Friday, March 31, 2006

Four years ago I had just finished this baby's cardigan and had just started my blog. I usually observer April 1, as my blog anniversary but I don't actually know when I started. It was somewhere around that date. I didn't know about archives at first.

I had just purchased my digital camera and was beginning to save pictures of my projects but I didn't know how to upload them. This photo has never been on my blog even though it's four years old. I'm not much better at pictures now than I was then but I've learned a little about editing and stuff so I can at least fake things a bit.

I don't know why I blog. But it's been great. I've met lots of people online and even some of those people in person. It's a treat when someone comes into Skein and mentions that they read my blog. I rarely know what I'm going to write when I sit down to post. Maybe I have a general idea but I don't plan things out in advance down to the last comma. Sometimes I think something is good. Most times I think it's pretty ordinary. But I like going back through my archives sometimes and remembering what was going on then, perhaps not something I blogged about.

I almost stopped blogging a few times but I don't think I'm ready to do that just yet. I enjoy hearing from people all over the world and even Nebraska. So here's to the last four years and what the next one will unfold.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

It's here at last. I've been waiting for this book since Kay and Ann first announced that it was coming. A friend brought her copy in yesterday afternoon for me to see. It was like being in a nursery of newborns. "Look at that! Isn't that cute? Just precious!" All the ooh-ing and ahh-ing that went on around the table, each person trying to get her own private look at the book. I didn't get much of a chance alone with it so my friend insisted that I take it home to read last night. Which I did and thoroughly enjoyed.

It's true that I didn't read every word. Not the patterns. At least not in detail. But I will. These women are witty, charming and just plain good at what they do. It was bit like a hardcover version of their blog archives. Lots of what's in the book has already been covered to some degree on their blog but here those events are expanded and embellished. Like a photograph album of familiar faces and events, this book draws you in and you just want more.

I do have my own copy now. Another friend came in to buy some Tahki Cotton Classic to start the Mitered Square Blanket and brought in one of her copies of the book last night to share with me. I purchased one of her copies so I don't have to wait to order it. I stayed up way past my normal bedtime in order to finish reading. Of course, that was just a quick once over. I know I'll be going back for more and more. And I have lots of Cotton Classic on hand. Log Cabin Blanket, here I come.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

One of forty two. Only forty one to go and then I'll be able to start attaching them to the Circles Bag from Nicky Epstein's Fabulous Felted Handbags. When I showed this to one of the guys at the knitting table last Saturday he asked, "Does it stretch?" I'm not explaining that.

Here's the actual bag, before felting. Right now it's about twenty inches long and will felt down to about thirteen inches. Skein has the kits for this bag plus some of the others that are in the book. You have to buy the book to get the pattern. We've had all the bags but they've sold pretty well. I don't know if Ann Mary has ordered any more. From what I hear though, other shops have them but at a higher price. Now that's a surprise.

Monday, March 27, 2006

When I was a kid, growing up in a small rural town, a birthday was a one day event. If you were lucky your mom would remember and bake a cake. If you got a present it was most likely going to be socks or underwear or something else very practical. Well, that's the way I remember it. It's not that way anymore.

Look at this! Another birthday present. Three skeins of Regia Nation sock yarn, a new brand of plastic dpns that are supposed to be a great improvement over other dpns, ten skeins of Classic Elite Premiere and a Tootsie Pop. And a really clever and witty card. What a great surprise! Many, many thanks, dear friend. I can hardly wait to see how that sock yarn knits up. I don't know what nation it is but the colors are perfect for here.

I actually started this post last night but Blogger was having issues. I was also hoping to get a more color accurate image but there isn't any sunshine to be had. We're having winter again for a few days. I went out for my morning walk but carried an umbrella, just in case. I've been told that the walking will get easier. I can hardly wait. I don't do brisk all that well, except on the downhill parts. It would have been easy to not go because of the weather but I know if I don't go every day I will be back into my sluggish, procrastinating mode.

Speaking of procrastinating. I don't like to have to put things away while I'm working on them. So projects stack up everywhere, waiting for me to get back to them. But once every couple of weeks I have to sorta sort through things and try to make my living room, at least, look habitable. So this past weekend I started going through one stack and found a hat that I had started. Well, I thought, let me just finish this and then I'll go back to cleaning.

