Friday, August 31, 2007

Birthday socks

Yesterday was my kid's birthday. We had already celebrated last Sunday but yesterday was the actual day. These are the socks I had made earlier this year and put away just for this very event. The purple skirt is also part of the birthday haul.

I made these socks knowing that she would love them. And she, knowing that I'm always looking for blog material, sent me this photo. Even though it's not sock-wearing weather yet.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Take what you can

Sometimes it doesn't take much to make me feel good. An email from my doctor this morning telling me she was very happy with my progress on controlling cholesterol and that even though my glucose count was a little high she was generally pleased with the results of all my efforts.

Then while I was taking my morning walk I ran into a casual acquaintance who told me I looked hot. I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about the temperature considering how he commented on how I had lost weight etc. Anyway I'm taking it that way. You take what you can.

I did finish the fir cone shawl last night. It's been practically impossible to get a photo of it.

The color is really washed out but at least you can see the pattern. I still have some serious blocking to do but for now I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nothing of note

Now that I have my a/c I don't have much to talk about. Still knitting away on the fir cone shawl although I do expect to finish tonight.

It's been a typically slow month for the yarn shop where I work as well as the others in our area. New yarns are expected any day now though so that's something to look forward to.

We do have our seasonally appropriate weather. Just in time for the Labor Day weekend when it is mandated to be at least 106F. Highs are at 100F or just slightly above depending on where you live. Yes. I'm glad the a/c got done in time.

Monday, August 27, 2007

For my next trick

Now that the Swan Lake stole is finished, except for blocking, I'm pushing to get the Fir Cone shawl done. I have one more ball to go. I'm using some cotton ribbon from Ironstone that I got at Unraveled last year. It's not quite mindless knitting but pretty close. Except that sometimes I add a yarn over that doesn't belong. The ribbon is so busy that it's easy to just drop the y/o and keep going.

We celebrated Lisa's birthday yesterday. Lots of presents and wine and cheese before going out for pizza. While she was here she tried on the Swan Lake stole and gave it the stamp of approval. So I'm feeling much better about how it looks. She liked the asymetrical shape. So getting it blocked is more likely to happen sometime soon.

Bertran, the a/c guy, showed up on Saturday with a couple of helpers. They got the old unit out with only a small amount of damage to the plaster wall and the outside stucco. The new unit is in a working just fine. It does protrude a lot more than the old one so I have to figure out a new furniture arrangement. Bertran will be back tomorrow in his role as plumber to replace the faucet handles in the shower. He's supposed to be bringing some ceiling fan catalogs so I can choose a new one for my dining area that I don't use as a dining area. It's where my computer lives. So many projects, so little money.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mardi gras

I know it's the wrong time of year for Mardi Gras. But I just got my own personal version. Colinette Jitterbug in the Mardi Gras colorway. Just like Mardi Gras you never quite know what's going to happen. Socks? Scarf? Table art? I just like the way it looks.

I finished the Swan Lake stole last night. No photos yet because I don't have room to block it right now. All my living room furniture is stacked in the area where I would normally block because the a/c guy is due later today. Anyway, the knitting part is done. I'm pleased that I finished on schedule and I enjoyed the process. Not so sure about the finished product.

So on to the next shawl, or rather, one of the others that are already in the works.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why am I not surprised? Part Two

After last Saturday's a/c debacle I got a comment from my friend Thom. All he said was "Why am I not surprised?" Well, it's happened again. This time the a/c guy didn't show at all. I did call him about an hour after he promised to be here. He was unexpectedly late at his regular job. But he said it would only be another hour and he would call me when he was on his way. That was four hours ago and I haven't heard anything. It's after 8PM so I'm guessing he's not going to show.

Fortunately it's supposed to be cooling off here starting tomorrow by several degrees. At least that's what the weatherman says. And we all know how reliable they are.

