Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mood swing

Yesterday I had planned to spend some time on my Palindrome Scarf. I'm enjoying the knitting as it's fairly mindless and given the weight of the yarn and the needle size it's growing fairly quickly. I'm using some really old Brunswick Germantown. I got this yarn some time in the mid '90s. It was supposed to be part of a Kaffe Fassett coat. That didn't happen. This is the kind of yarn that makes people think they can't wear wool. It has a slightly coarse feel and is stiff. I don't think anyone makes Germantown anymore. And I'm pretty sure Brunswick is out of business or has been absorbed by some other company. At any rate, I haven't seen the brand anywhere.

So, after going to the market and starting a load of laundry, I sat down to knit. But my eye was attracted to these socks.

I knit the first sock sometime last year. I don't know why I put them aside. Oh, yeah. I needed to see them tried on before I finished the toe. Anyway, I decided I really was more in the mood for small needles and tiny stitches than for cables and large needles. I finished the leg and the heel. I'll spend some time with the gusset today before I go to my knitting group this evening.

The photo is kinda burned out. So here's a somewhat better idea of what the yarn really looks like.

I'm using Tofutsies from Southwest Trading Company. It's all very nice except it does split like anything so you have to keep your eye on what you're doing. And there have been knots and broken strands in the second half of the skein.

But I have to make some brownies first.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Moving on

I worked for hours and hours on this sock. It was tough, tedious and tiresome. Knitting, for me anyway, should be pleasurable and have a certain flow to it that makes the process soothing and somehow fulfilling. That just wasn't happening with this sock.

So, after letting the sock rest for a couple of days, I've ripped the whole thing. Not that I'm the only one. I should have paid more attention to the comments I'd been reading around blogdom. I'm so unhappy with this yarn that I've recommended that the pending shipment from the distributor be cancelled. If that can't happen I will make another sock but in plain knit for a shop sample. There are just too many other, more enjoyable, yarns out there to spend the amount of time I was spending on this yarn.

I'm still on jury duty for the week but so far haven't had to check in. I have two more days of waiting. I'd sure be disappointed if I have to show up on Friday. Meanwhile, I've run out of yarn for the zigzag scarf. I thought I'd have enough but I'm not even half way to where I want to be. I have some more of the Brown Sheep Nature Spun in my stash but it turns out not to be the same color. I haven't seen this particular yarn at any of the yarn shops around here so I guess I'll be making a trip to Velona's some time soon.

I also started a Palindrome scarf. I have a couple of skeins of Brunswick Germantown that I got maybe twelve years ago that I'm using. No pic today. Gotta save something for tomorrow.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I never met a yarn I didn't like,

until now. And it's not really that I don't like the yarn (Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn). It's just that it's extremely tedious to knit it. I did my first attempt on US 2 dpns but it was just too loose and leggy for a sock. So I'm working on US 0s, my first time with that small of a needle.

I love the colors but not the texture. It's pretty scratchy. I've read that the yarn softens a bit when it's washed. So maybe it'll get better. The yarn has no give so all those K2togs are really a pain. And the yarn sticks to itself so it doesn't feed smoothly as you're knitting. I had to rip back three rows last night to find a missing stitch. That took at least an hour! Can't see the stitches all that well and they don't come undone easily like they do with a smooth, springy wool.

These socks are taking a ludicrous amount of time to knit. But then knitting socks is pretty ludicrous in the first place. Not that it isn't a lot of fun. It's a good thing that I'm more of a process knitter than a product knitter. These socks may go with me to my grave.

What's this? My friend Monika honored me with this award, along with nine other bloggers that she finds entertaining, educational or just fun to read. Isn't that nice? Thanks, Monika. I'm still working on my list of people that I want to send the button to. This is a great way to find new blogs to read. Not only did I find the ones on her list but I saw another blog with the same button and found ten other blogs that I didn't know about. There goes another chunk of time!

I know. It's weird to post over the weekend. But I haven't posted since early this week. There hasn't been all that much going on except the weather and you can read about that in the newspaper. This was the first morning that I could take my walk. It's been so cold and the rain has been pretty constant. So I went out this morning and actually enjoyed being out. It was still cold but the sun was up and there was plenty of blue sky. That's supposed to be over later today or tomorrow and we'll be in the middle of another storm. It's hard to believe right now though. It's a gorgeous day.

