Monday, December 31, 2007

Winding up, winding down

How do you like my crown?

My street is filling up with RVs and vans. People are pouring in from all over to line up for the chance to view the Rose Parade. It makes for a lot of noise and disruption. Getting out of my driveway is a high-risk adventure.

I'll be at A Stitch in Time for part of the day. We're closing early but I don't know how early. I have a few people that have said they'll be in. I have some patterns and books to share and a sock or two to work on. It will be a pleasant way to end the year.

Here's Lisa wearing the finally finished Chevron Scarf. I'm not sure I'd ever make another one of these even though I got lots of compliments when I was knitting it. I don't know. I might. Two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug and some US5 needles. And it is pretty mindless so is a great take-a-long project.

Another Jitterbug project. The plain socks from the ball band. I had to buy a second skein to finish these because I made the legs longer than the pattern allowed. But I have enough left for some ruffle topped anklets. These were knit using US1.5 (2.5mm) and are quite firm. They should last forever.

The finished fingerless gloves. They fit really well and are doing the job of keeping her hands warm. I hope I don't get any more calls for gloves with fingers, half or otherwise.

I finished the Fiesta scarf but I'm waiting for some sunshine. And I have some new stuff to share tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a happy new year to one and all. I'll be home minding my knitting tonight. Wild parties are definitely a thing of the past.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Final Friday

Well, here it is almost the end of the year. I don't have much of anything new to write today. I worked a lot on my Fiesta scarf yesterday and only have seven rows of K2, P2 ribbing plus the bind off to go. That may happen today, depending on how busy I am at A Stitch in Time. I'm going to a party tonight so there won't be any knitting time this evening.

I made another pumpkin bread yesterday morning using a different recipe. I took it to knit night last night and it was heartily approved. There was also some zucchini bread from the batch I made last week. Likewise approved. So I think that's it for the baking this year. Except for some brownies I'll probably make tomorrow.

I haven't made any definite lists yet but I'm thinking I will. I'd like to see if I can select a few, say maybe five, projects for the coming year. And then see if I can stick to the list. So far I just have some vague inklings of what I'd like to knit. How about you? Anything definite for the coming year?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Moving right along, again

Looks like a ruffle, doesn't it? It's actually a scarf knit lengthwise. It's from Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton Hand Knitting Collection, Book Number Two for Noro/
One of my students made the complete ensemble, leg warmers, hat and scarf for one of her grandchildren, using Silk Garden instead of the Kureyon the pattern stipulates. And then my friend Mendy decided she wanted to make one, so I thought I'd just join in on the parade. I just happened to have the right amount of Kureyon, 4 balls, in my stash to make the scarf. I'm using color number 182. There's a lot more brightness going on than I'm used to. I think this looks a lot like a fiesta skirt. Not my usual somber preference.

Here's another view. I'm just about done with the second skein and hope to finish this by the end of the year, or before. I'll get a lot done today and tonight at knit night. I have some socks in the works as well that I'll like to finish by next Monday although there's no real reason to rush.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Knitting break

A break from knitting actually. I didn't knit a single stitch yesterday. I had planned to. Even took some socks with me when I went to Lisa's house for our annual gift opening ritual. But it didn't happen. There just wasn't any time available.

But there was knitting related stuff. Just look at that pile of books. Every book I had on my Amazon wish list showed up in my Christmas haul.

From the top:

Knitspeak Andrea Berman Price
Knitter's Almanac Elizabeth Zimmermann
The Ultimate Sock Book Vogue Knitting
Runway Knits Berta Karapetyan
101 Designer one-skein wonders
Judith Durant
The Knitter's Book of Yarn Clara Parkes
Knitting Classic Style Veronik Avery
Indigo Knits Jane Gottelier

My knitting break may extend a while longer. Not a complete break though. I've already started a scarf for next year's gift stash.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa's on his way!

It won't be long now! My stockings are not hung but are ready to be wrapped. All my knitting is done. And the holiday baking was finished on Saturday. Woot!

I'm going to be at A Stitch in Time today but only for a few hours. The shop will close early. How early depends on the traffic. I have to remember to pick up the packages I left there to be wrapped. And maybe I'll go do a bit of window shopping this afternoon, if I can find a reasonable parking space. Then I'll come home and listen to some holiday music while I finish the wrapping. And try not to fret over whether I got the right thing for everyone.

I finished the Christmas knitting last Friday. So now I get to start some new projects. So far I've made two hats, cast one for one scarf, started a pair of socks and tried swatches for several others. Now I think I can calm down and get back to all the things I left on hold while I was doing the Christmas gifts.

So, a Merry Christmas to you all! And all the best for the coming year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

High winds and home made holiday stuff

Talk about your bleak mid-winters! It's not only cold here but the winds have taken over. The palm trees are in such a dither that I thought it was rain, hard rain. I hope the oranges aren't blown off the tree.

Thanks for all the good wishes for Patrick. They worked. He's back to his usual brush-begging self. We've already played chase at least once this morning. Mendy said I could keep the carrier since Patrick liked it so much. I have to find a place for it since it's pretty inconvenient having it sitting in the middle of the living room. Maybe it would make a good footstool though.

The pecan pie was a success. It looked pretty and tasted even better. Not many people showed up for knitting night so we got larger pieces than we might otherwise have. And it made a perfect birthday cake for Renee. The shop holiday dinner was fun even though a number of people who had said they'd be there didn't show up. I had pork tenderloin with Gorgonzola sauce. Tasty but a bit overdone. Like the pork chops my mom used to make.

I finished another holiday gift. A hat using a pattern from Hip Knit Hats by Cathy Carron. I like this book even though most of the pattern instructions are flawed. I got a couple of skeins of organic alpaca and have enough left over to make another hat. Perhaps foolishly but I think I'll have time before Christmas. I still have all those ends to weave in on the gloves. Maybe today while I'm at A Stitch in Time.

Now for the recipes.

