Monday, July 31, 2006

It's Dulaan day every Monday. So, even though the group didn't get together, I've spent most of the day working on pieces for the afghan we're doing as a group project. I don't have anything specifically for Dulaan on the needles right now. Well, there is a hat that's slowly taking shape but I haven't touched it in a couple of weeks.

In the interest of fairness I guess I should tell you that the weather is way better than it was this time a week ago. It's more than twenty degrees cooler and the humidity, while still high, is not as bad as it was. I went to see my friend Robert last night. He lives near Santa Monica and it's always ten or so degrees cooler over there than it is in Pasadena. I was glad I wore a long sleeved shirt. Sitting out on his patio would have been too cool for me.

I'm working another full time week. Ann Mary, although she's better, is still having some issues with her recovery. I'll be there to back her up, just in case, and to cover for the other teacher who chose this week to be away from the shop.

I hope this is the last week that I need to do this. I've got some running around I want to do. I promised a friend I'd take her yarn shopping while she's on vacation. That's next week. And our Thursday night knitting group is taking a harbor cruise in a couple of weeks, and more yarn shopping. I have a coupon that I need to use before the end of August, so that's more yarn shopping. I'm waiting for the new fall yarns to arrive at Skein before I use the store credits that I get for making shop samples. I may need some more storage boxes.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ann Mary came back to work yesterday. Things are back to normal. It's been a little busier the past couple of days. I've started a new project for the shop, a vest done in some GGH yarn, and we're starting to talk about where we're going to put the new fall yarns that are already beginning to arrive.

I'm just one row short of starting the neck shaping on my cotton/linen tweed sweater. Then about twenty rows and I'll be able to put the shoulders together and cast on for the sleeves. I had thought I'd get that far last night at Thursday night knitting but somehow I never get as much done when I'm there as I think I will. Stopping to talk, to admire someone's new yarn or project, a helping hand here and there and time out for dessert. But anyway I made some progress and will be closing in on finishing this sweater in the next few weeks.

It's about ten or twelve degrees cooler here than it was this time last week. Even my cat is noticing the difference. He was leaping from chair to chair last night, which he hasn't done in weeks, and even showed a little interest in playing our string game. So things are looking up. Now if HP would just call me back so we could resolve our issue. They owe me money.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blogger has been unavailable until now. And now I'm just about to walk out the door to go to work. I still have blogs to read because a lot of blogs I read use Blogger. So I'll have something to look forward to when I get home from my Thursday night knitting group.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Well, let's see. Aside from the slightly cooler temperatures there hasn't been much change around here. It was really nice last night to turn off the a/c and to even consider using a sheet to cover for a change. If it wasn't for the cat I'd probably be able to leave the air off today. I've been really surprised at how well the old a/c works. It took a couple of days but it's finally managed to cool the room to the point that I thought I might need to switch it to "low cool", but I didn't.

Ann Mary didn't come back to work yesterday. I think she'll be in for a while today. It'll be nice to have her back. It's taking a while for her to get her strength back after her surgery.

I'm having some thumb issues so knitting hasn't been all that pleasant since Monday. I've finished a couple of pieces for our afghan and have started another one. Just don't feel like handling anything that puts much weight on my left hand.

I had to call HP in India. HP must be getting complaints about the difficulty of understanding their representatives. The woman I was speaking with kept asking me if I could understand what she was saying. It took three times before I understood what she was saying. She wanted to know if I was satisfied or completely satisfied with the results of our conversation. How do you answer that? Especially since I don't have an answer yet. A supervisor is supposed to call me. Or that's what I think she said.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Blogger was down this morning so I couldn't post. Not that there's a lot to post. I'm sure everyone has heard about the heat wave, if you're not experiencing it yourself.

I left my a/c on all night and this morning it was almost too cool in the living room, the only room that benefits directly. Knowing that it was going to get hot again I left it on. Right now, if I don't move too much, it's cool in here. I need to do some laundry but I don't want to go back out again today. Maybe next week will be cooler.

Not much on the knitting front. Except I'm working full time for one more week. Ann Mary came in for a couple of hours on Friday and Saturday and will be back full time this week. I'll be there in case she needs to go sit in the back and rest for a while.