I have jury duty next week. I called this morning and don't have to go in on Monday so I'll be at A Stitch in Time. I'll call again on Monday night to see about Tuesday. I don't have a problem with being on jury duty but I didn't want to miss seeing my friends and students on Monday. So I hope I don't have jury duty on Tuesday. I have a knitting group that day. Wednesday would be okay but make it a one day trial please. I have things to do on Thursday and Friday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beret Done

The beret was finished last night. This photo is pretty close to the actual color of the yarn. The whole thing was an easy knit and was finished with no problems.

Here it is in its circular perfection. Now if it will just fit.

It's cold and wet here today. I'm planning on staying in and trying to stay warm except I have to go to Kaiser for some lab work. And then I need to go to Monrovia to deliver a book that I promised a friend and drop off some "peanuts" for Mendy and some dpns that she needs. Then I'll come home and work on the Noro sweater I started for myself sometime last year.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Alison gave me this box of Shi Bui sock yarn that she picked up at TNNA last week. There isn't enough yarn to make a pair of socks. So I'm making a beret.

It's chocolate, dark and light. And the yarn is really nice, smooth and silky, just like a really good chocolate.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's still Christmas!

H (of L&H fame) sent me these terrific man-necklaces. She made them just for me. Such a clever girl! I really like them. I haven't worn anything like this since puka beads were the in thing. Was that the 70's? I did have a few gold neck chains too. Don't know exactly whatever happened to those.

Anyway. I'm tickled to have these and to think that H made them just for me. She fabricated the metal pieces, attached the closures. Everything! I had to get some help from L to put one on yesterday. Poor eyesight, lack of coordination, no mirror. I wore it the whole evening.

It was a very knit day yesterday. Went to Mendy's for our regular Tuesday morning knit group, with lunch included, and knit until around 2:30. Then it was knitting at Unraveled until they closed at five. I was waiting for the lady that usually cuts my hair to show up at the barbershop across the street. She never arrived.

Then it was off to Rudy's Mexican Restaurant for margaritas and enchiladas. Then back to Unraveled for more knitting. Nothing to show you though since it's just more of what you've already seen. More knitting today between chores and errands.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I went, I saw,

I was overwhelmed. I had forgotten how huge the TNNA trade show really is, and I'm only talking about the knitting yarns. There's needlepoint too.

The Long Beach Convention Center is huge too. The first thing that happened was that I noticed it had been moved since the last time I was there so I had to drive around a bit to find it. Then I had to drive around some more to find the entrance. Some people have suggested that I just got off at the wrong exit. Could be. But I got there right at ten when the doors were about to open. Before I even got inside I had said hello to Stephanie (to know her is to love her) from Unwind. And then Cindy from Alamitos Bay Yarn Company and Ann Mary, my old boss from Skein.

I hadn't been to TNNA for five or six years so I was looking forward to seeing lots of vendors and reps that I have known over the years. But I started out by looking through some of the vendors. First up was Cherry Tree Hill. I have always liked their yarns and have a lot of it in my stash. I didn't see anything really new. There might have been some new colors.

Next I went to Melanie Falick Books. They're the publishers of one of my current favorites, Knitting New Scarves
by Lynne Barr. They had all the scarves from the book. I got a canvas tote bag as well as a mock-up of their upcoming book Knit-a-long.

I wandered over to Farmhouse Yarns and petted some of their really rustic yarns. I had used some of their yarn for one of the scarves I made for Christmas so it was fun to see what other things they had. Their sock yarn is a bit heavier than what I'm used to and would probably be too warm for the climate here but I imagine it would be great for CT where they're located.

Went to Artyarns next and fell in love with their beaded silk. Incredible colors. I'm not in charge of buying so I don't know if we're getting any of that. Maybe we could special order.

