Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We have a new regimen around here. Patrick, my cat, has decided that he'd much rather have breakfast at 4:30 instead of the almost equally unacceptable 5:30. This has nothing to do with daylight savings time. It started several days before we regained our purloined hour. It's really getting to me. Once I'm up I don't go back to bed. Perhaps I should but I get started on my day and before you know it, it's time to go to work. I tried going to bed earlier as a means of compensating. Didn't work. Patrick decided that that would be a good time for some extra scratching and petting. He, meanwhile, just eats a few nibbles and goes back to sleep. Anybody need a cat?

So, how's the knitting? Not a lot to report there. I'm still plugging away on the Boku multi-directional scarf and I'm into the gusset decreases on a pair of socks. Yesterday was our Dulaan knitting group. We don't always get a lot of people for this as many of the knitters who started with us have jobs and stuff that they didn't have when we started. But yesterday there were five of us. We met at a different venue. The weather was really nice so we sat outside on T's patio. We also had a champagne brunch. Really nice. Fresh melon salad, a sort of sausage quiche and croissants, preceeded by currant scones and followed by pumpkin cheesecake. Everyone wanted to know if we could meet there again soon, before the weather gets too cool. Oh, I worked for most of the time on a sweater I'm making for Dulaan and I finished another rectangle for our afghan.

I got a bunch of Fleur de Laine that was on sale at Velona's last week. I'm thinking maybe I'll make something for me but I'm holding off on starting until I finish something, anything, just finish something. And I emptied out one of my canvas bags and found a sweater that I had abandoned three years ago, mostly because I lost interest. Now I'm going to rip that and start something else. I used the yarn doubled so that'll take some doing to separate the strands into hanks so I can wash and de-crimp the yarn before I can use it again. It's a lot easier to think of things I'd like to do than it is to find time to do them. And I get to change my mind without having to rip.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Just one more picture from my Utah trip. (There are others but I imagine this is enough.) The view from the balcony of my brother's house. The Wasatch mountains and Utah Lake with a new development in the foreground. There are new developments everywhere.

Getting back in the swing of things was pretty easy. Enough students to keep me occupied and plenty of time to exchange stories about my trip. I worked on the current multi-directional scarf that I meant to start while I was on my trip but I realized I wouldn't have time so I left the yarn at home. I also ripped back a sock that was almost done. Back to the start of the heel flap. Because there was a hole that I created while trying to compensate for not having shifted the pattern to be centered over the instep. I thought I could live with it but I couldn't.

I finished a pair of socks last night that have been in the works since summer. And the chevron scarf is done except for weaving in a few ends. I need to choose another sock yarn and get started. Tomorrow is another trip to Velona's with a friend who has never been there. I haven't figured out when I'm going to get some laundry done.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Home from Utah. It was a great trip even though there was not yarn shop to visit. I did teach my great-nephew to knit while I was there. (Or is it grand-nephew when he's the son of your niece?) Turns out he's been waiting to learn since he first saw me knitting three years ago when we were both visiting my brother in Idaho. He is quick and really understood how the stitches were formed, even to the extent that he could knit backwards without me even telling him such a thing existed.

I didn't manage much knitting myself. I'm almost done with the one pair of socks I took with me. The yarn I took to start another pair I gave to my g-nephew along with a set of dpns. He seemed to really like the yarn and since he didn't have his own supply I thought he should have something so he could keep going while he's interested.

Even though I didn't get to any yarn shops, I had a great time. I talk with my brother usually about twice a month but I haven't seen him for three years. It's hard to believe we were so much at odds when we were kids. He sure can talk though! I don't think he stopped more than five minutes at a stretch while I was there. We took several longs walks with his new dog, Queen. You can make her out on the left of the photo above.

The abandoned stone house is on the edge of the lake where he lives. I don't know anything about it. The area where he lives is high desert, very dry and frequently quite windy. Nearly everywhere you turn there is construction going on. New houses all over the place. Looks like Utah is really growing and expanding. We did take a ride through some of the towns on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. And we went to a state liquor store. That was strange, and way more expensive than where I live.

So it's back to work tomorrow. Even though I was only gone a few days it seems like I have been away for weeks. Patrick, my cat, was happy to see me, even if he was a bit disgruntled.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Halloween Socks for 2006. Finished last night about 10:30. They're just plain stockinette but I think that's all I needed for this yarn. And they fit. Lisa tried on one when she was here last Sunday.

