour looking for a size 8US, 16" circular. I know I have several but they're all hiding somewhere. So I'm using a set of dpns to make a hat for one of my most frequent students. I don't like the way it looks so I'll be starting that over once I get another circular. I finished a couple of other things and have started some more that I may or may not get finished in time. Or maybe I won't need them once I make a definitive list. Some people will get a package with just the yarn and a promissory note.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Me: Ugh! I don't feel like walking today.

Other me: You have to go walking. It's important for you to do it every day.

Me: I'll take a longer walk tomorrow. I have the day off.

Other me: You can't. You're going to Roger's Gardens

and you have to be in Fullerton by 8:30. Come on! Get going!

Me: But I'm tired and I want to sit and knit for a while. Besides, my gluscose readings are really good now so I think I can afford to skip a day once in a while.

Other me: Your glucose readings are good because you walk every day.

Me: I hate it when you talk sensibly.

I have this conversation, or a very similar one, every morning. All the while though I'm getting dressed and ready to go out. Some days are harder than others. And today, for some unknown reason, my legs were really feeling fatigued. Sort of an overall ache and maybe a cramp in my right calf. It got better about half way through the walk. Maybe just because I knew I was on my way home.

No time to knit this morning though. I have to do a couple of things on my way to Stitch in Time so I have to leave earlier than usual. I'll get to knit while I'm at work. Still making progress on the Christmas gifts. And mentally sorting my stash for the white elephant yarn exchange.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My sister sent me a Christmas tree from Maine. The tree's from Maine. Not my sister. She lives in Arizona. They have trees there but not this kind.

Patrick had to check it out. I don't think he's ever seen a Christmas tree. I haven't put one up since way before he came to live with me. I think he ended up being kind of neutral about it. He didn't try to eat it so I guess it'll be okay.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Still plugging away on the Christmas knitting. No pictures yet. Not until it's all gifted. And I keep thinking of things I'd like to knit and people I'd like to do something for. Must stay focused and finish what I've started.

We're having a White Elephant gift exchange at our Thursday night knitting group. We're supposed to bring a yarn that we love but know we will never knit. That's hard. How do I know I'll never knit something? How do I know I won't live to be 175?

I tell you, it's really nice to have three days off in a row, plus the two day weekend. Working two days a week is going to suit me just fine. Today is knitting and chores. Yesterday was Dulaan knitting. Tomorrow I'll figure out when it gets here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

So. I finished the socks that I've been working on for the last few weeks. Picture after they're gifted later this month. I also started another pair using some bamboo sock yarn that I've tried several times before. I don't think I like working with bamboo all that much. Not much give and it splits and frays easily. I've only done the ribbing and the first two rows of the lace pattern so I'll wait until there's some visible progress to take a picture.

A nice leisurely day yesterday. Knitted until eleven the went to meet my friend Mendy for lunch. Stopped on the way to pick up my prescription at Kaiser and then to the property management company to drop off a check for my association fees. Went to the barber shop since I had some time before meeting Mendy. He was too slow so I left and walked across the street to The Peach. After lunch we went next door to Unraveled and had an impromptu sock knitting lesson.

Back to the barber shop and got my hair cut. Back to Unraveled and stayed there and knit and chatted until time to go to Thursday night knitting. Worked on my current multi-directional scarf.

It was really great to just be able to take my time and not be rushing to get somewhere.

Today starts the big sale at Stitch in Time. I'm curious to see how that goes. I went last year as a customer and it didn't seem all that frantic. So I hope I have time to work with a couple of people who have said they'd be in for a lesson.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Done. No tears were shed; no walls crumbled. It was a great final day. Lots of my favorite students dropped by to sit and chat. And then out to dinner with one of them. Ann Mary wished me well and encouraged me to come back if I get bored with all the extra time on my hands.

All that extra time is quickly being turned into more knitting exploits and other venues. Private knitting lessons and additional knitting nights are being proposed. We'll have to see how that goes. Probably nothing will happen until after the holidays.

So, on to something else. I finally got my copy of Victorian Lace Today. I'm looking forward to spending some time with that. And working my way through a stack of unfinished projects. Clearing up the living room. And getting ready for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It is awkward, to say the least, at Skein. Ann Mary, understandably, doesn't want me to say anything to anyone about my leaving. I, on the other hand, feel that I need to let people know that I won't be there when they come in for lessons. I have tried during the past month to be as low key as possible. Other than what I've written here and the few close friends I have made while I worked at Skein I have not said anything. Today Ann Mary finally began mentioning that there would be a different teacher later in the week. She hasn't been able to tell anyone that I'm leaving. I'll be glad when it's over.

Not much to report on the knitting front. Just working as fast as I can to finish the current sock which should happen tonight or sometime tomorrow. I need to check my completed projects drawer and make a list so I know how much more I have to do to be ready for Christmas. I'm afraid to find out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

One final reprise of Thanksgiving dinner, sans les pommes, and now I'm done. And I'm feeling just as uncomfortable now as I did last week. But I couldn't stand to throw anything away and there wasn't really enough to save. Now I just need a nap and the repeat will be complete.

But I can't take a nap. I'm running too far behind on my holiday gifts for that. But I'll be having more time starting this week. Two more days at Skein and then I'm back to two days a week. My schedule at Stitch in Time has been changed. I'll be working Monday and Friday from 10 to 5, and that's it. I'm looking forward to the extra time off.

I'm not as busy at Stitch in Time as I was at Skein but we're expecting that to change now that the schedule has been finalized. And there's a big sale on yarn and needlepoint canvases starting this coming Friday. 30% off all knitting yarns and canvases. So come on by.

I've finished one pair of socks so I have a set of needles available. Just have to decide whether to start another pair or to finish some of the ones that were started for Christmas last year.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The street in front of my condo is empty today. There are no classes at the community college so no vans or SUVs are blocking the view as I try to exit my driveway. I think everyone is at the mall already. When I went for my morning walk the parking lot at Michael's was full. It wasn't even seven o'clock yet. I don't get it. What's so great about going out before daylight to spend money on stuff you could get anytime? Are the deals really that good? Or is it just part of the holiday hype that makes everyone think they need to do this?

I used to work for a major retail store. Back in the day, we didn't open early the day after Thanksgiving but shoppers still got everything bought. I wonder if it really makes that much difference in the day's take. I'd much rather shop on-line.

