Friday, December 19, 2008

Einstein had it right, more or less

It's cold here. 36F this morning when I went for my walk. I know that if you're in Chicago, for example, that will not seem cold. Just remember that a couple of weeks ago we were having temperatures in the 90s. It was so cold last night that the lady who usually sleeps in front of the local post office had moved into the lobby. I think I woke her up when I went in to drop off some letters.

I don't have any photos today. Everything I have knit recently is for someone's Christmas gift and I'm not sure which people might be reading this. I should be able to post a couple of things by Monday though.

Are you ready? I am. Relatively speaking, of course. I'm still waiting for one package from Amazon and then I'll get the balance of the gifts wrapped. It's been a little more difficult this year to figure out what folks wanted. I think most of us are a bit leery of spending a whole lot plus no one seems to have much in the way of wish lists. And what lists there are seem to be oriented toward the practical.

It was a strange feeling yesterday when I realized that I had finished everything, including the gift wrapping and the addressing of cards. I suddenly had several hours ahead of me where I didn't have to be doing anything. Made me feel sort of useless. I suppose I could have picked up an old project to work on but I just didn't seem to have any focus left. But it's party time today so I'm feeling relatively better.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The joy and woes of too much stash

I got all the boxes of yarn moved to make room for the construction people. I'm glad it's done but it sure takes a lot of effort to re-stack all those bins. I'm definitely looking forward to our next yarn sale.

One of the things I've discovered about my stash is that it rarely has a yarn that works for what I'm wanting to make. Or if it does, I can't find it. I think yarn has a fashion life just like clothing and cars.

But sometimes I find something that I've forgotten about and it's a real joy. This scarf for example. I don't remember buying this yarn and I only had two skeins. Judging from the label I'd say I got it at Unwind. It's Plymouth Patches, a mixture of three different yarns wrapped around a common core. It's whimsical enough for a quick neck scarf and it worked up really fast.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Closer and closer

This is my almost final project for holiday knitting. I'm calling it "the not quite enough ruffle scarf". I used three skeins of Filatura di Crosa Porto Cervo cotton that I got at Skein last summer. It's just a garter stitch worked on the diagonal with an improvised ruffle along one side. A short scarf that can be folded and wrapped closely around the neck. I would have tried the ruffle again if I'd had time and more yarn. I was envisioning a bit more swirliness along that edge.

If I have enough time I will make something similar for another friend or to have as a backup in case there's someone I have forgotten. But first I have to rearrange my furniture. As if there weren't enough going on at this time of year, I have some construction/repair work that needs to be done and it's supposed to start on Monday. The contractor said he would have to go through my condo to get to the balcony and will have to haul all the debris back through. All four of the balconies in my building will be repaired and everyone has to go through the same mess since none of the balconies are accessible from the ground level.

It's not a lot of work really to move stuff around. It's just inconvenient. And, since we're supposed to get some more rain on Monday in addition to what we're getting today, I'm not sure if the repair work will actually begin on Monday. But my part will be done.

Anyway, I'm getting closer and closer to being ready for Christmas. We had our shop Christmas dinner last night and we'll be having a luncheon on Friday for the knitting group, and anyone else who happens to be there. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday decor

My holiday decorating is done. It takes less than five minutes. Every year I think about putting up a tree at least one more time. I go look at trees. I consider the price and the likelihood of my cat resisting the temptation to play with the ornaments and realize that I don't really want to go to the trouble. So I go find this needlepoint pillow that I did a few years ago. I plump it up a bit and pick off any cat hairs that I missed when I put it away. And I'm done.

I have only one more ruffle to knit on the edge of a scarf and my holiday knitting will be done. I have the bags and tissue. So I'm planning on being done by this evening. I still haven't bought cards. I'm not sure that's going to happen. But maybe. I still need some ideas for my non-knitting friends and relations but most everything is done in that category too. Just waiting for delivery. I wonder what I'm forgetting.

We're having a nice old-fashioned rain today. Nothing fancy. Just plenty of it. It's been a while. It sort of messes with the outdoor decorations and causes all kinds of havoc on the freeways. But hey! We're not sitting here with no heat or electricity like the folks in the northeast. And it's probably all going to be over by tonight.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Crunch time

Only 24 days (and nights) to get it all done. I finished one pair of socks and discovered a very serious mistake in another over the weekend. That pair will be re-knit but not until after Christmas.

Going through my stash I found a shawl I had started a year ago. That might get done although the yarn is like knitting rocks. A few rows of that and I had to switch to something else. So I started a hat using some vintage yarn. I think the hat might end up on my head.

Fortunately I have been finishing things throughout the year. Just have to decide who gets what. I may be adding a scarf or two and a pair of fingerless gloves. Otherwise I'm feeling fairly confident. I do have some yarn that some people have been lusting after.

