Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's that time again

One way you can tell it's getting close to Christmas is when the shops and boutiques begin to add hours to their open for business schedules. A Stitch in Time is no exception. Starting this coming weekend there will be four more hours of shopping time available. The shop will be open on Sundays from noon until four on Sunday, from Nov. 4, until the end of December.

This coming Sunday is also the annual Trash to Treasures event at A Stitch in Time. This is a fund raising event for The Wellness Community. (I think I have that name right.) I've never been to one of these events. The way I understand it though is that customers and friends of the shop have donated projects that for whatever reason they're never going to finish. Donors receive a coupon for a discount on a future purchase. Donated items are available for purchase for one day only.

I haven't seen everything that has been donated but I know there are some canvases that have never been started, some yarn that is still in its original wrapper. And even the projects that have been started are worth while. I have my eye on a bag of Noro that someone dropped off. I think there is more needlepoint than knitting stuff. Who knows? It'll be fun to find out.

Purchases from the Trash to Treasure event must be paid for either with cash or check. No plastic. All proceeds go to the charity so charge or debit cards are not allowed.

Hodge Podge, the shop's gift store, is being made holiday-ready. It was starting to look really festive when I left yesterday. If you've ever been to A Stitch in Time you know what a great selection Hodge Podge always has. If you haven't been in, maybe it's time.

I got a stack of new books yesterday but haven't had time to really go through them. I'll let you know what I think though just as soon as I know myself.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Some finished stuff and one started

The amazing Koolhass hat, designed by Jared Flood, as shown in IK Holiday 2007 magazine. I used some Cascade 220 that I had in stash. It's actually a bit more red orange than the photo suggests. I have to rip the top out and remove one of the repeats because the hat is too long. I should have listened to my friend who knits a lot of hats when she told me she thought it looked long. Plus it's a bit on the tight side. I'm planning another one which I think I'll do one one size larger needle. I'm not sure which yarn I'll use yet.

And I did finally finish these socks. Openwork rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. The yarn is Knit Picks Sock Garden which is very nice. Soft. I don't recall ever having has so many problems with a sock though. Way too many dropped stitches. I think it was partly the yarn since it isn't very springy. And that y/o, ssk kind of gave me fits, especially when it was at the end of a needle. But they're finally done and have gone into the holiday gift drawer until I decide who gets them.

And I started another pair of socks. Well, anklets really. I got this Crystal Palace Maizy a week or so ago and have been waiting for some open time so I could try it out. It's made from corn (82%) and elastic nylon (18%). It's a bit of a challenge. The plies tend to open up as you work with it so it's easy to pick up just a single strand instead of the whole yarn. It also doesn't have much give so it doesn't slide easily on the needles. You really have to watch what you're doing, even in plain stockinette, or you'll end up with funky stitches. Oh, and my needles are now a nice rusty shade of red.

Other than that everything is normal. My back is a lot better but still a little sensitive. The cat is fine but being driven crazy by all the birds that are passing through. I had to remove him from the window screen yesterday because he got stuck and didn't have any idea of how to get down.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Thanks for all the get well wishes. My back is less sore but it still reminds me if I move the wrong way. Or if I stay too long in one position. But it is definitely better.

Today is charity knitting day. I'll be going over to Mendy's in a little while to work on the hat I started last week. And to have lunch. I don't expect there will be very many of us. Most of our group has daytime obligations that preclude them attending. But Mendy wanted to give everyone a chance to attend at least once in a while. Next week we'll be knitting in the evening.

The really hot weather around these parts has put a stop to the knitters. Things were beginning to get a bit better when we had a few cool days. But now it's super hot again and there are all those wild fires everywhere, so I think people are just distracted.

I did have a few students yesterday but there were also some periods of quiet, as in nothing to do quiet. I had already marked the new yarns that came in last week. Just waiting for the boss to decide where she wants to display them. Anyway. I didn't do any knitting on my own projects until I got home. But didn't get much done since my older brother called and that always takes an hour or more. So only a few rounds on the socks.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh my aching back!

Literally. I don't know what happened. My OLD syndrome has really been kicking my butt lately. I don't think there's a joint in my body that doesn't ache. Especially first thing in the morning. Getting out of bed is a series of cracks and groans.

I had promised the cat that I would clear some of the boxes of yarn from the living room so he could once again have access to his scratching post and general play area. So I did that yesterday. I don't remember anything popping or snapping but who knows? I could have done something that is causing my back to hurt. Anyway, I've taken some ibuprofen and other than that I'm just ignoring it as much as I can.

I had a nice weekend. Spent a large part of Saturday knitting with friends at Unraveled and the got to have dinner with L (of L&H fame). And last night I went to dinner at my friend Robert's. Hadn't seen him is quite a while. But that always means I'll get home a couple of hours later than my normal bedtime. So there's a bit of catching up to do. I would really rather sleep than go to Stitch in Time today but that's not going to happen.