So. How was your Thanksgiving? I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. I didn't overdo it this year, except for the second dessert. And there's a surfeit of leftovers in my fridge including some delicious pumpkin soup. So tonight, when I get home from my last Friday at Skein, I'll be able to just heat up a few things and relive yesterday's gourmand experience.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy (foggy) Thanksgiving!

Happy (foggy) Thanksgiving!

This morning we've got fog. It's lovely. Especially since we've been having really warm weather lately. It appears that things will cool off for the next few days. For which I'm thankful.

Not much for me to do today in the way of Thanksgiving preparations. I bought the wine a week ago. That's my contribution to the event. Robert insists on doing all the cooking. Another thing for which I'm grateful. I can cook but I don't enjoy it anymore. I plan to spend some time going through stash and trying to restore some kind of order. At least to the stuff that's on shelves in my living room. I was going to try to get my laundry done but someone else beat me to the machines. I think it's the people that are moving out today. What a way to spend the holiday! But they've managed to buy a house after the husband won a bunch of money on a TV game show. Anyway, since I can't do laundry, I'll just relax until it's time for me to head over to Santa Monica for dinner.

Why is it than when you're knitting lace the yarn over you forgot is almost always at the beginning of the previous row? I'm knitting a lace shawl, not from the new Victorian Knitting Today but from Nancie Wiseman's Knitted Shawls, Stoves and Scarves. I do have the VKT on order (from it hasn't arrived as yet. Maybe tomorrow. I'm hoping to have the shawl done before Christmas but at the rate I'm going it may not be this particular Christmas.

Here's to everyone, celebrants or not. Have a happy Thanksgiving Day!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Oh my sock! My beautiful sock! Fated to live alone. Incomplete and unmated. Off to join all the other projects that never lived to see their full potential.

People love this sock. They cheer when they see it. It's my first sock done with non-sock yarn. Art Yarns Supermerino 8. I've worked on it for several months. It was nearly done at one point but then I discovered a hole that couldn't be denied. So I ripped it back to before the heel flap and reworked it to where you see it now.

I was just thinking about how I would be able to finish this pair in plenty of time for a Christmas gift. The second ball of yarn is no where to be found. I've looked in all my project bags. I've checked all the stuff stacked on the dining table. It's just not here. Upset doesn't begin to cover how I feel.

I'm going to give it a few more days, hoping the other skein will turn up. If not I'll just have to make something else. But these socks were what I wanted. If anyone knows where that other skein is just let me know. No questions asked.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Yesterday we went on a field trip. Our friend Lulu put together a trek, via the Metro Gold Line and Red Line, to Hollywood to visit Black Sheep Knittery. Knitting on the train was fun but not all that comfortable. Not enough space between the seats for me.

It's a cute shop with lots of yarns, many of which I had never seen before, only heard about. Alchemy. Peace Fleece. Fleece Artist. It was definitely worth the trip. This blurry photo is just a hint of what is inside.

I hadn't intended to buy anything. I always say that. But I ended up with this.
A hank of Fleece Artist Kid Aran. I got some sock yarn too.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I've got almost nothing. Except this knitted handbag that I finished last week as a shop sample. I finally remembered to not only take my camera but also to use it.

I forget the exact name of the two yarns. One of them, the light color, is Ziggy from Filatura di Crosa. The black, furry yarn is something by S.R. Kertzer. Two skeins of each. The handle, murano glass bead and bangles, is from Trendsetter as is the plastic mesh frame on the inside of the bag. The pattern is our variation on a Trendsetter pattern. Ann Mary is supposed to be getting a fancy button so I can make some kind of closure thingy but so far she hasn't looked.

Another busy day yesterday even though it started off pretty quiet. I finished the mismatched socks and notified the customer. They haven't been picked up yet. I'm curious to hear how the socks were received.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's still summer here. Temps in the mid 80s although it's pretty cool at night. I took that picture a few years ago when Lisa and I went to Oak Glen, a touristy apple-growing area just east of Los Angeles, up in the mountains. It's about as autumny as it gets around here.

The warm weather generally affects the yarn business but yesterday was definitely an exception. There were already three people waiting to be let in when I got to Skein yesterday. Ann Mary was a few minutes late which doesn't usually matter. Anyway, the shop was busy all day and I had more students than usual for a Tuesday. I did, however, manage to get most of the second mismatched sock done. I should finish that today and then get back to one of the other pairs I'm making for Christmas gifts.

Wanna work in a yarn shop? Skein is looking for someone to teach on Saturdays. Ann Mary asked if I'd be interested in holding special classes on Saturday, like sock knitting. No way. I'm looking forward to having my weekends free again, after seven years, and to having a couple of days in the middle of the week that I don't have to be somewhere. Not having to contend with the other residents in my building for time in the laundry room. Maybe I'll even have time to go through my stash and organize and edit. One thing's for sure. I don't plan on being guilted into filling in at Skein.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I didn't know until just yesterday that mismatched socks are a fashion trend. Lisa tells me that packages are available that include three socks, two that match plus a third one that doesn't. Who knew?

The sock on the right was knit by one of my students, except for the toe which I did for her. The one one the left is the one I'm knitting to go with the one she knit. She started her sock last year with the intention of giving them to her one year old daughter. She's going to give them this year instead.

Because she's pregnant and her hands are too swollen for her to knit she asked her husband to see if I would finish them. She's from Taiwan and speaks no English beyond hi, goodbye and thank you. Her husband sits with us when she takes a class and translates. He's actually pretty good at it. I think he knit himself when he was younger. Anyway. I asked him why she was making mismatched socks and he just shrugged. "It's just something she wants to do."

The socks have a longer than usual leg because they're supposed to be slouchy. Another fashion note of which I was unaware.

Friday, November 10, 2006

alea iacta est or in some versions alea est jacta. Take your pick. Either way I have made a decision and implemented it. I will be leaving Skein at the end of November. My last day will be the 29th.

I told Ann Mary this morning. I know she was disappointed but at the same time not too surprised. And she did say that she had concluded that she would not be able to honor her initial committment to match the offer I had from the new shop.