But I still have to knit those remaining things and get it all wrapped. I think I might have to make a list.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ugh! The day after

I'm sitting here trying to convince myself that today is Friday, not Monday. I almost never go to Robert's on any day other than Sunday. But since Thanksgiving always falls on Thursday I went over there, had way too much rich food, and got home late. Just like when I go over there on Sunday.

My usual feeding habits are by no means spartan. I try to keep things within a range that doesn't do me too much harm. Thanksgiving can be a killer, almost literally. I will be paying for all that butter and sugar for several days. I did have both the pumpkin and the pecan. By that time though it was anti-climactic. It felt good to go for my walk this morning. Slim-Fast is today's choice.

I'm in the middle of holiday knitting. Socks mostly. Several pairs at different points of almost done-ness. I went through some of my sock yarn stash yesterday. It was overwhelming so I just jammed it all back on the shelves. There are several colorways of Koigu that I had forgotten. And lots of Cherry Tree Hill sock weight. I'm going to do another two person KAL with L (of L&H fame). This time it's a huge circular shawl. Cast on 1300 (or 1800 if you're making the larger size)and join in the round and knit for months.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for

so many things. Great friends and family, color, wool and time to knit. And for the rain we've had for the past couple of days.

It's Thanksgiving Day here in the US. Like so many of you, I will be sitting down to a turkey dinner later today. I'm looking forward to it. My diabetes dietitian said it would be okay to have a slice of pumpkin pie. I wonder if I could substitute pecan. Little does she know that I'm not all that strict with my diet. I just had the bank of glucose tests and I don't see much change from the last time. For which I'm also thankful.

I have no plans to go shopping tomorrow. I'll be working at A Stitch in Time. Several of my Friday morning students are away for the holiday so I don't know how busy I'll be. We're not opening early for Black Friday but we do have a sale that's starting. And I've heard from a couple of friends that they'll be in. So it'll be a good day.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's that time again, again.

I know it's been a while. My excuse is that I've had the worst cold I've ever had. Three weeks and still feeling the effects.

I haven't done very much knitting. A few small projects for holiday gifts. Fortunately I have some things that I knit earlier in the year to round out my gift stash.

We did have our yarn yard sale though. And I think it was pretty successful, even if we did have yarn left over. We're planning another one for late winter or early spring. There are still five boxes in my yarn room that I never got to go through. Too weak and bleary eyed. So I know I'll have some new stuff when we have our next sale.

And speaking of sales, it's time for A Stitch in Time's semi-annual yarn and needlepoint sale. Thirty five percent off knitting yarns, needlepoint canvases and knitting books. The sale officially starts on Dec. 1, but I think we'd be able to flex a little on that date and start with the discount the day after Thanksgiving. As usual, the sale price only applies to in-stock items. And no returns.

The mailing hasn't gone out yet so you're among the first to know.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The yarn yard sale is Nov 15, next Saturday

I've been going through boxes and boxes of yarn. So far I have nine large, really large, bags of yarn that I've priced as low as I possibly can. I really need to reduce my stash. I'll still have an unrealistic amount of yarn left that isn't going to the yarn yard sale. Not this time anyway.

It's been a tough week as I've had some kind of virus/cold thing going on that has left me feeling too weak and sleepy to get as much done as I wanted to. Some boxes haven't even been opened. I still have a few days though before the sale so I'll probably get a few more bags full to take with me.

If you're interested in going to the sale, leave me a comment or email me and I'll send you the information. I haven't seen everything that others are contributing but I bet there's something you'll like. I just hope I don't come home with more stuff than I went with.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A long day

In the spring I set my clocks ahead before I go to sleep. It's bad enough losing an hour but I don't want to know about it. In the fall I wait until the next day. I love the luxury of suddenly having an extra hour. My cat doesn't quite get the idea.

I suppose it's not entirely his fault. The clock did still say 4AM when he woke me up even though it was actually 3AM. This morning, since I had reset the clock, it said 4Am and that's what time he woke me. Maybe he can tell time and I don't know it. Or maybe I was just lucky. Either way, it was a longer day than usual.

Either way, I had the bright idea that I could knit this hat in a single day. And I could have two if I'd paid more attention to the pattern notes. Everything was fine until I got to the decreases. I misread one of the chart symbols and was knitting two through the back of the loop instead of three. Once I realized that everything was fine. When I got to the point where I needed to switch to dpns I decided I'd wait until this morning.

All I have to do now is wash and block it. And fix that loose stitch I noticed when I was trying to take a photo. Actually, it's not a loose stitch. I just didn't pull up the yarn tightly enough when I was drawing the stitches together.

Friday, October 31, 2008

More cake please

You'd think it was June. Some more friends of mine are planning to get married within the next few days. I think this is the last couple that I know personally that have decided to marry while they can. I do know some other couples that can marry whenever they want to. But they're not bent.

I went to the other wedding on Wednesday night. The chapel at All Saints is perfect for small, fairly informal weddings. The priest/rector gave a wonderful homily. The vows were fairly traditional. The music was perfect. I only cried a little bit.

