Monday, April 30, 2007

Another day, another sock yarn

By the time I got to Unwind on Saturday there was only one color of this yarn left. It's not a color that I would normally buy. But I needed to have some of this Rio de la Plata sock yarn. My collection would not be complete otherwise. My friend L (of L&H fame) got some on Thursday in a colorway that I would have much preferred. So I went with what there was. It's a nice enough color, SL00, poinson green, green sheen, dusky green, according to the label. Super-wash merino and 437 yards.

So I brought it home and wound it right away. The color is more accurate in the wound yarn than in the skein. Way more. But even that isn't quite right. You know how hard it is to take pictures of something so blurry in the first place.

I couldn't wait to get some socks started. I'm trying the Feather and Fan socks from Socks, Socks, Socks but not liking it so much. I think I'll start over with something more leaf like. Meanwhile I've been working on yet another shawl. This may be the year of the shawl, or so it seems.

More about that later.

Friday, April 27, 2007


The past couple of days have been rough, at least on the knitting. Hardly anything I tried seemed to work. I did manage to finish another hat for Dulaan. This one is from one of the Vogue On the Go Books. Book Two of Hats and Caps. The pattern is by Fiona Ellis. I used three colors of Brown Sheep Nature Spun that accidentally were the colors in the pattern. Except mine are darker and not tweed. I still have a few ends to weave in on the inside.

The yarn I was planning to use for the Pacific Waves Shawl turned out to be too busy for the pattern. It's Trendsetter Solaris. I don't think it's available anymore. There's an error in that pattern, by the way. The chart is correct but the written pattern has a purl row where there should be a knit.

Anyway. I decided the yarn would look better in Monika's Sakura-Cherry Blossom Shawl. I'm calling it the Pillar Shawl. It took me a while to get it started but I think I've figured it out and can keep going without referring to the pattern. I'm going to try making it flare more at the top so it has longer wings.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Back to our regularly scheduled program

The shawl is done and suitably admired. Time to move on to something else. I've been using the Dulaan project as sort of a filler for the past week. A couple more hats and some others on the needles. But I really need something bigger. So it looks like I'll be doing this.

I've seen it a couple of times but didn't make up my mind until this morning when I was moving stash around and came across some yarn that I think will be perfect. I have to work up a sample yet, and find the rest of the yarn, but I think it'll be a good use for some yarn I haven't any idea why I bought. Must have been the 50% off price from when Temple City Knits was going out of business the first time.

For those of you who thought that was my yarn stash in yesterday's photos. That's only the part that doesn't fit into the yarn room. The yarn room is undergoing major renovation right now. I'm trying to clear out some old stuff that I don't think I'll ever use. It'll be hard to say goodbye to some of it. I need to go get some more plastic tubs for the stuff I'm keeping. At least they'll stack better than the cardboard boxes.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spanish Dancer Shawl

The fun is in the details. And seeing it being worn. This is probably the best color capture I've done on this project. I used eight skeins of Koigu and several lengths of US7 needles, 16" to 60". There were a few errors in the pattern but nothing that couldn't be easily deduced. I worked almost exclusively on this shawl for three weeks. I'm pleased.

Miles of ruffles before I sleep. Several days were devoted to doing the ruffle. But it was worth it.

Lisa loved the shawl and all the ruffles. (I guess I should have tidied the background before I took this one. Now all you people who never get to come inside can see why. Like I told you, I'm not a good housekeeper.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Another day, another hat

A hat a day keeps the doctor away. Or, "all work and no hats makes Jack a dull boy" or whatever. Using up more scrap odds and ends, these yarn are from a very old Rowan kit. Do they even still make kits? The yarns are so stiff and firm that I'm sure they must have been meant for carpet. I'm putting this in to soak for a bit to see if that will help. I think the next hat will be a plain roll brim with something that will not cause the back of my wrists to ache quite so much.