Trendsetter had a huge space filled with their signature novelty yarns plus some of their new colors of Tonalita and other more conventional yarns. I know some Bazaar and Intermezzo were ordered. Very chic, if you like shine. Lana Knits was right next door with a nice display of their hemp yarns. Some cute kits for small projects. Unfortunately we're not getting any of that.

Looked at the Blue Heron Yarns. I like them a lot. Great, wild colors. We don't carry it but they have some at Unraveled in Monrovia. Maybe they'll be getting some new colors soon.

At Westminster Fibers I ran into our Rowan yarn rep. I've known her for at least twelve years since the time I was at Mariposa, a now defunct yarn shop. It was great to see her and get a hug.

I spent a lot of time admiring the Habu fibers. Their stuff is so amazing. They had some kits available and a good selection of garments and accessories that were knit from their unusual fibers. It's probably a good thing I'm not in charge of buying or we'd be overbought for sure.

Zipped through Muench and Manos del Uruguay and on to Nashua Knits. They had the yarn Julia that is used in all the patterns in Kristen Nicholas' new book Kristen Knits so I finally got to see those.

My friend Nancy is rep for Plymouth Yarn so I stopped by to say hello and remind her that we're supposed to be getting together for dinner. They have a large selection of yarns but I don't see much of it around here. Their Encore is about it. So I moved on to Rio de la Plata. Another yarn that I'd like to have every color and every yarn in. I hope Stephanie got some for Unwind since we're not getting any.

It was right about here that I ran into Annie Modesitt. I hadn't seen her in a couple of years. She's been through a lot since last I saw her. It was good to get to spend some time with her and get some extra big hugs.

Lorna's Laces has a new yarn they're calling their green line. All organic. I don't think it's on their web site yet. It's pretty and has a nice hand. Colors are soft and muted pastels. I'd buy it if I saw it somewhere.

Spent some time in Brown Sheep's booth. Nothing really new there but it was enjoyable talking with them. I wandered around some, deciding where to look next. That's when I ran into Rob and Matt from Threadbear Fiber Arts. I've wanted to meet them for a long time so I was hoping to run into them. It was great. We didn't have much time as they were trying to buy some of everything there. I hope I can get to Lansing MI someday.

I went next to Claudia's Handpaints and fell in love again. This one we're getting for A Stitch in Time. In about six to eight weeks. I think we're getting Linen Lace and some of their merino fingering weight in a lot of colors. I'm very excited about this.

I'm almost done.

I met Rick Mondragon from Knitter's Magazine. We talked about his new book that coming out this spring. It's actually a compendium of men's sweaters that have appeared in Knitter's in the past.

At Berroco I watched Norah Gaughan write up a big order for someonw. I wanted to say hello so I hung out for a while and looked at their new yarns, Natura Lin, linen jeans, Seduce, Sox and Comfort DK. I left without saying hello. It was a really big order.

I met up with Alison and Gina for lunch. We talked about what we had seen and stuff like that. Alison wanted me to go see the new Hiya Hiya needles. So I did and tried out their new 9 inch circular needle. I think I could get used to them for sock knitting. A little awkward at first. I got some samples of some of their more conventional sizes.

My almost last stop was Ozark Handspun. Have you seen this stuff? It's wild. We're getting some of that. While I was at their booth I chatted with Janice Rosema. She's a fiber artist who specializes in free form crochet and knitting. There is talk of having her for a class or two at A Stitch in Time. Very exciting that.

I made one last short sweep through some of the aisles and stopped to chat with the lady at Chris Bylsma Designs. Some cute patterns that I need to let Alison know about.

There was so much more to see. I think I know why the convention last for three days.

This is the longest post I've ever written, I think. I haven't taken the time to check all the links or my spelling/typing. I'll do it in the morning. If you have a problem with any of the links, let me know and I'll see if I can fix them.

Friday, January 11, 2008


I found the shawl pattern that I mentioned yesterday. I told you it was simple.

I did get a bit more done on it yesterday. It doesn't look much different, just a smidge longer. And I did a few rows on the current zigzag scarf last night while we were knitting at Estelle's. Mendy, who usually hosts our knit nights, has been unwell for the past month or so and decided to take this week off to see if she could get over whatever it is that's causing her to feel unwell. So we went to Estelle's instead. A smallish group but fun nevertheless. We had a delicious raspberry swirl coffee cake. Made from scratch by our lovely hostess.

