Thursday, September 27, 2007

Knitters redistribute

Unfortunately my photos this evening are not good enough. This rather blurry shot of the yarn redistribution pile is about as good as it got. There was a lot more yarn earlier and a bit more arrived later with, well, late arrivers.

A lot of yarn changed hands so I'd say it was a success. There was yarn leftover, some of it stuff I had taken. It's all in the back of my car at the moment. It was too late in the evening to schlep it in. Once I have it in I will go through it and decide what to do with it. I'm sure a lot of it can go to our charity knitting boxes. I'll keep some of what I took over since I still like it even though I was willing to part with it.

Georgie did a great job hosting us in her office. And she provided plenty of snacks. There were nine of us there. Three people who had said they would be there didn't make it. Maybe I should leave the yarn in my car and have a tailgate yarn swap just for them.

Knitting some

I did manage to get some knitting time in last night. Not so much that there's cause for alarm or justification for a picture. It's a sock after all and you've already seen the interesting part. But I did knit for a couple of hours. And it was good.

We had fun at the Fair. Except for the heat. And I also forgot where I parked. I think this might be a tradition. I've forgotten every year. So maybe I should just accept it and not try to remember to write the location down.

We started by going to see some farm animals. I almost never do this but the friend who was with me wanted to. I think he might have spent some time on a farm as a child and just wanted to revisit some memories. I spent some time on a farm when I was in high school and it's definitely not a memory I care to revisit.

There were plenty of animals of assorted kinds. The barn was kind of dark so it was hard to get any really good pictures plus the animals moved when you least expected it. But then my camera batteries died. So you're spared the agony of looking at more farm animals.

But you also don't get to see the knitting and crochet exhibit. There were other things in the fiber exhibit but I don't know anything about scrapbooking. Of course there was quilting. Don't know much about that either.

I'm almost always disappointed in the knitting and crochet exhibit. Not that there isn't a lot of really top notch work. It's just that so much of what is on display is kind of boring. Not in a been there, done that sort of way. More in a that's really practical, you'll get a lot of wear out of that sort of way. But then it is a craft show, not an art show. Let's don't get into a discussion about craft versus art.

I do have to hand to the people who put the show together. It's got to be hard to arrange all those entries into an attractive and viewable way. The quilts were mostly really easy to see and they made spectacular backdrops for some of the afghans and sweaters that filled the lower spaces of the display cases.

The main reason I go to the Fair is because my daughter works there. (I get free tickets and parking passes.) She's in charge of one of the exhibits, Education Expo. That's where the local high schools get to show off some of the art work that they're done. I spent quite a bit of time there. This year there was mostly flat art with a bit of wood working thrown in. Most of the art was pretty much what you'd expect high school art to look like, a little stiff and contrived but still upbeat on the whole. Some years there's been a lot more angst.

A lot of walking! I was really happy when it was time to meet up with my daughter so we could all go to lunch in a nice, quiet and cool restaurant. They had margaritas but I was driving. So diet soda it was. I got home and promptly fell asleep in the middle of a game of FreeCell.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Knitting, not so much

I don't remember when I've been so non-productive. I think I managed 16 rows on a sock yesterday. And that was it. Monday was only slightly better. And it's not from want of wanting to. I just seem to be really busy with lots of little stuff that is taking me away from my routine. It looks like I'm going to be pre-occupied until the end of the week.

I've been working more days for the last week. Spent four days at Skein filling in for a vacationing instructor. That's done now. I enjoyed the time there as I got to see a number of people I haven't seen since I left Skein last year. Ann Mary hasn't always been real upfront when people have asked where I am. Some have asked if I'm feeling better or how I'm enjoying not working. And there was some pressure to consider coming back to teach there again, even if it was only on Saturday. I don't think so.

Today I'm going to the LA County Fair. That should be lots of fun. We'll meet my daughter Lisa there and she will show us around. I didn't go for my morning walk today since I'm sure I'll be doing plenty of walking at the Fair. We had our three or four days of fall last week and now we're back into summer. High 80s and lots of sun.

