Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Blogger

New Blogger

So far so good. I haven't tried any of the new toys yet so I'll have to wait and see. Hmm! I can't seem to get the cut and paste to work right now. And why is this paragraph showing up in bold type on my preview. Can't seem to get it to undo.

But the real reason for the post is that I did, in fact, finish the bamboo lace socks. I don't have any blockers that are big enough and no one, other than me, to try on the socks. So you get this smudgy, washed out image. The colors are really much prettier. More raspberry than rust. And there's some pale teal that doesn't show at all. I don't dislike these socks, even though I've complained a lot about them. I think they'll be very nice on someone's foot. But I really don't like the bamboo sock yarn. Fortunately I didn't stock up.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I started the Besotted Scarf. I don't think I'm going to continue, however. It may be that the yarn I'm using is too firm for this scarf or maybe I need to use a larger needle. It just seems too stiff to drape nicely and it's a bit more attention demanding than I want for a take-a-long project. Nice pattern though.

Blogger has been bugging me to switch to the new format. So, finally, I decided I'd give it a try. I took the tour and it seemed like the new version would have some nice features (that I will maybe be able to understand). So I clicked on the switch button. Can't switch to new Blogger right now. The reason given is that there are too many people being switched so they can't handle the volume. Then my backbutton wouldn't work so I couldn't exit. Kinda makes me wonder if it's going to be all that wonderful.

Sorting patterns and recycling yarns can have some nice side effects. I found two store credits for Skein that I had forgotten. So on Sunday I hied me over there and did a bit of shopping. I needed some Encore for Dulaan hats and some Dale of Norway Daletta for some demi-fingered gloves. And there was a new book. Favorite Socks from Interweave. I had seen the ads for this book but was surprised that Skein already had it.

So far I really like it. A few of the patterns are familiar because I have seen them in the IK magazine, but some are brand new, designed by Ann Budd, especially for this book. And a few of the patterns are from older IK mags as well as a couple of their other pubs and I had never seen them. So I'm slowly going through each of the patterns to see which ones I want to get started on right away. Meanwhile I think I'll see if I can finish those bamboo socks. I'm about half way down the foot of the second one. I don't know why they're taking so long, except I'm not all that crazy about the yarn.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I may have to give up jalapenos. Thanks to a bunch of roasted ones that I had on Saturday night I wasn't able to sleep much past one o'clock. So I got up and finished my Irish Hiking Scarf. It could have been longer I suppose but it'll be just fine for my morning walks. At least until the weather is warm enough again so I don't need a scarf.

I used some wool that I recycled from an old sweater. I have lots left so I'm probably going to be making The Besotted Scarf. You gotta love free patterns. Especially ones that offer a bit more than just garter stitch or stockinette. And I'm currently enjoying cabling without a cable needle so both of these patterns are perfect for a little practice.

I haven't touched the aran sweater in at least a week. I've been sorting old projects and ripping them where indicated. I did fit in a quick hat using some Trendsetter Stripes. The colors are totally washed out but after four tries I gave up and went with the best of the lot. The background grey knitting is a project from four or five years ago that I'm recycling into an as yet to be determined something. Ripping isn't all that hard except this is two strands held together that I'm separating as I go. That'll take a while.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The rust tweed sweater is finished. None of the pictures I took are any good. Maybe I'll get some better ones this weekend when Lisa comes over. I think the tweed just masks everything. Anyway, it's done. Now I just have to wait to see if it fits. I never did find the 24" needle but a 29" worked just fine.

Not much else going on. Still ripping old projects and sorting yarn.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A productive day even if it doesn't show all that much. Except for the balcony windows. I cleaned those for the first time in a long time. The cat was fascinated. He couldn't believe the window was still there.

Then I cleared off another shelf in the closet that I'm going to use to store most of my stash. I found several old projects that I had forgotten. All had been abandoned for various reasons. Two of them I started before I moved to Pasadena seventeen years ago.

I'm not one to throw away yarn so I spent much of the day ripping. One piece was a very fuzzy mohair so that took quite a while. Had to do it by hand. I'm planning to recycle that yarn to make Cloud Hats for the Dulaan project. Maybe not all of it since there's enough for at least a shawl. So I'll make as many hats as I can stand.

