Tuesday, January 31, 2006



So, I've decided that I'll get a new computer and I hope to have it up and running sometime this coming weekend. Meanwhile it's not going to be possible to post any pictures. Or much of anything else that I normally do when I've finished reading all the daily reads etc.

It was pretty stressful for me yesterday, trying to figure out what to do and making up my mind whether to just go ahead and get a new PC. I had a hard time settling down and working on any of my existing projects. So I started three different scarves, things I'd been meaning to try for a while. I thought maybe I'd make every scarf in the Box of Scarves, I and II. I've already made some of them so I'm going to try to make the rest of them. Admittedly, some of the scarves are not worth doing, or at least they won't work for anyone I know. I may skip those or I may do them just because they're there.

Maybe by the time I finish this batch I'll be able to post photos again.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Things that don't work

Things that don't work

These mittens work. It's another pair of mittens that I will be sending to the Dulaan Project. I hope to get the final version of the pattern posted to my pattern page in the next day or so. That is if I can get my computer to work.

I've been getting blue screened again and some occasional freezes. And lots of warnings that there is not enough system space available to function. Even though things happen. I just have to wait a bit. Most of the time.

I went to Best Buy this morning to get some ink cartridges because my printer doesn't work. I've been getting low ink messages so I think that's the problem. Best Buy is out of the ones I need.

So while I'm there I decide to look at computers. That works. There was actually someone there to help. Except I'm not real confident about how to transfer stuff from my current computer to the new one. He suggested that all I needed to do was copy things to a disk and load that into the new computer. Can it be that simple?

I also looked at VCR/DVD players because my current VCR doesn't work. It won't eject. I looked around and found someone who graciously pointed to where the players are and then he left. I didn't buy one yet because I know I will have to unload everything from the cabinet so I can move it out from the wall in order to hook up the new one. I'll have to work on that.

I went to the post office and that worked. I sent off a couple of packages to friends in North Carolina. If that works they should have them in a day or so. I also went to Kaiser to turn in some test material. Like to never have found a place to park. But that's done. So far all the regular check up tests I've been taking are fine. Normal, for me, is how the recording put it. I don't know what most of the tests are but I'm normal and that works for me.

Here's another thing that doesn't work. I swatched this on Saturday night and washed it. It's way smaller than it's supposed to be. But I figured I could just make the next size and everything would average out.

The yarn is really hard to work with. It feels almost greasy. It's a two ply tweed that was a gift from the Thursday night benefactress, the one who gave me all that yarn last week. I spent several hours working the rib and about ten rows of the cable pattern. The back of my hands felt like all the little bones had been crushed. Then I began to fret that I won't have enough yarn to make the vest I had started.

I looked inside the cone to see it there was any way I could figure out how much I had. The handwritten label said 839 yards per pound. But I don't know how many pounds I have. I'll have to uncover the kitchen scale. While I was looking at the label I saw that the yarn was rated at worsted, not the dk weight I thought it was. So I ripped the whole thing and my hands feel much better.

And furthermore, my local classical radio station doesn't work. They're having transmitter problems. So I've been trying to listen on line. That works, sometimes.

Friday, January 27, 2006



As much as I'd like to, there's just not enough time to knit everything I'd like to for the Dulaan Project. If you've seen the pictures on Ryan's blog you know how much the kids in Mongolia love receiving these warming gifts. I can't begin to knit everything I'd like to.

So I was really happy when one of my on-line friends offered to help. I'm sending these six skeins and will add more if I can find it in my stash. Well, I'll send more if she wants it. I'm trying to get as much gathered together as I can. Yarn that will be warm and easy to care for. If you're interested in doing some knitting for the Dulaan Project, let me know and I'll send it. I'll try to post pictures next week of what I've come up with.

And speaking of sharing. One of our Thursday night knitters decided she needed to reduce her stash, again. That's always a fun time. This is some Noro Sumile. I'd never seen or heard of this particular yarn. It's a flat chenille made of cotton, silk and nylon. I have nine skeins of it. About a thousand yards all together. No ideas yet.

There's also eighteen skeins of Dale of Norway Heilo sitting in a bag in my living room. A marled yarn of brown and beige. No photo because I forgot to take one while I was doing the others. I'll have to see/play with it a bit to know what sort of pattern I'd like to use.

Oh! and Happy Birthday, Mozart!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I was amazed

I was amazed

at how quickly I pulled the needles out and raveled an afternoon's knitting. Only a couple of expletives that were perhaps excessive given the circumstances. And only a brief twinge of an urge to trash the yarn and needles and give up knitting forever.

I can't really blame it on surfing while I knit. There wasn't anything wrong with the knitting. Except there were four too few stitches. Always check your pattern first. I've made these mittens before, just in a smaller size. I thought I remembered how many stitches to cast on and the pattern repeat worked out okay. It did seem a bit different from mitten number one but I thought it was probably just me not recalling the previous mitten correctly. So I kept on.