So I've spent today waiting and fretting. And I've been working on the Swan Lake shawl, formerly known as MS3. I have about thirty rows to go. But they're long rows so I doubt if I'll finish tonight. It's not good to promise something and then not do it.

The a/c guy just called. He will be here on Saturday. At least that's what he said.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The kindness of friends

One of my friends was in NYC recently and stopped into Habu. She picked up this Fique for me. Three skeins! It's made from a plant that's a member of the pineapple family. Gorgeous but tough. I'm thinking maybe a market bag. There's one in the Vicki Squares Folk Bags book. She also brought me a "grab bag" of other Habu yarns (that I forgot to photo). What a great friend,eh?

But it doesn't end there. When she and another friend were in Idaho recently they chose this fantastic home grown, hand spun, all natural skein of alpaca. This stuff is so soft that you just want to carry it around for company all day. Thanks G and E.

Since the a/c guy couldn't finish the installation on Saturday I ended up with a couple of free hours. I hadn't planned on going to the fishbowl sale at Unraveled. But since I had the open time I decided to just go over and see if there might be something I could use and see what kind of a discount I'd get when I drew my number from the fishbowl.

There were these eight hanks of Koigu. Not one of my usual color ways but, you know, ya gotta try new things once in a while. You get two tries when you draw from the fishbowl. First try, 20%. Second try, 75%. Woo Hoo! Eight skeins for just over the price of two. I think it's going to be another Spanish Dancer. I really enjoyed making this shawl even though it seems interminable while you're working on it. But looking forward to the attached knit cord and the ruffle made it fun.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


A little after six in the morning. It's already hot and humid. But the sunrise was pretty.

No a/c yet. The old a/c is somehow wedged in it's casing and the guys couldn't get it out. They're coming back on Tuesday will some kind of pulley thing that will force it to come free. I hope they don't bring part of the wall down with it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday finish

It's still hot. I'm tired. I'm sleepy. And I have to start getting ready to go to A Stitch in Time. It's been a slow week both for me and the shop. Heat and vacations are taking their toll. Plus the new parking lot hasn't been started yet. They're supposed to do it today. We'll see.

Tomorrow the a/c guy is coming to install my new air conditioner. I'll be really happy when it's over. I inherited a worry gene from my mother. I'm just convinced that something is going to go wrong and things will not happen as planned. My friend Mario, who is an interior designer and accustomed to dealing with craftmen, says not to fret. Everything will work out. Well, of course, it will all work out but how many things will surprise us and cause delays. Not to mention all the dust from cutting a new opening in my living room wall. And what if the guy drops the old air conditioner and it falls and breaks through the window of the unit below me? Or what if my cat gets all freaked out and tries to jump through the new hole while the guy is trying to get the new a/c unpacked and ready to install? Or what if the new a/c is defective and has to be sent back to New Mexico? See? There are plenty of other reasons to worry. I just haven't thought of them yet.

I got the final clue for the MS3. Looks like there's still plenty to do even if it is more of the same. The rows are getting really long, kinda like when you do a ruffle. How much longer will ruffles be the rage?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

FO, found object

Before I forget again, if you leave a comment and would like a response, I need your email address. The Blogger commenting system doesn't show commenters email addresses unless you have one on your Blogger profile page. You can email me directly. My email address is on my profile page. I may already have your address from some other source. Unfortunately I've lost some addresses I used to have when some crap happened once upon a time. You can even leave your email address, suitably disguised, in your comment. I will do my very best to reply. Sometimes I fall behind. (So Debby you'll need to email me or something if you want more details on the Purl Soho address etc.)

A few days ago I was rummaging through my stash for something to substitute for the Classic Elite Skye Tweed that I want for the Cobblestone sweater. I still haven't found the yarn I'm looking for. But I did find this abandoned project. Must be at least three years since I put it aside. I think I just got bored with it. Anyway, the wool I'm looking for is the same as this except it's a different color. I know it's here. The color in the photo is way off. The sweater isn't gray at all.