Really, it's not primarily about the money except indirectly. I will be able to work far fewer hours and earn more. And I'm tired of the strain of the daily routine. It will take a while for me to reestablish myself at the new shop. I've promised not to make a big deal about leaving so I'm sure some people, those who don't come in very often, will be surprised. Ann Mary did refer one person to me yesterday while I was working at the new shop. So maybe she'll continue to do that once I've left.

So now it's on to the holiday knitting.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What day is it anyway? Must be Thursday since it's my half-day off. This working six days a week is already becoming more than I think I want to handle. So what I'm going to do is still up in the air. I'm waiting for Ann Mary to make a final decision as to whether she can really afford what she offered me to get me to stay. I'm more inclined to just let it go and cut back to a couple of days a week at the new shop. I'm pretty much over feeling bad/guilty about leaving Skein. I've been told by a number of people that they only come there because I'm there and that they would follow me to the new shop. I hope to have some resolution to this by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, back to the knitting. I finished, finally, the purse I've been making for Skein. Of course there's no picture. You expected maybe I'd remember to take my camera? I'll try again tomorrow. Whatever happens I won't be making any more samples for the shop until at least after the holidays. I'm so far behind right now that I'm already considering alternatives.

I should be doing some chores right now but I'm just going to go knit for a while and probably take a nap. Patrick continues to wake me up at 4:30 so he can eat and get a good brushing before he goes off to sleep some more. I actually like getting up that early. I can read my blogs and get my morning walk in before the traffic gets too busy. I even stop at the market once in a while to pick up stuff that I forgot to get the last time I was there. But after a few nights of four to six hours of sleep I need to catch up a bit. And I need to leave for my afternoon gig early enough to stop at Kaiser to pick up some prescriptions and get a flu shot.

I did start another multi-directional scarf and I have some socks (three pair) that need some attention. And the cat wants some more brushing.

Friday, November 03, 2006

"How many of those things have you made, anyway?" Slightly sneering tone. That's what she said as I pulled this scarf out to work on it yesterday. This is at least the twelfth multi-directional scarf I've made. I like making them. And for me, it's all about the knitting, not the finished piece. So what if I make the same thing over and over. I do the same thing with socks. I'm a bit over half way through the yarn supply and will probably finish this one over the weekend. I have the same yarn in another colorway so there'll be another one coming soon to needles near you.

The first day at the new gig was great. Everyone was very welcoming and made me feel good. And three students during the four hours I was there. The shop has such a totally different personality from Skein. Boisterous comes to mind. About half the store is taken up by needlepoint and needlepointers. Noisy group. But lots of fun. I'm sure I'll get used to the noise level after a couple of weeks. I haven't run a cash register since the late 70s. So that's new. And trying to remember where everything is stored will take a while. I really appreciate how helpful and supportive everyone is being.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I know. I know. That is so two days ago! Technical difficulties. And I still think it's great. I think Halloween is Lisa's favorite holiday.

So. I start my new job today. I'm excited and maybe a bit nervous. I know the people who already work at A Stitch in Time. Well, I know them from the outside, as a customer. That's about like saying I know Opr*h because I've seen her on television. Everyone seems nice and I really like the owner. But what will it be like to be on the other side of the register?

I do have a student already lined up so that should break the proverbial ice. My friend Mendy is coming in to get some help on her sock knitting. And if I know Mendy, which I do, she'll probably also load up on yarn. We're meeting for lunch before. Going to Islands where we can blow all the calories we've been saving for the last week.

It's still slow for me at Skein. Only two students on Wednesday. That's not a lot when I have to spend ten hours there. I started a knitted bag. It's one of Trendsetter's patterns but we're changing it and using a different yarn. It'll probably take me another couple of days to knit the cover and then I'll attach it to the plastic mesh frame and add one of Trendsetter's very expensive glass bead handles.

Meanwhile I'm still working on the MD scarf and the socks. Tonight is Thursday Night Knitting so I should make some progress on those.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I have a great picture of Lisa's jack-o-lantern. I can't post it though because Blogger isn't cooperating at the moment. Maybe later.

Skein will be open on Sundays starting this week. I won't be there though. I need that day off. I'll be working two days a week at another yarn shop* starting tomorrow and will still be at Skein for four. Enough!

It's going to be tough getting my own projects done. Maybe I'll be more focused. Maybe there will be more small projccts. Or maybe it won't make any difference.

*A Stitch in Time
2465 Huntington Dr.
San Marino, CA 91108

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We have a new regimen around here. Patrick, my cat, has decided that he'd much rather have breakfast at 4:30 instead of the almost equally unacceptable 5:30. This has nothing to do with daylight savings time. It started several days before we regained our purloined hour. It's really getting to me. Once I'm up I don't go back to bed. Perhaps I should but I get started on my day and before you know it, it's time to go to work. I tried going to bed earlier as a means of compensating. Didn't work. Patrick decided that that would be a good time for some extra scratching and petting. He, meanwhile, just eats a few nibbles and goes back to sleep. Anybody need a cat?

So, how's the knitting? Not a lot to report there. I'm still plugging away on the Boku multi-directional scarf and I'm into the gusset decreases on a pair of socks. Yesterday was our Dulaan knitting group. We don't always get a lot of people for this as many of the knitters who started with us have jobs and stuff that they didn't have when we started. But yesterday there were five of us. We met at a different venue. The weather was really nice so we sat outside on T's patio. We also had a champagne brunch. Really nice. Fresh melon salad, a sort of sausage quiche and croissants, preceeded by currant scones and followed by pumpkin cheesecake. Everyone wanted to know if we could meet there again soon, before the weather gets too cool. Oh, I worked for most of the time on a sweater I'm making for Dulaan and I finished another rectangle for our afghan.

I got a bunch of Fleur de Laine that was on sale at Velona's last week. I'm thinking maybe I'll make something for me but I'm holding off on starting until I finish something, anything, just finish something. And I emptied out one of my canvas bags and found a sweater that I had abandoned three years ago, mostly because I lost interest. Now I'm going to rip that and start something else. I used the yarn doubled so that'll take some doing to separate the strands into hanks so I can wash and de-crimp the yarn before I can use it again. It's a lot easier to think of things I'd like to do than it is to find time to do them. And I get to change my mind without having to rip.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Just one more picture from my Utah trip. (There are others but I imagine this is enough.) The view from the balcony of my brother's house. The Wasatch mountains and Utah Lake with a new development in the foreground. There are new developments everywhere.