Anyway. Not much knitting right now. Maybe tonight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Knitting yarn to go

I think I mentioned it before. We're having a yarn swap this week at our Thursday night knitting group. I spent several hours last night going through some boxes. So far this is what I've decided I can live without. And that doesn't count the stuff I just put in the trash.

Some of these yarns are pretty nice. But when I consider how much yarn I will still have after I pass these along, and how much time it takes to knit something, I realize that there isn't enough time to use it all.

I did enjoy rediscovering some of the stuff in my stash. Some of which I don't remember buying and some of which goes back to my earliest knitting days. A lot of what I have is no longer available. I discarded some Orlon yarns, some crafting yarns, even some candle wicking yarn. Anyone remember candle wicking? I did find two cones of lace weight wool that I had been looking for when I was getting ready to knit the Swan Lake (MS3) a couple of months ago.

I don't know how many more boxes I'll get through before Thursday. I'll do a few more tonight and maybe consolidate some of the now only partially full boxes. I haven't ever started on the yarn that's stored in my living room. Most of that is pretty current so I may have a harder time recycling that.

I hope all this stuff finds a new home. Now that I've said my goodbyes I don't want to have to bring any of it back. My plan is to keep going through the boxes and taking stuff to future knitting nights. After all, I need the room for all the new stuff.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Avoidance knitting

I've been busy. And I've had very little time to knit. Or to work on the finishing of the brown cabled sweater. Yeah, that's it. I'm just too busy to sew that thing together. I did get the neckband done though. And besides, I really need to work on these socks. Socks that I started probably last spring.

I actually picked them up again a couple of weeks ago and promptly screwed them up. Used the wrong stitch pattern which I didn't realize until after I had already done the heel and started on the gusset decreases. So that all had to be redone and now I'm back on track. So it doesn't totally look like I'm avoiding the finishing.

In less than twenty four hours I acquired enough yarn for six more pairs of socks. Three were purchased at the knitting night at Unraveled. The other three I got on Friday while I was working at A Stitch in Time. Not that I'm in any danger of running out of sock yarn. We're having a swap night this week so I'll be getting rid of some stash, probably not sock yarn though. And then there's a yarn de-acquisition yard/yarn sale coming up that will give me a chance to replace some of what I've swapped out.

I haven't started anything new though. The Chevron Scarf is growing, slowly. That one is my KIP project. And the Jitterbug socks that I started a few weeks ago are still nearing completion of sock one. And there's a blue cotton lace stole that I haven't said much about here.

I'm working three days this week, going to the LA County Fair one day, and doing some chores (laundry) on another day. So it doesn't look like there's going to be much finishing time this week either.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It was like a party

Our Thursday night knitting group got together at Unraveled tonight. Usually I'm not one to take pictures but this was a good chance to not only show off the wonderful space but to show you some of the people I run with. I think I got everyone. My friend L (of L&H fame)was there earlier but she had to leave before I remembered I had brought my camera.

I won't bore you with who all the people are except for the photo in the upper left. That's my friend Susan who was our host tonight. She's just getting all the cheeses and wine that she brought for us to enjoy. And we really did.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A new book

This book came in the mail yesterday. I ordered it, along with four or five other books, from, my favorite book source. I had seen a number of references to it on the blogs. It had been well received so I was looking forward to getting my copy.

I have to say I'm not wild about it. That doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. Most of the patterns are suitable for advanced beginner to intermediate knitters. And the styles are very wearable, pretty much as I think the designer intended. There's nothing over the top. Just very traditional styles with some updating via the use of color and yarn.

I do like the throw/afghan and can actually see myself making it but maybe not in the yarn shown since I have plenty of other yarns on hand that could be substituted. The scarves, hats and socks are nice but not earthshaking. The British Checks Sweater is also something I would consider making.

I like the photography. It makes me think of snapshots, which I think was the intention. The models look like everyday people and the sets are real and unpretentious, a nice change.

The technical section at the front of the book is well done but probably only useful to beginners. The book itself is printed on very heavy paper that has a nice matte finish so there's no glare.

Overall I'd say I'm glad that I got the book. It's straight forward and usable. Even if I may not ever get around to making anything from it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The sum is greater than the parts

Well, at least, the parts are done. Now I just have to put them all together. That should happen this week sometime.