Zucchini, Nut and Raisin Bread

Makes two loaves.

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups raw zucchini, grated
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Beat eggs until fluffy, add sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla. Mix well.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add to egg and zucchini mixture. Stir until well blended.

Add nuts and raisins. Mix lightly.

Pour into two lightly greased and floured loaf pans. (9 by 5 inches).

Bake one hour at 350.

Pumpkin Bread

Makes two loaves.

1/2 cup corn or vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons soda
1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup chopped nuts ( I usually use walnuts.)

Cream oil and sugar in large mixing bowl.

Add eggs and beat well.

Sift flour with other dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture, alternating with pumpkin. Add nuts and mix well.

Pour into two well greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pans.

Bake for one hour at 350F.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Of cats and carrot bread

Patrick is feeling poorly today after his trip to the vet yesterday. He had his annual check up, he's getting overweight, and had a booster shot. He's always been a bit sluggish after he gets those shots but he seems to be suffering a bit more this time. But he's having a fine time napping in the pet carrier than Mendy loaned me for the trip. He took to it almost instantly and hasn't been out of it except to eat for the past day and a half. I may have to get him one of his own.

He wailed the whole way over and back. It's heartbreaking to hear him. And no amount of talking to him and telling him everything is going to be OK reassures him. Wait 'til he finds out that I have to put him on a diet.

I was asked to post the recipes that I'm using for my holiday baking so this is the first one. This is a very old recipe. All my recipes are old. So I don't have metric equivalents. I'll probably post the other two recipes tomorrow.

Carrot Bread

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups salad oil
3 cups unsifted regular all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups finely shredded raw carrots

Beat the eggs, and add the sugar gradually, beating until thick.

Add the oil gradually and continue beating until thoroughly combined.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon until mixture is smooth.

Stir in the carrots until blended well.

Turn into two well-greased 5 by 9 inch loaf pans.

Bake the bread in a moderate oven (350F) for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Makes two loaves. (I usually let these quick breads rest for ten to fifteen minutes before I take them out of the pan.)

I have a pecan pie in the oven right now. I had exactly the right amount of dark Karo syrup so it seemed like destiny. If it comes out OK I will take it the knitting night after I go to the shop dinner party.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Things I still need to do if I'm going to be ready

Things are starting to fall in place. I finished a pair of socks. I got the yarn for the hat I still have to make. And the second glove is well underway, except some of the stitches came loose when I was taking out the scrap yarn that was supposed to be holding them. That's fixed and ready for the second attempt. Later today.

I have a bunch of errands to do today, starting with taking my cat Patrick to the vet for his annual physical and booster shots. That'll be fun. And then to Kaiser to pick up a prescription refill for me. And I can't find my 10.5 dpns so I'll probably go get some of those so I can start that hat. And then it's on to the market.

I always bake some quick breads to take with me to Lisa's house on Christmas morning. I've been wanting some pumpkin bread so that's on the list. And some carrot bread which is the one I use for people who don't like nuts. And some zucchini bread. So I need to get some basic ingredients like flour and sugar since I don't usually have those things in my cupboard anymore. And I need a couple of ducks because that's what my friend Robert wants for Christmas.

I still need a few things for Lisa but I'm not saying what since she reads this blog. And of course there's the wrapping.

I guess there's more to do than I thought. But it will happen.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Feet!

Plymouth Yarns has a new sock weight yarn called Happy Feet. I just happened to be in a yarn shop when the rep came in. She had samples of all the colors but I chose these two for myself. The yarn is 90% merino and 10% nylon. It's very soft. I'm not sure how it will hold up but it sure feels nice. You need two skeins for a pair of socks.

So far I've only seen this yarn at Unraveled but the rep says that several shops in and around Pasadena have ordered it for their stock.

It'll be a couple of weeks before I can sample this yarn. There's still some other stuff that needs to be finished by next Tuesday.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A yarn a day, or thereabouts

Who needs to go shopping when you have such great friends? People who know me know that yarn acquisition is my passion. And they also know that I like nice stuff. For example this X-mas Rock Socks that Rock yarn. A Christmas gift from one of my knitting buddies. The red part is actually a lot richer and deeper than you see here. I'm almost done with my holiday knitting and I'll be free to start some more socks.

And how about this? The two skeins of Colinette that I got at last week's knitting group party. Still mulling what to do with this. Possibly something in seed stitch to show off the colors. And maybe alternating the two yarns every two rows. What would Jared do?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Actual knitting content

It's been days since I've been able to post a picture of my current knitting. But here's where I am now on the fingerless gloves that I was talking about yesterday. I decided to use some 100% alpaca that I found in my stash. The gloves were originally going to be in red Dale of Norway Falk. Those three skeins will become something else at some point.

I found the pattern at Knitting Pattern Central. The link from their page is to Interweave Knits Online. Of course I added this to my projects page on Ravelry so it's all over the cyberworld.

I'm ready to start the fingers and thumb on this first glove. This one went pretty fast so I expect to finish by the weekend.

There's another holiday knitting party tonight, hosted by Unraveled. I went to Trader Joe's yesterday to pick up a few dessert items. Well, really, just some cookies. It's really hard to find cookies that don't have nuts in them. Avoiding bananas in cookies wasn't so hard. It's helpful to know people's food preferences and aversions/allergies so you don't end up with a lot of stuff that no one can eat. I wanted some of those chocolate covered coffee beans but they didn't have any. But just about everything else. Chocolate covered edamame anyone?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The almost really awful knitting day

It started off well enough. I finished the heel flap, turned the heel and completed the gusset decreases on the Jitterbug socks. No problems. And that's where things began to fall apart.

I had started a pair of half-finger gloves. I've made these gloves before. In the same yarn but a different color. I was well into the pattern without any problems. But the whole thing was just too big. Way bigger than the last time I made them. Started over on a smaller needle but the yarn is just too thick and splits like crazy when worked on the smaller needles.