When it was time to start the hand, after two and a half inches of K2tbl, P2, I decided to check to see how many rows I needed to work before the start of the thumb gusset. (Here's where the expletives occurred.) I really didn't want to send one red mitten to Mongolia so Off The Needles. Cast on the right number of stitches and am about half way back to where I was yesterday.

It's good for me. Right? If you knit, you will rip. Especially if you don't read your pattern first.

Monday, January 23, 2006

All wrapped up

All wrapped up

I finished the Tzarina wrap, (Wrap Style by Pam Allen and Ann Budd) yesterday morning, including sewing on the buttons and giving it a good steaming. Lisa came over last night and picked it up.

I think I'm always a bit disappointed in how my finished objects look, at least until I've had some time to put some distance between them and me. Lisa had a shawl on last night that I had made a few years ago and I thought it looked fine. So, yes, I'm a bit unhappy with this project. I think maybe I need different buttons. These seem way too big to me now. But Lisa liked the wrap a lot. I do like the yarn and the colors. And it's soft enough given the angora that's in the blend. I'll see how I feel about it the next time I see it.

I've been a little slow at the shop. No one yesterday, which turned out to be a good thing. The shoplifter, or the person we think is a shoplifter, was back. I had to spend at least half an hour following her around and watching her every move. She tried to return three balls of yarn but she didn't have a receipt so I wouldn't let her return them. She said she'd be back on Tuesday when Ann Mary is back from TNNA. (Note to self: call Ann Mary and warn her.)

Back to knitting. I've just started the second of a pair of Dulaan mittens. And I found a pair of socks that is almost ready to have the heel turned on the second sock. So I'll concentrate on those for the rest of the day.

I never did get the books and magazines organized but I did get them picked up and put on the bookshelves. I had to take a lot of yarn off the shelves to do it so now I have some new piles to deal with. But I did manage to empty one cube in my wall o' yarn. I sent the rest of the Kitchen Cotton away.

I found 30 skeins of Barufa Baby Alpaca that I'd forgotten about. I got it as payment for knitting a sweater for one of the yarn reps, probably ten years ago. There was also a bunch of stuff, a cotton blend, that I got when I first started knitting seriously, from Super Yarn Mart, a chain of yarn shops that used to be all over the place around here. They've been gone for ten years or more. So this is some pretty old stuff.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sometimes there's just no news

Sometimes there's just no news.

Things are pretty quiet around this blog. There's nothing really new to report. I am almost done with the bind off on the back of the Tzarina wrap. I should be able to pick up the stitches for the collar tomorrow and finish it by the end of the weekend. That's really all I've worked on this week. I did discover I'm missing a stitch. I can't find anything dropped so I'm assuming I didn't cast on enough when I joined the two fronts. I'm going with it the way it is. If something shows up later on I'll do whatever I need to do to fix it. Once this is done I'll spend the next couple of weeks finishing up some more stalled projects.

I'm still deciding which project to do for the Knitting Olympics. The Aran Pullover is the frontrunner but today I pulled out some cotton/acrylic blend from my stash and did a swatch. (Sirdar's Opium which I think is discontinued. I've had it for at least seven years.)I'm thinking maybe I should do something for the coming spring/summer season. I can still do something with cables to make it interesting. On the other hand I really ought to use the Jo Sharp Aran Tweed.

I'm also trying to organize my books and magazines. Right now I have a bunch stacked in the middle of my living room. Pat the Cat loves to sit on magazines so they're getting a bit strewn around. Tonight he was playing with his new catnip toy and rolling around on the books so they're even more strewn. I'll try to get them put away tomorrow night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What to do, what to do!

What to do, what to do?

I suppose everyone knows about it by now. I started running across references to it this morning when I was doing the blogs. Since I read blogs alphabetically it was a while before I got to Stephanie's blog. And there it was, the Knitting Olympics challenge.

That's seemed like a great idea. But what to do that would be a challenge. I have several projects that I would like to get started on but I'm notoriously bad about completing them. So that's really the challenge for me. That, and picking something I really would enjoy working on and that would keep my attention from wandering.

I could do the Lady Eleanor shawl from Scarf Style. Probably not interesting enough. And there's a sweater I want for myself from the Noro Kureyon I got last week. Too easy to keep me going. I may have to use that yarn for something else now that I think of it. And then there's the Aran Pullover by Kristin Nicholas from the current Interweave Knits. I think that's the one I'll do. I have the yarn and now's a good time to work on it. I still have some time to think about this since the challenge doesn't start until Feb. 10.

