Friday, February 29, 2008

Too much of a good thing?

I have 72 patterns in my Ravelry queue. How many do you have? There's no way I'll ever be able to knit all these things. I probably have even more than thay in my Knitting Patterns folder. And the number keeps growing.

I could just delete some of these and get back down to a more realistic number. I have more than a plenty of pattern books. I just printed out a new free Berocco pattern this morning. There's something almost gluttonous about this. A frenzy. I wonder if it might even be a bit unhealthy.

Of course I buy yarn the same way. No one needs this much yarn. But it's so much fun to acquire it. It's like not wanting to be left out.

How am I going to deal with all this? How am I going to decide what actually gets knit and which yarn I'll use? My friend Bess has an idea that I think I can adapt. She has a creativity jar that she filled with things she wants to accomplish. Each week or so she draws something from the jar and goes with it. Maybe if I wrote the names of some these patterns on little strips of paper and then drew one out and matched it with something from my stash and then packaged it all in one of those heavy zip top bags. Maybe that would at least give me some idea of where I'm going.

On the other hand I could just delete some of the patterns and give away some of the yarn. But where's the fun in that?

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Yesterday we went on a yarn shop hop to a couple of our not so local shops. Mendy was taking me for my birthday treat since we hadn't been able to get our schedules to align until now. Thom went along to make sure he was certified as a member of yarn stashers anonymous. Never pass up a chance to go to a yarn shop.

We got to Velona's a little after ten. If you've been there you know how overwhelming it can be. My plan was to just get a couple of skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun so I could finish my zigzag scarf. Well, they didn't have the two colors I need. (Rose is placing an order for me.) So, what could I do but have a look around? I'd already checked for a couple of colors of Rowan Handknit DK that I had been commissioned to buy. Inevitably I wandered over to the sock yarn. That's how I ended up with two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug in the color Cinnabar. FYI, their price is a dollar to a dollar and a half less than I've seen in other shops.

Since it was time for lunch we hurried over to Alamitos Bay in Long Beach so we could have it at Buster's. We like that place not only because it has interesting and tasty food but it's also right on the water and you can watch the sail boats skipping along. A couple of margaritas, a nice pork sandwich and some Death by Chocolate cake got us ready to visit Alamitos Bay Yarn Company which is right next to Buster's.

ABYC gives you a discount on your first purchase during your birthday month. Both Thom and I qualified. So what was I to do? Of course I bought sock yarn. It was inevitable. That's the Lorna's Laces Tuscany. I almost bought some Camouflage but then I remembered I'd already bought that twice before.

I also picked up a copy of 2-at-a-time Socks, a newish book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. My friend Susan said it would change my sock knitting life. Let's hope so. I have a lot of sock yarn.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lehmus begins

So I decided to start another shawl. When I saw the Lehmus shawl on Rick's blog I knew it was one I would enjoy making. And because he made his using a heavier yarn than the pattern called for I knew I could use some of my Estelle Mystik DK. I've had the yarn for a while. It's some I got in a yarn stash redistribution. It's not on their site anymore so I guess it's discontinued. It's a cotton/viscose blend that's nice and shiny. It does snag if you're not careful. The color looks like gray sometimes and at other times it's a very pale teal. I have to figure out a good way to join the yarn as it's pretty slippery. There may be knots.

My plan is to work a pattern repeat every day. Right now that's not so hard as there are less than a hundred stitches per row. Unfortunately most of my plans get sidetracked by other things that catch my eye. I've been adding to my Ravelry queue lately. A lot. I wound some Classic Elite Lush last night, and some Manos del Uruguay. So I can already tell that I'm going to get distracted.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A couple of FOs

Finished this on Sunday morning. Finally. This is the Palindrome Scarf. It's completely reversible, a rarity when it comes to scarves with cables. I used some old Brunswick Germantown that I've had in stash for ten or more years. The fabric is a bit stiff so I'm hoping a good soak will help.

And the Plain Vanilla Socks were finished on Sunday evening. I'm not sure about the size though. I didn't bother to try to match the stripes this time. I think fraternal works well with this yarn. The yarn is probably Regia but that's just a guess.

I have another project that I was going to show you but Blogger has suddenly gone weird. I have updated my Ravelry projects page though. I'm knitdad over there.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tulips on Friday

I've been waiting for these tulips to open. They're still not quite there. These are the ones that Renee gave me for my birthday. They're supposed to have bright but indirect sun. We haven't had all that much sun this week. There's supposed to be some tomorrow morning for a while. Maybe I'll put the tulips closer to the window and see what happens.

The administrative part of my life has taken over for a few days and there's still more to come. I'm dealing with homeowner association stuff that is time consuming and not fun at all. Plus some of it means spending a ton of money. Money that I'd rather use for other stuff. So anyway, I'm going to be here perhaps even less often than I've been this week.