There was a short reception after. The cake was a red velvet and there was champagne. Then the newlyweds went to work on the phone bank, encouraging people to vote no on Prop 8.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A wedding

Two of my very best friends are getting married next Wednesday. It'll be a short service. They are coordinating the phones for the No on 8 proposition here in California. So in lieu of a reception or party after the service they will go directly to work on that. While I'm extremely happy for them I'm also sad that this may be the final few days that it will be legal in the State of California for everyone to marry the partner of his/her choosing.

The campaign to amend the state constitution has been the most expensive effort ever. Millions of dollars (much of it from outside the State) have poured in from institutions with vested interests to deceive and frighten voters. To guarantee that not all people are treated equally. They have used children to scare parents and confuse the issue. “The Prop 8 campaign continues to use scare tactics and lies to bolster their campaign. It’s despicable that children are being used for political gain.” Leading educators are working to defeat this proposition.

I know several couples who have married during this brief interim that allows same-sex marriages. Most of them have been together for twenty or even more years. Their marriages will still be valid even if Proposition 8 passes. And the world will not end. If Proposition 8 fails marriages between opposite sexes will not be affected. Children will not be force-fed a gay marriage agenda. Life will go on, much as it has, and we can all relax.

If you're eligible to vote in the State of California I hope you will do so and join me in voting No on Prop. 8.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yarn yard sale

I'm busy. We're having a yarn yard sale. I'm going through my stash and deciding what to part with. That's not easy. But the time has come to recognize that I'll never be able to knit everything I have. Plus, I'm always going to be buying new stuff.

It's a lot of fun though. Just digging through the first two boxes was a blast. A couple of things I don't remember where I got them, a couple of what was I thinking stuff as well as the usual what was I going to do with this.

We're planning to have the sale on Saturday, Nov. 15. Let me know if you'd like more details. I'm working on a flyer and it should be ready at the beginning of next week. I could email it to you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kiki Mariko Rug

Taking a break from the mittens. The first one is totally done and I've cast on for the second. So I'm taking some time out to start the Kiki Mariko Rug from the latest Mason-Dixon book. I have been pressed into service to participate in a KAL. A small one. Only two people.

It took me three tries to get started. Once, not a long enough tail for the cast on. Second, cast on with the tail instead of the working yarn. Third, I discovered after eight or nine rows that the work was twisted. I think I've got it this time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mitten progress

Just a quick update this morning. I don't dare sit still too long or I'll go to sleep. I stayed up way past my bedtime last night in order to finish the hand of the first mitten. I still have to work the saddle around the tip of the fingers and then do the thumb. I may get to that today.

I've had some problems, mostly unrelated to the pattern, although there are a couple of things about the pattern that could have been written more clearly. And in one spot the stitch number doesn't match the chart. Mostly I've had a problem with dropped stitches, forgetting that on dpns you need to be sure you don't leave stitches too close to the end of the needle. While I can usually pick up stitches there are some instances when I can't see well enough to follow what needs to be done, especially in this yarn. It's tiny and it's tweed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Basic knitting

It's usually a good idea for me to have something simple to knit, especially when I'm teaching or in a knitting group. This is my current easy knitting project. It's a wash cloth/face cloth using Claudia Handpaints Linen.

There are a number of linen wash cloth patterns in Knitter's Stash by Barbara Albright. I've had that book for years but have never made anything from it although there are many things I would like to try. But this is the first.

I'm using some size 1 US Hiya Hiya needles that I got at TNNA last January. I like them a lot. The needles are much longer than most circulars I've used so they're more comfortable for people with larger hands. And the cable was very flexible right out of the bag.

The 100% linen is not very stretchy so doing the K2tog stitches is tedious. But I like the yarn a lot and this color is pleasant to look at. There's enough yarn in one skein to make four or five, or maybe more, of these. My only problem is that I don't work on it very often so it's turned out to be at least a month long project.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Is it really autumn this time?

Has it really been less than a week since I was complaining about the heat? Actually it was only a few days ago. Now the only thing I have to complain about is not having the right jacket to wear on my morning walks. My one heavy coat seems to be too much and the windbreakers aren't quite enough. So it looks like it might be time for some sweaters. Huzzah!

There aren't any photos today. I made some progress on the mittens but it's pretty slow going, ten rows to the inch (2.5cm) and those ten rows can take over an hour. But truly the pattern is entertaining and I think the tweed yarn was a good decision. I told my friend Susan that I thought I would finish the first one sometime this week. That may be overly optimistic. We'll see what Saturday brings.

The shop where I teach a couple of days a week, A Stitch in Time, is primarily a needlepoint shop. Has been for something like thirty five years. We've been having a series of trunk shows and it's brought in a lot of people. There are group classes four or five times a week. Some of my students are also doing needlepoint. So it was only a matter of time until I decided to take it up again. After knitting for about three hours yesterday I went looking for one of my incomplete canvases. And then spent half an hour looking for the fiber that goes with it. My memory of where I put it was faulty but I did finally find it.