The other old project was a ribbed sweater. I had to take it apart first. Then I used the ball winder to ravel the stitches. It took longer to undo the seams. That yarn will probably also be used in Dulaan projects.

I finished to glove repair tonight. Now I'm looking for my 24" size 4 circulars so I can do the neckband on the tweed sweater. I knew where it was before I started all this organizing but I sure can't find it now.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A couple of people have asked why I haven't posted anything for the past few days. The truth is there isn't much to post.

I've knit two hats for Dulaan, including one I finished tonight. Our Dulaan group has moved to Tuesday nights instead of mornings. It does make it easier for more people to come.

My aran sweater is moving along. Twelve more rows and the back will be the same length as the front. At that point I'll be able to pick up and knit the sleeves. But it's still looks about the same.

I finished setting in the sleeves on the rust tweed sweater and just have the neckband to pick up and knit. Should be done by Friday.

I'm also repairing some gloves I knit for Lisa last fall. Some of the stitches broke when she washed them. I cut away the fingers and picked up stitches just below the thumb and now have only three fingers left to knit and they'll be back in service.

I also have been trying to rearrange my knitting books. I think I have most of the books shelved and the shelves moved to a better, more accessible location. Now I have to figure out what to do with twenty years worth of Vogue Knitting and ten or fifteen years of Knitters and Interweave Knits. I also have a bunch of miscellaneous knitting pattern books that I'm sorting through to see if there are any I want to save. Most of them are from the 90s but there are some from the 60s and there may be a few that are older. Does anyone collect these things that might be interested in having them?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday night knitting was great! We had a much larger turn out than we've had since before the holidays. Eight people and as someone commented a better gender balance than usual. It's a lot of fun when we have that many people even if it is noisy and a little crowded and you can't hear everything that's being said.

I tried working on my lace bamboo socks but ended up having to rip several rows. Not only did I mess up the pattern but I kept losing stitches off the end of the middle needle. I usually work with a set of five but this pattern fits on three needles. I think I mentioned before that the pattern was originally written for two circulars. I'm still not ready for that but I'm reading the Cat Bordi book and that may help. I guess I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and make a pair using that technique before things will get better. And I guess I'll have to break down and get some Addis even though I'm not fond of them. I finished the evening working on my Irish Hiking Scarf.

I work tomorrow and am looking forward to a busy day. I have some finishing to do so maybe I'll take that along since I'm having a problem with knitting anything more complicated than stockinette, at least in public.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Brrr! It's really cold here right now. There was ice on the sidewalk in a couple of places this morning when I went for my walk. And there was rain mixed with sunshine, I mean at the same time, off and on throughout the day. Right now it's 37F here in Pasadena. Perhaps not cold by your standards but definitely cold for us.

But it was a perfect day to open my last Christmas present. I got a "gift certificate" from Mendy for a lunch and yarn shop hop and today was the day. The two shops we went to did not open until noon so we had an early lunch at Montana Cafe, on Montana in Santa Monica. Great food, nice decor and good service. I had a sandwich with buffalo cheese, or is it buffala (that's the way it was spelled on the menu). That was new to me. And worth it, even if it's not an approved food.

Since we were in Santa Monica we went to Wild Fiber first. I hadn't been there for at least five years. Wow! Has is grown! Lots and lots of yarns, of course, including several from Australia. We were looking for Socks That Rock, and there was a space for it on the shelf, but there wasn't any.

I got to chat briefly with Mel Clark, the owner, and co-author of Knit 2 Together. I was flattered that she remembered me, even the shop where I was teaching at the time.

I didn't buy any yarn. Just a set of size 1US Crystal Palace dpns. I think those are my favorite needles.

Our second stop was at A Mano in Mar Vista, just down the road from Venice and Santa Monica. My first time there. I had met the owner, Shannita Williams, back when we did the first Knit-Out in Santa Monica. It's a small shop but is crammed with yarn and other knitting and crochet accessories. I'm hoping to get back there before too long. They have Sunday hours and it's very close to where my friend Robert lives. A good, if dangerous, combination.