I've just cast on and started another pair of socks, also in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. This time I'm doing the Broadripple Sock in a colorway called Birches. This is the third or fourth time I've used this pattern. I'll be taking these socks with me to Utah. I'll also be taking the Boku yarn to make another multi-directional scarf. And maybe another pair of socks that just need a few rounds and the toe shaping to be finished. See you next week.

I don't have any idea what activities my brother has planned. I hope there's some sight seeing and maybe he'll have included some yarn shops. But I doubt that. I'll look them up before I go. I'll pack this afternoon and make sure I have my camera and some extra batteries as well as all the other stuff I need everyday. I bought a new alarm clock so I could make sure I'm up at 3AM to get to the airport ahead of time. I wonder what I'll forget.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've waited about as long as I can for Blogger to upload my photo. I'll be late for work if I wait any longer. So, just imagine that you're seeing one and a half socks here. I'm started on the gusset decreases of the second sock, the 2006 Halloween Socks for Lisa. The Cabin Fever colorway is just perfect for this time of year and I'm really happy with the way the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock feels.

I didn't make as much progress yesterday as I had hoped. Way too busy. Chaos and pandemonium might be a better description. Right from the start of the day until I finally got to have lunch at about 2:15. Everyone had a problem of some sort and most of them involved ripping back, either to pick up dropped stitches or to correct a misunderstanding of the pattern or to recheck a gauge. It was noisy! I don't think the shop was busy but I didn't have time to notice.

I'm not ready for my trip but I have tomorrow off so I can get everything done then. Not hard to pack for just a few days. Still deciding on what knitting to take.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I don't have any knitting pictures so here's one of my cat, Patrick. He doesn't always look so stern. I think he was just irritated because I was keeping him awake.

I'm going to Utah at the end of the week for a few days. Lisa came over last night so we could spend some time together before I go and so I could review all of Patrick's idiosyncrasies and how to deal with them. He actually knows her so I think they'll get along fine.

Like most knitters who go on trips I'm trying to figure out which projects to take. I don't know what my brother has planned for the four days I'll be at his new home. This is the brother that used to live in Idaho. He has a new dog so I'm sure I'll have to spend lots of time admiring her and all her many entertaining tricks. But there will be time to knit, especially since my brother spends a lot of time on the computer doing his stock market stuff.

Meanwhile, I think I may be losing it. I have been getting myself psyched up for a homeowners meeting tonight. Sat down this afternoon and read through all the rules and regulations. Then I went to check with my neighbor to see if she wanted a ride. The meeting isn't for another two weeks. Oh, well. At least my homework is done. I think it's getting to be time for me to write things down.

Today was Dulaan knitting day. I'm working on another sweater. It's not far enough along to take a picture yet. Mendy and Judy worked on squares for the afghan we're putting together. I need to get some more of those done myself. But first I want to finish a pair of socks for Lisa. One is done and the other is about half way to the heel flap. If it's as slow at Skein this week as it was last week, I'll have plenty of time. I'll also try to finish the chevron scarf, but that one's not due until Christmas.

Friday, October 13, 2006

It's not Kureyon. It's not Silk Garden. It's Boku (pronounced beaucoup) from Plymouth Yarn.

I first heard about this yarn last week when a friend of mine, who also happens to be the rep for Plymouth Yarn, asked me if I had seen it yet. She did say that it was Plymouth's answer to Noro. I don't think she meant it was exactly the same, only that it had some similar qualities.

Even the label is similar. Skein was supposed to see the yarn last Tuesday but Ann Mary cancelled the appointment. I found these at Unraveled in Monrovia. They only had four of the six colors because two colors are still on back order. So I got four skeins each of two colors.

I couldn't wait to see how it would knit up. Since I've used Kureyon for lots of multi-directional scarves I thought that pattern would be a good comparison. I do like how the yarn feels in my hands. Much softer and less scratchy than Kureyon. And the yarn is more even throughout although there is some slight variation in thickness but I haven't had any of those sewing thread thin spots that Kureyon sometimes has.

The color, while it's pretty enough, is not as edgy and startling as Kureyon is. I haven't knit enough yet to see if the color changes are as unpredictable as Kureyon. The put-up is 99 yards per 50 gram skein and works on a US size 7 four stitches per inch. And it's a lot less in price. These skeins were $6.65 each. And Unraveled is having a 15% off sale all this month.

The yarn is a blend of 95% wool and 5% silk. It needs to be handwashed and laid flat to dry. So far I like it a lot. I may have to go back and get the two other colorways.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Here's the current permutation of the Cotton Kureyon scarf. The one I was making originally was just too deconstructed looking for my tastes. This one is only better to the extent that at least it's not awkward.