I'm still working on that second sock. And the chevron scarf is getting longer. Not much else is happening. I got some new sock yarn to try out,Maizy from Crystal Palace. It's 82% corn fiber and 18% elastic nylon. I haven't tried it yet but I think I'll make some kind of anklet. I've used Cascade's Fixation before. I'm hoping this will be more comfortable to knit and to wear.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Never give up!

When I first started to teach knitting on a regular basis I didn't really know as much about knitting as people thought. I'm pretty much self taught, except for a few friends I made along the way, using whatever books or patterns that I liked. I had never knit a pair of socks, for example. I just knew the basics. But I'm pretty good at figuring out what a pattern is trying to tell me.

So over the past few years I've really worked hard to expand my techniques and to get to know more about how to do stuff. I really get excited when there's something new to figure out. Not all patterns are created equal and the number of errors in printed patterns seems to be expanding exponentially. Errata pages seems to go up almost as soon as new books are published. Pity the new knitter!

On the other hand, it's not always necessary to follow a pattern exactly. But one does have to be careful when making changes. And always make notes of what you did. The socks in the picture are ones that I started almost a year ago. I'm using a stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks
by Charlene Schurch. I had put them aside for several months. When I picked them up again I thought I knew what I had been doing. After I had completed about half of the gusset decreases I realized I wasn't using the stitch pattern I had started with. I had to rip back to before the beginning of the heel flap and reknit. Well, I'm started on the second sock now and I'm pretty sure I'll get these done for this year's holiday season. All I have to decide is who's going to get them.

I have to admit that it was pretty tempting to just trash these socks when I discovered my mistake. But, like I always tell my students, if you knit you will rip. And they seem to like it when I make mistakes in my own knitting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Now busier than ever with not much knitting

Yesterday morning I didn't have much to do. I worked on my chevron scarf for as long as I could stand it. That all changed at about one o'clock when four people showed up at nearly the same time followed by two more a bit later. That's sort of the risk of doing drop in classes. Fortunately no one had a problem that couldn't be quickly resolved but I did spend a lot of time moving around from person to person, making sure they were still on track. And I had a two or three people who just came to visit.

I had pulled some yarn from our marked down baskets (75% off) thinking it was such a good deal I shouldn't pass it up. By the end of the day I still hadn't purchased it so I just put it back for someone else to find.

I didn't knit at all last night. Phone calls and emails plus all that time on Ravelry. I sorted some of the odds and ends of yarn that I had set aside for charity knitting and picked out some needles to take with me today.

We're resuming our weekly charity knitting today. We haven't met for a couple of months but we're scheduled for the balance of the year. I have a couple of hats left unfinished from last year so I'll take those and maybe get them done.

After that I have planned a trip to Unraveled to meet with a couple of friends and then it's back to Pasadena for dinner with the Stitch in Time ladies. We're celebrating the owner's birthday. More Mexican food and margaritas. So I don't expect to get anything done on my current projects, other than the charity knitting, or any stash sorting. Tomorrow looks like it's open.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's going to get worse before it gets better.

It's too dark and overcast here this morning for me to get any decent pictures of the mess I have on my hands. I've mentioned a few times that I'm trying to sort through my stash and reorganize it into some kind of usable order. So I've emptied a few cardboard boxes and now the yarn is piled in mostly unrecognizable heaps, not only in the yarn room but in the living room. The cat is beside himself.

So, I discovered, as I was trying to figure out Ravelry, that I need to organize my yarns in such a way that I can enter all the pertinent information about each one. This is going to take a long time. Much of what I have has never been photographed. So that's a biggie. And even the stuff that I have photographed isn't always the whole amount. So most of that will need to be photographed as well.

I'm in the market for some more plastic storage bins. I need to get those so I can put the yarn away as I photograph and upload the images. And then I can start going through the yarn that is already in plastic bins.

I found a couple of yarns yesterday that I don't recognize and I seem to have discarded the labels when I wound the skeins into cakes. That was really dumb! Revisiting these yarns is exciting and distracting. So many get pulled out and put near my knitting chair for me to play with. I already have more projects going than I'll be able to finish this year. Still, why not?

Friday, October 12, 2007

More sock yarn

You'd think that someone who was trying to reduce his stash would show a bit of restraint when it comes to buying sock yarn. Well, that's just not the case. This is Classic Elite Alpaca Sox. I just ran across it when I happened to stop in at Unraveled a couple of days ago. It is amazingly soft and the yardage is generous. Enough for a pair of socks of course. Or maybe some fingerless gloves. I'm putting this in line ahead of lots of other sock yarn, just because I think it's going to be a terrific looking sock. And, if you're one who gets cold feet, it's going to be very warm.