I didn't actually finish until yesterday morning but most of it was knit over the weekend, from just above the ribbing. I had to rip out the upper part first as I didn't like the yarn. This is mostly Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride that I got to make gifts with last Christmas. The tassel is some very old Reynold's Paterna.

I'm really enjoying making all these hats. I've been trying to funk-i-fy them but I don't seem to have that knack. The ladies at yesterday's Dulaan knitting thought this hat was funky but I'm not so sure. I think it looks too designed instead of spontaneous and iconoclastic. Everything in my background, designwise, makes me want things to be planned and precise. I even have a hard time mixing different yarns. But I'm working on it.

Do you think other cultures find the same things cute and amusing that we do? I wonder if that silly tassel on top of the hat will translate as whimsy or might it be threatening since it's so spider like. Will some kid be embarrassed wearing this hat or will he/she be envied by others? Maybe it's enough that the hat is warm.

I've been telling myself that I will do my income taxes today. It's too gloomy for that. I'd be better off knitting. Besides, it's not even April yet.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Okay, Mendy, and any others. You wanted to see what I'm making that calls for a 60" circular. Here it is in all it's 29" glory. The yarn is Cascade Sierra that I got at Yarn Lady in Laguna Hills about five or six years ago, before they moved to their present location. The pattern is a Trish Design and there's only one minor mistake in it. I think the color is pretty close, maybe a trifle more purple but not much.

Another knitting night has come and gone. I made a lot of progress on the new Dulaan sweater but I'm not quite as far as I wanted to be. I did manage to resist dessert. Key Lime Pie isn't one of my favorites.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

What is so rare as a day in March? After a couple of weeks of winterlike weather we have achieved spring. So I decided I'd better get this orange tree transplanted. There used to be a rose bush in this pot. A Judy Garland. After many years it was no longer as pretty as it once was and was mostly surviving as suckers. The new tree is the one Lisa gave me for my birthday.

And here's the Mexican Lime that I got for Christmas. Also from Lisa. She started it from seed which is pretty difficult to do I hear. Anyway it's doing well but I don't expect to be having margaritas kissed with lime from this tree for a few years yet.

And finally, in my citrus orchard/balcony tour, here's the current crop of lemons. This tree is a few years old. The lemons are kinda scrawny, probably because I didn't feed the tree well enough. But they're just the right size of squeezing on fish or vegetables and not having any left over bits to save.

Have you figured out that I don't have any knitting related stuff? I'm still working on the felted bag shop sample. Almost done with the body. Now I have to make all those I-cord rings. And the current Dulaan sweater is moving along at a pretty good pace. I may finish the lower body today or this evening at Thursday night knitting.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Here's some more Dulaan Hats. This is one of the images I was trying to post yesterday. They're all knit from stash. The one at top is Unger that I've had for maybe four years. It was already a discontinued yarn when I got it and I think the company was discontinued by then too. The hat on the right is from leftover Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted. I think that was from yarn I got last year for some holiday gifts. And on the left, two strands held together. The solid is Wool-Ease that I've had for maybe three years and the multi-color part is Encore that I got about four years ago.

Of course, like most knitters, I have lots of other stuff in stash that I could use for hats or mittens or just about anything. I still keep buying yarn though. Six skeins of Clip, a heavy cotton from On Line, were added to my stash yesterday, along with an Addi Turbo, 10.5US, 60" circular needle. I just stopped by to say hello to a friend at Unraveled.

This is the beginning of a new sweater for Dulaan, the one I mentioned yesterday, in Plymouth Galway. I got this yarn at a weaving show at least seven years ago. I have ten hanks so I will have plenty for the small child's sweater plus several hats.

This post is late because I ran out of time this morning. Is anyone else having problems with Blogger? All the blogs that I read that use Blogger were very slow to open this morning and some I couldn't get to open at all.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Maybe later. I have some photos to post but Blogger seems to be having a problem this morning.

I am completely obsessed with knitting for the Dulaan Project. If I try to work on some of my other projects I feel guilty, like I'm not doing my part. Yesterday I went to our weekly Dulaan gathering and knit from 9:30 until just after 3 in the afternoon, with a short lunch break. I've finished another three hats and am still working on another one. But I needed a change so I started another sweater.

I'm making another bottom up raglan using some Galway that I've had in stash for ten or twelve years. I decided I'd better get it out and see if it's been infected by the great moth attack. Everything if fine.

