Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Zigzagging along

It took a while but I finally finished this Zigzag scarf. But not as long as I thought. I started it around January 7 of this year. I thought I had started it sometime before last Christmas. But in any event, it's done.

I used approximately two skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted, one each of Butterfly Blue and Limestone. I ran out of yarn before the scarf was long enough so I had to order some more.
I got it at Velona since none of the shops that are closer to me carry this yarn. Or at least none that I could find.

I used a stitch pattern from Scarf Style that is in the design notebook at the back of the book. It's really easy and is ideal for using some self-striping yarn. I've done that several times. I've also used the pattern for teaching new knitters about increases and decreases. I'll probably cast on another one sometime soon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Knitting recession

There has been a serious slowdown in my knitting production recently. The lackluster output has sometimes fallen to no knitting at all, for several days running. These indicators suggest that further output may be even lower.

Much of the slowdown can be attributed to an ailing elbow. There has been some improvement due to an injection of a few ibuprofen per day as well as giving it a rest. There is also a glut on the market right now. Too many projects and not enough time.

So what we need is a stimulus program. I am doing my best to stay away from acquiring more inventory until I've used up some of the excess. And I've been doing a lot of research by looking through some of my older pattern books. And making sure I spend as much time as I can with people who are full of enthusiasm and ideas and who are motivating me to keep going.

Anyway, this analogy is sort of falling apart. I need to go rip some rows on my latest scarf. Three rows of 285 stitches each. This will be the second time I've had to do this. Not the same rows as before but still it's hours and hours of tinking since the yarn I'm using doesn't perform well if you just take it off the needles and frog.

The brush fire that's been raging in the hills near where I live has affected a few of my friends. I had one student yesterday who came in just to get away from the smoke and noise. She wasn't sure if she would be able to get back into her house since the fires had burned right up to her back yard. She hadn't had much sleep for the last three nights due to the threat of immediate evacuation. She was so tired she just wanted to put her head down and sleep. Other people who came to visit reported masses of ash and soot falling all over their houses and cars. Down here where I live we're mostly just smelling the smoke and putting up with allergies and burning eyes. It's like the old heavy smog days we used to have back in the 60s and 70s. I've skipped walking a couple of times to avoid some of the worst of it.

On the brighter side of the news though, my young friend H (of L&H fame) has been accepted/honored with membership in the Constitution Team at her high school. And I just heard yesterday that she's also going to be one of the Senior Men and Women. I don't know much about these honors but I'm assured by her very proud mom that they are significant. And I'm very pleased and proud too.

I'm off to spend the day with Thom and Mendy, knitting and lunching. Part of my stimulus program.

Monday, April 21, 2008

So. How was your weekend?

Mine was pretty nice. And not too expensive considering. Spent Saturday going to some yarn shops that I don't get too very often, Alamitos Bay Yarn Company in Long Beach and Velona in Anaheim Hills. That's when I got the Noro Silk Garden 258, a new color I think. At least, it's one I don't have.

I also went to Unraveled and picked up a skein of sock yarn from Chameleon, a new dyer that's near by.

And Sunday was knitting for most of the day. Or until it was time to go to a concert at Occidental College. Got to hear some great late baroque music performed by the Santa Cecilia Orchestra, a local orchestra that's devoted to performing in a variety of venues for audiences that don't have many opportunities to hear live classical music.

And I had pizza for the first time in a long time. Not good for me but so enjoyable. So that was my weekend. How was yours?

Friday, April 18, 2008

What I bought at the Artisans' Sale

Here's the Hism yarn that my friend H (of L&H fame) put together for her booth at the Artisans' Craft Sale last weekend. It's an assortment of commercially available yarns that she deconstructed and then reconstructed. I may need to add something more to make a scarf but I really like the textures and colors she put together. And then there are the stitch markers she made, sterling silver wire and semi-precious stones. I didn't realize until I was setting up to take this photo that the colors in the yarn and the stitch markers work really well together. And they are definitely in my preferred color palette.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Annual Amaryllis 2008

My amaryllis has bloomed. I don't remember it ever having this many blossoms at once And there are more buds, just waiting their turn.

