Tuesday, May 30, 2006

There are sales going on all around us. A Stitch in Time (no website), San Marino, is having a 30% off sale on knitting yarns and needlepoint. Needle in a Haystack in Montrose is celebrating their 33rd anniversary with a sale on needlepoint canvases and there's still some yarn left from their 40% off sale. Unwind in Burbank is just wrapping up their second anniversary sale. I think there's one more day to go. They also have an online shop. AndUnraveled in Monrovia is putting selected yarns on sale in order to make room for the summer yarns. Skein is not having a sale.

I don't think I'll be going to any of the sales though. I'm still way behind on my current stash. I pulled a couple of sock yarns out yesterday, just to look at them you understand, and to ponder which pattern to try next. I finished the first Tipsy Knitter sock and have the second one well underway. I don't know if I'll get it done today though. I need to work on something less tedious for a while. Even my shoulders were aching last night when I finally put the sock down.

Monday, May 29, 2006

When I was a kid there were still people around who referred to this holiday as Decoration Day. I think Memorial Day was just coming in to vogue. And it was always on the thirtieth of May. I don't think I really knew what it was all about except that it somehow had to do with people who had died in battle, primarily in the War Between the States. And it usually meant the end of the school year.

Of course, nowadays, its original significance has been lost and it's more of a reason for a three day weekend for most Americans. Except for those who have to work to make it possible for everyone else to enjoy the extra day. It's a weekend for sales at most retailers and auto dealers. And an opportunity for politicos to hype their points of view.

Listening to the radio this morning I heard the announcer say "Happy Memorial Day". It struck me as a strange greeting. Happy just isn't the right adjective. At the end of the program the same announcer wished us all a "meaningful Memorial Day". That seems more appropriate.

Since I don't work on Mondays having a holiday doesn't affect me. Well, except we generally get together and knit for the Dulaan project. We're not doing that today as many of our group are away or are spending the day with family. I'm staying home, working on some socks and ruminating way too much.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Generally there aren't many blog posts on the weekend. Kinda like the news on the radio. Maybe there's something in the blogging protocols about this. I don't know.

But I wanted to let you all know what's happening with Mendy's husband. He's home and doing fine. The battery of tests did not reveal anything having to do with his heart. His doctor, a self-confessed conservative practitioner, must have felt that it's better to not take chances. We're all relieved, of course, and are hoping that there's no reoccurence. So the crunch is over but there will be lots of follow-up.

I'm almost finished with the shop sample sock, thanks to another slow day in the classroom. The Tipsy Knitter socks are progressing. I'm doing the gusset decreases now. Had a bit of a problem getting the lace pattern re-established on the instep either because I wasn't paying close enough attention or I misread the original instructions on how to set up the heel flap. So I don't know if I'm doing what the designer intended. But it looks like the picture.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Another day, another sock. I am at a point on the Tipsy Knitter sock that requires I be able to totally focus on what I'm doing. So I didn't work on it last night. Instead I started this Opal 6-fach sock using some yarn that a friend gave me for Christmas. It's a much heavier yarn that I'm used to using for socks. I haven't quite decided if I like the gauge or not. I'm using size 6 US dpns, which the yarn calls for, but I think it's too loose. I'll probably start over on 4s.

We didn't have Thursday night knitting. Mendy's husband was rushed to the hospital. He'd been having some chest pains. His doctor called the paramedics. At present it looks like they, the doctors et al., will be performing a bunch of tests. I hope to hear more sometime today but I know there will be one more test tomorrow so he won't be released until at least then.

I went to another friend's house to sit with her and Mendy's poodle. I took the Tipsy Knitter sock to show it off, and started the Opal sock. I waited until Mendy came home so I could spend some time with her. She says she's fine but I'm not so sure myself.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

No second sock syndrome on this one. I'm making a shop sample sock. There'll only be one sock. Less likely to get stolen. The yarn in Regia Silk, 20% silk, 55% wool and 25% nylon. It's a really nice yarn to knit. There's a bit of crunch from the silk but the wool keeps it soft and makes is springy. At $20US per skein, you need two, I'm not likely to get any for my stash.

It has been suggested that I try two needles to knit the Tipsy Knitter socks. I could do that but I'm too much of a hidebound traditionalist. Generally I don't go chasing after newfangledness. It's not that I can't see the possible advantage though. But I've tried the two circular technique and just didn't like the process. Those dangling needles drove me nuts. I have resolved the issue I was having with the distribution of the stitches and even though I didn't get much done last night, I'm content with how it's going.