It was 109F here on Saturday, one degree short of the record 110F that was set in 1934. We did have a few customers early in the day, and I had two students, but after around 3 o'clock there was no one. I had a hard time staying awake but I did manage a lot on the current sweater project. I hope to finish the front this week and get started on the sleeves. No rush as this one won't be needed for a few more months.

Today was our Dulaan knitting day. There were only four of us. A couple of people who had planned to be there had to stay home due to weather related problems. One who had been without power for 36 hours and another one whose a/c quit over the weekend and had to stay home for the repair guys. I finished a small hat that I had started yesterday and then worked a while on my first piece for the afghan we're doing. I'm going to finish that one tonight and start another one. Don't know what stitch pattern I'm going to use yet.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Unraveled is having a surprise fishbowl sale today, tomorrow and Saturday. Everything in the store is 20 to 80% off, depending on what number you draw when you check out. I am not going.

Not because I wouldn't like to. But my work schedule precludes me getting there before they close. Sometimes the universe works in unexpected ways to keep me from acquiring more yarn. They have a really nice selection of Koigu in which I would indulge if I could. But I am being protected from base overindulgence. Why is it that when something is good for us it can be so hard to accept?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I need to work on my resolve more. Every morning I resolve that I will go for my walk by 6AM. Then it becomes a struggle between reading just one more blog and going and getting dressed to go out. Usually blog reading wins.

Because the cat wasn't as insistent as usual this morning I managed an extra half hour of sleep. Then I thought I'd just read a few blogs. It was after seven before I got out the door. It is a few degrees cooler today so the heat wasn't so bad but it would have been so much nicer an hour earlier. Maybe tomorrow I'll do better.

I worked intermittently on my sweater yesterday. More inter than mittent. So even though it's twelve rows longer it doesn't look much different that it did a few weeks ago. I wasn't the teacher yesterday. There's someone else who does that on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I'm not normally there. So the one person who came in looking for help went to her. It's been really quiet recently and yesterday was no exception. Until around three o'clock when it got pretty busy for about an hour and that turned the day into a good one. One of our fairly regular customers has discovered the joy of making felted animals, hedgehogs, sheep, llamas, you name it, and she needed some wool to felt as well as some "fur" to go along with it. Several hundred dollars later her birthday money was used up and she'd added a bit to one of her cards. And I sold a couple of baby blankets and a christening wrap.

Had a couple of friends drop in for brief visits. And worked some on my socks. Progress but not photo interesting. Besides I still have to install the new camera, and replace the USB cord since the one I have doesn't fit the new camera. And it's still too hot to be moving furniture around.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Things are still not fixed. I'm having lots of weird stuff happening. I don't know if it's my computer or the heat. I can't seem to access my own blog although I'm able to read others. Even other blogs that use Blogger. This is so not fun for me.

I did knit a bit last night. Worked on a sweater that I've been picking up and putting down for about four months now. The two pair of socks are in the final stages, about half a foot length to go on sock two of each pair.

I haven't tried my new camera yet. I have to install some software and I'm hesitant to do that right now.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Nothing but computer problems. I think everything's fixed now but I'm not sure. Very little time to knit because I've been on the phone with first one country and then another. I'm going to go and try to calm down now.

Friday, July 14, 2006

No photos. Again! I feel so defective. There's just nothing new to click. A couple of pairs of socks are still crawling along. I doubt if I'll finish either one before the weekend, even if I am spending most of the day on them while I'm at Skein.

It continues to be very hot and humid here. I was out before six this morning, before the sun was all the way up, and it was pleasant, but before I got home the sun had crested the mountains to the east and you could really feel its heat. The weather guys are predicting 97F for Pasadena which means it will probably reach 100 at my place. I don't expect to be very busy today.

Thursday night knitting was pretty low-key. Three people who had said they'd be there cancelled but there were still five of us. All of us were working on old projects, just trying to finish something before allowing ourselves to start anything new. We had a really great dessert. Fresh cherries, nectarines, grapes and blueberries cut up and heaped in a bowl so all we had to do was help ourselves. There were strawberries too but I picked them out. Can't stand the things.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Some cats like cantaloupe. I once had a cat that would lick the rind of a cantaloupe until it was transparent. Patrick is not one of those cats that like cantaloupe, even if he did express a lot interest in what I was eating. Well, he's had his chance. Now it's all mine. And I have another one just like it.