I used to think my stitching was pretty good. Now I'm not so sure. I'm working on a chair seat, just plain stitch, and it's not looking so smooth. I may have to sign up for one of those classes. I wonder if there are as many needlepoint blogs as there are knitting blogs. I'm glad though that I have a lot of canvases in my stash. The new ones are really pricey, and even though I understand why, I'm just not going to spend that kind of money right now. Especially since I've lost about 30% of my retirement money in the current fiasco.

But the weather is cooler and I have plenty of fiber to keep me going.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's cooler but...

that doesn't mean I wasn't sweating bullets yesterday. I'm making the Green Autumn mittens that are on the front cover of Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008. They're pretty intricate. The yarn and needles are small and you have to cable a lot. I'm at the point where you put part of the stitches on a holder for the thumb. It took me most of the day to get this far. That includes taking out a couple of rows .

I'm using Rowan Yorkshire tweed 4 ply. I don't know if it's still available but I got mine at Skein. I may need to go back and get that one final skein that she has in this color. I think my gauge is a tiny bit off but that's good since I think these need to be a little larger around the hand. Row gauge seems to be fine though.

Here's a better picture of the colors in the latest multi-directional scarf. I've started another one.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

If this be fall,

can summer be far behind? The predicted high of 95 yesterday was exceeded by 3 degrees. Today is supposed to be cooler, maybe by 10 degrees. We'll see. Photo taken at about 6:30 this morning, from my front door, just after I came home from my walk.

I finished the scarf that I showed yesterday and got a good start on the Green Autumn mittens. That's about all I have in the way of knitting. I'll continue on the mittens today and maybe there'll be a photo tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Trying not to panic

It just dawned on me. Christmas is only a couple of months away. I still have a lot of things I want to knit for gifts. This is one of them. Almost done. You'll probably recognize the multi-directional scarf. I've made it probably twenty times by now. It's always well received and it's an entertaining knit, especially when you have some really colorful Kureyon. Colors here are way off but this was the closest of four photos.

I've also started a pair of mittens, Green Autumn, from Vogue Knitting, Fall 2008. Those are not for Christmas. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Not socks this time

I don't always knit socks. Sometimes I make vests and an occasional sweater.

This is a vest I finished a couple of weeks ago but just managed to get some snapshots this weekend. I used a free pattern from Classic Elite Yarns. You can sign up for their newsletter and receive free patterns in your email. I had some Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in my stash in Fermi Green. That color seems to have been discontinued. I got the yarn at a swap meet a couple of years ago. The gauge is different from the pattern but it's a simple enough calculation to adjust the stitch and row count.

I took these photos just as we were going out to dinner on Saturday. I should probably have turned off the flash. Anyway, I like it and am pleased with the fit.

Now if we could just get some cooler weather. We had a couple of days that felt like autumn but we're back in to summer for a few more days. Mid 90s is the prediction for Pasadena.

Monday, October 06, 2008

It's not an obsession...

it's more of a life style. Not everything you see here is recently purchased, but a lot of it is. There's plenty of new sock and lace weight. That red skein, it's from Pagewood Farm. In a color called Really Red. And is it ever! I got it at Wildfiber last weekend when I went my friend L (of L&H fame)to Santa Monica.

What a shop! We had to fill the parking meter twice. I've been to some good shops but this one is just about my ideal. Lots of Noro and Koigu as well as other less readily available yarns. And buttons and books and just bin after bin of great yarns. I wasn't going to buy anything. (I have enough yarn.) And I almost succeeded, until I saw that red yarn. There was some Koigu I almost bought but someone beat me to it. It's a good thing I'm not close by.

After we had sated our thirst for yarn we went to Tacos por favor, a funky local eatery, and had some homestyle tacos and chips and salsa. Always a good thing in my book.

Did I mention that it was cool and foggy? Over here it was over a hundred. It couldn't have been more than sixty five in Santa Monica. Really great yarn buying weather.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Flat Feet Redux

I finally got around to washing the Conjoined Creations Flat Feet socks. This is the yarn you knit from a knitted fabric. It comes out rather pebbly and uneven but the label says it'll get better once it's washed.

What do you think? The top photo is the after shot. It's hard to tell from these photos. But the washed and dried socks are much more even and smooth than they were before washing. There was enough excess dye to change the water to a nice pale blue.

Would I use this yarn again? Possibly. If I found a different color combination that tickled me. I do have a new sock yarn that I'm looking forward to trying. But more about that another time.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

More socks

Now that I've finished one new pair of socks I'm going back and finishing some others. This one I started on July 8, 2008. I finished the first one yesterday morning and have done one pattern repeat of the second one.

