Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Before all those hats

Before all those hats

there was this sweater. I had planned to make it for my Olympics project but I ran into some problems.

I'm still not convinced that there isn't an error in the chart but the only way I could make any progress was to follow the chart as shown. You can't tell much from the image but there are some seed stitch diamonds in the pattern. On one row the chart shifts one stitch to the left and that stops the seed stitch. On the next row the seed stitch resumes and matches the new position of the stitches in the previous row. I don't know if this was intentional. The pattern doesn't say. It sort of makes sense in a wacky way. When I compare my knitting to the photos of the sweater there seems to be a slight shift. I can't tell for sure.

I do have quite a bit more done than in the picture. It's really a pretty easy stitch, just a series of yarn overs offset by ssk and k2tog. I started with the sleeves to use it as a gauge and that seems all right. Increases happen every six rows and they're a bit tricky to incorporate into the pattern. Most of the time I'm just working in St st until I have enough stitches for another pattern repeat.

I'm going to try to finish this in time for St. Patrick's Day. That'll depend on how many times I get distracted. Like today. I spent a couple of hours working on a poncho pattern for one of my students. There is an error in the pattern. Why do I always end up with pattern errors? Anyway, I worked the eight row repeat and found the missing instruction so I'll be able to pass that on tomorrow. I think I'll work another eight rows before I put it aside and go back to the sweater.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Everybody's doin' it

Everybody's doin' it

All over Blogland, wherever I read today, there were cries of joy and frustration, depending on whether he/she had finished or not finished the chosen Knitting Olympics Project. I was one of the ones who decided not to sign up but to stay on the sidelines and work on what I called my Olympics project and to cheer others on as the time passed.

These three hats are the final push to meet an arbitrary goal of sixteen hats in sixteen days. No. I didn't make it. I think I finished ten and started four or five others. One thing I learned is that I have a lot of distractions. There were several days where I could only spend an hour or two working on the hats. I also learned that I care a lot more about the finished product that I do about quantity. I'm pleased with the hats I did get done and they'll all go in the Dulaan Project pile.

I still have lots of yarn that has been earmarked for hats. But now, for a change, I'm working on a sweater I started a few weeks ago. It's a raglan, in the round, bottom up. The body is done to the armholes and one sleeve is done. I worked on this sweater for several hours today. My friend Mendy has decided to have a Dulaan Day once at week at her house. Today was the first day. It was great fun to be able to sit and chat. A lot like our Thursday night group but this group will only work on projects for Dulaan. Already there's a stack of hats. No picture because even though I remembered to take my camera I didn't remember to use it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Try not to squeal

Try not to squeal

More birthday! February is the nicest month, to coin a phrase. These delightful Gingher scissors are from a couple of the Monrovia Moms. When I saw the Moms a couple of weeks ago some of them had these scissors and I was raving all about how neat they were. Yesterday I got my own pair. I love the cheetah print pattern on the handles and the little scabbard that comes along with them. I do have some of the original Stork shaped one, which I rarely use. These though will be part of my everyday paraphenalia. Except I won't let anyone else use them. They'll have to settle for my Hello Kitty ones.

And, adding to the general merriment, there was this skein of sock yarn from another student. She wasn't sure, because she forgot to bring the label, but thought it is Anne from Schaefer Yarns. I think so too. It's not so electric IRL and there's some teal or jade green streaks that just don't show in the photo. I'm planning to do some more sock knitting real soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Visualize a pom pom

Visualize a pom pom

That's all this hat needs to finish it off. One of the patterns in the Oneskein book. I don't have one of those nifty pom pom makers and I'm too lazy to find some cardboard to make one. I think there's one at Skein that I can use when I go in today. If not, I'll just buy one. Not that I'm a big fan of pom poms but sometimes that's just what you need, either as a finishing touch or to hide the unintended sloppiness of the finishing. The actual color of the hat is more intense than you see here. I think it will look better on a real head instead of a cone of yarn.

This hat took less than four hours to knit in some bulky/chunky cotton I had on hand. Gauge and everything were perfect except I don't think cotton is all that warm so I'm going to see if there's still a skein of Rowan Polar available. I'm definitely going to make another one of these.

From the same book. A baby hat with unbrella lace on the edge. I didn't have the yarn called for, Lush from Classic Elite, so I'm using another of the SWTC Optimum. It's pretty close to gauge so I think there'll be a warm head somewhere in Mongolia. I still have a couple of inches to go before I start the top shaping but I should be finished this evening. All the fun happens in the first twelve rows. The rest is just a basic stocking stitch hat.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More or less the same thing as yesterday

More or less the same thing as yesterday

Remember yesterday when I said I wasn't getting much done because I'd been too busy socializing? Remember how I said I was going to start another hat last night and work on the one I already had started?

