Tuesday, July 31, 2007

HP and me and other stuff

When the last book came out, the one before this one, I just prayed that I'd live long enough to get to read book seven. Well, I'm reading it. I just can't stay up all night like I used to even though I'd like to. So today, my day off, I'll be reading as much as I can, between loads of laundry. I'm enjoying it even though I think there's a lot of filler.

I had as many students yesterday as I had all last week. Which is a good thing. I did manage a couple of rows on the fir cone shawl, and to rip back one and a half of those rows to pick up a dropped stitch in a double decrease. Not much else though.

It was so pleasant this morning while I was out walking. Very overcast, a bit of a breeze and only about 65F. And no one was using the laundry room when I got back so I got an early start on that. There may still be time to get out later today to visit some knitting friends.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Losin' it

Having Mexican food for dinner is probably not the best way to lose weight. But when three not to be missed opportunities present themselves all in one week, well, let's just say I won't need any chips and salsa until at least Wednesday. Even though two of the dinners were salads there's just no way that eating all that lettuce can compensate for the goodies that came with it. And the margaritas too. But it was all fun even though I'm going to be doubling up on the Slim Fast for the foreseeable future.

I've made progress on the MS3. I'm up to row 227. I don't think I'll be ready for the next clue by Friday though. You see, I just got HP7. So that will be taking up most of my not at work time. I only meant to read the first chapter last night but somehow two hours later I had to put it down and get a little sleep. I barely remember going to bed.

I got my first subscription copy from Interweave Knits. It's the summer 2007 one. It's been in the stores for weeks already. I think I'd rather that my subscription started with the fall. Fortunately I hadn't already purchsed the summer issue. I showed a few of the patterns to my daughter and we agreed that they'd be nice to have. I think I have the yarn for one, or rather one I can substitute. I keep adding things to my list. It's like eating Mexican food. Just too good to pass up.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday or is that all you've got

A friend of mine just got a new iPhone. It's amazing. Anyone who knows me will attest that I'm not much when it comes to electronic gadgets. Don't even have a cell phone or TIVO or any of that stuff. But I have to say if I had an iPhone I'd be really happy.

Instead I'm getting a new air conditioner. It should be here in a few days. It's coming from New Mexico. Once it's here we'll schedule the installation. Looks like it's still a couple of weekends away.

So I'm not getting a new iPhone. Maybe for Christmas. By then it may be obsolete.

Still making progress on the MS3. I'm about six rows into Chart E which, if you're making one you'll know, is the beginning of clue #4. We have a couple of weeks to finish this clue before the next one comes out. I have to get this one done this week because Lisa is bringing me HP7 on Sunday and I'll be busy for a couple of days.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Progress report

All day Saturday and part of yesterday I knitted and knitted on the MS3. I am now farther along than at any time before. So far I've only had to rip one half of a row and only missed one yarn over. Since I don't have my copy of the latest HP I'll still have plenty of time to work on the stole this week. That'a about all I'm working on right now except those plain ol' socks from last week.

I've discovered I don't do dissipation as well as I used to. Late hours, too much wine and rich food plus rooms filled with cigarette smoke just wipe me out. Not at all like the good old days. But sometimes it's necessary. I went to celebrate my friend Robert's upcoming 70th birthday last night. Not that I didn't have a good time but I'm sure feeling it today.

Pat the cat woke me up at 4:15 this morning. He doesn't care a bit about what time I got to bed. It sounded like rain. I remember rain from a long time ago. It wasn't actually raining a lot, just a heavy sprinkle but what a nice sound. It was still going on when I went for my walk at a little after six. The streets and sidewalks were wet but it was still dry under the trees. So not really much rain but refreshing in its own way. Of course it will be humid and sticky later today but I'll be at Stitch in Time where the a/c is always set on menopause so it won't be too bad.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Plain ol' socks

If I had had any idea of how slow it was going to be yesterday I would have taken something a bit more complex to knit. Yesterday was the first half day of my temporary extra days per week schedule. When I got there, a little before one, the table where I usually hold forth was packed with customers and staff who were just finishing their weekly buffet. And then a few of them stayed on for most of the rest of the afternoon. If I had had more than the one or two people who came in for help there would not have been room for them to sit. I just hope yesterday wasn't typical. Even four hours is a long time when there's next to nothing to do.

I'm making these socks for an as yet undertermined recipient. I think they're going to be too large for Lisa but not large enough for me. Not that I'd actually wear something this loud. I only like plain grey or white. I'm also using some needles that are new to me, Bryspun Bry-Flex dpns. I like them except I think they change my gauge somewhat. But they should help with the digital fatigue factor. I'm going to try a short row heel once again and see if I'm any better at it that I have been in the past.