I've made this pattern before. It was one of the projects I took with me to the Knitter's Review Retreat in 2004. So many great memories of that weekend. There have been a lot of socks since then.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


You can tell it's October because it's 97F/36C here in Pasadena. And it's supposed to go higher. But the night's are cooler, at least by 10PM. Typical weather for this time of year. When we were kids it was always cold in the mornings and hot by later in the day. And in those days there wasn't any air conditioning in the classrooms. Thankfully I have it at home.

Just in time for autumn, and a birthday that falls in October, I finished a pair of socks. I tried to get a detail shot but they all came out blurry and then my card was full, so I gave up. I used the Embossed Leaves pattern by Mona Schmidt, from Favorite Socks by IK. Made a couple of changes but basically it's the same sock. The stitch pattern shows a lot better when they're on than they do this way but the colorway is terrific.

I've had the yarn, Knit Picks Memories, in my stash for four or five years. I think I was originally going to make a scarf since I bought four skeins. The yarn is 100% merino and needs to be hand washed. The recipient always hand washes the socks I make so no problem.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What happened to my post

I have no idea what caused this but the first post I wrote yesterday ended up on my other blog, Knitting New Scarves. That's a group blog. When I went to Blogger's dashboard my post was listed on my Knitdad blog. A little later it was gone. But I did get a nice email/comment from the author of Knitting New Scarves, Lynn Barr, that my post had shown up over there.

She also asked what it was like to knit with unraveled yarn. It was a bit off-putting at first. But I got used to it and let the yarn just behave however it wanted to. So some areas have a more pronounced texture than others. If you've ever worked with Cascade Fixation you'll have some idea of what it's like. The tension is irregular and it's tempting to pull the yarn too tightly. I haven't washed the new socks yet but I've been assured that once they're washed the uneven stitches will settle down and the surface will be consistent.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Socks for me!

(Grrr! I'm having to re-create this post since the one I originally wrote has vanished. No idea what happened.)

I finally finished a pair of socks for me. My first ever! My friend L (of L&H fame) gave me this Conjoined Creations Flat Feet yarn back in January or February. I've tried several times to come up with something that worked with the yarn. I finally decided to use the basic sock pattern from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush. Except I used a short row heel and a Kitchener stitch finish.

So, here they are. I really like how they feel. They're quite comfortable. I'd make myself some more socks if I didn't have such big feet. Well, my feet aren't unusually big but still those extra couple of inches are sort of discouraging.

I rushed home from the yarn shop on Saturday so I could catch the opening play of the OSU/USC game. It's a good thing I did because otherwise I'd have missed OSU's only scoring play. Still it was better than UCLA did.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's a trunk show!

I've been away from the blog for a while. Mostly because I've been uninspired by what I've been knitting lately. That happens a lot when I'm trying to finish up projects that have been hanging around for far too long. They're no longer interesting but they're close enough to being finished that it goes against my Puritan ethic to not finish them. Anyway, I'm here for the time being to let you know about the Shibori Trunk Show that is at A Stitch in Time (the shop where I teach a couple of days a week, in case you've forgotten) from now through next weekend. And we have a lot of the Alchemy yarns that are used in the pieces. Really, the pieces are much better looking than my too quickly taken photo suggests.

We also have a few new yarns in so you could check those out as well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Walking with dinosaurs and other stuff

Last night we went Walking with Dinosaurs. It was a lot of fun. I found this video link (it's probably illegal since the announcer specifically said no videos or cameras allowed). I can just imagine the number of nightmares this show caused. Lots of very young kids in the audience.

But that's not what you came for.

This is what I bought on Saturday at the Fishbowl Sale. I only got 25% off this time but it was enough to keep my purchases under $100. Some Addi Turbo lace needles, a couple of ceramic buttons, some short Brittany needles, a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot, the dark blue, and two skeins of Chameleon Bambino sock yarn.

It was a great afternoon, sitting around with friends, knitting and being silly. But the thing I'm most excited about is this:

A skein of Sundara sock yarn in a colorway called Bird of Paradise. The colors in the photo are not quite accurate. It's much more intense. This is going to be so much fun to knit. A gift from the fabulous and ever generous L (of L&H fame). She knows I like orange.

Gotta go.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Fishbowl" sale

It's a yarn sale really. No fishbowls at all. Just in case you're not familiar with the concept - after you're finished shopping and all your purchases are rung up, you pull a number from the fishbowl. That number will be the amount of discount you get on your purchases.

Unraveled is having a one day only fishbowl sale. It's tomorrow, August 23. Discounts range from 20% to 75%. Last time they had one of these I got 75% off. So it does happen. The discount applies to already heavily discounted merchandise so it's really a great deal. I'm going with a friend who also happens to have some gift certificates. A sale like this is just enough to make me decide to get some yarns that I've been hesitating about buying. Store opens at 11AM.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Tuesday is laundry day. Every other Tuesday actually. So I'm all set to get started but the washer is out of order. It usually takes a couple of days for the service company to come and fix things. So, laundry delay and another day's plans are messed up.