So I abandoned that pattern and started looking for something that would work. I found a pattern I could modify and got started over, using a different yarn this time. Cast on and started knitting. With the tail. Started over and worked two rows. The next row I did with the tail. Started over and got about ten rows done and then dropped a stitch that I couldn't recover. The yarn I'm using is very soft and it's easy to fray it if you're not super careful.

Spent some time looking for a different yarn. I know it's here but haven't found it yet. I'll be looking some more this morning. And for a different pattern as well.

But all was not lost.

It was delicious. Just the right juiciness. And sweet but not too sweet. I hope those other ones are ready some time soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Orange you glad it's almost Christmas?

This was on my kitchen counter when I got home last night. The first orange from the tree that I got for Father's Day last year, or maybe it was the year before. My daughter had stopped by before I got home and had done some clean up work on my balcony. Thanks, kid! I just discovered that part this morning when I went out to take a picture of my well decorated tree.

If I weren't so cold I could believe that it's summer. Does this look like Christmas? Well, it is Southern California. It's still in the low forties as I write. That's cold? By our standards.

Monday, December 10, 2007

What's on your wish list?

I'm almost done with my holiday knitting. Finished, temporarily, another scarf last night. I made one of the scarves from One Skeinbut I don't like the cables at the end. They're supposed to be mirror images but mine don't look so hot. I'll look at the scarf again tonight and them decide if I want to reknit that part.

There's still a pair of socks that and 75% done. I'll work on those today while I'm at A Stitch in Time. I have to find that second skein of Jitterbug just in case. Next up is a pair a gloves and a ribbed hat.

I don't have a wish list other than the books I've listed on Amazon. I like surprises and I can't think of anything that I want. Some Addi lace needles would be nice. I also like nice soaps. I think I'm pretty easy. I still have two people to buy for that I have no ideas of what to get. Other than that I'm done. Well, there is the wrapping.

Thanks, L, for the funny serviettes.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The party's over

The Thursday Knitting Group Holiday Party was a lot of fun, even if a certain nameless person forgot that he had promised to bring a potato casserole and didn't come to the party. His present from me is still in my car, waiting for me to decide if I will keep it for myself, or give it to someone else, or, if said person is contrite enough, I will give it to him. I don't really need another gorgeous hand knit scarf anyway.

There was plenty of delicious food and excellent wine. And two luscious desserts. Both of which I had to have. Mendy's peach glazed pork tenderloin was fantastic. (Maybe it was apricot.) Mario brought his justly famous Risotto Pie which is actually a main dish, not a dessert. Thom's traditional broccoli salad, Renee's corn pudding, also not a dessert, Estelle's butter steamed green beans, so crunchy and bright, and Judy started us off with some crudités followed by the Salad Diane that Susan brought. Lammia brought her tiramisu and I made a chocolate trifle. Normally I wouldn't write about all the food but I just wanted to let those folks who didn't show up know what they missed.

After we had overindulged or gorged ourselves we played the gift exchange game. You know, the one where you draw a number and then get to select a gift that you might or might not get to keep. I got some wonderful Colinette Iona Print and Prism that is still in my car waiting for me to take its picture. And then there was a major yarn destashing provided by Lammia. (Where does she get all that yarn anyway?) My haul is likewise still in my car.

Even though I remembered to take my camera I didn't remember to take very many pictures. But I did remember to take a picture of these fingerless gloves I made for Susan. They were a major hit. You can get the free pattern here. Look to the right and you'll see her free patterns. This one is called Kyla. One skein of Koigu with some left over. The bauble edging is unusual but makes sense once your actually get started. I had a few knitting mishaps while making these mitts but they had nothing to do with the pattern. Just my failing eyesight and trying to knit in poor light.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Just a few more things to finish

We're having our knitting group holiday party tonight. I think I'm covered for that. So long as no one shows up that hasn't responded to the invitation. That happens.

I've spent the past couple of days looking at Trifle recipes. I never did find the one I used a long time ago (and it was a lot of work) so I ended up with a fairly quick and easy version. Got up early this morning and put it all together so it has time to firm up. And then I wrapped all the gifts for this evening. Well, bagged them is more accurate.

I made another Tilted Squares scarf yesterday because I needed one more gift. And now I'm about halfway through one of the cabled scarves from One Skein using some of the Blue Sky Organic Cotton. It's nice when you have the yarn that's called for. I'm probably going to make it longer since I have the yarn.

I hope I remember to take my camera tonight.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Moving right along

Another finished holiday gift. Recipient undecided but I have a couple of options. I still have a pair of mittens to finish before Thursday. Almost done with those. And a couple of scarves that may be gifted on the needles. Or maybe I'll delay the whole gifting until next week when we're going to meeting at Unraveled.

Oh, about the scarf. It's the Parallelograms scarf from Knitting New Scarves.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's called rain.

It's been a long time coming but there's finally some rain today. This is not the kind of rain I remember. Rain that came down hard and filled the streets from curb to curb. Rain that soaked the ground so that it squished when you walked on it. No. This is really just a drizzle but it's caused no end of excitement in the local media. Even when there was only a twenty percent chance of rain there were headlines proclaiming the possibility. Now we have it. Well, really it's just enough to cause havoc on the freeways as drivers, unaccustomed to wet roads, wait until the last minute to slam on the brakes and then find themselves spinning out of control and crashing into one another or a nearby concrete wall.

I'd love to stay home today and knit but I have to go to a wedding this afternoon. I hear it's good luck if it rains on your wedding day. I expect that was just made up to keep people from complaining. Anyway, my nephew is getting married this afternoon. I can't imagine why they planned a wedding for four o'clock on a Friday afternoon. I'm only going to be at A Stitch in Time until two today and then I'll rush home and get all dressed up to go to an event that I don't want to go to.