I really like how the Galway knits up. It's smooth and even. I'm using a size 7US to get a bit denser fabric since the sweater really needs to be warm. The color is almost magenta so I thought I'd add a mock cable rib to make it a bit more girly. I'm just about done with the initial ribbing and will start the lower body in a few minutes. Still have to decide if I want some of the cables to carry over into the body. I think I will since it'll make the knitting a bit more interesting but not slow me down too much.

If Blogger gets it together later today I'll add the pictures.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Apparently it's Spring again. We're still having Winter. Well, winter as it's known in Southern California. Low 40s overnight and mid 50s (both F) during the day. When I went out for my morning walk it was still cold enough to make fog of my breath. I don't usually go out quite that early but it's been one of those kind of days.

I woke up at around 2:30 and when I still wasn't asleep again by 4AM I decided I'd just get up and knit. Pat the Cat is very confused. So I went out at around 6 for a very brisk walk. I think my over-indulgence last night is to blame.

I had dinner with my friend Robert for the first time since Christmas. I had already decided I would not burden him with any special dietary needs. I should have been more careful. We celebrated St. Patrick's Day a few days late. Corned beef, colcannon and glazed carrots followed by a banana/croissant bread pudding. We won't even talk about the wine. So that's what I think made me wake up so early. When you're getting used to eating only tiny bits of food, most of which is pretty plain, a meal like the one I had is bound to cause problems. So now I have a new resolve. Back to plain whole wheat with a couple of ounces of turkey and some unsalted broccoli.

Except today is Dulaan Knitting Day and Mendy always fixes something tasty.

It was cold last night at Robert's. I wore my red wool hat most of the evening even though we were inside. I had made a hat for Robert's room mate a couple of years ago and when he saw my hat it reminded him that the hat I had made for him was full of holes. You guessed it. That hat was made from some of the wool that I just threw out last week, the stuff that had been attacked by moths. So I guess the eggs were already in the yarn that long ago and I just didn't know it. Fortunately he had kept the hat wrapped in a heavy plastic bag since he discovered the holes so, we hope, nothing has happened to anything else.

I did manage some knitting this weekend. I took a break from Dulaan knitting and finished a feather and fan scarf that I started a few weeks ago. And I've added about eight more rounds on the beach cover-up that I'm making. Most everything I'm working on now is stuff that's just in progress and will be for a while. Not interesting enough to take a picture of. Besides I forgot to turn off my camera so the batteries are being recharged.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cute, eh? Click on the image for a bigger view. There are six hats and three pairs of mittens knit for the Dulaan Project by an online friend in Carolina. The three pairs of mittens are the first she's ever done. Aren't they great? She'll be sending them directly to Flagstaff so I wanted to get a photo posted before it was too late. Thanks, Carolyn, for your help. And if you want some more yarn, just let me know.

Today is the first day of my glucose monitoring regimen. I went yesterday, before I went to the Unraveled sale to learn how to use the little semi-automated finger pricking device and the sorta high-tech monitor. The nurse wasn't too pleased with the reading. You could hear her, in her mind, going "Tsk, tsk, tsk." So the reading is higher than it should be, even after I've been more or less focusing on the new diet. And practically starving most of the time. I don't think I should have had that chocolate French silk last night.

So I've started walking again. I used to walk a lot, a couple of miles every morning. Right now it's difficult for me to walk for ten or fifteen minutes without stopping. But it'll get easier.

I'm getting ready to shape the top of another hat. I knit most of it last night at Thursday night knitting. I should have some photos in the next day or so. Not a huge crowd last night but a couple of folks whom we haven't seen in a while. So catching up was good.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sometimes I'm pretty sure I don't have good sense. I just came from Unraveled where they're having a storewide sale. Twenty percent off everything, including stuff that's already been marked down. I only meant to buy a couple of sets of double points. Well, they didn't have any size 13US dpns so I bought yarn instead. A little more than $200 worth of yarn.

Some Anny Blatt wool, some Schaeffer Lola and Anne, some Mountain Colors Bearfoot and a few other things that I don't remember right now. Oh yeah. A circular needle and a book. None of which I need or know what I'll do with. But I did run into lots of friends and had a nice lunch next door at the Peach Cafe.