I'm going to TNNA tomorrow. With any luck I'll be able to meet some of the people whose blogs I read as well as get some idea of what the new yarns are going to look like. We won't be allowed to take pictures but I hope there'll be something to write about on Monday.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


A new shawl. I found this pattern on-line somewhere. I don't remember where and there's nothing on the print out that gives me a clue. It's pretty simple but I like that. It's easy enough that I could take it along with me to work or to a knit night.

The pattern calls for Jaeger Sienna, a very nice sport weight cotton yarn. I didn't have any of that but I have a ton of Rowan Sea Breeze in several colors. It's similar to the Jaeger except it's not mercerized so it's not as shiny or as hard on your hands. I'm pretty sure it's discontinued. I must have had this in stash for more than ten years. Some of the balls have faded a bit during that time so I'm reeling off that part before I knit with it. I learned my lesson when I made the Swan Lake shawl last summer and used some of the same yarn, in a different color, and didn't notice the fading until I'd already finished the shawl. Anyway, the color isn't quite so intense as the photo. It's a little grayer and matte.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


It was like being in the middle of a rococo painting. This is the sunrise at shortly after seven this morning. The whole sky was this lush pink haze. Of course I haven't captured it but it was amazing, almost tangible.

Same view without so much cropping. By the time I got myself ready to go for the morning walk all the pink was gone and there was just blue sky and fluffy white clouds. It's a beautiful Southern California day. Looks like the rain is gone for a while.

Yesterday was pretty slow at A Stitch in Time. I did see a couple of friends and students. My latest zigzag scarf attracted a lot of attention though. I worked on it for most of the morning and then switched to some socks that have been in the knitting bag for a while. Mindless, take-along socks.

I could spend today doing chores. But I'm not going to. There's plenty of time for that. Today I'm going to knit for as long as I can. And nap. And read some of the books I got for Christmas. And maybe go out for lunch.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Another Zigzag

It was a very low key weekend. Plenty of rain though. I finished the Grape Fiesta Scarf but I guess I'll have to steam it before it will stay flat. The scarf wants to fold in from the edges so it ends up looking about half as wide as it really is. I think it's a tension thing between the ribbed edges and the stockinette center. So when I get around to it I'll press it and see what happens.

I'm in sort of a use up the odds and ends kind of mood. I started this Zigzag scarf in order to use up two almost full skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun. I've made several of these scarves using a self-striping yarn. This time I'm alternating colors every two rows. It's a good take along project, if you don't mind chasing the yarn all over the place.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Another Fiesta

Shortly after finishing my first Fiesta Scarf (aka Forsa) I cast on for another version. I'm using some Lang Mille Colori that I got at A Stitch in Time when we had the Trash to Treasures sale last November. Four skeins.

I had tried other scarves using this yarn but didn't like the way the stripes looked. They were too wide and somehow made the colors look muddy and unrelated. I had decided to work the yarn in a longways scarf so the the stripes would generally not be more than one row wide. After seeing how well the Noro Kureyon worked in this pattern I cast on for another one. I'm calling it Grape Fiesta.

I used a provisional cast on this time. See the light blue row? I think the edges will look much better if the cast on and cast off are alike. Once I finish the second set of K2P2 ribbing and have bound off I will undo the provisional cast on and bind off again. I should know by the end of today.

We're still waiting for the rain. It's pretty overcast and gloomy so maybe it will happen after all.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

And finally

Just this one last thing and I'll be done with 2007. Here's my last yarn purchase of the year: Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn, Color S184. I got it at Skein when I stopped by there last Sunday to wish Ann Mary and KC a Happy New Year. I like the color a lot. Not so sure about the texture. It's very scratchy although it does have 30% nylon. I'm going to start with some US2 dpns and see how it looks. I've seen one blogger who is making a shawl from this yarn.