I finished a couple of mittens yesterday and am only about a foot away from finishing my Parallelograms scarf. And I got started on another scarf last night but I think I'm going to rip that and start over as it looks a bit loose. Two steps forward and one back.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm making a list

and checking it twice, thrice and more. I just don't see how I can get all this knitted by next week.

My list of hand knit gifts continues to grow and my available time is shrinking fast. Actually that isn't the stack of yarn I'm working my way through since I really don't want to spoil the surprise.

So I'm really busy right now. Blogging will be sporadic. Probably for the next three weeks. Unless something happens that's bloggable.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Once more with no photos

So the big holiday weekend is a memory. It's been nothing but food, food, food since Thursday, including brunch at Acapulco yesterday. Still recovering from that. And a fantastic dinner on Friday night at Brigante's in South Pasadena. Thanks, Chris, for the early Christmas present. And to Andy for joining us and providing lots of laughter.

I did get some knitting done. I actually finished the Chevron Scarf that I've been working on since September. I need to press is and then I'll be able to show it off. I also made a lot of progress on the Parallelograms scarf yesterday. My daughter was here for most of the day and instead of going to the movies we sat and worked on our various projects. She doesn't knit and doesn't want to learn. Instead she's carefully ripping the seams of a stack of jeans that she's accumulated so she can one day convert the pieces into a funky quilt or wall hanging. Anyway, it was a great afternoon and evening just sitting quietly together and occasionally making some comment or telling about something that happened or plans for the coming holidays.

I had to rush around frantically on Sunday morning to get the house into some kind of tidiness. I was supposed to do that on Saturday but instead chose to go to Unraveled for the afternoon, partly avoidance and partly to help my friend Susan with a problem she was having with her current project. I may see her again later today and see how she's progressing.

Coming soon to a yarn shop near you! Provided you live in the Pasadena/San Marino area. A Stitch in Time will have it's mid-winter sale starting a week from today. Including all knitting yarns and needlepoint canvases. I think the discount is 35%. And for the first time ever knitting needles and knitting books will be included. Even though I'm never going to buy yarn again there are a few things that will be coming home with me, just in case there's never any more yarn.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for stopping by. It's that time of year again when we get to run around like crazy and try to get everything done. We do it every year and swear we won't do it again. And over doing it with the desserts and other goodies. But it's a great holiday and a wonderful season in spite of everything.

It's cold here today. Well, for Southern California. Almost winter. And it's overcast like it would snow if it could. I'm staying in for most of the day and enjoying the music and watching the cat sleep. I'll go to dinner later at a friend's house and get home late and then get up and go to work tomorrow.

Lots of people have the day after Thanksgiving off. I used to work in retail so I've almost never had that luxury. It wouldn't seem like the holidays if I were home. And Friday is the day that I get to see lots of my knitting buddies. So I have lots of things that I'm thankful for. I hope you do too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Updating Ravelry and other stuff

I've just spent a frantic hour updating my Ravelry page. It shouldn't be a hard as I seem to make it. Mostly it's because I don't have it all together when I get started. Forgot to upload my new photos to Flickr. Then I had to wait 'til Flickr got them posted. Back and forth, back and forth. But I do have it done.

That's the new yarn I got at the Unraveled anniversary yarn sale last Saturday. Seven skeins of Maggi Knits Tweed Fleck Aran. I didn't end up getting any of the Mountain Colors as there wasn't enough of any one dye lot for a project. It's embarrassing how much I got this yarn for. I'm looking forward to trying it out as I've never used Maggi Knits before. I think it's going to become the cable scarf in Knitting for Him.

I restarted the latest multi-directional scarf. I just didn't like the decreases that the pattern calls for. So I've used the cast on and first triangle portion of the pattern and for the balance I will use the SSK decrease that I've always used for the myriad other MDs I've made. I already like it better. The yarn is Rio from KFI. It's 100% viscose and is rather bulky. I think it will drape well and since there's no wool in it it'll be a good gift for one of my wool intolerant friends.

We had our weekly charity knitting yesterday. If you weren't there here's what you missed. (Sorry. No photo.) Quiche with generous amounts of Black Forest ham. A salad of watercress, white raspberries, mangoes and slivered almonds. Fresh from the bakery rolls with jalapeños. And a spicy green sauce to pull it all together. When I say spicy I mean spicy. And later there was carrot cake from the new Whole Foods mega-store. Oh, I finished a hat and started another one.

So today, in addition to doing laundry, I'm going to make cranberry-orange relish. My first attempt at this. I hope people like ginger.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gotta post! Gotta post!

Being busy is no excuse. I have a couple of things to show you but not everything is ready.

I finished the Stacked Wedges scarf. I think that was on Friday night. Overall I'm pleased with it. I still have to wash it and pray that the wool softens at least a little.

This is the Parallelograms scarf, also from Knitting New Scarves. I'm using two different colors of Tahki Chelsea Silk. I don't think this yarn is available anymore. The scarf is pretty easy to work but there are a lot of ends to be woven. I'm weaving as I go but there'll still be some tidying to do at the end. How long it will be will depend on yarn supply and time availability.

I've also started a multi-directional scarf using the free pattern I got when I joined the multi-directional yahoo group. Not far along enough to show yet. Maybe tomorrow, along with the new tweed yarn I got at the yarn sale last Saturday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Three years

Unraveled, one of our local yarn shops, is celebrating it's third anniversary. Tomorrow, Saturday the 17th, there'll be a store wide sale. 25% off everything in the store. I'll be hanging out there all day, doing what I can to encourage people to stay in line and generally see if there's anything I can do to help.

I went over yesterday and did a little pre-sale browsing. I'm not saying that I've actually committed to buying anything but there is some nice Mountain Colors, a limited quantity, that I think it's time I got. And there's Jitterbug and Koigu and sock yarn. Needles? Maybe. And a couple of books that I don't already have.

If you like knitting bags, or just bags in general, there's a big selection. And jewelry. There's even some holiday decorations.