It's been really slow for me at Skein. Only one student yesterday and that wasn't until 6:30 in the evening. I cast on the Regia Silk sock shortly after 10 in the morning and knit what you see above during the long day. I did have some people drop in to sit and knit and that really helped speed the time. But it doesn't pay the bills.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Tipsy Knitter Sock, part one. I never did locate the Lang Jawoll yarn. I'll find it eventually. I'm using some Fortissima Cotton that I got on sale at Unwind a month or so ago.

A lot of the patterns in the Socksx3 book tell you to use three dpns. I prefer to use four but this pattern calls for three. I haven't found any logical way to divide the stitches over three or four needles so I'm using three. There's a cable that occurs at the end and beginning of one change and there is a yarnover that falls at the end of another. Very tedious. I've only managed the ribbing and one half of the 24 row repeat so far. And have only had to rip one row.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The pastel stripes socks are finished. I'm trying to decide which sock yarn to use next. I want to make the Tipsy Knitter Socks, designed by Katherine Matthews, in Socks, Socks, Socks from XRX. I'd be well on my way if only I could find the yarn. I know I have several different colors of Lang Jawoll but I sure can't find it. Obviously I haven't looked in the right bin yet.

It's also equally obvious that I have way too much yarn. Usually when I go looking for something in my stash it's a lot of fun to re-discover things I'd forgotten. Today, however, it was just depressing. Not that I'm getting rid of anything. But the idea of how many unplanned projects that are going unrealized is overwhelming. So this is it! I got this Koigu last week. The goldish color I got at Unraveled Yarn and the raspberryish ones I bought from a friend who is de-stashing. Smart lady! I'm pretty sure these will go for socks, once I get through with some of the other pairs I've already started.

Have you seen this book yet? I just got it from Overstock.com. I've been fascinated by Norah Gaughan's designs for years. If you like cable knitting and shaping techniques, this might just be the book for you. You also need to enjoy picking up stitches and lots of sewing and piecing things together.

While there are lots of patterns in the book that I would like to try, this one is the most likely candidate. It's probably one of the easiest projects in the book in spite of all the cables. It's primarily a matter of following some charts. And you need to be able to count. Of course, I don't have the yarn for this. Well, not that I remember anyway.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The long awaited Circles Bag is done (at last) and available for viewing at Skein. I, for one, am very glad to see the end of this project. And I'm also pleased with it.

Materials for the bag came as a kit. The book containing the pattern, Fabulous Felted Bags by Nicky Epstein,is sold separately.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Looks like Blogger got the problem fixed. I've reloaded the photos from Wednesday's post. Just in case you're curious about them.

I almost finished the first sock of the pastel stripe pair. I missed a decrease somewhere in the toe shaping so I'm ripping back until I find it. I really hate it when that happens. I think I'm at a point where I just can't knit on anything that requires the least bit of attention when I'm in a group. On the upside, at least I wasn't completely done with the decreases.

I didn't get as much done today as I had planned. I was making good progress on the house cleaning until I found a bag that I couldn't remember the contents of. There was a barely begun sock and some other aborted projects. Hmmm. I wonder what's up with that sock. I remember the yarn but not the sock. I ripped it and started the Conwy sock pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. So I spent maybe two hours and then decided that the yarn just wasn't right for that pattern. I haven't ripped it yet but I will as soon as I find what I hope will be a more appropriate pattern. Something in lace, probably.
I don't have any idea why my photos won't download. I've read all I can find on Blogger's help page including known issues and none of it seems to apply. There may be problems they don't know about. Anyway, I'll keep trying. There must be some way to email Blogger, but I can't find it.

I'm working on a small top for a shop sample using some Katia Margarita. Cute and quick to knit. I'll probably wait until tomorrow to finish that. The socks I started are moving along slowly. That may be tonight's knit night project.

I have a busy day planned. Errands and cleaning mostly. Lisa is coming over tomorrow night instead of her more usual Sunday night. There may be time this afternoon to knit but it's looking less and less likely the more I dawdle here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Yield not to temptation
For yielding is sin.

If you grew up in a small, rural town in the South, especially if it was before the overwhelming, mind-altering, attitude-adjusting influence of television, you may recognize these lines as from one of the frequently included hymns on your shape-note singing, with no instrumental accompaniment, venue.

I have some temptation issues. I try to be good and to resist things that I should. For example, we had lemon bars for dessert on Monday. I was very strong and resisted the urge to indulge. Not to mention that I'd already had cheesecake and mangoes. So I passed up the lemon bar. But I did bring one home. Just to satisfy our hostess. I resisted having it though. At least until the following day. And it was good but probably not worth the guilt and anguish I felt afterwards.