Mendy abruptly cancelled knitting for tonight so I have a chance to go knit with the gang at Unraveled and then, just maybe, go out for margaritas and dinner. Otherwise I'll come home and continue with the MS3.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Here we go again, again.

After much mulling, hemming and hawing I've decided to start the MS3 again, using an entirely different yarn. Maybe it's practice or maybe it's the yarn, but I'm moving along fairly quickly on this permutation.

I couldn't find the two cones of laceweight so I'm using some Rowan Sea Breeze. This yarn has been long discontinued. I've probably had this in stash for ten or twelve years. It's a 4-ply (sport weight) that is giving me a lot more rustic look than the laceweight did. But I like it. Part of what I think of as my country cottage look.

It's hard for me to accept that I can't work with laceweight. Sort of like admitting you're too old. Maybe new glasses would help. It's time for that anyway. So we'll see. No pun intended.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Good news, bad news

The good news is that the a/c guy got here a little early. The bad news is that he can't access the innards of the a/c because when it was installed forty or so years ago the bolts that hold it in place we left inside the wall. The really bad news is that it only makes sense to replace the unit since the only way to get to the insides is to cut a hole in the wall. That's going to be about three times what I was expecting for the repair. I need to figure out which asset to sell. Maybe I'll be putting some stash on eBay.

In other bad news, I threw the black lace shawl away. I finally realized that one of the reasons I was having such a hard time ripping it was because it has felted to some extent. I guess the humidity and the agitation on Sunday was too much for the slightly fuzzy yarn. I have plenty of yarn left should I decide to try again once the winter comes (or the new a/c is installed).

I haven't decided on a new yarn for the shawl but I'll be doing that this week. I have a couple of cones of laceweight that would work except for the color and I can't find them. They're here somewhere. Meanwhile I'm continuing with the Fir Cone shawl and am fiddling with some socks.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Starting over, again

I was really looking forward to yesterday. I had the whole day to work on the MS3. I didn't see any reason why it wasn't going to be a pleasant, easy knit. I mean, the pattern isn't hard. The charts are nice and big and easy to see.

I spent most of twelve hours knitting and unknitting the same four rows. I think I made it up to row 161 a couple of times but mostly I knit and reknit row 159, occasionally ripping back as far as row 155.

I don't think I'm going to finish this shawl any time soon. The black wool yarn is beginning to wear me down. I can't see the stitches so when I'm ripping it's mostly by feel and then looking to see if what I have on the needle is actually the stitch I mean to be taking out. I have a headache this morning which I think must be from eyestrain.

So, for the moment, I'm leaving the MS3 alone while I decide what to do. Most likely I'll find a different yarn and start over.

This is the week that I add a couple of afternoons to my work schedule. I'll be going in on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from one to five. I'm not sure how long this is going to be for, probably six or eight weeks. I'm covering for the other knitting teacher who is away for a while.

Also, A Stitch in Time is going to be closed for a few days next month, from the sixth through the tenth. The parking lot is being repaired and resurfaced. Maybe that's when I'll get caught up on the MS3.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Shawl talk

This doesn't begin to show off the pattern stitch but the color is close. I started working this shawl last year shortly before Christmas. I put it aside when I realized there was no way I was going to finish it in time for gifting. Same thing may happen again this year. I worked on it a lot yesterday. Then I discovered that I had lost my way somewhere about four rows back. Another KIPping mistake. I'll fix it sometime over the weekend, provided that the MS 3 goes well.

Yep. The third clue arrived this morning. I do have a busy day tomorrow but Sunday looks like I'll be able to spend quite a bit of time on it.

I've mentioned before that I'm really into shawls right now. These are just a few that I'm planning:

Tuscany, from No Sheep for You Just need to get the yarn wound. Alchemy Silken Straw.

The Rose Trellis Shawl, from Catherine Devine Need to get the yarn for this one.

The Landscape Shawl, from Fiber Trends. I have the yarn. Mountain Colors Bearfoot but I need to wind it.

The Peacock Feathers Shawl, from Fiddlesticks Knitting. I have the yarn. Got it Wednesday while we were in Long Beach for our harbor cruise.

Simple Prairie Shawl, from Folk Shawls. I'm already working on this one using some boucle from Fiesta Yarns.

And, the Fir Cone shawl at the top, already in progress, using Ironstone Cotton Ribbon.

Just a few of my current obsession. Who knows how long it will last? I don't think I'll finish everything for Christmas though.

Almost forgot. The Spring Blossom Shawl, from Fiber Trends. Just got that pattern yesterday.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cruising with moon jellies

Typical tourists taking pictures. Mendy and I on our harbor cruise yesterday. I didn't get any decent photos myself. Must have been the champagne and wine. But it was a whole lot of fun. The day was perfect, sunny, breezy and there was yarn shopping to go along with it. We had the same pilot as last year and he wes even better this year. He took extra time so we could all get to see the moon jellies.