I don't remember if I mentioned this yarn or not. It's Lang Aktion, their newest sock yarn. I've had it for a couple of weeks. It was kind of at the head of the line, having bumped Regia's Designer yarn (mine is the Kaffe Fassett colorway) which I also think I forgot to mention getting. If you get the Berroco newsletter you will have seen a pattern for some fingerless gloves using this yarn just this morning. That'll go faster than socks and I'll still get to enjoy the yarn.

You can click on the pictures for a bigger view.

I got my invitation to join Ravelry. I signed up but haven't done anything else. There's going to be a lot of trial and error going on over here until I figure out how it works.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not so much with the knitting

I'm still here. I know it's only been a couple of days since I posted but it seems like much longer. I just don't have anything, or much of anything, knitting-wise to report. Still working on those two pair of socks. And I'm still working through my stash to see what I can pass along.

It's difficult to let go of some of this stuff, even the stuff that I know I'll never be able to get to. I get sentimental over some of it because of associations I have with it. People who are no longer here; shops that are no longer around; yarn companies that no longer exist. It's not a museum. It's more like a photo album from long ago. Even the "what was I thinking" stuff tempts me to hold on. Opening boxes, some of which have been closed for years, and seeing what's inside, is a happy/sad kind of thing. I can only do a few a day.

I emptied a large box yesterday. The box that my very first computer monitor came in. I found a lot of the yarn that I bought several years ago to make one of Kaffe Fassett's coats. It was to be for a friend who passed away a couple of years ago from breast cancer. I still have the first part that I started. I'll use this yarn to make gifts for friends this year. I know that Sherry would have wanted me to.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Weekend recluse

I didn't leave the house this weekend except for my walk and a quick trip to Trader Joe's. Just me and the cat. It was nice. And I thought I might be getting a cold but that seems to have been averted with a lot of naps and not doing much.

I did finish a couple of socks. Obviously not a pair but their mates are started.

And I made this hat. On Friday A Stitch in Time held its annual Knit Out to benefit a local cancer treatment center. We had about twelve or fifteen knitters drop in to work on hats and scarves. I made this one for a redhead or someone who wants to find out how they'd look as a redhead.

I pretty much stayed away from the computer this weekend. I have a few emails and comments that I need to respond to. I'll see about doing that tonight.

Friday, October 05, 2007

My new knitting bag

People tell me that my cat is spoiled. To some extent that may be true. Patrick has totally claimed my Eddie Bauer bag that I've been using for a couple of years as my knitting bag. He likes to sleep on it. It is now so completely covered with hair that I can't begin to clean it. So, for the time being, I'm using this perfectly adequate plastic shoe bag to carry all my knitting paraphernalia. I'm thinking about what I want for the next one. I better decide soon because this one is starting to go.

When I cleaned out the cat's favorite sleeping bag I found this sock. Long abandoned and nearly half off the needles. It wasn't quite to the heel flap yet. So now it is retrieved and nearing completion. The first one anyway. I don't think I have a second sock syndrome but I do like starting new ones.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New Sweater Project

The start of a new sweater project. The sweater I just finished is also from this book, Simply Beautiful Sweaters for Men
by Linden Phelps and Beryl Hiatt, owners of Tricoter in Seattle. There are a number of other sweaters and vests in this book that I would like to knit. The one I'm making is called Terry's Ribbed Pullover and that's basically what it is. I've started with the sleeves just so I can get them out of the way. It's also a V-neck which I'll probably change to a crew style since I don't like the way V-necks look on me.

I'm using some Kureyon in color 51. The photo is no where near accurate but I've tried all the things I know how to do and still can't get a better image. But you can see the gradation and the colors themselves except they're deeper in real life. I got the yarn at Velona's a couple of years ago during one of our yarn buying frenzies not knowing for sure what I would do with it. So I'm probably going to have five or six skeins left over. I could use a new scarf.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Is this Monday?

The brown cable sweater is done. And it fits. Even the arms are long enough. I'm sending out to be cleaned and blocked before I take any photos of me actually wearing it. Besides, it's still very warm here.

I haven't checked but I know I started this sweater more than four years ago. And I'm really pleased that I decided to finish it. The arms are a bit tight but I think the blocking will take care of that. And the wool, Crystal Palace Country Wool, is pretty coarse and scratchy so I'll need to wear it over something with long sleeves. But I do like the way it looks, all tweedy and rustic.

Forgive the corny border. I couldn't resist.

I've been really busy, or so it seems. After all the excitement of last week's yarn swap and the yarn/yard sale on the weekend, and finishing the finishing of the brown sweater, and a tailgate yarn swap with wine, and then working. Well, it's just too much to keep track. And to further confuse the issue, my daughter came to visit last night. Generally she comes on Sunday but she has some other obligation that's getting in the way so she came over last night. Therefore, I feel like today is Monday and I should be thinking about getting ready to go to A Stitch in Time. But I'm not. Instead I'm getting ready to go for a walk.