Today though I'll be at A Stitch in Time. I'm looking forward to meeting a couple of new people who've said they'd be coming in. And if I'm not too busy, I'll be fixing the mistakes I made on my Stacked Wedges scarf last night.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Evidence that I do sometimes knit with other than grey. This is another scarf for my holiday gifting. I used some yarn I had in stash, Tahki Chat. 100% cotton. There is some charcoal grey mixed in. I don't think the yarn is available anymore.

The pattern is a variation on the "drop stitch" that has been so popular for a couple of years. On this one there are no yarn overs. After you insert your right hand needle into the next stitch, wrap the working yarn around the tips of both needles then around just the right hand needle and pull the stitch through. This elongates the knit stitch and twists it simultaneously. And you don't have to drop anything on the next row. This is one of my favorite stitches for new knitters who want to add a little something to their repertoire but don't feel comfortable yet with working a stitch pattern.

It's back to working on the Stacked Wedges today, if my hands and elbows will allow. If not, I'll find something else to work that isn't so stiff or so tight.

I almost forgot. Monika awarded me the "You Make Me Smile" badge. And she even helped me figure out how to get it to post on my blog. (It might be simple for you but for me almost anything techie is an obscure language.) And I get to nominate some others for the award. These people make me smile on an almost daily basis, sometimes even on the weekend.


And there are lots of others but I'm supposed to stop at five.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It might have been the jalapeños

Or maybe it was the two double margaritas. But I was really glad to have the cat wake me up at four this morning. What a lot of grisly, depressing and maudlin dreams.

My friend Th came by Unraveled yesterday afternoon and suggested we go somewhere that would allow us to have a drink before we went to our Tuesday night charity knitting. So we went to Rudy's Mexican Restaurant. I'd never been there but had heard a lot about it, some good, some not so good.

If you get there during Happy Hour, and sit in the cantina, you get great prices on margaritas plus free, all-you-can-eat enchiladas and tacos. The margaritas were tasty and the food was good.

We went to Mendy's for knitting and I managed to finish a hat I had started a couple of weeks ago. And we had some lemon curd cheese cake. (I think that what it was called.) It was delicious. Maybe it was the chocolate ice cream and not the other stuff.

So. I don't have any new knitting to show today. I'm still working on the Stacked Wedges scarf and have wound the yarn for my next project. This is a down day for me, meaning I don't have anywhere that I have to go, or anything to take me away from my knitting. I realized yesterday that I have about three weeks left to finish my holiday gifts for the knitting group. I need to take an inventory and see how much I have left to do. Maybe not. I'm already stressed enough.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stacked Wedges

Gray or grey. Either is correct according to my sources. Spellcheck, however, seems to think that grey is incorrect. Whatever. Spellcheck itself comes up as a spelling error.

This is an in progress shot of my current Stacked Wedges scarf from Knitting New Scarves. I'm about half way through. I had thought I'd be short of yarn but it looks like I'm going to have just the right amount. I'm not sure what this yarn is since I seem to have lost or misplaced the labels. Sometimes I think it's Cascade 220 and sometimes I think it's Farmhouse Yarns worsted. I'm more inclined to think it's the latter since it feels a lot more scratchy than Cascade.

And it's in my favorite non-color, gray (or grey). And it's tweed. What's not to like? And it's really an easy knit. You just have to keep track of how many garter stitch rows you've worked between wedges. The wedges themselves are just a series of short rows with wrap and turn. I'm not doing the pick up wraps though since I think they show too much and the garter stitch pretty much obscures the wraps anyway.

I joined the knit-a-long. I'm waiting to see if anyone else does.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Tweed! I love it! It's always been one of my favorites but right now I'm practically obsessed by it. This is just a partial view of my tweed yarn. And I'm looking for more.

I'm currently working on another scarf from Knitting New Scarves. I haven't taken a picture yet but I will tomorrow when there's a little more done. It's tweed. I've lost or misplaced the labels but I think it's Cascade 220 tweed. And it's gray. Another of my favorites.

There's a knit-a-long that's started up for the book. I'm debating whether I want to join. I probably will. I'm just not sure what purpose knit-a-longs really serve. Except for the pressure. And that's not something I really need.

Today is a holiday for lots of folks. Veteran's Day. I'm a veteran. I should be out there marching in a parade. Instead, I'll be at A Stitch in Time. All day. Just in case you're nearby and want to come in and visit.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tilting Squares

This isn't the scarf I had intended to start with. But sometimes things happen. In this case I stumbled upon some Tahki Soho Bulky Tweed that had the same stitch gauge and almost exactly the same yarn that the Tilting Squares scarf called for

so it seemed like I should go with it. I've had this yarn for probably twelve years. It's still available but not in the color way that I'm using. Typically, I can't get the color right. It's actually a lot more mauve/plum than what you see here.

I like it. It's a bit difficult to knit though. It's quite lumpy, like they just lined up a bunch of wet wool balls and stuck them together. There's a manufactured rusticity to it that works well with this simple design.

I also finished the Maizy Anklets that I started a couple of weeks ago. Crystal Palace Maizy is one of the most frustrating yarns I've ever worked with. It splits and snags plus the dye came off on my hands and totally changed the color of the bamboo needles I used. If you decide to try it anyway, don't say I didn't warn you.

I like the way the colors spiral but they're totally different in how they do it. There was this knot in the yarn about seven rows into the knitting. So I ripped and cut off the knot and started over. That may have caused the change but I'm not sure. It could be just another thing about the yarn that I don't like.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Knitting New Scarves

Have you seen this book? Knitting New Scarves by Lynne Barr. It could change your life. Or at least how you look at knitting, especially scarves.

I think we tend to look at knitting as two dimensional. A flat piece with a front and a back. Or maybe it's one dimensional. This book sets out to change that. True, there are some scarves in the book that are conventional in that they have only two sides but most of them stress the three dimensional quality that scarves can have.