Unraveled is one of my favorite shops. They carry a wide selection of mainstream and out of the ordinary yarns. The staff is super friendly. They offer lots of different classes too. I'm there at least once a week. The sale runs through Friday of next week so I'll probably go back at least once.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I could never climb a rope, or figure out why anyone would want to. We were required to take physical education though. PE was my bĂȘte noir all through high school. I never got above a C except for the year I played tennis. I only played tennis so I could switch my sixth period English class to third period because I wanted to take English from a particular teacher. You could only have PE in the sixth period if you went out for some kind of sport. So tennis it was. And I got an A even though I was, and still am, a lousy tennis player.

Anyway, when it comes to doing anything physical I'm not usually the person to volunteer or to be called on. Well, except for bowling. So what to do when it comes to installing a new DVD/VCR player. The hard part is not hooking everything up. I figure if I can install additional memory I can do just about anything. So that wasn't the problem. It was moving the entertainment center so I could get behind it to plug in all the wires.

I took my time and unloaded everything I could to make it lighter. I even dusted the top. You could have planted an herb garden up there. And then, because it had been sitting so long in one spot the cabinet had sunk pretty deep into the carpet. But after much groaning and grunting, and wriggling to and fro, I managed to rock the cabinet out far enough from the wall to get the old wires unplugged and the new ones plugged in. And everything worked just the way the manual said it would.

The next problem was getting the cabinet back. I came close but it's still not lined up with the old dents in the carpet. I have to wedge it closer. While I was at it though I cleaned out some old books and assorted memorabilia. I don't remember putting those twelve Christmas mugs up there behind all those art books. Or the slides of art work my students did when I was teaching at Cal State Fullerton. And what a surprise to find how many decks of Tarot cards I have, and the books to go with them. I don't remember getting that interested in Tarot and I'm not at all now. There was only one fiber related book, a 1917 issue of Needlecraft,a magazine I got when I was in Florida twenty years ago. And the winning recipes from the Camarillo Press-Courier, Sept. 23, 1980.

And then I finished another hat.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It's what we do on Mondays. Sometimes Tuesdays if Monday doesn't work. Our little gaggle of knitters, most of whom I met through Skein, gets together to work exclusively on items for the Dulaan project. The hats just keep on coming. It's lots of fun to see what has been produced during the previous week as well as what is currently on the needles. Clockwise from the right are the hands of Estelle, Lulu, Larry, Mendy, Susan and Renee. Judy was playing photojournalist, high overhead, shooting through the stairs, so her hands are not in the photo. Thanks, Judy, for sending me the photo and allowing me to post it.

I finished a couple of hats yesterday. And here's a couple that I did over the weekend. Most of the yarn I'm using is coming from stash and much of it is pretty old. Or it's from leftover yarn used in more recent projects. Mostly it's great to just make up things on the go. Not that that always works out. I do have a few things that need to be recycled into something more resembling a hat for a reasonably sized head. I'm also thinking I need to make another sweater. Must go see what's available.

Does anyone know if washing yarn that looks like it has been attacked by moths is sufficient to get rid of the pests and their eggs? If you knit it up and then wash it, will that be enough to keep the eggs from hatching?

Monday, March 13, 2006

I must have been joking when I said I was done with my birthday for the year. Here's what I've been doing. A jigsaw puzzle called Knitter's Stash, not to be confused with the book. Lisa and I started this a couple of weeks ago and finished this weekend. I haven't done a jigsaw puzzle in years and years. I'd forgotten how much fun, and addictive, it can be. I had planned to let Lisa put in the last piece but she outmanouvered me and let me have that bit of fun. I'll take this apart and loan it to the gifter, if she wants it.

And still more birthday goodness. Sock yarn! Three skeins of Regia, I have longish feet, and a hank of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. The CTH is browner than the photo. Thanks. That little bit of pink poking up from the bottom is some Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton Fondo that I got at Stitch in Time last week when I went to get some markers. Buying sock yarn is almost a knee-jerk reaction. There were some other colors. I may have to go back.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'd have been here earlier but I've been busy. Today was our Dulaan knitting group and I wanted to finish this sweater. I used the bottom up raglan pattern from Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. The previous raglan I made was from the top down. I'm not sure I prefer one over the other. But someone remind me before I take on another plain stockinette sweater of how boring they are to knit.

I didn't pay any attention to how this yarn striped or pooled. I do think it's interesting how the pooling occurred in almost the same spot on the two sleeves and on the body.