Nothing has been finished this week. Not the socks, nor the hat, not the scarf. On the plus side though, I haven't started anything new. I did print out a few patterns and my Interweave Knits finally arrived. Is it just me or is this issue really boring? At least there's a sock pattern and a couple of nice shawls.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The sun was out for a few seconds a little while ago. Now it's back to the gloomy overcast. I was at the Honda dealer earlier today and was watching TV while I waited for my car. The weather people were all agog with this unexpected weather. Looks like we're going to have rain for the next few days. Nothing spectacular but still, since this was supposed to be a very dry winter, it's a good thing.

People say this is good knitting weather. I'm not so sure. I've had to rip and redo the gusset on my plain vanilla sock three times. And then when I was ready to work on it yesterday at Tuesday morning knitting I discovered I had left one of my needles at home. So I worked on a hat that I'm making from the Rio de la Plata yarn I got on Sunday. I hope to finish the sock and the hat today. But since it's already noontime I may not.

I have some errands to do but I'd really like to take a nap. The cat woke me at a little after three this morning. He was sick. I think he has a reaction to his anti-flea ointment. I have to put it on his once a month. It takes a couple of days before he's feeling good again. I did go back to bed after I cleaned the floor. Fortunately it was on the tile, not the carpet. But he woke me up again an hour or so later. So, yes, I'd really like to take a nap. Maybe after I get back from Trader Joe's.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Today is my friend blogless Thom's birthday. I can't give you his email address though. So if you want to wish him happy birthday you can email me at knitdadatsbcglobaldotnet and I'll be pleased to pass the wishes along. He's a great guy. Charming, witty and generous. And he'll try most anything when it comes to knitting.

Yesterday another friend (L of L&H fame) and I went on a twofer yarn shop hop. We only had a couple of hours to spend before the shops closed. There's a relatively new shop in Glendale that was celebrating its one year anniversary. It's called Itza Knitterie. What a great little shop it is. I didn't see any handcrafted yarn though. But they do have an extensive selection of commercial stuff, including brands that we don't see much around here. Queensland, Mirasol, Kelly and more Araucania than I've seen before. The shelves were full and everything was as tidy and trim as it could be. You got to draw a number from the glass candy dish to see how much your sale discount would be. I only got 10%. L got 15%. But I was happy with the skein of Ranco and the three skeins of Mirasol I bought.

One skein of Araucania Ranco and three of Mirasol Hecho. Add to museum of yarn.

Next it was back to an old favorite, Unwind in Burbank. Stephanie, the shop owner, was there. She's such a sweetheart. Always makes me feel welcome and she also had some great yarns. Especially sock yarns! I got a couple of skeins of the new-to-me Panda Silk from Crystal Palace, two skeins of Lorna's Laces in the color Forest (an old color but one I'd never seen) and one skein of Rio de la Plata multi-colored worsted. It's an odd lot mill end that is being sold as a charity fund raiser. Unwind has several different fund raiser deals going. Pick one or support them all!

Friday, February 15, 2008

One of the Kewl Kids

I could hardly wait for the sun to come up this morning. I knew this yarn was going to be beautiful but I couldn't see all that well in the dim light of Paco's Mexican Restaurant. (That's where my friend the other Lisa took me for dinner last night.) It's absolutely gorgeous. I know what I'm going to make with it but that'll come later. I feel like such a kewl kid having my very own Hand Maiden Sea Silk.

And that wasn't all. I dug down through the layers of tissue and found this Socks That Rock medium weight sock yarn. Bella Coola. All I can see is swimming pools and ocean beaches. Or maybe shady pine tree glens and clear skies and deep water mountain lakes.

I can't get a decent picture of this Yarn Place Graceful. There's 2400 yards of frog hair weight. Sometimes it looks jade, sometimes teal and there's some dark beige mixed in that I can't quite capture. I've been instructed as to what I'm supposed to make with it but I haven't found a pattern yet.

I think I need to go away for a couple of months to some place where there is no internet, no yarn shops and maybe no Mexican restaurants and try to get some of this knit up. I love it all. It's been an incredible birthday week, or two weeks really, and there's still some to come but that won't be for a while. I thank you all for the good wishes, the incredible gifts and for stopping by my blog. It's just so kewl!

p.s. I forgot to mention the new Berroco sock pattern book. Have you seen it yet? I need to make the Cork sock right now! Just as soon as I find a shop that has the Berroco sock yarn. And then maybe the tabby socks, Aberdeen or Newcastle.

Lisa, you've really outdone yourself. Thanks so much for your friendship and all the things you do to brighten my life. And Hannah too!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Check your gauge and your links!