Not all the patterns are hard. Some are quite easy. There are some techniques that may take a while to get the hang of but there's nothing that isn't a variation on common techniques. Sure, some of them look to be quite time-consuming and maybe could even be considered fiddly. And there's a couple that I would never consider making just because they don't appeal to me. YMMV.

I have some ancient yarn, Tahki Chelsea Silk, that I'm going to use for my first project from this book. I just have to decide which one to do first. There's the one with the ruffly edge. Or the one that uses wedge shapes to create a wavy length in one or two colors. And then there's the tilting staircase. I think I'll wait until after the holidays to take on the ones that require you to knit through your knitting to start a new square.

Monday, November 05, 2007

My card is full!

My friend Mendy gave me a plastic box (Rubbermaid) to help with my yarn stash storage problem. It's full. Not with old stash though. It's all new.

I went to the Trash to Treasures charity fund raiser at A Stitch in Time. I got some fantastic deals. There are sixteen of these Noro Kureyon (color 88). All but two are the same dye lot. The two oddballs were someone's multi-directional scarf. I think I'll use them for a garter stitch scarf, alternating the two skeins.

And there are five skeins of this Wool in the Woods Maiden (wool, cotton, nylon blend )in a color way called Napa Valley. The color is a bit washed out in the photo, as usual, and it's more greyed back than the photo. There's about a thousand yards altogether. Not sure what it's going to be.

And three hanks of Rio de la Plata Pink Carnation. Something over three hundred yards. A scarf of some kind but not sure which one. The color is more muted than what you see here but it's still pretty intense.

Four skeins of Lang Mille Colori. Probably this is going to be a zigzag scarf. I made a couple of those last year and they were very popular. And I've been wanting to use some of this yarn for a while.

That's not all I got but my camera's card is full. So I need to empty that before I can take any more photos. There's a couple of skeins of Cascade Heather, and a couple of skeins of sock yarn.

All this yarn for just under $100US. The remaining yarn and needlepoint are still at A Stitch in Time. They'll be there for this week. At $3.00US per ball it's hard to resist. I'm going to be there today, because that's where I work, but I may find something else. I can always get another plastic box if I have to.

Friday, November 02, 2007

No picture Friday

I thought I'd have a photo of my new yarn today. I just can't get anything near what the yarn really looks like. There's no sunlight here today, or not as yet. But I can tell you about it.

First off, it was a gift from my friend L (of L&H fame)because I drove yesterday when we went to Purl Soho's warehouse. It's 100% merino super-wash in a color way called Strawberry Switchblade. Lotus Yarns is the producer. (The link on the label doesn't seem to work.) I assume that's just the dying and packaging. It's a multi-color of strawberry, pink, bright lime green and what looks like a burgundy. (What I got in the photos I took was bright chartreuse and shocking pink magenta.) Anyway it's super-nice.

We had a good time. The traffic was pretty easy except for a short stretch on the way home. We had a good visit over lunch and while we drove. The ladies at Purl Soho are helpful and friendly. The selection is top-notch. Saw a new yarn from a new company, The Sheep Shop, well it was new to me. I wanted some of their stuff but I wasn't buying anything. Maybe next time.

I only bought a copy of the IK Holiday 2007 magazine. If anyone says I bought any Koigu I will deny it. But I did find out that my credit card still works.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

What knitting?

I really thought I would get caught up yesterday. I'm way behind on responding to comments and a few emails. I was definitely going to have time to do that yesterday. And then I was going to knit for hours.

Neither thing happened. The day started getting away from me early. I decided I'd better pay some bills, but then I'd better balance the check book. An hour gone before I knew it even without any problems. Then out for a walk to drop the checks in the mail.

Got home and realized that I had a lot of fresh produce that needed to be dealt with. Green beans to be destrung and parboiled. Home grown carrots that needed to be peeled and cooked. Beets that I didn't know how to cook. Spent some time on the computer researching that. And a lokota squash that still has to be done. Had to look that up as well. And got sidetracked into reading about early American cooking and recipes.

And there's the cat that needed lots of one-on-one time. He's been feeling abused and neglected because I trimmed his claws. He can be very dramatic.

And, did I mention Ravelry? I'm not even in a whole lot of groups.

I did spend about an hour last night working on the Maizy socks. And to bed early.

Today will be better. Except for the knitting part. I'm going to Purl Soho's warehouse with my friend L (of L&H fame). I will be at knitting group tonight. Maybe I'll get something done then.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's that time again

One way you can tell it's getting close to Christmas is when the shops and boutiques begin to add hours to their open for business schedules. A Stitch in Time is no exception. Starting this coming weekend there will be four more hours of shopping time available. The shop will be open on Sundays from noon until four on Sunday, from Nov. 4, until the end of December.

This coming Sunday is also the annual Trash to Treasures event at A Stitch in Time. This is a fund raising event for The Wellness Community. (I think I have that name right.) I've never been to one of these events. The way I understand it though is that customers and friends of the shop have donated projects that for whatever reason they're never going to finish. Donors receive a coupon for a discount on a future purchase. Donated items are available for purchase for one day only.

I haven't seen everything that has been donated but I know there are some canvases that have never been started, some yarn that is still in its original wrapper. And even the projects that have been started are worth while. I have my eye on a bag of Noro that someone dropped off. I think there is more needlepoint than knitting stuff. Who knows? It'll be fun to find out.

Purchases from the Trash to Treasure event must be paid for either with cash or check. No plastic. All proceeds go to the charity so charge or debit cards are not allowed.

Hodge Podge, the shop's gift store, is being made holiday-ready. It was starting to look really festive when I left yesterday. If you've ever been to A Stitch in Time you know what a great selection Hodge Podge always has. If you haven't been in, maybe it's time.

