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.