Guess what. It didn't happen. Lisa came over last night to show me her new car. And then we went to dinner and then we cleared out all the stuff on my old computer before I send it to be recycled. So not much got done and nothing new got started.

The hat you see here I started in the morning yesterday. It's from the Vogue On the Go book Caps & Hats Two. Slightly modified. I'm using some Andes wool that I got at Unwind a couple of weeks ago. It's a fairly nice yarn, 100% wool, that calls for a US8. I think it's a bit thin at that gauge but perhaps it will fluff up when it's washed. And I have it in two other colorways.

Have you seen this book yet? I just got it last Saturday. Oneskein by Leigh Radford. I really like it. There are several patterns that I really want to make including two different hat patterns. I got it at Skein. We didn't see it anywhere else when we went yarn shop hopping on Sunday. Anyway, it's worth the price I think.

So I'm off to do the stuff I planned to do yesterday. I finally got all the rebate forms for my new computer set up filled out and put in the mail. Now I just have to get rid of the boxes that I was going to use for yarn storage but decided they really wouldn't work all that well and I'd rather have some more storage cubes instead. I also need to find some place to dispose of my old computer and its peripheral stuff. Goodwill and Salvation Army don't seem too keen on getting electronics.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Three more hats and a lot to go

Three more hats and a lot to go

I think I'm going to be the last runner in this marathon. What is this? Six hats total and I'm going for sixteen. And only how many days to go?

The problem, or the excuse, is that this month is very busy for me. Mostly there's extra social stuff having to do with my birthday which fell on the day the Olympics began. I'm not complaining. Just saying maybe I should have been a bit more cautious in setting my goal, or realistic. I've started another hat that's fairly simple and I'll be starting something else tonight so I can alternate between boring and not so boring.

Yesterday was a social day. Four friends from my Thursday night knitting group and I went to Long Beach to check out Alamitos Bay Yarn Company. I've been a number of times but it's been a while. It's a neat shop, located right on the water in the marina. It was a gorgeous day. Cool but sunny and breezy. We had lunch at Buster's next door and watched the sail boats and cabin cruisers passing by.

After lunch we went to Velona's in Anaheim Hills. It's like going into the catacombs or some secret vault. I'm always in a daze when I come out of there. Some of their yarns are from companies that no longer exist or are yarns that have long been discontinued. But it's the place to go if you're looking for that extra skein of an old yarn. Of course, there's plenty of the new stuff. I didn't buy anything at Alamitos Bay except one button but at Velona's I loaded up on Brown Sheep Naturespun worsted. Eleven colors, one skein each. Even if I don't make my goal for the Olympics I'll have plenty of yarn for Dulaan mittens and hats. I'll just be a little late.

Friday, February 17, 2006

There's talk of rain

There's talk of rain

It hasn't rained nearly enough around here this winter. Winter? What winter? It was 90(F) last Sunday and today it's down in the mid 40s, likely to climb all the way up to 60. And rain, later today and through the weekend. It's hard to believe that given how bright and sunny it is right now.

Yesterday was one of my days off. I spent most of the morning finishing the Cabled Watch Cap. Again from Charlene Schurch's Hats On!. I didn't do the four inches of ribbing though as I was pretty sure I wouldn't have enough yarn. Used up the remainder of the skein of Encore I used for the Turkish Sock Pattern hat.

I've started two more hats that are fairly plain, just some contrasting color stripes. These are for when I can't sit and concentrate, like at work or at Thursday night knitting. There are a couple of other hats in the Hats On! book that I'm going to try to fit in next week.

Someone asked me why I would do something so complicated for charity knitting. My answer is "Why not!" Not only do I get to try some things I rarely get to do but knitting for charity isn't about just doing something that's good enough. I could go buy something for a lot less that would be good enough. When I work on these hats I'm thinking about who might get them. I like to imagine them wearing the hats and feeling not only warmer but happy in something that's out of the ordinary. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the simpler knits. Afterall I'm making some myself because quantity is also a factor. You need a lot of hats to warm Mongolia. And I get to use lots of crazy color combinations.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Inside this box

Inside this box

are some of the best brownies I have ever eaten. A birthday/Valentine combo from a couple of students. They're like fudge in the middle with a cake coating on the top and bottom. I've been having one a day but now I can't have any more.

I went to Kaiser this afternoon for a diabetes diet class. Not that I have diabetes just yet but I'm on the way. Unless I radically alter my diet and get more exercise. I can do this but giving up chocolates is going to test my endurance. And pasta isn't going to be much easier although I can have that in limited amounts. So, I'll take the remaining brownies to Thursday night knitting and enjoy them vicariously.

It took a very long time to get Blogger to open tonight. Yesterday was the same thing. I hope this isn't permanent. Is anyone else having this problem?