I don't enjoy the finishing part of sweater knitting. I can do it but I don't like it. I saved myself a few ends to be woven in. I used spit splicing whenever I could with this yarn. It's a single ply wool and the splicing, which I've never used before, seemed to work really well.

I'm working a few days this week at Skein, the shop where I worked before I went to A Stitch in Time. I'll only be there from 11 to 5 for the next three days and then one day next week. So if you're in the area, stop and say hello.

New yarn has begun to arrive at A Stitch in Time. Some Kureyon and Silk Garden. Lots of Debbie Bliss, even some Sirdar Baby Bamboo. And yesterday I discovered that there's also some lace weight Malabrigo. And there's more to come!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mornings around here

Rosy-fingered Dawn has been arriving a little later each day. Most days it's still dark when I leave the house to take my walk. And it's getting to be cool enough that a light jacket will be needed before too long.

It seems so much quieter in the morning now. There's less traffic or maybe the faint light just softens it so that I'm less conscious of the noise. It's very pleasant. I see most of the same people every day. I might miss one or two if my schedule is off a bit. There's the uber-chunky guy with his two uber-chunky dogs. The three of them totally block the sidewalk as they stroll side by side. The tall lanky guy with his hair pulled back in a ponytail. Always carrying what looks like a roll of miscellaneous paper. He walks very fast. Actually I saw him last week in the supermarket when I was there to get some kitty litter. And the guy who lives up the street from me who walks with such purpose that I just want to move out of his way. Each step is precise and he moves his arms with such purpose that I'm afraid to disrupt him with a spoken greeting. I just nod. And then there are the street people that wander around in the early morning, looking for a handout or for some place to stop and sort through the bags of stuff they're accumulated overnight.

I did manage to miss walking into that dead palm frond that's been hanging from the tree in front of Burger King for the past couple of weeks. So far I've run into it twice or maybe it's three times. Whatever. Today I remembered in time to veer out of its way.

I've added some stretching exercises to my morning routine. Nothing serious, just some twisting and bending stuff. And when I get home I do some leg exercises that require me to get down on the floor. Freaks the cat out. He always comes running and meowing like "what are you doing down here?"

I finished the first sleeve of the brown sweater and have continued with the second one. I'm not exactly bored but it sure seems to be taking a long time. Only about 80 rows to go, including the cap shaping. Sticking to one project is hard.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Harvest time

When my friend Robert brings home fresh produce from the market he usually arranges it in a basket on his kitchen counter so he can enjoy it while it's waiting its turn. I don't. My kitchen counter is too small as it is. But these squashes and the pumpkin are just too colorful and lush to be hidden away in the refrigerator. It's a lot harder to arrange these things than you would think. They keep rolling around. I liked it better when I had just taken them out of the bag and put them on the counter.

Lisa's friend JC (not that JC. This is a different one.) has been sending over fresh vegetables for most of the summer. Green beans, tomatoes, various squashes and even some exotic eggplant. This is probably just about the end of the bounty.

So where was I? Oh, yeah. Knitting. I'm just about done with the first sleeve of the brown cable sweater. Since the other one is already started I might still get this done by the end of the week. I'm home all day today and tomorrow, except for Thursday night knitting, so there's plenty of time, if I just don't get distracted by the new blue lace shawl I started on Sunday night. More about that another time.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Faithful readers may recall that I said I was going to knit both sleeves of my cabled brown sweater at once. That was supposed to help motivate me to get it done.

I only have two size 8US/5mm circular needles. The Addi turbo is 60 inches long. The other needle is a 29 inch Clover bamboo. I do not like circular bamboo needles and will avoid them at almost any cost. So I started with the Addi. Everything was fine except for all that extra length. It really made switching sides a hassle. So I gave that up and switched to the Clover bamboo. And that was working fairly well.

Yesterday morning I noticed that the stitches being placed on the right hand needle were suddenly moving a lot more easily. I looked down and discovered that the cable had separated from the needle leaving about half a row of unsecured stitches.

Fortunately the wool yarn has a lot of nap so the stitches held really well and I was able to slip them onto a straight needle. So I'm about half way through one sleeve while the other one awaits its turn. So much for my plan. Plus I really prefer working one sleeve at a time even if it does mean making the same thing twice.