I also have some cherries and blueberries that I need to get to before too long. All thanks to the generosity of Mendy and her husband. (They're in the produce business.) I'm doing my best to eat all this fresh fruit and still stay within the diet guidelines. I'll probably take some of the cherries with me today to share with KC, Ann Mary's husband, who's running the shop while Ann Mary recuperates.

And speaking of generosity. When I got home from Skein last night there was a package waiting for me. I hadn't ordered anything. I picked it up and saw it was from a friend in Michigan. We had talked on Sunday and I mentioned that I was starting to look around for a new digital camera.

I don't have to look anymore. I'm going to have to wait until the weekend to try out my new camera. Life is good when you have friends that have more fruit and cameras than they can use and share them.

First day back to work was interesting. Even if I hadn't known that the moon is full I would have suspected it. But we got through it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Back to work. It was a nice, albeit short, break from the everyday sameness. I should be happy. Free a/c, free lunch, lots of yarn and knitters to enjoy. But it does mean I have to be there and I much prefer staying home. Not complaining really. I'm not working outside in the heat and I don't have to be there until ten.

The plumber showed up early and finished what he needed to do before noon. The laundry room was available so I got that done by noon also. The rest of my last day of vacation was all about knitting. The ribbing is done on the second Sockotta sock. In the evening I knit with friends until ten or so. Came home and brushed the cat for a while. So, a nice, relaxed finish.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Yesterday was the beginning of another round of Dulaan knitting. I finished a hat that I had started a few weeks ago and put it in the plastic box. Sorry. No picture because I forgot my camera. I think I mentioned that we're also going to be making an afghan to donate locally. I started a rectangle and like what I'm doing but I forgot to write down the stitch pattern. I forget a lot these days. So I'll have to look it up when I see my friends later today.

This is my last day of vacation and I'm spending it trying to get caught up on laundry. It took five days for the service company to get here and repair our washer so there are lots of people waiting for their turn. I'm also waiting to hear from the plumber. If he doesn't show this time I have the name and a recommendation for a different one but I don't know when I could schedule that since I'll be working full time for at least two weeks.

I'll finish at least one sock this morning and get started on its mate. And I'm really curious about the hemp yarn I got last week. So that may get wound and swatched. Mostly I'll just try to stay cool and get some chores done.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I finished the first sock of the Gull Wing socks. I'm using some more of the cotton yarn I got at Unwind a few months ago.

I forgot I had made these socks before. The pattern is in Socks, Socks, Socks from XRX. The stitch pattern is easy to memorize and to read, once you have it started. I've cast on for the second sock but put it aside so I could start
these. A simple 6 x 2 rib done in Plymouth's Sockotta. I got the yarn at Unraveled a couple of weeks ago, along with three other skeins in other color ways. I'm not as fond of Sockotta as I once was. I think I like Lana Grossa better. It's a bit softer and easier to knit.

Last Friday we (Mendy, Judy and I) went on a short yarn shop crawl. Our first stop was at Handmade. None of us has been there. It's a small shop but has some unusual items including brands you don't see everywhere. The owner, whose name I didn't get, is very enthusiastic about all things needlework. She's only been there for six months. I think we'll go back but will see if we can find an easier route than the one we got online.

And then we went to Unwind. The great wall of sock yarn was a bit of a disappointment. Maybe it was better when it was first put up. Not that I wasn't able to find something.

Yet another skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. I must have ten or twelve skeins in different colors and have yet to actually knit anything with it. Well, I have started a swatch. Someday. I also got three hanks of hemp. Just because I've never tried it.

We ended up at Sit'N Stitch in Toluca Lake, very near Unwind. There's more to the shop than first appears. It's in a converted medical office and when they moved in none of the partitions were taken out so you have lots of little rooms to explore. The hall way is too narrow for more than one person at a time to get through. You really have to spend some time looking because there's not much semblance of organization. There's also lots of needlepoint stuff if you like that sort of thing.

The one thing I noticed about all these shops is that they weren't busy. I guess it's a seasonal thing. Well, I hope so.