I think the blossoms were bigger in previous years though. Still, these are pretty big.

I finished the entrelac (Topographical) scarf last Friday night. I've taken at least ten pictures but can't get the color right. I suppose all these colors are present in the yarn but they're not what I see when I look at the scarf, certainly not so much pastel.

I see it more like the color in the lower left corner of this detail. Anyway, I still have to soak and block it.

Before I retired I used to wish I could just not go to work sometimes, just because I didn't feel like it. Of course, I couldn't do that. So nowadays if there's something I just don't feel like doing I don't do it. That's pretty much the reason I haven't blogged for a week. Just didn't feel like it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Artisans Sale

Need something new to brighten up your Spring wardrobe? Wanna add to your stash of unusual yarns or your selection of stitch markers? Just wanna get out of the house and be with like-minded people?

The Spring Artisan Sale happens this weekend, Friday and Saturday. You can get some very specific directions on how to get there and stuff like that by clicking here. I realize this is a local event and that not everyone can make it, but if you can it would be fun to see you.

I'm going on Saturday afternoon. My daughter is coming over to join me. We had thought she might have to miss it but now it looks like she'll be here after all. After she finishes with Kids' Fishing Camp. Don't ask. I don't know any more than that.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Socks for me

I've never knit socks for myself. I've never belonged to a sock yarn club. I don't generally find knit-a-longs very inspiring or much fun. But sometimes things happen that make me change my mind and perhaps adjust my attitude a bit.

There's a new sock yarn club. The Ram Club is just starting up. The first yarn and pattern shipment is scheduled for August. I read about it on Ravelry. You can find out more about it by clicking on the link.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Peace, man!

I got this neat little sweater in the mail yesterday. All the way from Wyoming. I had sent a skein of yarn to a knitter in need and she sent this to thank me, along with a cute card.

Look at that embroidered peace sign. If you missed the 70s you won't know what a strong memory trigger this is. Thanks, Mary.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Move along. Nothing to see here.

Unless you count this as something to see. I got into a mini-panic yesterday when I started looking for this pattern. It was a published a lot longer ago than I thought. I do have both issues of the Vogue Knitting magazines though. I will have to do some shopping for the black tweed. I had forgotten about the stripes on the sides of the cat. I'm hoping they still have some at Velona.

I took the weekend off from knitting, except for the time I spent watching the UCLA vs Memphis game. So sad the way that came out. Anyway, not knitting, and taking some ibuprofin (thanks, P) has really helped a lot. My elbow feels almost like its old self this morning. And since I wasn't knitting I finally got around to clearing out some yarns that I don't think I'll ever knit, even if I lived another fifty or so years. I'm pretty sure I have a home for these yarns.

I condensed some of the boxes and managed to discard a couple of cardboard boxes I'd been using. And I have one easily accessible box that holds a lot of the odds and ends and left overs that I will use for hats and scarves.

I have moved all the boxes back into the yarn storage room but still have to get them stacked in some kind of order. Maybe I'll get to that this week.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The week that was

Does anyone remember a TV program called "This is the week that was?" Or something like that. I can't remember if it was a serious news program or a comedy. But anyway, here's a recap of mine.

My knitting muse has recommended that in addition to the elbow wrap I should use ice packs and take aspirin. The wrap seems to help some. At least I don't have as many pains when I move my arm. So, since she's a lot more familiar with these kinds of pains than I am, I will be adding those to my list of things I can do to help.

I finished my income taxes. The upside of not making very much money is that I didn't owe anything plus I get a complete refund of the little bit that I had paid in state taxes. Enough for a couple of skeins of sock yarn. There was a glitch in the tax program that I was using and at first I thought I was going to owe a lot. But I found the problem and everything worked out okay. I really need to get more organized so I don't have to spend so much time sorting paper every year. But I don't imagine that I will.