A couple of weeks ago when a group of us went for an evening of yarn shopping I resisted the urge to buy anything. Got lots of compliments and congratulations for that. Actually I was very close to buying something, anything would have done, but I couldn't find anything that I didn't already have. So it really wasn't a moral victory. Just a bit of ennui.

So why did I buy these patterns? I'm calling it r&d. It really wasn't temptation. We had a customer at Skein recently who asked Ann Mary if we had patterns for Noni bags. Ann Mary tried to redirect the customer to some patterns that we do carry. She hadn't a clue what a Noni bag is. I checked when I got home and found that every yarn shop in our neighborhood carries Noni Bag patterns. We went to A Stitch in Time and got three different patterns, which I dutifully took and showed to Ann Mary. Not sure if she's going to get them. I think they're really cute and would definitely be fun to knit. And I was tempted, and gave in, by the lure of this new yarn, Luca from Lucci, and some Cascade 220 Tweed. (See top photo.)

I can only resist temptation for so long. I had to start something new. If I'm going to give in, it might as well be something I'm going to really enjoy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pictorial evidence that I have actually finished something. Here's the magenta sweater for Dulaan that I've been working on for what seems like months. Bad photo. Hope you can see the cables.

I made up the pattern pretty much as I went along. There are only two cables on the back. I used my Sweater Wizard program to do the basic math and then added stitches to compensate for the cables. Sweater Wizard is a good program but it's not a mind reader. You do have to do some adjusting occasionally. A couple of people in my group asked for the pattern so I'll have to give them a verbal tutorial on how to insert the cables if that's what they decide to do.

Overall I'm pleased with how this sweater came out. I used some Galway yarn that I've had in stash for several years. I've already made one sweater from it and still have enough to make another one. Maybe for next year's Dulaan project.

Pat the Cat has decided that he'd rather have his breakfast at five in the morning instead of six. I'm getting used to it. Actually it's not such a bad idea. I can get out for my daily walk and still have time to do a few things before it's time to go to Skein or where ever else I have to go. I can't stay up as late as I would like though. KUSC, the local classical station, usually plays the big pieces, Mahler, Bruckner etc., late in the evening so I miss getting to hear those.

Friday, May 12, 2006

There's nothing to write about today. We had knit night last night. I started a sock. I finished the front of the magenta sweater and picked up for the first sleeve. I'm taking that out and trying again. See. Same stuff as always.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Oh, hallelujah! The Circles bag is done. Well, my part anyway. Ann Mary is going to do the felting. She's very nervous. If the weather stays as nice as it is now the bag will dry in time for me to get pictures on the weekend.

I spent most of the day sewing on forty two rings and then sewing up the bottom and side. I do have one more small task before it's completely done, sewing down the casing for the drawstring. I'm probably the only one who heard the triumphal trumpets in the background as I wove in the last loose end.

So, what next? I'm motivated by finishing the bag to get a few more things done. I worked on the magenta sweater a bit last night after I got home. I'm planning to finish the front today sometime and start on the sleeves. That will finish my Dulaan knitting except for a few hats that are already in progress. Then there's the green lace sweater I started back in February that was going to be my Olympics project but wasn't.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

To knit or not to knit. That is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler to suffer the aches and pains
Of repetitive motion syndrome, or
To the put the stash on eBay and thereby end it.*

I noticed yesterday that when I knit with abnormally large needles I do not have the same shooting pains in my thumb and wrist that I do when I knit on normal sized needles. The two scarves I made were knit on 13s and 17s. I prefer 6s or smaller. I'd hate to think that I have to use big needles all the time.

This whole aging thing is more of problem than I ever thought it would be. I guess you just have to be there to know what I'm talking about. My older brother calls me every couple of weeks just to chat. Mostly we end up comparing notes and experiences of what it's like to be where we are today. At least we finally have something in common.

*I realize I've mutilated the soliloquy, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Well, I don't know what's up with Blogger today. I have a couple of photos that I have been waiting all day to post but it doesn't look like Blogger's photo upload mechanism is functioning properly. They aren't all that interesting, the scarves I mean. Just some novelty yarns things with "drop stitches". I knit them for one of my students for a silent auction for her daughter's school.

Seems like I'm doing a lot of volunteer knitting lately. You all know about the Dulaan Project stuff. And now these scarves. We've been talking about what we're going to do for Dulann next year. I didn't know until today that there was some confusion about whether the Dulaan project would continue next year. But it is. We, the Dulaan group, are also going to do some blanket squares for a local charity group. I don't have any details as yet but I'm sure we'll find an organization to donate to.