It's more like this detail except a little more brown. I decided to continue and see if I could get this done in case we ever get cooler weather. I've been spending a lot of time on small needles recently so working with size 8US/5.0MM is really speedy. The yarn is called Country Wool. I think it was distributed by KFI. Not sure since I got it at least ten years ago before Mariposa moved to South Pasadena. I'm using a pattern from Simply Beautiful Sweaters for Men by Linden Phelps and Beryl Hiatt, owners of Tricoter in Seattle.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Knit Kimono

My latest pattern book. When I saw L's copy I knew I had to have it. I have several other books by the same author, Vicki Square, but I think this is the best so far.

There's an interesting overview of the kimono throughout its history. And then there are the patterns themselves. At first the garments look like they'd just be simple straight forward knits (and some of the are) but it's in the finishing that the real excitement occurs. It's in how the garments are assembled and how the edges are treated. I'm not fond of finishing but I think these kimono are worth it.

This is the one I've decided to make first. There's a lot of knitting there but there's enough variety to keep it interesting. (Click on the photo if you want a bigger view.)

My plan was to use this yarn, Plymouth's Fantasy Naturale, which I've had in stash for a year or so. It's the yarn called for in the pattern. How often does that happen that you actually have the yarn? The color was Lisa approved so I was all set. Except what I thought was a bag of ten turned out to be only eight. No where near enough. I'll have to see if Skein has any more. I think I can fudge if the dyelots are different. Or I'll just order another whole bag and be done with it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A couple of WIPs

I've tried at least six times to get an accurate image of this yarn, Colinette Jitterbug Fire. So far this is the best although the yarn isn't quite this magenta. But it's about as close as any I've taken.

I got this yarn when we went to Purl Soho last week. So I've started a sock using the pattern that's printed on the label. Supposedly one skien will make a pair of socks but I'm more than a little skeptical. I'd hate to buy another skein just to finish the toes on the second sock. And, as you can see. the color is really different from the skein. Anyway you get the idea.

I'm about two weeks behind on the Mystery Stole 3. After what seems like a short forever I have finished clue number four. And I've started the first of two wings. This clue will go much faster as it involves lots of short rows.

Here's where I am now. Sorry but I don't seem to have a space that's big enough, or clean enough, to show you the whole thing. Still wondering how I'm going to block this.

Going back to work yesterday was pleasant enough although it was very slow. And the parking lot replacement didn't happen. So the store closing was for naught. They're supposed to start this Wednesday instead but we won't be closing. Still, it was nice to have a week off. I only have two more weeks to work those extra half days. I'm looking forward to being done with that.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Back at 'em

The "vacation" is over. That sure went fast! It's back to work today. It's supposed to a hundred degrees here in Pasadena today. So the a/c will be nice. My new a/c hasn't arrived yet. I hope Patrick will be okay. He'll probably just stay in the bathtub all day. He's going to have a hard time not having me home all day to administer brushings on demand.

So, what did I do on my vacation?

The big thing was a trip to Purl Soho. Not the one in New York City. The one in Tustin, CA. On Wednesday L&H and I sallied forth in the heat of the day to check out Purl Soho's west coast warehouse. They recently relocated from Costa Mesa to Tustin so that cut off quite a big of freeway hassle. Still it was almost an hour and a half to get there.

It's a warehouse so you don't get fancy. Half of the space is given over to their patchwork store. I didn't look around there. The other half, the one with all the goodies, is filled with lots of top of the line yarn. Alchemy, Rowan, Koigu, Tilli Tomas, Blue Sky Alpaca. Very nice stuff. I've never been in the presence of that much Koigu. It was intimidating to say the least. Anyway, I bought some stuff that I haven't photographed yet. Maybe tomorrow. I was conservative, considering. And after all that yarn infusion we went to lunch at a really nice place, The Citrus Cafe, where we recovered sufficiently to drive home.