I've had the yarn for about three years, Encore Colorspun, but had never found anything to do with it. I sent a couple of skeins to a friend in South Carolina who made some hats and mittens with it. I still have four skeins left that I'm going to use for more hats and possibly some mittens if there's enough.

We had a good turnout for our Dulaan Day. Everyone has been super productive. There were lots of patterns to share, mostly hats, but there were a couple of vests and sweaters. I took along some of my hat books to share and for inspiration. Maybe next week I'll remember to take pictures.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Conventional wisdom

Conventional wisdom

Charts. I prefer working from charts rather than text. It's the main reason I avoid Sirdar patterns although Sirdar seems to be the most error-free of the pattern publishers. Charts make it possible to see where you're going and where you've been.

There are a number of conventions used in charting that I've grown to trust and rely on. Symbols tend to be fairly uniform now so it's easy to use information you already have to read charts from different companies.

I think that was the reason I had so much trouble with the lace pattern I'm currently using. The symbols are easy to understand. It's the chart itself that's the problem. Usually symbols tell you everything you need to know, including where you're going to get the stitches you need to do the pattern. The vertical rules that tell you what section to repeat are generally reliable. That's the conventional wisdom.

That just hasn't been the case with the pattern I'm using. There's a symbol that tells you to do a double vertical decrease, S2KP (slip two as if to knit, knit one, pass the two slipped stitches over). The symbol kind of reminds me of the peace symbol from back in the hippie days.

I finally figured out that the stitches I need are actually in the section adjacent to the repeat. If I hadn't been using markers (conventional wisdom again) I would probably have had no problem. As it is, I have ripped the first sleeve for the third time. I'm much happier with how the whole thing looks now. I'm glad I wasn't working the back though since there are about 20% more stitches than on the sleeve.

I was going to post a picture but the batteries need to recharge. Anyway, I'm done talking about this so there won't be any mention of it for a while. I need to spend some time on something else. Tomorrow is Dulaan Day so maybe I'll work on the sweater and get stuff together for some more hats. And there's that poncho, er, beach cover-up that I need to get back to. And a shop sample from Nicky Epstein's Fabulous Felted Bags.

Friday, March 03, 2006



Also known as Chesapeake Snowflake. I've been waiting for it to bloom, ever since I got it from Renee for my birthday. The name is from the Greek for bird and milk. Not the Chesapeake part, the ornithogalum. Anyway, it's quite lovely and is cheering up my kitchen on this dark and rainy day.

I also got an orange tree that I still have to transplant.

I think that's about it for my birthday which was several weeks ago. But you never know. There could be something else that I've forgotten but basically we're done for another eleven months.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

It looked good on paper

It looked good on paper

This is what's left after I ripped this.

Several days of knitting, gone in just a few minutes. I've been trying to make myself believe that this lace pattern would be all right even if there were an error in it. I just couldn't stand it though.

There's clearly a discrepancy between the chart and what results. It certainly didn't look like the picture. So I played around with the chart and I think I now have what was intended, at least it looks like the picture. I've already ripped the sample I did to try out my theory.

So, starting over. I'm pretty sure I won't make my self-imposed deadline but I'll be a lot happier with the result. Otherwise, it's back to the drawing board, again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The long day

The long day

Wednesdays are usually my best day, at least in number of students. I don't know what happened today though. Was everyone recovering from Mardi Gras? Are they holing up in anticipation of the rain we're supposed to be getting? Have they finally reached the saturation point of yarn stash? Whatever it was, they sure stayed away in droves today.

It's a ten hour day for me so when I only have four students it really goes slowly. I did have a few other quick question types. So I got a bit done on the new poncho that I started yesterday. I'm not going to call it a poncho though. I'm calling it a beach cover-up since ponchos are out. It'll be nice for summer, at the beach or not. I'm using some Cascade Sierra that I got four or five years ago on one of my yarn shop crawls. It was going to be a sweater for me but when I got ready to make the sweater I discovered I hadn't bought enough. After I figured out what the pattern problem was, the one I mentioned yesterday, I had enough done that I thought I might as well continue. It's an easy enough pattern that I can work on it while I'm at Skein and not go too far astray.

I made some progress on the St. Patrick's Day sweater this morning and will be able to spend several hours on it tomorrow. Maybe finish the first sleeve. That one needs too much attention to take out anywhere.