Meanwhile. I went to Stitch in Time on Monday to pick up a circular needle for the back of the Tzarina wrap. The stitches will fit on a regular length straight needle but it's a squeeze. Stitch in Time has the best prices on knitting accessories of any local shop. You might do better on line but you'd have to wait for it.

While I was there I came across this yarn from a company named Lucci. Never heard of them? Neither had I. They're in Bayside, NY. I liked the colors and the sort of fuzzy, felted look the yarn has. So I got a couple of skeins. $8.00 each. I'm at the end of the first skein and just about ready to start the decreases on this, the fortyleventh hat I've made in the last two months. I know. They're easy but at least I finish them.

Monday, January 16, 2006

It's a wrap!

It's a wrap!

Well, actually, it's half a wrap. I'm making the Tzarina wrap from Wrap Style. The yarn is Noro Kochoran. It's going pretty fast so far. It would have been faster except I didn't go back and check the dimensions so I knit the fronts two inches longer than the pattern called for. I think that will be a better length for Lisa. I've already purchased an additional skein.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Getting it right the first tie

Getting it right the first time

Not that there weren't mistakes. Most of them were caused by my not reading the pattern carefully enough and miscounting a couple of times.

I'm using the Lady Eleanor shawl from Scarf Style as my initial sampling of entrelac. So far I think I'm getting it. I looked at a couple of other entrelac pieces just to see how they're similar and different from this one. Certainly they're not all the same but there's a generic quality that's helpful.

I'm using some scrap Encore just to see all the steps. I can understand why a more "rustic" yarn might be appropriate for this shawl. It has a blurring quality that will help to minimize some of the irrgular stitches that happen when you have all that picking up and slipping and SSKing going on. I'm not sure if I'll proceed much farther with this but if I do I think I'll use some Noro Shinano that is somewhere in my stash. (There's that Noro thing again.) I imagine the gauge is going to be different but I think that won't matter so much.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Knittin' Mittens

Knittin' Mittens

I finished these mittens this morning shortly after I got to Skein. I asked a couple of people to try them on. And they liked them. I used about two thirds of one skein of Brown Sheep Nature Spun.

I need to fine tune the pattern before I post it. I'd rather use a make one increase than the bar increase. And I'd like to test drive a different size. I'd like to get this down to a simple, quick to do project. If I'm going to knit mittens I want them fast.

I had a really nice day. It's amazing what an extra day off can do for your attitude. This seemed to be the day for socks and the somewhat related wrist warmers. I worked some on my current pair and some on the Tzarina wrap that I'm making from Wrap Style. Now I'm going to go see what's involved in doing entrelac. How hard could it be?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

More yarn and other stuff

More yarn and other stuff

I had a gift certificate that was burning the proverbial hole in my proverbial pocket. I could have waited until Thursday when I would be in Monrovia anyway but I didn't want to wait that long. I'm glad I didn't. This Ironstone handpainted ribbon, Infinity, would probably have all been gone by then. They still had some of each of five colors but there wasn't much of some of them. Anyway I got this. Sorry about the photo. I even went outside to take the picture. Probably should have used the tripod. This is 100% cotton. The label says "Spun in England" whatever that means. I have 785 yards which I hope is enough for a top for Lisa.

Here's the Brown Sheep Nature Spun I got yesterday at Velona's. I've started a pair of mittens that will go in my Dulaan box. I'm adapting a pattern kind of as I go. The original pattern called for working flat and sewing the side seam. I'd rather not do that. Not sure yet if I'm going to graft the end or turn it inside out and use a three needle bind off. I made some mittens last year for the project but I wasn't very happy with how they came out. I think these will be better.

And also from Velona's. Five hanks of Classic Elite Waterspun. I think each one will be enough for a child's hat. I've never used or seen this yarn. But I have heard of it. It is very soft, 100% merino. Should be warm. It's probably also going to go to Mongolia.

Someone, I don't know who, must have made a contribution to Doctors Without Borders in my name. I got a form letter from them thanking me for my recent $35 contribution. I haven't sent anything to them since the beginning of last year. So I don't know who to thank. If you sent it I'd love to know. If you wish to remain anonymous, okay, but thanks anyway.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Did you know?

Did you know?

You can still get Noro Kureyon at Velona's for $8.95US per skein. That's one to two dollars less than other stores in my area. So, depending on who you compare them to, I saved twenty or forty dollars today. And I already have the pattern in a book for something else so that's practically free. Now all I need is a little more time.

This may be the year of knitting Noro. I've started a wrap using Kochoran and I have a cardigan in Silk Garden that is ready to go. Now this sweater, for me, plus there'll no doubt be several multi-directional scarves along the way and some one skein hats. I want some of their new Silver Thaw but haven't found exactly what I want to do with it. And I'm going to wait to see if I can get it on sale somewhere.