Here they are, just floating along waiting to be petted.

Susan's version.

Mendy's view.

These are local jellyfish called moon jellies. They're so delicate and fragile looking that it's surprising when you touch them to discover that they're actually quite tough and leathery feeling. And if you hold one in your hand it's like there's been a snail in your palm. I don't know if they exist elsewhere in the world but they are a local favorite and they seem to only live in this one spot.

Not much knitting though. A few rounds on a simple sock. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Can you see the cat hair?

Okay! So I finished the second set of clues yesterday. I know it doesn't look much different from yesterday but it is. So I have until Friday sometime to work on other projects. In spite of my complaining about this project I am enjoying it and looking forward to the next set of instructions. The complaints have nothing to do with the pattern. They're all caused by me.

The a/c repair guy showed up right on time. Except he didn't bring an extension ladder so he couldn't reach the a/c from the outside. He didn't anticipate that he'd need a ladder even though my condo is on the second floor. He's been here before is his guise as hot water heater guy. So he'll be back next Tuesday which means I won't be able to go to Unraveled for my weekly fix of knitting with C and S and P and L&H. I'm happy the weather has cooled since I'm not supposed to use the a/c even though it has a bit of freon still. Using it could cause the compressor to burn out and that would mean we need to get an entirely new a/c.

In more interesting news, we're going to Alamitos Bay Yarn Company today. It's our second annual Harbor Cruise. Last year's trip was so much fun that this year we had filled the boat even before we made the announcement to the whole group. You snooze; you lose. Or in this case, if you don't show up for knitting group you miss out sometimes on all the excitement. We might be able to schedule a second trip if there's enough interest. I hope the sun comes out while we're there. Doesn't look too likely right now but it's still early.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Further frustration

Here's the current state of my MS 3. Right where I threw it yesterday morning after discovering that I was missing three yarn overs four rows back. I think I must have dropped them while I trying to figure out why my stitch total had suddenly increased by four. After working a plain purl row. The previous knit row worked out just fine, or so I thought. No idea why I suddenly had too many stitches.

The yarn is black, the stitches are small and it's nearly impossible to see what I'm doing, especially since we aren't having much sunshine right now. I'm beginning to doubt my ability to do this. Not really. I'm just getting frustrated with my constant screw-ups. I should be done with the second clue by now but instead find myself back at row 121.

Today could be better. Except I have to do some chores first. I need to do a major vacuuming because the a/c repair guy is coming by this afternoon. And he's allegic to cats. Patrick is shedding like crazy right now so every surface is coated with cat hair. So I'll get that done this morning, even if my vacuum cleaner is only limping along right now, due in part to having too much cat hair to collect. I wonder if I could get the a/c repair guy to look at my vacuum.

I went to Mendy's last night to coach her in doing the attached I-cord of her Spanish Dancer Shawl and to get her started picking up the stitches for the ruffle. (She just called me and is ready to start the increasing. If you've made this shawl you know that the real fun is just beginning.)So anyway, I was supposed to bring home her spare Ott light so working the black lace abyss wouldn't be so eye-exhausting. But I forgot it. Maybe there'll be sun later.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sunday afternoon

It's nice. It's quiet. It's not too hot. And I'm done with Clue #1 of the Mystery Shawl. Actually I've worked about six rows of Clue #2. This one is much easier than the first one plus I'm more familiar with the overall pattern or at least this section and how it relates to the first clue.

Once I realized I couldn't work on this project in public things got a lot easier, or maybe not easier, but I didn't make as many mistakes that needed to be undone. I'll probably have a picture tomorrow.

In general I'd say that I'm not comfortable knitting in public. I'm okay knitting in a yarn store but sitting around at Starbucks or some place like that makes me uncomfortable. I know it's because I feel threatened by people who I always imagine are whispering or making comments among themselves about a guy knitting. That's mostly my own insecurity I'm sure. I've never had anyone say anything derogatory directly to me. Actually the only time anyone has said anything has been in a yarn shop.

Anyway, I'll keep knitting in public. Just not on something that takes as much attention as this pattern.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Just hot enough to be tasty. Not so hot you can't breathe for the next five hours. These are peppers from the plants that my daughter gave me for Father's Day this year. Some are hotter than others but none are unbearable.

I didn't have a moment to pick up my knitting yesterday. Busy the whole day with students including two brand new knitters. By the time I got home last night and had dealt with dinner etc. I was too tired and bleary-eyed to do anything. I tried tinking a single row of the MS 3 but I could tell it was just going to get worse. So today I will fix the most recent error and maybe have time to start the new clue that arrived yesterday.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Learning from my mistakes.