That could be the rain though. Yes! It's raining today. Not a downpour yet but maybe that'll come later. I've already taken three ibuprophen tablets so I can keep knitting without too much pain. Since I'm teaching today I probably won't do much actual knitting anyway until this evening.

Went to Unraveled yesterday. They had apparently had a good first day of the sale. I didn't help though. Came close to getting some more Koigu but put it back. I'll wait until they have some new sock yarn.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Never say never

unless you really mean it. As in "I'm never buying any more yarn."

I ended up at Black Sheep Knittery yesterday after I went to see my dermatologist at Kaiser in Hollywood. I had planned to only buy some of those Addi Bamboo Circulars. I've only recently discovered them and I think I like them way more than any of my other circulars.

There's a 50% off sale going on at Black Sheep for the rest of this month. L (of L&H fame) said she thought they had some of those needles in small to medium sizes so I had better go get some. I only found two that I would use on a fairly regular basis. So, since I couldn't spend as much as I had mentally allocated, I spent some on this wonderfully soft cashmere/extra fine merino blend from Lana Grossa. "Pashmina" is the name. There was more of this orange plus some other colors. I got four skeins, enough for a reasonably sized scarf. Pattern search has begun.

I'm not going back. At least not right away. There's a "Tax Relief Sale" starting at Unraveled today. I have to go over there to meet friends later today, and to see if I can resist a sale this time. Everything is on sale. I think it's 25% off but I could be confused.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hot and not so

My friend Estelle went to Belize. She had a great time. She brought me four bottles of the very popular Sharp's Habanera Sauce. (I already finished one of them.) I like them a lot. I put some on my oatmeal every morning. Umm! Some people think that sounds weird. Those same people eat raw fish. Ick!

I finally finished this hat that I started a few weeks ago. It's for our Dulaan contribution. Now that I've finished the Spanish Dancer shawl I'll be able to concentrate more on making hats and other stuff. I used a couple of yarns I had left over from hats I made for myself a few years ago. The red is possum and merino. I hope no one is allegic to possum. It's very warm and a lot softer than you might think. I don't remember what the blue yarn is. Some kind of wool blend I think.

I have a couple of sweaters started but I don't think I'm going to be able to finish them in time to ship this year. If there's not a next year then I'll find a home for them somewhere else. Anyway, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, our production this year is not so hot. We're really trying to make up for lost time. I think hats are the way to go. More items for more people. Quantity isn't everything but it counts for a lot.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gimme another four to six hours

and I'll be done with the bind off of the SD shawl. Conservatively, I spent six hours yesterday just binding off and I'm maybe 400 stitches past the center point. 3596 stitches. My left thumb is really throbbing. And then there are a few ends to be woven in. I know we'll all be happy when it's done.

Weird weather this weekend. Rain! Not like the East coast, of course. But still, rain this time of year is really unusual. And it was loud enough to wake me and the cat up at 4:30AM. And there was some thunder too. It's still gloomy today but no more rain is predicted. But then there wasn't any predicted for yesterday either.

I spent a really pleasant afternoon at Unraveled yesterday. L&H were there as well as a couple of other knitting friends plus the shop owner. There wasn't much traffic in the store so we all sat around and chatted and knit. A really fun time! Then we went to dinner at the Mediterranean Grill. I'd never been there. I liked it and I'll be going back soon.

Now that the Spanish Dancer shawl is almost done I'm beginning to think about my next project. I'm still trying to make some headway on the top down raglan that I'm doing as a shop sample. If you're waiting for the pattern, don't despair. Soon! Then there's still plenty of other things already started that I want to get back to. But I'm being led astray by Monika and her new shawl pattern.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hot off the needles!

All I have to do now is pick up a couple hundred stitches across the top edge and do an attached I-cord. Then undo the provisional cast of of 441 stitches and make the ruffle. Maybe by next weekend when Lisa comes over I'll be able to show a finished shawl. I had planned to finish this last night but things can get in the way.

My older brother called and that always takes an hour or more. He said my new phone sounded great. And the another friend and I talked for maybe another half an hour. So by that time it was nearly time for bed and I was too tired and a little stressed so decided I would finish it this morning while I'm doing my laundry.