Getting back in the swing of things was pretty easy. Enough students to keep me occupied and plenty of time to exchange stories about my trip. I worked on the current multi-directional scarf that I meant to start while I was on my trip but I realized I wouldn't have time so I left the yarn at home. I also ripped back a sock that was almost done. Back to the start of the heel flap. Because there was a hole that I created while trying to compensate for not having shifted the pattern to be centered over the instep. I thought I could live with it but I couldn't.

I finished a pair of socks last night that have been in the works since summer. And the chevron scarf is done except for weaving in a few ends. I need to choose another sock yarn and get started. Tomorrow is another trip to Velona's with a friend who has never been there. I haven't figured out when I'm going to get some laundry done.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Home from Utah. It was a great trip even though there was not yarn shop to visit. I did teach my great-nephew to knit while I was there. (Or is it grand-nephew when he's the son of your niece?) Turns out he's been waiting to learn since he first saw me knitting three years ago when we were both visiting my brother in Idaho. He is quick and really understood how the stitches were formed, even to the extent that he could knit backwards without me even telling him such a thing existed.

I didn't manage much knitting myself. I'm almost done with the one pair of socks I took with me. The yarn I took to start another pair I gave to my g-nephew along with a set of dpns. He seemed to really like the yarn and since he didn't have his own supply I thought he should have something so he could keep going while he's interested.

Even though I didn't get to any yarn shops, I had a great time. I talk with my brother usually about twice a month but I haven't seen him for three years. It's hard to believe we were so much at odds when we were kids. He sure can talk though! I don't think he stopped more than five minutes at a stretch while I was there. We took several longs walks with his new dog, Queen. You can make her out on the left of the photo above.

The abandoned stone house is on the edge of the lake where he lives. I don't know anything about it. The area where he lives is high desert, very dry and frequently quite windy. Nearly everywhere you turn there is construction going on. New houses all over the place. Looks like Utah is really growing and expanding. We did take a ride through some of the towns on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. And we went to a state liquor store. That was strange, and way more expensive than where I live.

So it's back to work tomorrow. Even though I was only gone a few days it seems like I have been away for weeks. Patrick, my cat, was happy to see me, even if he was a bit disgruntled.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Halloween Socks for 2006. Finished last night about 10:30. They're just plain stockinette but I think that's all I needed for this yarn. And they fit. Lisa tried on one when she was here last Sunday.

I've just cast on and started another pair of socks, also in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. This time I'm doing the Broadripple Sock in a colorway called Birches. This is the third or fourth time I've used this pattern. I'll be taking these socks with me to Utah. I'll also be taking the Boku yarn to make another multi-directional scarf. And maybe another pair of socks that just need a few rounds and the toe shaping to be finished. See you next week.

I don't have any idea what activities my brother has planned. I hope there's some sight seeing and maybe he'll have included some yarn shops. But I doubt that. I'll look them up before I go. I'll pack this afternoon and make sure I have my camera and some extra batteries as well as all the other stuff I need everyday. I bought a new alarm clock so I could make sure I'm up at 3AM to get to the airport ahead of time. I wonder what I'll forget.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've waited about as long as I can for Blogger to upload my photo. I'll be late for work if I wait any longer. So, just imagine that you're seeing one and a half socks here. I'm started on the gusset decreases of the second sock, the 2006 Halloween Socks for Lisa. The Cabin Fever colorway is just perfect for this time of year and I'm really happy with the way the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock feels.

I didn't make as much progress yesterday as I had hoped. Way too busy. Chaos and pandemonium might be a better description. Right from the start of the day until I finally got to have lunch at about 2:15. Everyone had a problem of some sort and most of them involved ripping back, either to pick up dropped stitches or to correct a misunderstanding of the pattern or to recheck a gauge. It was noisy! I don't think the shop was busy but I didn't have time to notice.

I'm not ready for my trip but I have tomorrow off so I can get everything done then. Not hard to pack for just a few days. Still deciding on what knitting to take.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I don't have any knitting pictures so here's one of my cat, Patrick. He doesn't always look so stern. I think he was just irritated because I was keeping him awake.

I'm going to Utah at the end of the week for a few days. Lisa came over last night so we could spend some time together before I go and so I could review all of Patrick's idiosyncrasies and how to deal with them. He actually knows her so I think they'll get along fine.

Like most knitters who go on trips I'm trying to figure out which projects to take. I don't know what my brother has planned for the four days I'll be at his new home. This is the brother that used to live in Idaho. He has a new dog so I'm sure I'll have to spend lots of time admiring her and all her many entertaining tricks. But there will be time to knit, especially since my brother spends a lot of time on the computer doing his stock market stuff.

Meanwhile, I think I may be losing it. I have been getting myself psyched up for a homeowners meeting tonight. Sat down this afternoon and read through all the rules and regulations. Then I went to check with my neighbor to see if she wanted a ride. The meeting isn't for another two weeks. Oh, well. At least my homework is done. I think it's getting to be time for me to write things down.

Today was Dulaan knitting day. I'm working on another sweater. It's not far enough along to take a picture yet. Mendy and Judy worked on squares for the afghan we're putting together. I need to get some more of those done myself. But first I want to finish a pair of socks for Lisa. One is done and the other is about half way to the heel flap. If it's as slow at Skein this week as it was last week, I'll have plenty of time. I'll also try to finish the chevron scarf, but that one's not due until Christmas.

Friday, October 13, 2006

It's not Kureyon. It's not Silk Garden. It's Boku (pronounced beaucoup) from Plymouth Yarn.

I first heard about this yarn last week when a friend of mine, who also happens to be the rep for Plymouth Yarn, asked me if I had seen it yet. She did say that it was Plymouth's answer to Noro. I don't think she meant it was exactly the same, only that it had some similar qualities.

Even the label is similar. Skein was supposed to see the yarn last Tuesday but Ann Mary cancelled the appointment. I found these at Unraveled in Monrovia. They only had four of the six colors because two colors are still on back order. So I got four skeins each of two colors.

I couldn't wait to see how it would knit up. Since I've used Kureyon for lots of multi-directional scarves I thought that pattern would be a good comparison. I do like how the yarn feels in my hands. Much softer and less scratchy than Kureyon. And the yarn is more even throughout although there is some slight variation in thickness but I haven't had any of those sewing thread thin spots that Kureyon sometimes has.