Friday, July 07, 2006

I really need a new camera. I tried five or six times to get a decent photo of these socks and this is the best. These are Mendy's Birthday Socks. I had started them a long time ago and when Mendy expressed her love for them I determined to put them away until now. You thought maybe I knit these this week?

I used some Plymouth Sockotta and a stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks. Thank you, Ms Schurch. I even Kitchenerd the toes for a change and this time the graft looks pretty good. Still need more practice on that.

We had a lively time at Thursday night knitting. A bigger than usual crowd. We even borrowed some chairs from across the sidewalk so everyone would be able to sit. There were some people we don't get to see often enough. I think they came not just to knit but to pay tribute to Mendy and her hospitality and graciousness. I don't know about everyone else but I don't get much actual knitting done at these soirees. But they're very restorative. I've started a new pair of socks and worked on them last night. I had to rip a few times as I kept missing the beginning of the round and forgetting to change the pattern. Plus, I think these socks may be too big.

I stopped by Unraveled on the way to Mendy's. I made another swatch for them using some Terra from The Fibre Company. It's lovely. 60% merino, 20% baby alpaca and 20% silk. It's also expensive. I'm thinking that with the discount I get for making the swatch that I could get a couple of hanks but that wouldn't do me much good. I have until the end of August to decide. Maybe I should just get some more sock yarn.

We're going yarn shop hopping today. Not sure where all we're going but I know we'll be stopping at Unwind in Burbank. Finally, a chance to see the Great Wall of Sock Yarn. I'm drooling already.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mumble, mumble, freaking plumber! I need to adjust my belief structure. I waited and waited. I finally tracked him down. "Oh, I'm not coming."

"We had an appointment."

"I'm not coming."

By the time this happened it was too late for me to do much else. I had wanted to join the Pasadena Daytimers over at Zephyr for their weekly get together. Too late for that. I did make one house call, or office call, to help someone with a buttonhole band.

Stayed home all evening and finished the bright striped socks that I showed yesterday. And swatched some Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. I'm thinking about making the Embossed Leaves socks from last fall's Interweave Knits but I need to figure out how to make them a bit fuller and longer.

So I'm home most of today. The plan was to do laundry. The machine, the brand new washer, is broken again. That's about four times since it was installed a couple of months ago. So I won't be doing laundry. I'm so grumpy I may have to go yarn shopping. But I'm doing that tomorrow. So I guess I'll just start another pair of socks.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

There's supposed to be a plumber here. It's not an emergency just some routine maintenance that I no longer feel agile enough to accomplish. I just don't contort all that well anymore and getting under a kitchen sink could prove to be my total undoing. Anyway, he hasn't called yet. But I firmly believe that he will show up some time today. Or maybe tomorrow.

If he doesn't show I will still be able to work on these socks. You may recall seeing these socks before. When I was nearly finished the first time I realized that they were just going to be too big. So I ripped them and soaked and dried the yarn and am not almost to where I was before. I should finish today. I'm using a slightly different approach to knitting the heel flap and turning the heel. It's too subtle to see. I'm trying Charlene Schurch's way of doing it. You can find out all about it in her Sensational Knitted Socks.

I was invited to go knitting with friends last night. I decided to be a responsible adult and stay home with my cat. Patrick is easily frightened by loud, unexpected noises. There were a couple of times when I thought his eyes would actually fall out. I spent a lot of time talking to him and giving him soothing brushes. So we got through it. I missed going knitting though.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July!

Patrick got extra treats this morning in celebration. Now he's just bugging me for more brushes. I've been out for my morning walk and am still trying to cool down. It's really, really hot here. And humid. I'll be spending most of the day sitting in front of the fan and hovering near the ancient air conditioner.

I finished these Mock Cable socks a couple of days ago. Lots of people offered to take them but Lisa, who came over last night, ended up with them. The actual colors are a bit more intense and the mock cables show a little better IRL but overall they're cute and festive. Perfect for a holiday celebration.

I'm on vaction until Wednesday of next week. Then I'll be working full time for a while. Maybe a couple of weeks. It'll be interesting to see how I hold up. I'm pretty used to my three days a week schedule.