I got a stack of new books yesterday but haven't had time to really go through them. I'll let you know what I think though just as soon as I know myself.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Some finished stuff and one started

The amazing Koolhass hat, designed by Jared Flood, as shown in IK Holiday 2007 magazine. I used some Cascade 220 that I had in stash. It's actually a bit more red orange than the photo suggests. I have to rip the top out and remove one of the repeats because the hat is too long. I should have listened to my friend who knits a lot of hats when she told me she thought it looked long. Plus it's a bit on the tight side. I'm planning another one which I think I'll do one one size larger needle. I'm not sure which yarn I'll use yet.

And I did finally finish these socks. Openwork rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. The yarn is Knit Picks Sock Garden which is very nice. Soft. I don't recall ever having has so many problems with a sock though. Way too many dropped stitches. I think it was partly the yarn since it isn't very springy. And that y/o, ssk kind of gave me fits, especially when it was at the end of a needle. But they're finally done and have gone into the holiday gift drawer until I decide who gets them.

And I started another pair of socks. Well, anklets really. I got this Crystal Palace Maizy a week or so ago and have been waiting for some open time so I could try it out. It's made from corn (82%) and elastic nylon (18%). It's a bit of a challenge. The plies tend to open up as you work with it so it's easy to pick up just a single strand instead of the whole yarn. It also doesn't have much give so it doesn't slide easily on the needles. You really have to watch what you're doing, even in plain stockinette, or you'll end up with funky stitches. Oh, and my needles are now a nice rusty shade of red.

Other than that everything is normal. My back is a lot better but still a little sensitive. The cat is fine but being driven crazy by all the birds that are passing through. I had to remove him from the window screen yesterday because he got stuck and didn't have any idea of how to get down.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Thanks for all the get well wishes. My back is less sore but it still reminds me if I move the wrong way. Or if I stay too long in one position. But it is definitely better.

Today is charity knitting day. I'll be going over to Mendy's in a little while to work on the hat I started last week. And to have lunch. I don't expect there will be very many of us. Most of our group has daytime obligations that preclude them attending. But Mendy wanted to give everyone a chance to attend at least once in a while. Next week we'll be knitting in the evening.

The really hot weather around these parts has put a stop to the knitters. Things were beginning to get a bit better when we had a few cool days. But now it's super hot again and there are all those wild fires everywhere, so I think people are just distracted.

I did have a few students yesterday but there were also some periods of quiet, as in nothing to do quiet. I had already marked the new yarns that came in last week. Just waiting for the boss to decide where she wants to display them. Anyway. I didn't do any knitting on my own projects until I got home. But didn't get much done since my older brother called and that always takes an hour or more. So only a few rounds on the socks.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh my aching back!

Literally. I don't know what happened. My OLD syndrome has really been kicking my butt lately. I don't think there's a joint in my body that doesn't ache. Especially first thing in the morning. Getting out of bed is a series of cracks and groans.

I had promised the cat that I would clear some of the boxes of yarn from the living room so he could once again have access to his scratching post and general play area. So I did that yesterday. I don't remember anything popping or snapping but who knows? I could have done something that is causing my back to hurt. Anyway, I've taken some ibuprofen and other than that I'm just ignoring it as much as I can.

I had a nice weekend. Spent a large part of Saturday knitting with friends at Unraveled and the got to have dinner with L (of L&H fame). And last night I went to dinner at my friend Robert's. Hadn't seen him is quite a while. But that always means I'll get home a couple of hours later than my normal bedtime. So there's a bit of catching up to do. I would really rather sleep than go to Stitch in Time today but that's not going to happen.

I'm still working on that second sock. And the chevron scarf is getting longer. Not much else is happening. I got some new sock yarn to try out,Maizy from Crystal Palace. It's 82% corn fiber and 18% elastic nylon. I haven't tried it yet but I think I'll make some kind of anklet. I've used Cascade's Fixation before. I'm hoping this will be more comfortable to knit and to wear.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Never give up!

When I first started to teach knitting on a regular basis I didn't really know as much about knitting as people thought. I'm pretty much self taught, except for a few friends I made along the way, using whatever books or patterns that I liked. I had never knit a pair of socks, for example. I just knew the basics. But I'm pretty good at figuring out what a pattern is trying to tell me.

So over the past few years I've really worked hard to expand my techniques and to get to know more about how to do stuff. I really get excited when there's something new to figure out. Not all patterns are created equal and the number of errors in printed patterns seems to be expanding exponentially. Errata pages seems to go up almost as soon as new books are published. Pity the new knitter!

On the other hand, it's not always necessary to follow a pattern exactly. But one does have to be careful when making changes. And always make notes of what you did. The socks in the picture are ones that I started almost a year ago. I'm using a stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks
by Charlene Schurch. I had put them aside for several months. When I picked them up again I thought I knew what I had been doing. After I had completed about half of the gusset decreases I realized I wasn't using the stitch pattern I had started with. I had to rip back to before the beginning of the heel flap and reknit. Well, I'm started on the second sock now and I'm pretty sure I'll get these done for this year's holiday season. All I have to decide is who's going to get them.

I have to admit that it was pretty tempting to just trash these socks when I discovered my mistake. But, like I always tell my students, if you knit you will rip. And they seem to like it when I make mistakes in my own knitting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Now busier than ever with not much knitting

Yesterday morning I didn't have much to do. I worked on my chevron scarf for as long as I could stand it. That all changed at about one o'clock when four people showed up at nearly the same time followed by two more a bit later. That's sort of the risk of doing drop in classes. Fortunately no one had a problem that couldn't be quickly resolved but I did spend a lot of time moving around from person to person, making sure they were still on track. And I had a two or three people who just came to visit.

I had pulled some yarn from our marked down baskets (75% off) thinking it was such a good deal I shouldn't pass it up. By the end of the day I still hadn't purchased it so I just put it back for someone else to find.

I didn't knit at all last night. Phone calls and emails plus all that time on Ravelry. I sorted some of the odds and ends of yarn that I had set aside for charity knitting and picked out some needles to take with me today.

We're resuming our weekly charity knitting today. We haven't met for a couple of months but we're scheduled for the balance of the year. I have a couple of hats left unfinished from last year so I'll take those and maybe get them done.