I still have a few hats on needles as well as a sweater. I'm trying not to start anything else until these are done. I didn't buy anything last Friday when we all went back to the yarn store. I just kept remembering how much yarn I've already purchased for hats, more than I will be able to use this round, and couldn't bring myself to buy any more. I love buying yarn so it wasn't easy to leave empty handed. There's a sale at Needle in a Haystack starting Thursday. Not sure if we're going to that.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Lisa: Oh, those are great socks!
Me: Yeah, but I have to rip them out. They're way too big.

Lisa: That's a cute hat. Love the color.
Me: Yeah, but I have to rip it out. I made a mistake in the ribbing pattern.

Lisa: That's a pretty scarf. Do you have to rip it out?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Yes you can make a hat from one skein of Nashua Wooly Stripes. This one I cast on only 72 stitches. I had some left over when I was done. So the next one will have a few more stitches, probably 80, but will otherwise be the same as the two I knit this week.

We're going back to Unwind tonight. A couple of the knitting group ladies wanted more of some of the stuff they got on Tuesday and ordered it online. It can either be shipped or picked up. So that's what we're doing. I don't plan to get anything this time but we all know how that goes.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The extra ball of yarn finally came in. Now I'm back to making O-rings for the Circles bag from Nicky Epstein's Fabulous Felted Bags. That is, I will be once I finish the 73 inches of black I-cord for the drawstring. I have about a foot to go on that. Then I get to sew all these rings on the bag, sew it up and hand it off to Ann Mary for felting. There's still nothing on the errata page for this pattern but there are plenty of others. We did get some additional skeins in this color in case others making the bag find that they run short. I have talked with one person and asked her to let me know if she has a problem.

Yesterday was a typical busy Wednesday. Seven students kinda spread out through the day. Much easier to cope with than days like last Saturday when everyone shows up at once. The worst part was having to tell two people that their gauge was way off from when it needed to be. Keep checking your gauge, people! Especially if you're working in "just stockinette".

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

So. Here's the first hat that uses the yarn I got yesterday. I used a bit over one skein of Nashua Wooly Stripes. I either need to get another skein or maybe Mendy got the same colorway and will be able to use this.

I really liked working with the yarn. No knots of any kind. The color transitions are very well done. I think if I'd done a smaller size I'd have had plenty. So I'll see when I try one of the other colorways I bought.

I've no idea what the yarn is. Might be Galway or Cascade 220. I just found it in my stash where I had put it after my trip to the Knitters Retreat a couple of years ago. Anyway. I'm reminded of an inverted tulip. It looks much better on. Trust me. I don't think 6x2 ribbing is such a good idea afterall. I meant to do some cables but got too involved in watching a movie and didn't realize how far I was into the hat. So I cancelled the cable and just kept going.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Unwind is having a sale. This is what I got. Not everything was on sale but most of it. I only went to exchange a duplicate skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn.

They're celebrating their second anniversary. Most of what I got was 25% off. A couple of things were even more discounted. Like that Fortissimi cotton sock yarn there on the left. Only $2.50 per skein. There's an online store that also has some great deals.

I'll be making more hats. I've already started one using some of the Nashua Wooly Stripes. First time using that yarn. So far I like it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Wanna see a big pile of incomplete projects? I didn't think so. I do have several things that are almost done though. One mitten plus the ribbing for the second one; the knitting is done of the blue poncho, just need to fringe it; the baby sweater is half done but I've decided to wait until after the baby is born to give it to the mom; the magenta sweater is almost to the armhole bind off for the front; there are still a few hats in progress for the Dulaan project; a pair of socks. Nothing else is active enough to be included in this list.

Saturday was really busy at Skein. AM was out of town for the weekend so her son came in to help. Mostly that means someone to run the register as he knows very, very little about knitting or the merchandise. The other instructor came in to help also. She was supposed to take care of the salesfloor while I worked with students. That didn't work out as planned. Mostly she sat at one end of my teaching table and worked on her own knitting. Or, in my view, took up a chair that I could have used for another student.

It didn't get busy until close to noon, right after Stephen asked, "Where are all your students?" Eight people came in practically one after the other and most of them were there for the duration. And that doesn't count the ones who came in just for a visit or a quick "touch up". Two brand new knitters plus two that are just into their first projects. The rest were working on stuff that was more complex than a garter stitch scarf.

I don't really mind when I have a lot of people all at once. But trying to answer customer and "sales force" questions makes me a bit stressed. At one point I just stopped and did some paperwork to give my brain a chance to refocus. At the end of the day it really felt like I'd had more than eight students. I came home and worked on some stalled socks until my hand hurt too much to keep going.

I pretty much took yesterday off from knitting. Today was Dulaan knitting day. So I knit a bit more but had to take a lot of breaks. I'll probably do some tonight, after I finish the laundry.