Let's see. What else? I had dinner with my friend Andy. I went to Unraveled a couple of times to hang out and then to my knitting group on Thursday night. A couple of other trips to some other more local yarn shops had to be cancelled. I did go by Skein to get a copy of Knit Kimono, the new book by Vicki Square. Of the eighteen designs in the book all but a couple are things I could see myself knitting. But I've narrowed in down to one for now. I'll have some more on that later in the week.

And I spent a lot of time with the newest VK and IK. I ordered the yarn to make the Cobblestone sweater that's in IK. But Web's wrote back to say they were out of stock in the color I wanted. So I will find something in my stash. I'm pretty sure I have a tweed that I got years ago that will be enough yardage. I just have to find it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On vacation

Well, sorta. Is it a vacation if you're not going anywhere or doing anything special? A Stitch in Time is closed this week while the parking lot is being repaired/replaced. So it's really just time off (without pay).

I don't have any big plans except for a long trip tomorrow to visit a yarn warehouse. That'll be fun since they also have a retail space. I'll have to see how strong my resolve to not buy more yarn is. It's true that they carry just about everything that Koigu puts out. So that will be a big test.

Other than that I don't have any plans. I'll probably do some knitting. Catching up on the MS3 is a priority. And I'm working my way through the latest Vogue Knitting and IK magazines. And I need to see if Skein has any more copies of Kimono Knits.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday's fare

It's his current favorite place to sleep. On the flap of my knitting bag. When I come home from wherever I have to put the bag on the floor and open out the flap so he can sleep on the smooth inner lining. He'll sometimes stay there for hours. It's a little hard to make out because the flap of the bag is almost exactly the same as the black squares of my tile. And also, I don't have a whole lot to post about today.

I did stop by Unraveled for a few minutes yesterday on my way to knitting night. Almost all the special order Jitterbug had come in. I say almost because my color and one other person's were on back order. The ones that did come in were so different from the shop samples that it was hard to believe they were the same color and not just a dye lot difference. I can hardly wait to see what color I actually get.

I was really swamped yesterday afternoon. A lot of the people who usually come on Friday came on Thursday. It made for some fun times. But I don't know how busy I'll be today.

I got Clue #5 of the MS3. How cryptic is that? Anyway, I like the direction the stole is taking. My color choice doesn't work well with the theme of the stole, Swan Lake, but it's okay with the design.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The end of Dulaan

Ryan has the backstory on her blog. It's a sad end to a long project that brought together so many knitters and other crafters. I will be talking with others in my knitting group to see what they want to do next. We do already have a few items in our Dulaan box. There are many other equally worthwhile organizations that would be happy to have our output. Still it's a bit depressing to be told you've only been seen as a "promotional tool".

Meanwhile, where is Mrs. Weasley when I need her? I'm sure my MS3 has been taken over by dark arts knitters. Of the four rows I knit last night, a couple of them two times, none have survived. I've even had mistakes on the plain ol' purl rows. Accio Mrs. Weasley!

I'm looking forward to having next week off. Only two more days for me this week and then I'll have lots of time to finish the current MS3 clue and get started on the next one.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Getting back on track

Well, I finished HP7. I've spent this morning recuperating from staying up much later than I usually do. I enjoyed the book and can now relax knowing that I won't be hit with any spoilers. Several of my friends who've already finished have been waiting for me so we can discuss it. But not here.

Now I can get back on track with my MS3. Haven't touched it since last Friday night/Saturday morning when I couldn't seem to get to sleep no matter how much I wanted to. Did a couple of rows then and was promptly ready. So, I've got an hour or so this morning before I have to get ready for work. I'm in the long stretch of lace leading up to row 335. I think that's where the real action begins. Some people, including myself, think the piece looks more like a table runner than a stole. I'm expecting a major change though in the direction the stole is going. So we'll see when Friday gets here.