Something woke me up at 3:45 this morning. I'm not sure if it was seventeen pounds of feline hunger that came crashing down or the errant Niagara that started pounding the metal awning that covers my downstairs neighbors' patio. The cat's been a little peckish lately and hasn't been inclined to getting up early, so I've been sleeping until almost five. He's fine now though so he likes to get up before the sun is anywhere near where we live. But I'm leaning more toward thinking it was the rain. There was no mention of rain in the forecast last night, certainly not torrential rain. Only some clouds and high winds starting in the afternoon.

I got up and looked out. Yep. That's rain all right. And it continued, not quite as forcefully, for a couple of hours. It seems to be gone now. We've had such near-summer weather lately that I've been lulled into putting away my heavy coat, hat and most of the scarves. Maybe I was premature.

A couple of days ago I put a link on my blog that was supposed to go here. It didn't. I usually check all my links before I finish my blog entry. This time though I was so sure I knew the link by heart and I was running late so I didn't bother to check. I hope I've learned my lesson. I apologize to anyone who followed the original link. I've fixed it now.

So, what are your Valentine's Day plans? Being sans Valentine I don't have anything special going on. I'll be working on those socks and later I'll go over to Unraveled and see who's hanging out there. We don't have knitting group tonight so I will probably come home and try some of the birthday wine. For those of you with Valentines, enjoy yourselves. The rest of us can just mind our own knitting. Don't forget to check your gauge.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The party's over, more or less

Now that the festivities have calmed down a bit I've been getting back to my knitting. I haven't started anything new though. I have a couple of pairs of socks that I'm working on. And I'm still trying to get somewhere with the Kureyon sweater I'm making for myself. This pair of socks is called Stanfield 196 and is from More Sensational Knitted Socks
by Charlene Schurch. I had seen other stitch patterns in her two sock books that were Stanfield something or other. I didn't know what that meant except I more or less concluded it was a reference to a stitch compendium. Then I read about the Stanfield books when I was messing around on Ravelry. I'd never heard of those books. So now I have something to add to my next wish list. I'm using some Sockotta that I got one day when I found myself in a yarn shop and had no knitting project to work on but I had some dpns.

The other pair is Plain Vanilla. This is my go to pattern for when I need a simple project for when I'm at work or am socializing. I think it was originally called the 56 row sock. It's the one I started with a long time ago and it's still one of my favorites. Although I think Plain Vanilla doesn't do justice to vanilla. Sorta makes vanilla sound like something bad. I like vanilla, especially ice cream, and I like the color as well. Anyway, I'm using some yarn I got at the Trash to Treasure event we had at A Stitch in Time last November. There was no label so I'm not sure what the brand is but it's really nice to work with.

I don't have a picture yet of my sweater progress. I'm still working on the second sleeve. I haven't done either of the body pieces though so I'm not a far along as it sounds.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The fun continues

First, a fashion update. Lisa loved the new Genghis Kahn hat. I clipped the yarn and wove in the ends while we were celebrating last night. The fit is perfect and she promises she'll wear it. Most of the photos that I took using a flash were not good. I didn't use a flash here and even though it's muddy looking it's my favorite. What's not to love about a happy, smiling face?

On Saturday I went to hang out at Unraveled and to meet up with the other Lisa. While I was waiting (and waiting) another friend come in to wish me happy birthday and to gift me with some more Koigu. Some people just know how to get to me. I'm pretty sure these skeins with be socks for me. That'll be a first. I'm already looking at Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Thanks, Rena.

And Susan, a friend and sometimes student, brought me a new book, Don't Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff that promises to be very entertaining. A gift card from Vroman's, a local concrete and stucco bookstore, from Estelle. Imagine. Not buying books on-line! What a treat! Don't tell Overstock. Some wine from another friend and occasional student. And there was an accidental birthday cake. Eileen didn't know it was my birthday when she brought in that moist, rich chocolate cake.

My daughter treated me to a concert at Cal Tech's Beckman Auditorium. (I should look up those links but it's getting late and I have to get ready to go to A Stitch in Time.) The Academy of Ancient Music was in Pasadena for the day, passing through on their way from Wisconsin to Seattle. It was a marvelous afternoon. We had great seats. There's just nothing to compare to a live music performance. And two hours of live Baroque music is just not to be beat. We went to Islands later because it was my birthday and I wanted one of their super juicy burgers. We had a margarita, of course, and I don't recommend them. Way too sweet, like maybe there was some pineapple in there. But the fries were perfect.

I had lots of calls from siblings and friends so not much knitting got done yesterday. I'm about done with a pair of plain vanilla socks, well, the first sock. Maybe I'll get that done today, unless there's a good turnout of knitters.