Friday, September 07, 2007

My cat is a Democrat

in many ways. Especially when it comes to entitlements. He believes he is entitled to be brushed on demand, to be fed at any hours, including 4AM, to sleep on any surface that is handy. None of this is because he has done anything to merit it but simply by virtue of being a cat. Just being a cat is all that's required.

On the other hand he's sometimes Republican. His attitude is that so long as he gets what he wants it doesn't matter what someone else wants. If someone else gets what he wants and the cat is still satisfied then it's okay. That's how trickle-down works. But the really Republican thing is an absolute resistance to change. Do not bring anyone in this house that I don't know. Don't move any of the furniture. And don't change brands of litter. Just don't!

I have made two trips to the supermarket this morning. One at five. Since when did supermarkets start closing overnight? What happened to 24/7? The second trip at six when the store was actually going to be open. All this because the cat doesn't like or understand change.

I had read on several blogs that I turst that Trader Joe's Pine pellet kitty litter was the ideal kitty litter. So I got some and following all the directions cleaned the litter box and put in the one inch layer of pine pellets. The cat did not approve. No matter how badly he needed to access the litter box, and no matter that I picked him up and put him on the disagreeable surface, nothing I could suggest would convince that cat that this was a good idea and good for the ecology to boot. No way. I'll just suffer if you don't change this litter to something more akin to what I'm used to. Hence the two trips to the supermarket before the sun was even up.

However, the cat is relieved, so to speak. And I've learned a very valuable lesson. Or the cat, who is secretly a monarchist, will have my head.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I didn't get quite as far yesterday as I had planned. I just finished binding the shoulders together this morning and have started looking for the right size needles to cast on for the sleeves.

I love to teach the three needle bind off. Especially when it's to someone who has been knitting for years and has never seen it. And if it includes short row shaping it's even more fun. The first time I did it I thought I had invented it myself. I'd never heard of it but it just seemed so logical that I tried it. I was pretty downcast when I found out the next day that it was a standard technique.

Seems like we might be through the heat wave that has been plaguing us for the past week or so. I even turned off the a/c last night and opened some windows. But it's back on now since it's still going to be warm and it's humid.

Today is my last half day at A Stitch in Time. The other knitting instructor has finished her temporary job as a race track teller and will be back tomorrow. It's been easy enough to work those extra couple of days a week but I think I prefer only going in for a whole day a couple of times a week.

I am going to be spending a few days at Skein, my former shop. That's not until the 18th and it's only for five days. That should do it for a while.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I cited the wrong book for the Chevron Scarf pattern. It should have been Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Sorry. I guess one should always check one's sources. Thanks L for correcting me.

I see this scarf all over the place. Like here. So it's a big hit. Maybe not as big as Clapotis was/is. But still it's exciting. I plan on taking mine to work. I can see lots of people making this. It's easy and pretty rewarding. Although I doubt I would consider it a last minute gift. It's far too slow a knit for that. I worked on mine for a couple of hours yesterday but finally put it down so I could take a nap.

I also spent several hours working on my brown cable sweater. I'm almost done with the front and will join the shoulders sometime today. Then I'll start the sleeves which I'm going to work two at the same time. I don't usually do this but I think this approach will push me to get it done. I've already swatched for the Cobblestone sweater from the current IK.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Well of course I started a new project

Seems like whenever one person starts something another one of us just has to join in. Sort of a mini-KAL. One of the Unraveled ladies was making the Chevron Scarf (which I think is from Weekend Knits) and then another one got started and now I'm starting. Only another 70 inches to go. I'm using a couple of colors from Colinette's Jitterbug Velvet, almost solid colors. The actual colors don't look quite so USC but after five or six tries to get the colors accurately I gave up and went for the best of the lot.

It continues to be hot here. My sister invited me to come to Arizona for a while. Does she think I'm crazy? 106 is one thing but 117 is quite another. I did go over to Santa Monica yesterday where it was cool enough to sit outside on the patio and enjoy the slight breeze. I'm staying inside today, just me, the cat and the a/c.