The display on my alarm clock is acting strange. Sometimes I get nonsense symbols, sometimes it says 12:00 when it's actually 4:00 and sometimes it works just fine. Looks like a trip to Target is coming up.

The batteries in my Walkman died this morning. Make a note to buy more batteries while I'm at Target.

And now it looks like my knitting group is disintegrating. Some people have drifted away. Some rarely show up. And our hostess has been having lots of scheduling conflicts that have meant we're not meeting on a regular basis. She's already announced that we won't be getting together until sometime after Oct. 15. I've already suggested that we just make it an indefinite hiatus. This is sad because we've been meeting for about five years on a pretty much once a week basis. I've considered having it at my place but that's pretty unrealistic given the small size of my condo and the limited amount of light sources I have. Not to mention how the cat freaks out when there are "strangers" present. And other peoples' allergies. And there's almost no parking available in my neighborhood because of the community college that's near my house. Etc.

I have options at least. I get to knit with a lot of my friends when I'm at work. I get together with one or two friends on occasion. It's just hard to let go of the group though. We'll see what happens in a couple of months.

An hour later.

Now the water has been turned off so one of the condos that is being remodeled can have some work done. I think maybe I'd better just go somewhere else for the day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Window shopping

Not much going on at the moment. I did a bit of knitting yesterday on a couple of different pairs of socks. That's about it. The humidity is taking a toll on my joints. My hands hurt too much to knit for very long. Ibuprofen helps when I remember to take it.

So. Today I'm going with a friend to a couple of yarn shops. I've been to both of these shops recently and I'm not looking for anything in particular. Just window shopping. But my friend, a fairly new knitter, is curious to see what other shops have to offer and since she has to resume her teaching schedule soon we thought this would be a good time to go. I'll also be looking for some yarn for a couple of friends who put in their requests.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Some socks

If you're on Ravelry and have looked at my projects page sometime in the past month or so, you will already have seen these socks. I made them for a friend of mine for her birthday which was a couple of months ago. We finally managed to get together this weekend at Unraveled. There were lots of other people there as there were two rather large classes in progress plus many other people who just came to sit and knit. Anyway, the socks were a hit. They fit well and she was tickled with the colors.

And, I finished the Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn socks. I had plenty of yarn. I made the legs about half an inch shorter than usual. Next time I'll know better. This yarn is so much more pleasant to knit with than the Kureyon sock yarn. And you get to use a bigger needle.

Now that those are out of the way I will attempt, for the fourth time, to get a sock that I like using the Flat Feet yarn that I got as a gift a few months ago. Have you seen this stuff? It's fun. I'm trying to make socks for myself. So far I've made the wrong size, twice, and changed my mind about the overall length at least once. I've settled on a 2x2 rib but there's not enough to photo as yet.

Friday, August 08, 2008

It's gonna be a long day

I have no photos today. Sorry. Nothing to show you that you haven't seen already. The second Noro sock is well underway.

So why is it going to be a long day? Mostly because I didn't get very much sleep last night. Only four hours instead of my usual six or so. I got home from Thursday night knitting later than usual and the cat woke me at four, as usual. I thought I'd find time for a nap before I go to work but that hasn't worked out. I may spend part of the day standing up in order to stay awake.

I have the Noisy Ladies group first thing in the morning. That's not an official title, just an observation. And then I'm supposed to start a newish knitter on her first pair of socks, including using dpns for the first time.

Fridays are fun though. I usually see several of my peeps in the afternoon. However, a couple of people are out of town so it may be slower than usual. But I'm looking forward to going to dinner with L&H (of L&H fame).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Ram Club

A few weeks ago I signed up for a sock yarn club. My first. The yarns are being shipped now. I got mine on Monday. The spoiler alert is for anyone who may be in this club and who doesn't want the surprise spoiled. I don't think anyone in the sock club actually reads my blog but just in case, there it is.

The club is put on by The Unique Sheep. The owner is a member of the Men Who Knit forum on Ravelry. The designer is also a member of that group.

The premise of the club is that most sock yarn clubs do not provide enough yarn to make a pair of man-sized socks. And the patterns are usually not something most men would wear. This yarn certainly addresses the yardage part. There are 470 yards in each of the two skeins. Two skeins because the yarns are held together to make a heavy duty boot sock.

I'm not sure if I'd actually wear boots with these socks since all the patterning would be totally hidden. If I'm going to spend that much time knitting socks for me then I want to be able to show them off.

The picture that came with the pattern doesn't really show you much about how the pattern is going to look but it does give you some idea of how the two yarns kind of stripe. They're knit toe up, something I've only done once; they have a short row heel, which is my current favorite heel so I'll be okay there. I'll be making some minor changes is how the increases and decreases are done. But I'm not going to be able to start these socks for a while.

I'm still working on the Noro Silk Garden sock. The yarn is nice but not really designed for speed knitting. I hope to finish sock number one today.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn

I wish I could get a better picture of this. It's actually a lot richer and more red than what you see here.