I finished the Dulaan red cotton sweater just a few minutes ago. I still need to wash it but the ends are all woven in. I only had about half of the yoke done when I put it away last year. So I guess it really only took about a week to actually knit. I'm so glad I'm done with it. I don't think I'll ever use Kitchen Cotton again. Gotta find someone who wants seven or eight balls of it. There's a pink dot on the photo that I think must be something on my camera lens. Another thing to add to my to do list.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Now at a new time

Now at a new time

I'm starting a new work schedule this week. I will be at Skein only three days per week instead of six. I'll be there on Wednesday, 10 to 8, Friday and Saturday 10 to 6. This is almost the same number of hours per week as I've been working, just rearranged and compacted into three days.

I've been thinking for sometime now that I'm not getting much me time and that many of the projects I want to work on would go better if I had larger blocks of time. So over the last holiday weekend I decided to tell Ann Mary that I needed to change my hours. It actually worked out better for her. She's hired another teacher to cover my former hours on Tuesday and Thursday and the new teacher can teach crochet as well as knitting. (I may even take a crochet class in a week or so.)

I will continue to go in on occasion to cover when Ann Mary has to be away. Like next weekend when she goes to TNNA. But today is my final regularly scheduled Sunday. It feels like the end of school or something.

We haven't seen the shoplifting suspect again but we're watching. Ann Mary was pretty shaken by the whole thing to the extent that she's wondering how many other times this might have happened, not just with this one woman but if there might have been others. She's not planning anything specific in the way of heightened security but is mulling over what options she might have. It's hard to come up with anything that isn't going to be alienating. So for the moment we're just trying to be more alert.

I made another one of those lumpy Shake hats, in black; I cast on for a wrap from Wrap Style and I'm tinking the current sock project. I got lost in the gusset decreases. I'm not much of a perfectionist but I do like to know that my gussets are correct. And I'm still trying to finish the red cotton sweater. If I can do six rounds per day I should be done by the end of this week.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Shake it off!

Shake it off!

It wasn't until after she left the shop that we noticed seven skeins of Karabella Gossamer missing. I had seen her looking at it. She was watching me and said she was just trying to match a color. I did not see her put it in her knitting bag though so I can't swear that she took it. But it is missing and no one else exhibited such an interest. And then she came back tonight, with her friend. She did not have her knitting bag but she had a large purse that was unzipped. It was really odd because Ann Mary and I were just discussing the whole thing. We couldn't say much of anything since no one actually saw her take the yarn but she sure got a lot of one on one attention, as did her companion.

I worked for a large department store chain for many years before I went into a different field. We had a whole staff that took care of this sort of thing. It's really bothering me to think that someone would actually steal from a yarn store. This woman knows where every yarn in the shop is located. She made a point of letting Ann Mary know that. We're also missing a shawl that was knit in the same yarn, different color. Ann Mary says the woman was also in the shop a day or so before she noticed the shawl was missing. The whole thing is just unsettling and I'm having a hard time shaking it off.

But the hat, which is made from Trendsetter Shake, is new. One of my students who is very fond of buying novelty yarns but not at all good at knitting with it gave me eight skeins of this yarn yesterday. Four in this color and four in black.(I think the yarn has been discontinued now though.) I've always thought this yarn would make a cute hat but didn't want to spring for the yarn. Now I don't have to. There are only thirty three yards in a skein so it took most of two. Sixty four stitch on a US 11 worked in stocking stitch.

I made the hat today while I worked with eight different students. Some were easy, some a little more demanding. One guy wanted to learn intarsia. He only had one color of yarn and no needles and he wasn't sure if he knew how to purl. I don't know what his objective is but he's got a way to go before he's ready for more than a simple square. He does know now how to purl, cast on and bind off. Then one brand new knitter who was a joy to teach. I love it when they get it right off! I'll have to think about her instead of that wretched, possible, thief.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Pictorial Evidence

Pictorial evidence

Last week, mostly over the weekend, I continued to make hats. Here's the latest three. I still have several more that I want to make using the yarn I got specifically for hats. But I'm taking a short break to do this:

This is a sweater I started last spring that was supposed to go in my initial Dulaan shipment. The yarn is Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton. It's very stiff and it's hard on my hands. I put it away.

A couple of days ago I began obsessing about it. Who knows why these things happen? Anyway, while I watched part of the Rose Parade, I got it out and finished the yoke section. Then later in the day I completed most of the first sleeve. I used dpns for the sleeves because I can't find a 16" size 7 circular around here. I did find an empty package though so there must be one somewhere.

This morning I finished the first sleeve and have the second sleeve picked up and ready to go. Not sure how much I'll be able to do tonight though. My hands, and my left shoulder, are feeling it. I'm not very pleased with how it looks. I'm hoping that a good washing will help even out some of the stitches and make the sweater a bit softer and more wearable. I know this color runs so it'll get a private bath.