I should have paid more attention when Sharon told me to use a lifeline. Plus I should have learned from my Starbucks experience of a couple of days ago. Really it's not such a good idea to work on the MS3 in public. At least for me.

I have to rip at least ten rows before I can proceed with the next set of clues. I got some addi lace needles yesterday at Unraveled and they're much easier to use than the Inox Express. Nice points but I don't much care for the needle surface. Feels like I'm using some old aluminum needles. And I like the very flexible cable.

So after I get home tonight I'll be trying to correct the latest mistakes and getting started on the new clue.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Everyone's doin' it!

Well, that might be a slight exaggeration but there are a lot of folks making this shawl. I'm not officially in the KAL. I'm just using my friend L's copy of the pattern clues. If you read very many blogs you will no doubt have seen other, and far better, photos of this shawl.

This is my first ever genuine lace knitting. I've made things that use lace-type stitches, but never anything that uses laceweight yarn. It's trickier than I thought it would be. There's nothing in the pattern that I haven't done before. Yarn overs, SSKs, K2tog. All very familiar. Somehow though I'm finding it a bit intimidating.

Just as a general rule I'd say that knitting lace is not something you'd want to do while you're whiling away the afternoon at Starbucks. I met L(of L&H fame) at one of the many nearby Starbucks yesterday afternoon for a little catch-up time and some joint knitting effort. I will say we had a good time, even though the results of the knitting weren't all that terrific.

I was at row 85 of the first 100 rows. L was still trying to get to where I was and I was dawdling along, thinking I'd be finished with this set of instructions by the time we left. When L pointed out a mistake in her own knitting I began checking mine. I knew there were a couple of places where I'd fudged a bit to get back on track. Then I got a really good look at my knitting and realized that I had some other more serious problems. I ripped the whole thing out when I got home. I'm back up to row 50 now. I'll try to finish today because the next set of clues comes out tomorrow.

I stayed home last night to keep the cat company. He's just as frightened by sudden loud noises as you would expect a cat to be. Fortunately there weren't as many sudden loud noices as I was expecting. Just a couple. I think I jumped higher than he did, but I didn't drop any stitches. Hope you all had as nice a Fourth as I did.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Kureyon 128 Shawl

The ends have been woven in so my job is done. There needs to be some light blocking but it's almost 100
outside and my a/c is already struggling with that so I don't think I'll add any more stress to the poor old thing.

The pattern is an adaptation of one in Nancie Wiseman's Knitted Shawls, Stoles and Scares. Basically it's just alternating squares of knits and purls but with a zigzag edge made by casting on and casting off every eight rows. It's also a v-shape to help it stay on better. That seems to be one of Ms Wiseman's favorite devices.

I only had seven skeins of the Kureyon so my version is a bit smaller than it would have been if I had used the Mountain Colors mohair that the pattern calls for. But I'm working from stash these days and this is what I came up with.

Another view.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Update Tuesday

Well, it didn't quite happen. I hadn't planned on being as busy yesterday as I turned out to be. From the time the shop opened until it closed. Not crazy busy but still busy. Plus, a lot of what did not sell during the June sale had to be reshelved or marked down some more. Yarns that were 50% are now 75% off, so long as you buy all we have in a single color. There are some really good deals if you're looking for ones and twos for hats or mittens. And there's still plenty of glitz if you're planning ahead for the holidays.

I got a comment yesterday that Bishop's in Chatsworth is closing. I've only been out there a few times but I've always found some great prices and plenty of selection. I'm not surprised she's closing. She's been there since early forever. The last I heard she was 86 so I guess she's planning on cutting back. I hope I can make it out there one more time to say goodbye and wish her well. And everything is half price, including books and accessories.

I started the Mystery Shawl #3 last night. Didn't make much progress though since I was tired and I'm working with black laceweight yarn. The fan going made it a bit hazardous. I'll get some more done tonight though. I did finish knitting the Kureyon shawl but I still have to weave in the ends and get some photos. Sounds like a good Fouth of July project.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Is this a knitting blog?

It's hard to find anything that strictly knitting these days. I have been doing a bit here and there but there's not much to write about. I have a shawl that I hope to finish today. I'm taking it with me to work along with my camera, just in case, so maybe tomorrow there'll be something to look at.

Of course it's summer and the most frequent greeting I get is "It's so hot!" Well, it is that. And humid. But there's still 82 days of summer to get through. We'll make it. We always do. But we have to mention it just in case no one has noticed. I went to dinner in Culver City last night. It's easily 15 or 20 degrees cooler over there. It was so pleasant to sit outside on Robert's patio and sip sangria. Followed by a dinner of grilled pork tenderloin. And freshly made pecan pie.

So, happy July! I'm not planning anything for the Fourth except staying home and keeping an eye on my cat. He's already pretty freaked out by the early fireworks that have been going off around here.