The color, while it's pretty enough, is not as edgy and startling as Kureyon is. I haven't knit enough yet to see if the color changes are as unpredictable as Kureyon. The put-up is 99 yards per 50 gram skein and works on a US size 7 four stitches per inch. And it's a lot less in price. These skeins were $6.65 each. And Unraveled is having a 15% off sale all this month.

The yarn is a blend of 95% wool and 5% silk. It needs to be handwashed and laid flat to dry. So far I like it a lot. I may have to go back and get the two other colorways.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Here's the current permutation of the Cotton Kureyon scarf. The one I was making originally was just too deconstructed looking for my tastes. This one is only better to the extent that at least it's not awkward.

Part of the problem may just be the yarn itself. It's pretty flashy. At least for my current color preferences. I like a lot more subtlety. This scarf is just one in a series of knitting disasters. I haven't been able to start anything that doesn't turn to trash in my hands. I ripped a pair of socks yesterday for the third or fourth time. Nothing seems to be working right now.

Do you ever have anything like this happen? There seems to be some sort of disjoin between what I want to do and what I can do. So I'm sticking with simple stuff for a while. I started a new pair of socks yesterday. Just plain socks but using some Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn in the Cabin Fever colorway. So far, so good.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


One day last week I went with a couple of knitting friends to see the new yarn shop, Abuelita's, in South Pasadena. I had already been warned that it was very small and had a very limited selection of yarns. That was certainly not an understatement.

The shop is very cute though. It's in a part of South Pasadena that is being regentrified. Actually I once considered renting an apartment in the building where the shop is. There is no entrance for disabled people, only a narrow flight of stairs that lead from the sidewalk up to the second floor. If you don't know where the shop is you might have a hard time finding it as there's only a small sign over the door. When you first enter you see the mural. Sorry it's so washed out. I had to use a flash since the entrance is quite dark, especially if you're outside in the bright sunlight.

The knitting yarn selection is very limited; some Colinette, some Lang, some Crystal Palace and a few other brands. The needlepoint selection seems to be better but since I'm not much of a needlepointer I'm not sure. There are two rooms of needlepoint canvases and fibers, but no Persian. "We don't do wool."

There's an enormous table in the knitting yarn room. I can't imagine how they got it in there unless is was assembled on site. The shop has a busy class schedule so it looks like that's how they plan to succeed. I bought four balls of Crystal Palace Blippity just because.

Knitting with Balls

I got a review copy of Knitting with Balls by Michael del Vecchio. You may know him from his blog.

I think I was expecting something different. The book is, however, well written and has a few projects that would be fun to knit. And there are lots of instructions and patterns for beginners.

I'm not sure if I would have started knitting just on the basis of this book. When I started to knit about thirty years ago there wasn't much available in printed form and I didn't know anyone who knit. I think people either knit or they don't and a book isn't going to motivate them to start. It might, however, keep them going. If you know someone, male or female, who'd like to learn to knit, this book would be helpful. Most of the patterns are really basic but they're a lot more interesting than a garter stitch scarf.

I'm a little put off by the title. It seems like a too obvious attempt to sell knitting to another segment of the potential knitting population, one that hasn't been successfully tapped to date. If you like Michael's designs you might want to get a copy of the current Knit'n'Style magazine. He has a sweater in there.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I have been accused of using too many drab colors in my knitting. While I don't think the accusation is justified I do admit that I have a preference for grey and most other neutrals. However, I think this new scarf gives the lie to the judgement.

I don't know if Noro makes this yarn anymore. It's Cotton Kureyon, 70% cotton, 30% wool. It's not quite as rough as regular Kureyon but the colors are just as vibrant and unusual. I'm using an Artyarns pattern, the Zigzag scarf. I had tried a couple of other ideas but the strong horizontal striping was too much for the stitch patterns. I made a couple of these scarves last year. They're more interesting than the famous multi-directional diagonal scarf but are just as easy and addictive.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The new big project, the Trilogy jacket, has not been started. I've been concentrating on getting this little red sweater done for Dulaan 2007. And then I started another one; and then a scarf. But I'll get there.

Today, though, I'm off to Velona's again. I can go to Velona's on the slightest of provocations. It's not that I really need anything but it's so reassuring to go to Velona's. You know there will always be enough yarn for everyone. I do think I'll see if they have any more of the Kureyon Cotton. I found some in my stash last night. I don't know when, where or how I got it. But I could use another skein. And maybe some Sirdar Country Style in an old colorway. Velona's is that kind of place. Maybe they won't always have what you want but the odds are better than most places. And Rose always makes an extra effort to find what you want.

Anyway. I'm going to Velona's with my friend Lulu. She's never been before. They have a yarn that she's been looking for, an old Anny Blatt something or other. So we'll pick that up and see what else we can find.

I really, really need to get my stash organized. I started to clean a bit in the yarn storage room yesterday but it was so overwhelming that I just left the vacuum cleaner where it was and went off to knit and take a nap. On the other hand, it's always such a surprise to find stuff that I've long since forgotten. Like the Kureyon Cotton. And some Manos del Uruaguay that I don't know about.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Today is L.A. County Fair day. My friend Judy and I will wind our way from the distant parking lot and into the once bucolic setting. Nowadays there's more of an open-air mall feeling to the whole place. We'll try to avoid being run into by the unruly kids and drunken adults. And try to stay cool. It's almost always hot in late September and this year is no exception. Plenty of asphalt and very little shade.

I'm not sure if we're going to see any animals. Mostly we're planning to see Lisa's exhibit, Education Expo, and then visit the Tapestry Hall where they have all the needlecrafty things. Visualize afghans and over-the-top sweaters and toys. (Skein was one of the sponsors for the speed knitting and crochet contests.) Maybe we'll hit one of the marketplaces. One of our customers yesterday said her granddaughter had purchased some alpaca at the Fair so maybe we'll see if there's still any left.

Meanwhile I've decided on my next big project. This jacket in color 7609. It's an easy pattern. Just moss stitch and a bit of shaping. Not sure when I can get started though. I'm trying to finish a sweater for Dulaan (one sleeve to go) and there are a couple of pairs of socks still awaiting their turn.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

There have been lots of cute cat pictures this week. Knitting bloggers do this a lot, especially when they really don't have any knitting content. Why should I be any different?

