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.