Friday, February 08, 2008

And there were margaritas

What is this stack of cards and envelopes? It isn't Christmas. So that can only mean one thing. I'm having yet another birthday. I know. I can't believe it myself. Wasn't it just a couple of months ago that I had one?

Thanks to my friend Mendy all the boiz and most of the grrls in my knitting group showed up to celebrate (venerate?) me. I had met up with my friend Mario earlier for happy hour margaritas at Rudy's Mexican Restaurant. Chris brought the fixings for more margaritas. They were excellent! There was a fantastic chocolate mousse cake, with discreetly few candles, and lots of presents and cards. Even some family heirloom Mardi Gras beads (with an R rated medallion). Thanks, Andy. And tulips from Renee and some new dpns and a book (Zen and the Art of Knitting) from Mario. A new indoor/outdoor thermometer from Judy. She remembered that I had wanted one of those, even if I didn't remember. And still to come, several lunch/dinner engagements with Thom, Mendy and Chris. Boy, I hope I didn't leave anyone out.

Obviously I didn't get much knitting done. One round on a new pair of socks, and that one I had to tink. It was great to be there with all those warm-hearted knitting friends and to just relax into the glow.

In case anyone asks, 69 is the new... ummm...48?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Genghis Kahn hat

That's not the name given to the pattern in Hip Knit Hats, Cathy Carron's book of forty hats. It's actually Ella but I think the pointed top and the fuzzy, soft multi-color yarn gives the hat an exotic but still rustic look. Well, that's what I kept thinking while I was working on this hat.

It's my first project using entrelac. I've taught entrelac but have never actually made anything with it. In the book all the photos show the hat in a solid color. I wanted to use that skein of Noro Big Kureyon and I thought the entrelac would be more obvious. Too bad the colors look so washed out. They are soft but they're a bit more intense that what you see here.

There are a couple of things I would change if I were to knit this pattern again. The wrapped cast-on is too bulky so the hat is more pointed than I wanted. If you like the exotic look it's fine though. And there are only six increases per round (the hat is knit top down as are most of the hats in this book) and I think that makes for too much of a cone shape. Maybe you like the cone shape. So I'd probably recalculate and have increases at eight points which I think would make more of a dome shape.

Anyway, the specs:

1 skein Big Kureyon color number 5, 120 meters/130 yards (I had about 3 yards left.)
1 set size 7mm/10.5US dpns and 1 24" circ in the same size.
Started and finished February 6, 2008.

I still need to weave in the ends but I'm waiting for Lisa to try it on and to see if she thinks she would ever wear it. If it doesn't fit or if she can't see herself wearing it, I will recycle the yarn into a different hat.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Losing control

I've been trying to control my yarn purchases, limiting them to only the most essential items. Unraveled just received their shipment of Koigu. I spent the whole day over there and resisted buying any of it. That is until the end of the day. I now have three skeins of this new color way.

I did control my temptation to start a new project long enough to finish the Tidal Wave socks. I think it only took me a year to knit these socks. Which is silly since I really like the stitch pattern and the yarn, Tofutsies from Southwest Trading.

Some things though you just can't control. No matter how you plan. I was supposed to go on a yarn shop hop today but things over which I have no control interfered so the shopping has been delayed for a couple of weeks. I expect there will still be plenty of yarn when I do get to go so it's not such a big deal.

Sometimes even the things you can control will get away from you. I started this hat last night using some Noro Big Kureyon that I recently acquired. I should have checked the yardage requirement but I didn't. I sorta vaguely remembered it. The problem with that though was that it was for a different pattern. Now I could make the hat shorter than the pattern and it would work okay as a hat but it wouldn't be what I had in mind. So, I've found another pattern that will work with this yarn and will only leave a couple of yards unused. And I've been meaning to do some entrelac anyway. So the four hours I spent last knit won't go to waste. I've learned a lesson if nothing else.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fridays are your friend.

In the There's Always Room for More Christmas department, here's some Schaefer Anne sock yarn that I got a week or so ago from Christine at Unraveled for Christmas. She knows that I have a genuine weakness for this yarn. I used to buy it practically on a skein-a-week basis when it was in stock. I'm taking this one with me to work today so I can get in wound and will probably start some socks this weekend. Something a little lacy but with some nubby texture. I have Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush. I think that's a good place to start.

Other than that I have nothing new to report except that I'm done with my jury duty rotation. And I didn't have to actually show up. Just that one heart-stopping call each evening to find out if I would have the next day free to fritter away or if I'd be dealing with LA traffic and sitting in a room full of people I've never met. So anyway, I'm done for at least a year.

I worked on my Tofutsie socks yesterday and finished the gusset decreases. The stitch pattern doesn't lend itself to being centered over the instep and down the foot so it's all knit from here on out. Easy enough to do at work today.