Patrick loves books. Well, he loves to sleep on books, especially knitting books. They have such sleek, slippery paper. He has been known to flip pages to get to one with more ink coverage.

I finally got around to moving all the knitting books from the dining table to the floor so I could organize them and, theoretically, put them away. Patrick was delighted when he saw this. He almost immediately selected a stack of Vogue Knitting for his nap. I had to disturb him to get a copy of last winter's issue to show Lisa the yoga wrap that I want to make. Not to be outdone Patrick moved to the other small stack, Knitter's Magazine. (The one you can see is the one that has the pattern for the Sunset Wrap.) He slept like this for at least an hour.

It's great that he likes knitting magazines. He doesn't ever bother my needles or the yarn. I guess he's more of an intellectual type of cat. On the other hand, he can be very irritating. All he thinks about is getting me to brush him some more.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Here it is! The Sunset Wrap, at last. Lisa came over last night and tried it on. She loves it. And it's just in time for autumn. Even though we're still having summerish weather.

I'm generally happy with how it came out. I had to rework the shoulder seams several times before I got them right. I still have five skeins of the Tahki Ravello which may become a top if I can find something to put with it. But it'll be while. The yarn isn't all that much fun to knit. It has no give and it snags like anything. But it's sure bright!
It would also come in handy if you ever needed to direct traffic.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sometimes my every day, thirty minute walk only takes twenty minutes. On other days it can take forty or forty five minutes. Whatever it takes, I do it every day. Well, except Mondays when I have to be somewhere earlier than other days. I don't particularly enjoy going for a walk. In fact, I'm always complaining to myself about how I don't want to go, but at the same time I'm lacing up my shoes and getting my headset on so I can listen to some music as I go.

It's sort of like tinking. I know I hate to do it but that it's something that I need to do if I want a good result. But the whole time I'm saying to myself, "Oh, I hate doing this. No one's going to know if there's a small mistake." On and on, over and over. But first thing you know, like walking, I'm done. Home again and back on track to reknit what I just took out.

Lots of my students seem to delight in hearing that I make mistakes. If they only knew! So I admit to a few mistakes now and then. It's encouraging in a perverse sort of way.

One thing I've noticed though. A mistake will almost always be at the beginning of a previous row, almost never at the end, so you have to tink at least two rows to get to the fix.

None of this is apropos of anything. It's just what I was thinking about as I was out walking this morning.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Southwest Trading Company's Phoenix. I've used this yarn before and it's a pleasure. I think this is going to be a short sleeved pullover of some sort. Just need to fiddle around with it to see how much it will take in the way of stitch pattern etc. When I'll get to that I don't know.

I'm giving up on the two remaining photos. They're both of some sock yarn, one a gift and one from the de-stash. You'll see it eventually when it's transformed into actual socks.

Yesterday was disappointing considering how busy I was on Tuesday. A couple of students late in the day. There weren't all that many shoppers either. I did spend a couple of hours helping a guy pick out yarn for a cable sweater. He wanted a nice yarn but didn't want to spend what that would take. Finally settled on Galway Chunky. It'll work but won't be as spectacular as the RYC called for in the pattern. I wonder how he was paying for the Mercedes sedan he was driving.

It's a day off for me. It's also laundry day. I'd better get started so I'll be done in time to go to Knit Night.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

So much for the additional photos. Blogger is not available at the moment, at least the photo upload part.

Four students yesterday, one of whom started two pairs of socks. One for her mom and the other for her husband. That one's a secret. Another student was in to learn how to turn a heel. She'll be back today for the gusset. Just not enough time in the day. And another hat started, for the third time, by a different student. How to describe the fourth one? She's trying to teach herself, which is fine, but she sure didn't get it when it came to Kitchener grafting the shoulders together. So we redid that and got started on the hood of the sweater she's making. Showed her how to do a M1.

That doesn't sound like so much when I write it out but it really did occupy me most of the day. Holding hands can be slow sometimes. So I didn't finish the shop sample slippers or start the second sleeve of my current personal project. I did start it last night and have the twenty rows of ribbing done.

All this sock making has got me hankering to start a few pairs myself. Maybe it wouldn't hurt if I pick a colorful self-striping yarn and cast on. I'll take some with me today and see what happens.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What to do with six skeins of Koigu. I got these last week in the yarn de-stash that was put on by one of our group. I'm thinking shawl but I could be persuaded to make something else. Maybe a shell. Ideas?

Or these sixteen balls of Mystik DK. It's pretty dressy so maybe a lace bordered jacket or sweater. I haven't worked with any of this company's yarns. It's from Estelle, a Canadian company. I do have some silk in stash that I got a couple of years ago, in an earlier de-stash held by the same lady.

And there are thirteen balls of this cotton yarn, Kelly. This is a totally new name to me. It looks a lot like Katia's Arc en Ciel but it's a bit smaller, more of a dk than a worsted. Short sleeved jacket?

There's more but I think I'll wait to show it off.

The homeowners' meeting was a dud. Not enough people showed up to have a quorum but the jerk who said he wasn't going to be there, was. He's such a waste of time. After I got home I finished the first sleeve of the rust tweed sweater I've been trying to get done. I'll start the other one today while I'm at Skein, after I finish the felted slippers I'm knitting as a shop sample. One is done and the other is started. Ann Mary will do the felting and then I'll do some sort of embellishment on the instep.

Monday, September 18, 2006

No matter how many times I've tried I'm not able to load photos from Blogger this morning. And I had a lot. Maybe later.

Not too much knitting this weekend. I started a new pair of socks on Saturday evening. By the time I stopped, my left wrist and thumb were really aching. So I took the day off yesterday. Well, until the evening. Worked a bit more on the sock and realized that it was causing my wrist to ache again so I switched to a sweater that's been in the works for several months. Much better. Using size 6US vs size 2US. And I notice I don't hold the needles quite the same way so there's more motion instead of the vice-like grip that I use when I'm knitting socks.

I'll work some more on the sweater today. After I do all the running around and errands that I need to do. Tonight I have to go to a homeowners' association meeting that I'm dreading. It might not be as bad as I anticipate because the one person who causes so much discord has indicated that he won't be there. That should help us stay on point and get it over in an hour or less.