I went for my tread mill test yesterday. I thought I did quite well and I managed to get my heart rate up where I had to in only a couple of minutes. Apparently that's too fast. It should have taken at least five to ten minutes. The nurse said maybe I wasn't used to exercise but I told her about my daily walks plus my blood pressure is really good right now. I didn't have any problem with the tread mill walking, except I was pretty short of breath when I finished. So there's some kind of problem. One that didn't show up in my EKG. I have to wait until next week to hear from my primary physician and then there'll be a decision as to whether I have to wear a "black box" monitor for a day or so. Anyway, I think that's why I was feeling stressed.

So, the long process of knitting the body of the shawl is done. As soon as I finish putting away the laundry, and have some lunch, I'll be starting on that attached I-cord.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Paying attention

See my new phone! Isn't it nice? It only took me two trips to Target to get it right. I should pay more attention. I forgot to check when I got the first one to see if it had an answering machine. That's the only reason I needed to get a new phone. The old answering machine quit working. So a second trip was necessary. It has an answering machine and I managed to program the few features that I will actually use. It was a lot easier than I was prepared for.

Minnie asked me why I wanted a corded phone. It's pretty simple really. I like living in the last century. I hate the look of the new phones. You notice this one is black, the way phones used to be. My last phone was white and I never liked it. The new phones are just too cluttered. Too many things going on. The one I got is bad enough. I used to have a wireless phone and it caused me lots of grief mostly because hackers could use it to call China and Japan. But really I don't need all the stuff the new phones can do. Anyway, if you want to call and leave a message I have an answering machine again.

People who know me well know that I don't like seafood of any kind. I cringe just thinking about it. When I buy my Healthy Choice TV dinners I only buy chicken and turkey. Usually two of each kind. I should have paid more attention when I went to the market last week. Someone had mixed the garlic chicken and the seafood combo and I got one of those shrimp/chicken with rice things. I ate it because there wasn't anything else. I didn't want to get dressed again to go and buy something else. That's the same reason I ate five jalapenos for lunch. I didn't have anything else at home for a salad.

I did manage to KIP on my Spanish Dancer shawl yesterday without forgetting or misplacing any of the decreases. But then I was paying more attention than usual.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Annual Amaryllis

Here it is at last. I know you've been wondering how my amaryllis is doing. Just fine, as you can see. I've lost track but I think this plant is now about seven years old, started from a the three what were in a Christmas basket sent to me by my sister. Doesn't seem to matter how much I neglect it. It just keeps on going.

I just finished the fifth skein of Koigu that I'm using for the Spanish Dancer shawl so that means I'm 62.5% done with the shawl or my supply of yarn at least. I'm beginning to get a little nervous. Fortunately, L (of L&H fame) has a skein of the same dye lot that she's willing to sell me and there's one more at Unraveled. I think I'll go ahead and get them while I can.

I'm off for my morning walk now. I'll stop by Target while I'm out and see what they have in the way of corded phones. I went on Sunday but they, and practically everyone else, were closed for Easter.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Too much weekend

means you don't get much knitting done. I think I worked about three rows on the Spanish Dancer shawl and about the same amount on a new zigzag scarf. The rest of the weekend was given over to wining, dining and otherwise abusing my body. I hope to feel better by noon.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sic transit omnia

Just in case you're keeping track. I'm over half way done with the Spanish Dancer. Well, I'm more than half way through the yarn. The rows are now less than 200 stitches so that means I only have about 100 more rows to go until I finish the body of the shawl. Then the real fun begins.

Yesterday I learned of the passing of the husband of one of my friends. It wasn't unexpected. I did not know him well but I liked him and respected his abilities. And he was a great husband to my friend. I'll be going to a memorial get together for him in a couple of weeks. I expect I'll be reconnecting with lots of people from an earlier time in my life. I'm really bad about keeping track of people once I don't see them on a frequent basis.