I'm really pleased with how this yarn is knitting up. So much better than the Kureyon version. It's more of a sport weight than a fingering weight. I'm using some 3mm Addi dpns. I could have probably used a 3.5mm. The label calls for a 3.6 to 4.7 mm. That's Japanese sizing, approximately US 4 to US 6. I do like the density of the fabric I'm getting.

There's silk, obviously, in the mix so the yarn isn't quite as springy as most sock yarn I've used. I'm getting ladders at all the needle change points and my usual technique of giving the first couple of stitches on the new needle an extra tug isn't working. So I'm going to rely on the old adage, time heals everything. I'm hoping the ladders will disappear when the socks are washed.

I'm still concerned about having enough yarn but I've already scheduled a trip back to the store where I bought it. I'll call and see if they still have this color and ask them to hold it until next week.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Saying no

I used to have a spinning wheel. I used to have a lot of the stuff that goes with having a spinning wheel. But I didn't use any of this stuff very often. I finally just gave up that particular craft and got rid of everything spinning related. I needed the room for the other addiction. So, you see, I really must say no.

This past Saturday I went to Unraveled where Janice Rosema was holding forth. I called my friend Thom to let him know there would be some roving available and well as a chance to view and try the Mach 1 wheel. (I don't have a link and I'm not sure there is one.) Thom has recently started spinning and has already purchased three wheels. He doesn't do things by half-measure. The Mach 1 is a fascinating wheel and has some features that would really enhance the time spent spinning.

Anyway, it was exciting to see all the rovings and batts and different fibers. Janice spins a lot of what she calls art yarns or fibers. They're imaginative and playful. She had a small drum carder with her and demonstrated how she uses it to combine a miscellany of fibers to create some very colorful rovings. She also demonstrated the wheel.

I did not give in to the temptation to try it. I don't want to get another wheel and start all over. But it was hard to say no. I finally had to walk away and go sit in another room and work on my sock. I'm just not going to spin.

But I did hear about a class for new spinners and returning spinners. It starts next month and isn't very far away and doesn't cost very much.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The boss is away sale

Every year when the shop owner at A Stitch in Time goes on vacation we have a short sale. This year it's this week. All knitting yarns, books and needlepoint canvases are 25% off from now through the 10th. I know. We just had a sale in June but there are yarns on this sale that weren't available back then, like this Claudia Handpaint Linen Lace. There are some other yarns as well, but I didn't take the time to photo them. There's also a sale in Hodge Podge, the gift store section. There's even some stuff there that's 70% off.

And I finished the Fast Fullerton Footies. Details on my Ravelry page.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Web weirdness

Strange things are happening. There are blogs that I read almost daily and many of these use Blogger or blogspot. Almost every blog I've tried to access today that uses Blogger cannot be opened by Internet Explorer. There are a few others that don't use Blogger that are similarly "blocked", if that's the correct word.

Blogs that haven't had recent entries, say within a week, will open, even if they do use Blogger.

I have no problem viewing my blog when I'm using Firefox. I haven't linked to very many favorites or bookmarks on Firefox but I guess I will now.

Is anyone else having this problem?

A couple of hours later:

Whatever it was, it's gone away and everything seems to be working again. I'm still moving to Firefox.

Friday, August 01, 2008


One of the first pairs of sock I made were these. I can't find my photo but if you look at the link you'll see what they looked. I used some variegated Cascade Fixation (cotton and lycra) and made a few adjustments to the pattern to fit a larger foot. I've used this same pattern several times with variations. The one in the photo is the current permutation. And they really are fast. That sock was done in a day. I'm stalled on the second one because I got side tracked and cast on for a bag. The second sock is started and I'll spend some time on it today while I'm at work.

I also got some new sock yarn. Noro Silk Garden Sock. Not sure how this is going to work out since there isn't as much yardage as usual in a 100 gram skein, only 300 meters vs. the usual 400 or more.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Harbor Cruise 2008

It was another sunny warm day after all. It started out looking like it was going to be hazy and cool but by the time we all left Monrovia the sun was out and the fog was gone. Yesterday we went on our third Alamitos Bay Harbor Cruise.

Alamitos Bay Yarn Company sponsors these boat rides every summer. The small boats are docked just behind the shop so it's an easy walk from the parking lot to the boat loading dock. We all bring a bit of something to snack on and some wine or sodas to help with all the cheese and crackers, and olives and wasabi almonds and cranberry orange bread and tapenade and on and on.

You can see some of the homes and boats that line the canals of Naples in this photo of Renee talking to Mario. We had a different pilot this year and we had a few new sights but we still got to see the "moonies", the slightly eerie jellyfish that live at the end of one of the canals. I didn't get any photos, unfortunately.

Each boat holds eight people plus the pilot. There were supposed to be eight of us but one person had a last minute thing that came up and couldn't go. (Sorry, Judy. Hope all those tests got done.) And we had one first timer. Andy, who has been signed up to go the two previous times but had to cancel, finally got to go with us. And he drove one of the two cars we needed to get to Long Beach.