Well, off to the post office and the market and to Petsmart for more kibble and stuff.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

You can click on the photo if you really want to see a bigger image. These socks, which I started several months ago, finally resurfaced last night. I sorta vaguely thought I'd finished them but I guess that was another pair of similar color and size.

It had been so long since I worked on these socks that I forgot that I had Kitchener stitched the toe on sock number one. Just before trimming the final thread on the toe of sock number two I decided to check to make sure they were the same length and lo and behold there was the proof that I would have to rip back on the second sock and redo it. Which I did and now the socks are ready for gifting. Someone has a birthday next month. I can't believe I'm already ready.

Friday, September 15, 2006

No pictures and very little knitting content today. Last night was our knitting group's weekly meeting. I managed to redo the shoulder seams on the Sunset Wrap. Wrong. That's the third time. The two sides are so similar that it's hard to tell which one is which. I thought I had it right this time until I realized that I had grafted from the inside rather than the outside.

I still have a few ends to weave in and then, when I see Lisa next, I'll get some finished photo shots. A couple of people tried it on last night and gave it their approval.

We had a yarn redistribution event last night, unannoucnced. So really it was just one person who was getting rid of stash. Maybe I'll have time on the weekend to get some photos of my score.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Halloween Hat is done and the pattern is written. It's never too early to start promoting when you work retail. Skein happens to have lots of orange yarn right now.

I used one skein of Sirdar Foxy for the black "fur" and one skein of Tahki Panda for the main part of the hat. I need more yarn for the scarf so I'll get that tomorrow when I go in.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I tried to post this morning but I ran out of time waiting for Blogger to upload this simple photo. It's no longer up to date. It's about seven inches longer than it was this morning. This is my first sweater for Dulaan 2007 and it's more red than orange no matter what the photo shows.

I'm using some Superwash Sport that was donated by one of my knitting friends. I made a couple of things from it last year for Dulaan. It's a nice, sturdy yarn. The pattern, at least so far, is one from Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. Since we decided to knit more small sizes this year I should have enough of this yarn for at least two sweaters.

I finished the Ironstone shawl last night but didn't get around to taking a picture. I don't think Ann Mary likes it very much but I have sold some yarn already because of the sample and I had a couple of ladies drooling over it this afternoon. It's hard to beat glitzy yarn when you want to be impressive, especially on a large scale piece.

Next up, a Hallow'een hat in black fun fur and orange something that looks like strips of foam rubber. And a matching scarf.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I finished the Sunset Wrap. It's done but must be undone. Lisa tried it on and gave it her enthusiastic approval. I'm not happy with the shoulder seams. They draw in too much. So I'm going to take them apart and try sewing them together instead of crocheting them. The seams draw in somewhat in the photo in the magazine but I think I can do better. I might try a three needle bind off first just to see. I really don't like sewing and will avoid it if at all possible.

Meanwhile our Dulaan knitting group is getting back in gear. We have been meeting sporadically but we'll soon be back on our weekly schedule. There were only four of us yesterday. I guess some people have jobs now so they can't make it. I'm looking for some new volunteers.

This week should bring us lots of new fall yarns. Skein already has the newest Berroco yarns and the Katia is in house waiting to be put on the shelves. I've seen the new Tahki/Stacey Charles/Filatura di Crosa books. I hope the yarns arrive this week along with the Westminster/Rowan/Jaeger stuff. We got a lot of sock yarn last week. I was a little disappointed in the color selection. I had asked for brighter, more playful colorways. There are some nice colors but I'd have preferred something wilder.

Latest shop sample is a triangular, garter stitch shawl using Ironstone's Pizzazz. Not very interesting to knit but it will probably sell a lot of yarn. I've finished the first hank. When it's done I'll add some Trendsetter Ruffles (those faux abalone things that look like potato chips) along the outer edges. Maybe.

It has been a bit busier the last week or so. Probably because it's been in the 80s and low 90s for a few days. And school is back in session.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I buy a lot of yarn. Sometimes I buy yarn just because it's there or because I want to show support for a local yarn shop. I buy way more yarn than I'll ever be able to use even if I were a faster knitter.

It's rare that I obsess about a yarn, can't quit thinking about it, will it still be there tomorrow. That sort of thing. Skein got this Berroco Trilogy a few weeks ago. Ann Mary is just now trying to find a place for it on the shelves. I had to get a bag of it before anyone else saw it. The photo doesn't come anywhere near showing its wonderful mix of colors and textures. I've no idea what to do with it but it's mine!

The yarn comes in other colorways but none of them compare to this one. They're more monochromatic, which is fine if you like that sort of thing. Why settle for one color when you could have this riot?

I also bought ten skeins of Berroco's new Ultra Alpaca. A 50/50 blend of alpaca and wool. Pretty basic yarn. Off white worsted weight. But it's really soft and I think the wool will help show off some interesting cabling. It's put up in 100 gram skeins at 215 yards (198 meters) and is priced at $10.50 per skein. I still can't believe that price for that much yardage. I would have expected a much higher price. No picture yet. I'll need a swatch first.

Eight more rows and I'll be done with the Sunset Wrap except for four short seams and weaving in the ends. I'm taking an additional project with me today because I'm pretty sure I'll finish this by noon unless I get a lot more students than I've had lately. The weather has changed abruptly and we're supposed to be ten or twelve degrees cooler than yesterday. I hope they're right.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Willpower. That's all that's keeping me going on the Sunset Wrap. The back and one front are done and the other front has 18 of the 106 rows done. I've long since memorized the pattern so all I can do is just keep knitting.

I had a very quiet Labor Day. Just me and the cat trying not to do much because of the heat. It's didn't break 100 yesterday but 98 is close enough to still qualify Labor Day Weekend as one of the hottest of the year, as usual. It was 100 on Sunday though. I went to my friend Robert's house where it was only 80 and he was complaining about the heat. So anyway, yesterday was quiet.

I have about an hour before I need to get ready to go to Skein so I guess I'd better go do some more orange rows.

Friday, September 01, 2006

What a clean floor! And a nice photo of the birthday socks in use. And, yes Lisa, they work quite well with your red skirt. Thanks for sending the pic.

Here it is September and summer is hanging on tenaciously. Labor Day is almost always one of the hottest days of the summer around here. It doesn't look like we're going to break a hundred this year though. But we'll be close enough.