I had my first official knitting consultation yesterday. I've been hired to advise and give my opinion for one of my sometime students who is starting an import business. It's too early in the game to know how it's going to go. She does have some good resources though and is quite enthusiastic about it. Consulting is a lot of fun. You get to tell people what you think needs to be done but you don't have to do any of the work yourself.

And on a final note. My answering machine has quit. I have to get a new phone/answering machine this weekend so I don't miss any of the sales pitches and handout requests. Or the political stuff. So if you're trying to reach me and my machine doesn't answer that means I'm not here. Please call again.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


There's really not much to report on the knitting front. I worked a bunch of rows on the Spanish Dancer shawl. And worked on the current Dulaan hat last night. I did meet up with some friends at Unraveled for a while yesterday and got to hear about a Valentina Devine workshop that sounded like it was good. So while I'm not in the doldrums I don't have much to report.

Yesterday morning while I was out for my walk I decided to stop for a haircut. There's a plain ol' barber shop near where I live so I thought I'd give it a try. I don't think I've ever had a worse haircut. Considering that I don't have much hair it's hard to imagine how I could get a bad haircut. For which I had to pay $12.00. The guy ahead of me had one of the funniest comb-overs I've seen. Very little on top but he had let the sides grow so that he had a fairly thick fringe that covered his ears. I don't know how the barber kept from laughing, or just cutting it all off. Anyway I don't think I'll be going back there.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hats, hats and more hats

We're getting closer and closer to the cut off date for shipping our Dulaan hats and sweaters etc. to Flagstaff. This is just a few of the hats I've collected over the past week. I have another one on the needles right now that I hope to finish this evening at our Dulaan knit night.

We were hoping to exceed our last year's total of 350 plus items. I'm beginning to doubt that we'll be able to even match that number. Not to be a pessimist but we just haven't had the enthusiasm that we had last year. That doesn't mean that we haven't had some enthusiastic knitters but we haven't had the number we had last year. And there have been some other factors that have kept folks away or otherwise distracted. We've got about three months to get our numbers up. Of course there's no obligation but I'd sure like to see a lot more items before the deadline.

The top-down raglan pattern is slowly taking shape. I mean really slowly. I didn't have much time to work on the prototype yesterday and today I'm working on the Spanish Dancer shawl. I will be putting together some numbers later this week for various sizes so at least people can get started if they want to. I'm using Sweater Wizard for the basic information like yardage and stitches to be cast on. I haven't quite decided some of the final details but I'm thinking about them.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Someone else's yarn

Well, there won't be any yarn shopping for a while. I decided yesterday that I'd better get my taxes done. Just in case there were any problems with the software. Plus they're about due. I was expecting to have to pay something. And I was right. But it wasn't as bad as I had thought. Still it's enough for a couple of really good yarn shop trips. Good thing I just topped off my stash.

So what do you do when you can't buy any new yarn? Use someone else's. Here's a swatch I did last Friday. I'm going to make a sample for A Stitch in Time using some of the Malabrigo we have in stock.

I'm working out the pattern as I go. I have to recalculate the pattern first since I wrote it without having first made a swatch. It's going to be a top-down raglan. The ubiquitous top-down raglan. I'm thinking I'll document the process and post it here. I'm starting with a size small. That's a 32" body size. What other sizes should I include?

Sunday, April 01, 2007


We are five! Tempus fugit and all that. Here's to another five years, if my hands hold out.

I'm making good progress on my Spanish Dancer shawl. Some of it has been negative progress though. I spent most of yesterday's Metroplitan Opera tinking the rows I knit on Friday night, trying to figure out why I had two more stitches on one side than on the other. I thought I'd forgotten to do a couple of decreases or had done a couple that I shouldn't have. Not so. I finally found an SSK that hadn't dropped off the needle properly so I still had the two stitches I had knit together plus the wrap I had made. Only six rows back but still nearly 2000 stitches. I'm back on track and now have less than 300 stitches per row. Yay me!