Thom, looking elegant and worldly, and Mendy just barely in the lower left of the photo. We're just getting ready to go to the boat.

Another shot of Mario (and Mendy sneaking in yet another photo). In the background you can see the view from the front of the yarn shop. More blue sky and sail boats.

And one final snap. Sitting at the table, trying to get everything together. We've already been shopping. I didn't get a photo of Susan, except for this tiny bit of her head in the lower left. And her hand.

I don't think anyone did any significant knitting. It was more like a row or two or a few stitches here and there. Just too much fun in the sun. You know. Just the usual yarn gang get together.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Who needs to shop when you have friends to bring you presents? Jane, one of my regulars, went on vacation and brought back this Plymouth Rockin'Sox yarn. She knows I like orange.

I think this must be a new yarn. I haven't seen it anywhere. It's 60% superwash wool, 25% bamboo and 15% nylon. The color number is 005.

I was curious so I cast on this morning and did a little sample. Not a project really. No, really. It's not. That would be silly since I already have ten or twelve other sock projects going. I just wanted to able to tell Jane how much I liked it and to let you know what I think of it. It's pretty nice. Soft and smooth. I thought it was going to be splitty but it seems to be fine one these bamboo needles.

I also wanted to see how the colors would play out. So far it looks like a long spiral. But who knows how it will look after the heel and gusset. Well, I'm not really making a sock anyway so I guess it doesn't matter.

ETA: It's a 100 gram skein.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Socks, socks and more socks

For the first twenty five years of my knitting career I avoided making socks. I'm not sure why but it was probably partly because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do it. So I just said socks were not something I did.

Then, about seven years ago, the demand for help with knitting socks began in earnest. So I got a book, Folk Socks by Nancy Bush, and taught myself the basics. I still reference that book a lot as well as Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. Not that I don't have lots of other sock knitting books. But those I use mostly for patterns. And I do find bits of helpful information in other books and on-line, of course.

I can't get enough. Here are a couple of my currently active sock projects. You will probably recognize the Annetrelac sock from IK's Holiday 2007 issue. I'm having some problems with it. I managed to mess up on the final round of triangles and in trying to fix that problem I dropped some stitches. And it got worse. I may end up ripping back to the ribbing before this is all done. I'm using some Schaefer Anne that was gifted to me a few years ago. I like the colors but I'm having problems seeing some of the stitches, especially in the dark purple areas.

The other sock is a newish pattern on Ravelry called Harris Tweed. It's pretty easy and straightforward. The Sockotta yarn doesn't have much give so it's a little hard on these tired old hands. But at least I can knit these socks while I'm working. I should be able to fix any inevitable errors without too much fuss.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Spring Forward socks

Happy Fourth of July! I love this holiday. I went out for a very early walk this morning and the flags were flying all along Colorado Blvd. which is near where I live. The streets were still quiet because it wasn't quite six yet. Very little traffic, unlike most Friday mornings.

I have been knitting even though I haven't been posting. Most of what I'm working on is for gifts so they can't be posted yet. But I did finish these Spring Forward socks.

The pattern is pretty easy and moves along quite rapidly, if you stick to it anyway. I could probably have done these in a few days if I hadn't spent so much time knitting with my friends. I don't really get much done when I'm at knit group. Partly because there's so much conversation that I want to hear and partly because I'm often helping someone. Anyway, there has been other knitting. I just can't talk about it right now.

Here's a detail of the stitch pattern. I can't find my sock blockers so I've stretched one of the socks over my hand. I'm not sure if blocking will help these socks to relax but they do flatten out and show the pattern when they're worn. Thanks, Mendy, for trying them on. I should have taken a picture then.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Socks rule!

I had a pair of socks that I needed to finish. They're for an imminent birthday. So I did that. And then I thought maybe I'd try to make a pair for someone whose birthday I missed. Those aren't done yet. But I'll have some photos once the two pair have been gifted. Socks aren't really all that interesting as photo subjects. Well, maybe Mr. Flood could make them interesting but I can't.

Now I'm back in a sock knitting mode even though I have lots of other projects in the works. I kinda blame it on Susan. She's been involved in Socks Wars and is now doing the 52 Plunge. (Sorry, I haven't taken the time to search for links.) Anyway, there have been lots of sock patterns floating around, including the new book The Eclectic Sole. And, as it happens, I have a bunch of new sock yarn.

A is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Champlain Sunset.
B is Cascade's Heritage Handpaint in 9926.
C is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Champlain Sunset. I think that one is mislabeled. The color looks more like Spring Frost. And the yarn may actually be a silk/merino blend.

A is Chameleon Colorworks Bamboo in Moss.
B is Chameleon Colorworks Footsie in September.
C is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Magnificent Meadow, a colorway dyed exclusively for Unwind Yarns for their Half the Sky Foundation fundraiser.

So much sock yarn, so little time.