Since this is the last holiday weekend of the summer I don't expect we'll be very busy at Skein the next couple of days. I did manage a couple of full pattern row repeats on the Sunset Wrap yesterday and will do at least that much today. Well, that's the plan. I'm finding it extremely difficult to stick to one project and not let my mind wander off to some of the new patterns and yarns I've been seeing. If I just keep gritting my teeth I should be able to finish this sometime next week.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Does this look like viscera? It's some Araucania Atacama, 100% hand dyed alpaca from Chile. Skein got it in several months ago and it has been languishing on the shelf since then. I don't know why. I'm hoping it won't be so gutsy when it's all knit up.

The yarn is featured in the Ella Rae Pattern Book #1. The photos are so murky and dark that it won't even scan. I had planned to make a simple t-shirt sweater but now I'm thinking, maybe shawl. I'll have to work up a swatch and see. And ask Lisa which she would prefer.

The back of the Sunset Wrap is finished and the first front is started. Pretty busy day on Wednesday so not much else got done. I have today off and need to decide if I'm going to knit or clear all the knitting books off the dining table. If I knit I'll make a lot of progress. If I clear off the dining table it will just have to be done again in a few days. Maybe I'll just clear off one end and then knit.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oh, bother! I've been trying to trick Blogger into letting me upload some old scans. Pictures of Lisa and me when she was still an enfant. And I was a lot younger, too. Anyway, I can't seem to make it happen. Probably because the scans were not saved as j-pegs since the old scanner wouldn't do that. I don't have the original prints so I can't rescan using my new scanner which will let me do that. So I guess I'll have to ask Lisa to bring the photos over so I can rescan them.

Meanwhile. Today is Lisa's birthday. People are always telling me that's she's a lucky girl to get so much of my knitting output. Au contraire! I'm the lucky one. Not only do I get a lot of pleasure from making things for her but she enjoys getting them. I don't know how she stores it all. And on top of that, she's an all around terrific person. Intelligent, independent and alway supportive. We always have fun when we're together even though we don't do somersaults in the backyard anymore. Lots of people think they have the best daughter in the world. And I'm sure they do. But so do I!

Yesterday turned out to be a bit busier than I had anticipated so I didn't get as much done on the Sunset Wrap as I thought I would. But I'm close to finishing the back. Only nine rows to go and then to cast on for one of the fronts. We'll all be glad when that's done.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A week's worth of knitting. The Sunset Wrap back is one and a half row pattern repeats away from being done. This has been my project of choice for the whole time, except for when I was finishing those birthday socks. I'll get a lot done on this today while I'm at Skein since Tuesday is not usually one of the more frantic days.

The yarn I'm using, Tahki's Ravello, isn't all that great to knit. It's 45% cotton, 35% polyethylene and 20% viscose. I think it's the polyethylene that's making it so stiff and unyielding. There are a lot of K2tog stitches in the pattern, sometimes on top of the previous row, so you need some give if you're going to get up any speed. Most of the time I'm having to really force the stitch to take shape. I had to stop last night because my left wrist was beginning to ache. Looking at the detail I can see how lots of my stiches are irregular because I can't maintain a constant tension. Given how orange it is I don't think anyone will notice.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Lisa's having another birthday in a couple of days. Here she is holding the socks I knit for her. She loves them and says they'll be perfect with her red skirt. I knew she'd love the colors when I saw the skein. Just her favorite orangey color mix.

We went looking for a shushi restaurant but the two places we tried were closed. The one place we used to go isn't quite what it used to be so we didn't want to go there. We ended up having Mexican at La Nueva Posada. Lots of locals swear by this place and I don't know why. The food was just okay and the margaritas were overpriced. It must be the people watching experience. Now, that was worthwhile! And, no, I'm not going to go into detail.

We also went to Whole Foods. I'd never been. If I ever go there again I'll be sure to take a list. There's no way I could decide on the spot which of the many choices in nearly every category I'd want to buy. We really went just to browse but I found some soap I'd been looking for and some grapefruit shampoo that I didn't know I wanted.

I'm trying a new approach to my knitting projects. I'm not even looking at new patterns until I finish whatever it is that I'm working on. There are entirely too many projects that need to be finished. I did buy some more yarn last week that I'll show you when I can get a decent image. I already knew what I was getting it for and I had a lot of store credits that needed to be used. For the moment though I'm just focusing on the way orange wrap. Photos to come.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

There. The Lorna's Laces Camouflage sock yarn I bought yesterday. I might already have this colorway tucked away somewhere. Or maybe I've just looked at it so often that I think I already have it. I didn't find it in a cursory pillage through my sock yarn stash but that's not conclusive. So I either have enough for one pair or two. There were other colorways that appealed but I had decided I'd only get enough for one pair so this was it.

I enjoy knitting socks. Well, I enjoy starting them. I can think of at least five pair that are waiting for me to finish. Some are nearly done; some are just to the heel on the first one. I haven't tried most of the more esoteric ways of knitting socks: magic loop, two-at-a-time on seven circulars, short row heels and toes done at the same time. I did once make a sock toe up. I could see doing that again. I resisted making socks for at least twenty years. Now I love it. Who knows? I may succumb to socks with a moebius cast on someday.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

While all our friends were sweltering in the 95F temps in Pasadena and Monrovia, we were in the cool 73F breezy clime of the Long Beach Marina. That's where Alamitos Bay Yarn Company is located. We arrived shortly after 11AM and had a bit of a look around to see what we'd like to come back later and purchase.

Lulu on the left, Mendy on the right, getting ready to do some knitting.

Renee on the left, Judy on the right, knitting and finishing baubles for a Noni bag.

We saw lots of fancy boats and the backs of lots of houses. This is one of the channels in Belmont Shore. I think.

Although we were riding in a small runabout boat called a Duffy, there's more than one way to take the tour. You could take a gondola. This one had a table down the center and a bunch of women who looked like they were having a lot of fun.

So, yes. We had a great time. It was very relaxing, of course. Not much knitting got done as it was so peaceful to just look at the houses, the boats, the kids rowing in kyacks and to just let the slow pace and cool breeze lull us.

I only bought some Lorna's Laces sock yarn. I have a photo but I can't get Blogger to upload it. I guess I've used my quota for the day. Maybe tomorrow.