Shannita asked if I'd be interested in teaching a men's knitting class. Yeah. I'm interested but it's a long way to drive. I'll have to get some more details before I can make a decision.

I only bought three hanks of Koigu. My collection grows. One of these days I'll have to actually try it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I've been working on this sock for months! It took a while to even find a pattern that would work. Not that it shows up. Basically it's a zigzag lace pattern. The yarn is Regia Bamboo and is a bit of a pain to work with. Not a whole lot of give and it snags pretty easily.

I've cast on and worked the ribbing for the second sock. The original pattern was designed to work on two circulars but I converted it to dpns even though it meant that I had to work with four needles instead of my preferred five. I thought I'd try working the second sock using two circulars. How do you get rid of those huge ladders where you switch needles? I think there must be some kind of manoeuver that I'm not getting. I have a friend that teaches a sock class that uses this technique. I may have to sign up for that. Or see what the books say. Meanwhile I'm going back to the dpns.

And, by the way, the sock is way bigger than I had intended. Much longer. I had a problem measuring the length of the foot on the three dpns so much so that when I finally got the sock off the needles it was a good inch longer than I thought it would be. Good thing I need a variety of sizes for my holiday gift drawer.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Every once in a while, say every four or five years, I get the urge to sort my needles. Yesterday afternoon was one of those times. I found the sleeves for all of my dpns that are not in use and got those put away in a small cardboard box. The needles at left are ones that I couldn't find a sleeve for either because I've lost it or, in the case of the short ones, they are needles that were given to me without sleeves.

These are sleeves for which I have no needles. There are two size 4US, one size 5, five size 6, six size 7, six size 8, one size 9, one size 10, one size 11 and one size 15. And that's just the Clover. I'm not sure what this means except there must be a lot of incomplete projects hiding somewhere. I have a few Plymouth sleeves too that don't have needles in them but I think I can account for most of them.

And here are the empty circular needle sleeves. More unaccounted for projects no doubt. I don't use circulars unless I have to, especially bamboo. Hate that miserable bump at the join. I don't know why I have so many empty sleeves because I have a lot that are matched up and stored in their own separate cardboard box.

These are the homeless, undocumented circulars. Most of these were given to me without sleeves and include some flexi-needles. I don't know what those are for. Guess they're sort of a cross between a straight needle and a circular for when you need a longer needle but don't like circulars. I need to figure out how to store these so they don't get all mixed up and so I know what I have.

Needles sure have gone up in price. Some of those Clovers were selling for around $4.50US when I got them. They're double that or more these days. And Addis! I'm glad I'm not addicted to those. If I have to use a circular I try to find some old Susan Bates Quicksilvers or Inox.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

On Monday I knit a simple hat using Malabrigo Chunky in the Oceanos colorway. Of course I don't have a picture but it's just a plain ol' stocking stitch hat. But the yarn is anything but plain ol'. We have the yarn in lots of colors at Stitch in Time. The only hard part is deciding which color to try first. I'm glad I got to make a shop sample so that now I don't have to buy any just to try it. And if I weren't trying to cut back on yarn purchases I'd be there getting some more.

I've heard that time heals all wounds. I hope it also heals all loose and irregular stitches. I haven't touched this since the weekend but I hope to get back to it later today or sometime tomorrow. Right now it's a huge exercise in cabling without a cable needle. When I started this aran a couple of years ago I hadn't tried that technique but I took a class at the Knitters Retreat and I also got some pointers from Wendy Johnson. I haven't had much occasion to cable until now. It sure does make a difference in my speed. But I'm wondering if it's also contributing to kinda wonky looking stitches.

Monday, January 08, 2007

No photos today. I did take a couple but they weren't successful. At least not enough so that I'd use them.

I spent most of Saturday working on the aran sweater. I'm almost to the end of the front yolk part and will then do the same thing on the back. That's probably a few weeks away so I'll wait until then to try for some progress shots.

I also got the new Sock That Rock yarn wound and cast on some stitches to see how it was going to look. Not enough to show yet plus I'm not sure what kind of stitch pattern I want. I think something lacey will be good.