Part of the problem may just be the yarn itself. It's pretty flashy. At least for my current color preferences. I like a lot more subtlety. This scarf is just one in a series of knitting disasters. I haven't been able to start anything that doesn't turn to trash in my hands. I ripped a pair of socks yesterday for the third or fourth time. Nothing seems to be working right now.

Do you ever have anything like this happen? There seems to be some sort of disjoin between what I want to do and what I can do. So I'm sticking with simple stuff for a while. I started a new pair of socks yesterday. Just plain socks but using some Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn in the Cabin Fever colorway. So far, so good.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


One day last week I went with a couple of knitting friends to see the new yarn shop, Abuelita's, in South Pasadena. I had already been warned that it was very small and had a very limited selection of yarns. That was certainly not an understatement.

The shop is very cute though. It's in a part of South Pasadena that is being regentrified. Actually I once considered renting an apartment in the building where the shop is. There is no entrance for disabled people, only a narrow flight of stairs that lead from the sidewalk up to the second floor. If you don't know where the shop is you might have a hard time finding it as there's only a small sign over the door. When you first enter you see the mural. Sorry it's so washed out. I had to use a flash since the entrance is quite dark, especially if you're outside in the bright sunlight.

The knitting yarn selection is very limited; some Colinette, some Lang, some Crystal Palace and a few other brands. The needlepoint selection seems to be better but since I'm not much of a needlepointer I'm not sure. There are two rooms of needlepoint canvases and fibers, but no Persian. "We don't do wool."

There's an enormous table in the knitting yarn room. I can't imagine how they got it in there unless is was assembled on site. The shop has a busy class schedule so it looks like that's how they plan to succeed. I bought four balls of Crystal Palace Blippity just because.

Knitting with Balls

I got a review copy of Knitting with Balls by Michael del Vecchio. You may know him from his blog.

I think I was expecting something different. The book is, however, well written and has a few projects that would be fun to knit. And there are lots of instructions and patterns for beginners.

I'm not sure if I would have started knitting just on the basis of this book. When I started to knit about thirty years ago there wasn't much available in printed form and I didn't know anyone who knit. I think people either knit or they don't and a book isn't going to motivate them to start. It might, however, keep them going. If you know someone, male or female, who'd like to learn to knit, this book would be helpful. Most of the patterns are really basic but they're a lot more interesting than a garter stitch scarf.

I'm a little put off by the title. It seems like a too obvious attempt to sell knitting to another segment of the potential knitting population, one that hasn't been successfully tapped to date. If you like Michael's designs you might want to get a copy of the current Knit'n'Style magazine. He has a sweater in there.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I have been accused of using too many drab colors in my knitting. While I don't think the accusation is justified I do admit that I have a preference for grey and most other neutrals. However, I think this new scarf gives the lie to the judgement.

I don't know if Noro makes this yarn anymore. It's Cotton Kureyon, 70% cotton, 30% wool. It's not quite as rough as regular Kureyon but the colors are just as vibrant and unusual. I'm using an Artyarns pattern, the Zigzag scarf. I had tried a couple of other ideas but the strong horizontal striping was too much for the stitch patterns. I made a couple of these scarves last year. They're more interesting than the famous multi-directional diagonal scarf but are just as easy and addictive.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The new big project, the Trilogy jacket, has not been started. I've been concentrating on getting this little red sweater done for Dulaan 2007. And then I started another one; and then a scarf. But I'll get there.

Today, though, I'm off to Velona's again. I can go to Velona's on the slightest of provocations. It's not that I really need anything but it's so reassuring to go to Velona's. You know there will always be enough yarn for everyone. I do think I'll see if they have any more of the Kureyon Cotton. I found some in my stash last night. I don't know when, where or how I got it. But I could use another skein. And maybe some Sirdar Country Style in an old colorway. Velona's is that kind of place. Maybe they won't always have what you want but the odds are better than most places. And Rose always makes an extra effort to find what you want.

Anyway. I'm going to Velona's with my friend Lulu. She's never been before. They have a yarn that she's been looking for, an old Anny Blatt something or other. So we'll pick that up and see what else we can find.

I really, really need to get my stash organized. I started to clean a bit in the yarn storage room yesterday but it was so overwhelming that I just left the vacuum cleaner where it was and went off to knit and take a nap. On the other hand, it's always such a surprise to find stuff that I've long since forgotten. Like the Kureyon Cotton. And some Manos del Uruaguay that I don't know about.