Very little knitting today since I was in that meeting for a couple of hours and then I had a table full of students when I got back to the shop. I did finish another hat tonight after I got home but I've already wrapped it and didn't take a picture first. It's a gift for another student. If she'll let me I'll get a picture of her wearing it and post it later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A couple of hats

A couple of hats

I already have several hats completed that are for the Dulaan project. These hats, however, are the ones I'm doing as my Knitting Olympics knitting. The first one is based on the Canadian Hat from Sally Melville's The Purl Stitch. It's a great pattern and works with lots of different yarns. This one is Soutwest Trading Company's Optimum, the discontinued yarn.

I haven't made this hat in a solid color before. I've used Kureyon and other multi-colored and textured yarns which I think I prefer. But this wool makes a very warm hat. I will have some leftovers from the four different colors I bought so I'll probably make something striped.

A Turkish Patterned Hat from Charlene Schurch's Hats On. Even though I've purchased lots of new yarns specifically for the Dulaan project I'm still using stuff from stash. This is some Plymouth Encore that I've had around for seven or eight years. I don't do much fairisle knitting so this one took a while, maybe three or four days off and on. I liked doing it but I think I messed up the top shaping, not the stitches, the needle size. I think I worked the main part on US6 but I used US8 dpns at the top.

There's a slight problem with the braided border. It wants to flip up. I hope it will stay down once I give it a good steaming. I've only done this braid one other time and I don't remember it behaving this way. It was fun to do. The Cocoon jacket, which I still need to get back to, uses this braid as the basis of some of its rounds. The yarn does get twisted but it untwists on the following row.

Given that we're already four days into the Knitting Olympics I think I'm falling behind. I'll probably do some simpler hats with really big yarn. I have started another hat that has cables and uses some more of the Encore. I'm going to work on that for the rest of today unless I decide to take a break and start something on larger needles.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Oh, bother!

Oh, bother!

I have some pictures I want to post but Blogger isn't cooperating this morning. So I'll save those for later.

It's been a great birthday weekend. My own private Christmas really, without the bother of putting up and taking down a tree. People are generous in word and deed. Thanks, everyone, for the birthday wishes.

It's hard to believe it's the middle of February. I look at the photos of all the snow that fell over the weekend and wonder how that can be. It's still in the mid-eighties here is Southern California. It could be May or June. All the windows are open and I'm even considering getting out the fan.

I've run into a snag with my Olympic project. (I know. I'm not officially participating but I thought it would be fun to see if I could manage a whole project in sixteen days.) I should have swatched beforehand but I waited until Friday night. And it was going well. But there's a problem with the chart. Or I think so. I'm going to rip back about ten rows and try the chart again but I'm pretty sure there's a row missing or there's a symbol that shouldn't be there. I may just have to make an executive decision a change the chart to what I think it should be. And then figure out what that does to the remaining rows.

I tried to find an errata page for the book A Close-Knit Family by Melissa Leapman with no success. It may be that the book is too old. Meanwhile I'm continuing with Dulaan projects. I may just change my Olympics knitting to hats for Mongolia. I've already finished one and have another almost done. I know some others are doing this. And I can see how it would be a two birds one stone sorta thing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Another day, another

Another day, another

year older. That's right, it's that time again. It's me, not my blog. This is not one of the big ones, just an ordinary one between the big ones. We had chocolate cake at Knit Night. My daughter will come over on Sunday to round off the event and then it'll be on to the next one.

I did go in to Skein today and taught a beginning crocheter. I'm only about a step ahead of her. And then I got her started on a knitted scarf. I had another new/returning knitter later in the day. And that was about it. I'm glad I went in because it's really hot here right now, mid 80s, and that's just not right for the middle of winter. Not good for the knitting business or for cleaning house.

I'm just about to the armholes on the raglan sweater I'm making, maybe four rounds to go and then I'll be able to do the sleeves, probably tomorrow. But I started another hat tonight using some Southwest Trading Company Optimum. On sale for $6.00 a ball, marked dowm from $26.50. Now that's a sale! I guess SWTC decided to discontinue the yarn and is getting rid of it as fast as it can. It's a nice yarn, soft but firm to knit. It'll be a warm hat and I have four different colors.

Things seem to be working well with my new computer although there are a few side issues that still need to be fixed. It's really nice to be able to open links without having the thing freeze or give me a message about how it doesn't have enough space to do the thing I'm asking. I also have to mail in all those rebates before it's too late.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Not up for the challenge

Not up for the challenge

I've let the sign up date come and go without signing up for the Knitting Olympics. I just couldn't commit to doing one project for that long. I tried working for an entire day on a sweater that I'm making for the Dulaan Project and it nearly wiped me out. The tedium and monotony were overpowering. But I did get a lot done.