And I ripped a sock that I've been struggling with for the past couple of weeks. Not with the knitting. The yarn. It just isn't something I can get used to. I kept telling myself I'd grow to like it. It just kept getting uglier and uglier. So that's over. Rewound and put away. And then I worked on another pair of socks that have been lingering. I sure do have lots of projects that need to be finished.

Friday, January 05, 2007

You don't have to buy yarn. Not when you have friends that are generous (and who have excellent taste). Socks That Rock in the colorway Rare Gem. I can hardly wait to try this out. I've heard lots about its qualities and they all sound great. I'm going to work today but I have tomorrow off. Guess what I'm going to be doing.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Well, I did figure out where I am in the aran pattern. Much easier than I thought it would be. But I didn't get to sit down and do it until around 9 last night. The day was much more chaotic than I had planned. Laundry which always takes hours and hours. Then I spent a lot of time dealing with homeowners' association stuff. And fitted in where I could some repeats on the Irish Hiking Scarf that I'm making as a start on replenishing my FO drawer. Never too soon to start your holiday knitting.

I plan to get in several hours on the aran today but right now I'm making soup and a chocolate zucchini cake. I'm trying to use what I have. I happened to have exactly the right number of eggs for the cake and just enough zucchini. And the soup is just red beans with some vegetables thrown in. I guess I could say that I'm taking the same attitude toward my knitting. Trying hard to use what I have. Not exactly going on a fast but definitely cutting back on buying. I've run out of storage room and I don't want to buy any more plastic boxes. Kinda like when your clothes are too tight and you decide to lose weight instead of buying new ones.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Now where was I? I started this aran a little over two years ago. It's been in storage for a while. Recently a couple of friends have mentioned it and wondered what ever happened to it. Maybe that's a sign that I should get back to it and get it done. If I can figure out where I am. Definitely not a portable project. I think that's why it got put aside.

Really inaccurate color. It's more of a sage green. The yarn is Phildar Fleur de Laine. I think it's discontinued. And the pattern is from Two Sticks and a String by Kerry Ferguson. We'll see how long I can stay interested this time.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

It's all over but the cleaning up. I didn't go to the parade yesterday. I meant to but once I saw the great crowd of the unwashed I went back inside and stayed there until everyone had left the boulevard.

There's always an amazing amount of trash. This is only a sample. I did go for a walk in the afternoon. Believe me there were a lots of places that were much worse. It'll be a couple of days before the city can get it all cleared away. Other than that it's back to normal around here. Well, there's still the grandstands that need to be torn down and stored for another year.

So. What did I do while I wasn't watching the parade? I finished knitting the second sleeve of a sweater. Actually it was the first sleeve but I had to rip the cap shaping and redo it. Then I made a hat while I watched "Angels in America" for the second time. A productive day after all.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Umm. Let's see. Oh, yeah. It's Monday again. I like Monday. It's one of the days that I don't go for an early morning walk. I'm not going today, probably, unless I get too stir crazy. If I do go I'll have to take a new, different route. My usual route includes Colorado Blvd. Can't go there today. It's filled with out-of-towners who've come here for the annual extraganza known as The Rose Parade. (Happy New Year, before I forget.)

It was loud all night. A couple of different bands played in the Carl's Jr. parking lot, with varying degrees of success. I had thought about going to bed eary but when I went into the bedroom the noise (cacaphony) was just too much. So I knit for as long as I could and then had a second snack and played Free Cell until the big moment when everyone screamed, shouted and tooted that blasted tuba thing that someone brings every year.

And then I crashed until 4:15 AM when Patrick decided I'd slept long enough and that he wanted me to walk him to his dish and afterwards he'd like a nice long brushing session. Nothing new in that. We do that every day. So here I am, waiting for the parade. It doesn't get this far until around 9. I may go see if I can get anywhere near it. Or I may just watch it on TV.

Happy New Year! again. I'm actually enthusiastic about starting a new year. There's no obvious reason for my enthusiasm. Maybe it's just because I now have more free time and can actually imagine taking on some bigger projects. Bigger than socks and scarves. Not that there won't still be socks. Maybe it's because I'm really happy with the new teaching gig. Whatever the reason(s), I'm going to do my best to hold onto this feeling.