The entrelac scarf is progressing. I have about two and a half skeins to go and I'll be done. I took the jacket to show off last night and everyone said how great it was. What else could they say? "That's the ugliest thing I ever saw!" But I do think they really liked it.

I keep finding yarn that I had forgotten. Yesterday I came across twenty skeins of Classic Elite Tweedy Lamb. I think I got that to make the cat sweater that was in Vogue Knitting a few years ago. Do you know the one? The one with the big cat head on the front? Anyway, that's what I'm going to use it for, if I can find the pattern.

And now it's time to get ready to go to work. I wonder what will happen today.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

They don't make 'em like they used to.

Look what I found! Digging through some long neglected boxes of stash I found this jacket I made maybe fifteen years ago. I only barely remember making it. And I have no recollection of why I didn't finish it then. Probably because I didn't like weaving in ends any more then than I do now. Plus, I was probably not sure if the mixture of yarns and the irregular stripes was really going to work. This was the mid-90s after all and things were a lot different then.

Back then, as I recall, it was a lot harder to get away with mixing fibers and textures, except for the Anny Blatt folks. And tidiness of finish was a bigger issue than it is now. (Viva rustica!) I think I had just discovered the Barbara Walker Treasuries then and was in love with all the stitch patterns that were in them.

I don't think any of the yarns that I used in this jacket are available now. There's some Rowan Chunky Magpie and some of their Cotton Chenille. There are a couple of yarns that I don't remember what they are. Maybe Rowan Designer DK. And there's a thin strand of something I don't recall at all.

The lime green though is something from a women's co-operative that had just gone into business. Everyone was very excited about this venture. We even had a kick-off party at Mariposa, the now defunct shop where I worked then. I don't think the co-op lasted though. The yarn, while it had some great colors, was very difficult to work with and the quality control wasn't terrific. But it was great to be there.

So, I spent about an hour this morning, sewing up the sides and weaving in the ends. I'm going to take this with me later today to show it off and see if anyone likes it (other than me) and will give it to my daughter when I see her next week. I'm not sure if the original pattern was called Slouchy Jacket or not but that's what we called it at Mariposa. It was given to me by one of the yarn reps. I think I still have it somewhere.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What happened to Spring?

According to the calendar we're well into Spring. According to the weather it's still winter. It's dark and gray and rain is predicted for this afternoon and evening. I don't mind this kind of weather but it's just not what we've been led to expect. I had to break out my winter coat this morning when I went for my walk. The weather patterns all over the world seem to be out of whack this year. Maybe we should just start over.

Taking the day off from knitting on my entrelac scarf didn't help all that much with the elbow pain. And the two different sock patterns I started didn't work out although I did manage to learn how to do a K1/P1 cast on. So anyway, the elbow is still hurting. I stopped at Rite-Aid and picked up one of those Ace bandage things to wrap around my arm.

So, I'm planning on not knitting much today either. Instead I will work on my income taxes which will be a whole different kind of pain.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Six years and counting

It's my blog-i-versary. It was actually a few days ago but I don't know exactly which day. So, I've always observed April one. Blogger just has me starting in March 2002. No date. Anyway, it's six years plus a bit.

I'm going knitting today. Going somewhere else to knit, somewhere other than home, is fun. Sorta makes it special. You have to decide what you're going to work on and make sure you have all the necessaries with you, especially the pattern, if you're using one, and enough fiber to keep you going.

I'm not sure what I'm going to take with me today. I've been pretty faithful to the entrelac scarf for over a week. I need something different today. My right arm, especially the elbow, is pretty sore. The sudden cold snap we've had isn't helping. So I need to find something that's lighter weight and doesn't require so much effort to get the stitches made. Six years ago this wouldn't have been a problem. There are any number of socks that could use some attention. And a couple of shawls. But I want something new. And in something that looks like spring.