I think I might be out of the yarn buying mode for a while. After I left Skein last Sunday I went with my friend L (of L&H fame) to a couple of other yarn shops, Unwind in Burbank and to Stitch Cafe in Valley Village. I didn't buy anything at either shop. And on Monday, even though it was the last day of our 35% off sale, I didn't buy anything at A Stitch in Time. I'm not sure if I'm feeling like this because I spent a considerable amount of money during the holidays and am feeling nervous about the upcoming bills or if I'm just tired of the same old thing and need to see something new. I am going to TNNA at the end of next week. Maybe that will help me decide.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The first and the last

Here they are. The Maine Morning Mitts. My first finished project of the year. I used less than one skein of Noro Kureyon. I think the color number is 88. Actually I used the left overs from two skeins. The other part went for some fingerless gloves I made for H (of L&H fame) for Christmas.

The pattern is from Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Yarn but I got my copy from Knitter's Review, her weekly newsletter. (I have since received the book as part of my Christmas and am slowly working my way through it.) It takes about six hours to knit these but that depends on how many times you have to stop to brush the cat, or in my case, how many holidays fall between start and finish time.

I made these for a friend who has a birthday on Christmas day. We're celebrating today. I just remembered she is allergic to wool. So these will go elsewhere and I'll used a cotton ribbon scarf that I have in the gift preparedness drawer.

And, finally, the last finished project from 2007, the Fiesta Scarf. It's real name is Forsa and the pattern is from Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton Hand Knitting Collection, Book Number Two. It's a Noro yarn pattern book. I used three and little bit of a fourth skeins of Noro Kureyon 182. I think that's the number. I don't have the labels anymore. I still have to block the scarf. It's supposed to be just over seven feet long but I'm at more like five and a half feet. I don't know if I can block it enough to get to the planned length but I can add some.

The Rose Parade is over and the bleachers are coming down pretty fast. And the porta-potties are gone. There's still plenty of trash that has to be swept up and hauled away. It's a sunny day with some clouds beginning to roll in. Rain is predicted starting tomorrow and lasting for a few days. That'll be nice, except for the traffic congestion it causes. I'm so glad I don't have a long commute anymore.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year?

It's just after four in the morning and I've already been awake for an hour. The sound of slamming porta-potty doors finally made it impossible to sleep. And the occasional shout or scream of rude revelers has freaked the cat out so that he was walking all over me, waking me up at a quarter to three. I might as well have stayed up to see the new year begin. I'll definitely be napping later.

This year's Rose Parade promises to be chaotic. The City of Pasadena and the Tournament of Roses have denied permission to groups that wanted to demonstrate before the parade. Said groups have promised to find other ways to rain on the parade. The opening story on my home page news was about the additional police that have been added to the already huge staff that is required to keep people from misbehaving too much. I wish they'd been able to stop the really loud and bad band that was performing in the Carl's Jr. parking lot last night.

So. The last day of the year at A Stitch in Time was busy and one of the best in terms of dollars spent on yarn. Of course it was the last day of the winter sale so lots of people who had been holding off came in to take advantage of the savings. And I had a nice sized group of friends and students. I wore my new Noro Striped Scarf that I got for Christmas and it was a bigger hit than even I expected. I love the scarf and several other people will be knitting their own. I also had three large coffees from the Starbucks that's just down the street.

Still no photo of the finished Fiesta scarf. There's no daylight yet, let alone any sunshine. I started another one in some Lang Mille Colori that I had in stash. There's a pair of Maine Morning Mittens around here somewhere that I want to try to finish today. And since I probably won't watch the parade I'll do some laundry if I can. And trim the cat's claws.

I do like New Year's Day. It's always good to feel like I have a chance to start over and maybe get a few things right in the coming year. I'm still mulling what I want to put on my list of big projects for the year. The Mason-Dixon log cabin blanket is a definite. I have lots and lots of Cotton Classic but I'm not sure if I have enough colors. I'll see if I can find all of it. My stash is not well organized. And my Noro Kureyon sweater that I started a couple of months ago. I got so little done on it that I think it qualifies as a project for this year. And I now have the materials for a Charlotte's Web shawl (another Christmas gift). A couple of other things and I will have enough projects. Now I just have to get the resolve.