After that I have planned a trip to Unraveled to meet with a couple of friends and then it's back to Pasadena for dinner with the Stitch in Time ladies. We're celebrating the owner's birthday. More Mexican food and margaritas. So I don't expect to get anything done on my current projects, other than the charity knitting, or any stash sorting. Tomorrow looks like it's open.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's going to get worse before it gets better.

It's too dark and overcast here this morning for me to get any decent pictures of the mess I have on my hands. I've mentioned a few times that I'm trying to sort through my stash and reorganize it into some kind of usable order. So I've emptied a few cardboard boxes and now the yarn is piled in mostly unrecognizable heaps, not only in the yarn room but in the living room. The cat is beside himself.

So, I discovered, as I was trying to figure out Ravelry, that I need to organize my yarns in such a way that I can enter all the pertinent information about each one. This is going to take a long time. Much of what I have has never been photographed. So that's a biggie. And even the stuff that I have photographed isn't always the whole amount. So most of that will need to be photographed as well.

I'm in the market for some more plastic storage bins. I need to get those so I can put the yarn away as I photograph and upload the images. And then I can start going through the yarn that is already in plastic bins.

I found a couple of yarns yesterday that I don't recognize and I seem to have discarded the labels when I wound the skeins into cakes. That was really dumb! Revisiting these yarns is exciting and distracting. So many get pulled out and put near my knitting chair for me to play with. I already have more projects going than I'll be able to finish this year. Still, why not?

Friday, October 12, 2007

More sock yarn

You'd think that someone who was trying to reduce his stash would show a bit of restraint when it comes to buying sock yarn. Well, that's just not the case. This is Classic Elite Alpaca Sox. I just ran across it when I happened to stop in at Unraveled a couple of days ago. It is amazingly soft and the yardage is generous. Enough for a pair of socks of course. Or maybe some fingerless gloves. I'm putting this in line ahead of lots of other sock yarn, just because I think it's going to be a terrific looking sock. And, if you're one who gets cold feet, it's going to be very warm.

I don't remember if I mentioned this yarn or not. It's Lang Aktion, their newest sock yarn. I've had it for a couple of weeks. It was kind of at the head of the line, having bumped Regia's Designer yarn (mine is the Kaffe Fassett colorway) which I also think I forgot to mention getting. If you get the Berroco newsletter you will have seen a pattern for some fingerless gloves using this yarn just this morning. That'll go faster than socks and I'll still get to enjoy the yarn.

You can click on the pictures for a bigger view.

I got my invitation to join Ravelry. I signed up but haven't done anything else. There's going to be a lot of trial and error going on over here until I figure out how it works.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not so much with the knitting

I'm still here. I know it's only been a couple of days since I posted but it seems like much longer. I just don't have anything, or much of anything, knitting-wise to report. Still working on those two pair of socks. And I'm still working through my stash to see what I can pass along.

It's difficult to let go of some of this stuff, even the stuff that I know I'll never be able to get to. I get sentimental over some of it because of associations I have with it. People who are no longer here; shops that are no longer around; yarn companies that no longer exist. It's not a museum. It's more like a photo album from long ago. Even the "what was I thinking" stuff tempts me to hold on. Opening boxes, some of which have been closed for years, and seeing what's inside, is a happy/sad kind of thing. I can only do a few a day.

I emptied a large box yesterday. The box that my very first computer monitor came in. I found a lot of the yarn that I bought several years ago to make one of Kaffe Fassett's coats. It was to be for a friend who passed away a couple of years ago from breast cancer. I still have the first part that I started. I'll use this yarn to make gifts for friends this year. I know that Sherry would have wanted me to.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Weekend recluse

I didn't leave the house this weekend except for my walk and a quick trip to Trader Joe's. Just me and the cat. It was nice. And I thought I might be getting a cold but that seems to have been averted with a lot of naps and not doing much.

I did finish a couple of socks. Obviously not a pair but their mates are started.

And I made this hat. On Friday A Stitch in Time held its annual Knit Out to benefit a local cancer treatment center. We had about twelve or fifteen knitters drop in to work on hats and scarves. I made this one for a redhead or someone who wants to find out how they'd look as a redhead.

I pretty much stayed away from the computer this weekend. I have a few emails and comments that I need to respond to. I'll see about doing that tonight.

Friday, October 05, 2007

My new knitting bag

People tell me that my cat is spoiled. To some extent that may be true. Patrick has totally claimed my Eddie Bauer bag that I've been using for a couple of years as my knitting bag. He likes to sleep on it. It is now so completely covered with hair that I can't begin to clean it. So, for the time being, I'm using this perfectly adequate plastic shoe bag to carry all my knitting paraphernalia. I'm thinking about what I want for the next one. I better decide soon because this one is starting to go.

When I cleaned out the cat's favorite sleeping bag I found this sock. Long abandoned and nearly half off the needles. It wasn't quite to the heel flap yet. So now it is retrieved and nearing completion. The first one anyway. I don't think I have a second sock syndrome but I do like starting new ones.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New Sweater Project

The start of a new sweater project. The sweater I just finished is also from this book, Simply Beautiful Sweaters for Men
by Linden Phelps and Beryl Hiatt, owners of Tricoter in Seattle. There are a number of other sweaters and vests in this book that I would like to knit. The one I'm making is called Terry's Ribbed Pullover and that's basically what it is. I've started with the sleeves just so I can get them out of the way. It's also a V-neck which I'll probably change to a crew style since I don't like the way V-necks look on me.

I'm using some Kureyon in color 51. The photo is no where near accurate but I've tried all the things I know how to do and still can't get a better image. But you can see the gradation and the colors themselves except they're deeper in real life. I got the yarn at Velona's a couple of years ago during one of our yarn buying frenzies not knowing for sure what I would do with it. So I'm probably going to have five or six skeins left over. I could use a new scarf.