I have selected a pattern and have the yarn, from stash, set out and ready to go. I'll start on Friday, at the appointed hour, and see how far I can get. I'm easily sidetracked and am always up for a new start.

Right now it's hats. My stash for hats is rapidly approaching my stash for socks. And I added significantly to it yesterday. Mendy and I went to Unwind yesterday and helped ourselves to the leftovers from their No Super Bowl Party. Lots of yarn for $1.00 to $4.00 per ball. I think I have enough for at least seven hats.

I really need to spend tomorrow putting my living room back in order. The two days I've spent installing and uninstalling and installing computers has left a havoc. Ann Mary hinted that she'd like it if I came in tomorrow to cover for the other teacher who is ill. I'll see how much I can get done in the morning and if there's time I'll go in for a few hours.

Back from nowhere

Back from nowhere

I've been without a computer or access to the Internet since the weekend. I've been through two computers since then, trying to get my Internet connection back. I've learned a lot, at least about that area. If all goes well I'll be able to get back to knitting and will have some pictures soon.

I have lots of blog reading to do and some email that needs attention. I'll have to wait until tomorrow for that, and to find out if this connection is really going to work.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Say what?

Say what?

"You are not authorized to view this page." What kind of message is that? I can't read my own blog? I've received this message before but usually I can just try again and I can open my blog, or any other that produces this message. Tonight though nothing seems to break whatever lock is on my blog, if that's the right term.

Anyway I can still post even if there's not much to say. I did have a very busy day. Three of the five Monrovia Moms were is. Haven't seen them since before the holidays. It's almost like a party when they come in. They're fun, cheerful and enjoy knitting. I was able to spend some time with them before other people started to arrive. We're going to try to get the two missing members to join us some afternoon or early evening to do a little catching up.

I finished the second skein of Dune for the feather and fan scarf and then worked a bit on a sock. I'm ready to start the heel on that one. At home I have almost reached the toe of the second sock of a pair I started last fall sometime. I might work on that tonight or one of the other scarves.

The owner of Cascade Yarns was in today. He gave me a skein of their Peruvian cotton, Luna, to try. Skein doesn't carry Cascade as a rule. I think we should but Ann Mary seems to have a block about their yarns. About the only time we get anything from them is for a special order, except for Fixation which she does carry because she thinks people will want to make bikinis. Mostly we sell it for socks. I'll knit up a swatch of the Luna and show it to her. I don't know if it's a new yarn or not but I kinda like the way it feels so I hope it looks good in the swatch.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Double aargh!

Double aargh!

It's not always my computer's fault when things don't work right. I spent the first two hours of today talking with my good friend Sean over in New Delhi trying to figure out why I couldn't connect. We tried everything he could think of until he finally concluded that it wasn't my computer.

So then it was over to Lucy. I don't know where Lucy is. She says that Sean shouldn't have sent the call to her but she would schedule someone to come out and check out their line, at no charge to me. Then Lucy sent me to Sabrina who works in Northern California. Sabrina tells me that in fact there's a problem with SBC in my area so I should try again in two hours to connect. Which I did. And everything looked fine. So I went shopping.

I had already gone to Best Buy and purchased the new computer. It's sitting, with all its constituent parts, in the middle of my living room where it will remain until Sunday when Lisa will come over and help me get everything transferred and set up.

Anyway, when I got home from my second shopping trip I tried to connect and found that my phone was dead. So nothing worked. Went next door and called the phone company people who are the same as my DSL people. The whole process is automated and takes about half an hour to get through. So someone else is supposed to come out, but not until tomorrow, to see what's wrong with the line. I call Ann Mary to let her know I may be late tomorrow.

So back home to putter around since I can't read my blogs or email. A knock on the door. It's the guy from SBC to tell me that he's there to see what the problem is. I tell him great, but the phone is dead. "I know. I've been working on it." So he gets everything fixed and promises to tell the phone company to cancel the Friday appointment. I hope he doesn't forget. I called Ann Mary to tell her I won't be late after all.

Went to Thursday night knitting. I was early so I decided to wait in my car. I went to sleep. The next thing I know Mendy is banging on my car window afraid that I've had a stroke or suffered a heart attack. Actually I'm just tired from all this back and forth and the frustration of not having a computer that works right. You're probably just as tired of hearing about it.

In knitting related news. I seem to have lost one of my size 11 needles that I was using to make the feather and fan scarf. I really hate it when that happens. And it does seem to be happening a lot recently. But it's not as bad as I thought. I thought it was one of my Brittany size 13s. Those are home safe on the table. Not in the needle case where they belong. Maybe I need to pay more attention and put things away when I'm done with them. I've never tried that.