Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just made it to 2009

Those 10 days leading up to Christmas were my busiest of the whole year but I made it. The presents were bought and wrapped. The house was minimally decorated. The cookies were baked, packed, wrapped and distributed. Food was bought, cooked and served many times over. And the dishwasher was run two or three times a day! The time spent with Family and Friends was my favorite part of all. It's taken me a couple days with my feet up and knitting in hand to recover but I'm ready to face the New Year. I hope all you were better prepared and enjoyed your Holidays.

I did very little gift knitting this year, I don't know why. Maybe I didn't see any patterns that seemed perfect for anyone on my list or maybe I just wasn't very imaginative this year. I did knit a hat for Laura. It was Black Forest Hat made from Noro Silk Garden edits/leftovers. (I've admitted before to editing skeins of Noro when there's a color in a skein that I don't care for in a project.)
Black Forest Hat

This was fun knitting; both the pattern and trying to select yarn bits that looked like they could be from a regular skein of Silk Garden. The scalloped edge is what initially caught my eye and I like it as much in my finished hat as I did when I first saw it on Ravelry. (The pattern is only available through a free Ravelry download.)

While I was stalling finishing my green sweater I pulled out and finished a sock UFO. These are a 2/2 rib pattern in Cherry Tree Hill, sorry I don't have the band so I can't tell you the color name.
CTH ribbed socks

Ty, kept bothering me while I was wrapping gifts. He kept trying to sit on the paper, to give myself a few minutes break from his attention I gave him his own piece of tissue. Little did I know that was all he wanted. He's been on that corner of the sofa sleeping on his paper for over a week now. I have to give him a new piece every other day as he shreds it kneading on it.
Tissue paper cat

I think we all deserve a NEW Year, 2008 is broken and can't be fixed!
Happy New Year 2009 to all

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Panic

I do know how to operate a calendar but I still can't believe it's only 10 days until Christmas. How could it be time for the Holidays when it was 80 degrees last Wednesday?

It's suppose to go from Summer through Autumn and then when the leaves really start to fall you start getting in the Holiday mood. (This year from the heat of the never ending summer the leaves just turned brown but are still stuck on most trees.) I'm not ready! I have no gift knitting to show you. No cookie baking (how could you even think of turning on the oven when it was so hot?)

I'm forcing myself to listen to Christmas Music hoping that will get me in the mood. We pulled down the decorations Saturday and I worked on it off and on this weekend. I did some shopping on Friday that helped - retail therapy I guess. I mostly bought gift cards as my family is the most uncommunicative gift recipients ever. I was going to go out shopping today but it's pouring outside - I Love It! (Finally some weather other than summer heat.) Since I'm staying home this morning I'm wrapping the few presents I've bought throughout the year. Between the economy, finances and time Christmas will be lighter than usual this year.

Daughter #2 and I discussed what cookies we still had time to bake - there won't be much of a variety this year.

Here's a picture of my ONLY Christmas Knitting
Mini mittens

Mini-Mittens from Pink Argyle. I originally had visions of making a couple dozen pairs to hang on a tree but I believe I'll stop at one pair, Thank-you. These are TINY things; they just fit the tip of my little finger.

I haven't made any further progress on my Hey Teach sweater. Out of guilt of leaving this project laying there I've been pulling out UFOs; I've finished two pair of socks and am close to finishing a third pair. Pictures as soon as the sun comes out again. We have rain in the forcast for the next week - that has to improve my Holiday Spirits, right?

The majority of the plants around here also seem confused over what Season are we really in but the Christmas Cactus is right on schedule.
Xmas Cactus

Monday, December 08, 2008

Safe in University City

Since some of you know where I live, I thought I'd let you know I'm not near where the F-18 went down today. I live a mile southwest from the crash site. Seems the pilot couldn't hold it together long enough on his dash to get back to base but he did manage to miss University City High School. The news reports he ejected and was taken to the hospital. No reports yet if anyone was in the houses that burned. I pray no one was home!

I did hear the jet come in low, it's engine sputtered a few times and then blew out. That immediate silence was erie; living near Miramar Air Station I know jets never go silent like that.

Anyway, the dog, cats, stash, The Photographer and I are safe. And, yes, I am counting my blessings!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Welsh Traveling Socks plus Toes

Here are the finished Welsh Traveling Socks
Welsh Traveling Sock contrasting toe
and a close up of the pattern (click on the picture and you can see a close-up on Flickr)
Welsh Traveling Sock close-up

So what do you think of the color of the yarn I used for the toes? I'm still not sure about it but no matter what anyone says I won't be pulling it out. The pattern calls for yarn with 450 yards I used a yarn with 350 yards; I never noticed until the tail end of the yarn hit my hand. Surprised doesn't cover it! This was my blind faith I had enough yarn - No, I didn't compare my yardage to the pattern requirements. For some reason I was confidant that this yarn would work for this sock. I think I was led down the rosey path of dilusion because this yarn was so similar to the look of the yarn pictured in the book. I feel so dumb!

Anyway, the yarn was wonderful to work with, the yardage problem was all me. I bought it from more than a year ago. It's called Starry Night in Sophie's Toes Sock Yarn.

I finished and blocked my Noro Striped Scarf and still had half a ball of both colors of Silk Garden (270 & 264) and decided I should make matching fingerless mitts.
Noro Striped Mitts

I pulled out my favorite pattern for fingerless mitts, Maine Morning Mitts played around with the stitch count to get it to work with a 1x1 rib and I was off knitting in circles. (I added one stitch to get an even number next time I'd subtract a stitch or three. The gloves are a bit large because the 1x1 rib doesn't pull in as much as the original pattern's 3x1 rib.)
Noro Striped Mitts 2

Tuesday I spent a foggy morning with my garden club taking a ranger guided tour of Presido Park, the site of the very first California Mission. 1769 Father Sierra claimed the land for the Church and Spain making San Diego one of the older European settled Cities in North America.
First Mission Site
This cross was made of brick salvaged from the ruins of Fort Presidio, what was left on the site when the priests moved the Mission 6 miles east to get away from the soliders.

Edit: I was ask where to buy the Grayce's Scarf pattern by someone that didn't leave me a return email address. The pattern only has an email address: There is no other names or address on the pattern. I bought this pattern at the Taos Wool Festival.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting On With It

I hate the fiddly finishing of knit projects. This weekend I sucked it up and decided to block the pile of finished projects I've accumulated the past six month. Of course, I couldn't decide to do it last week when it was in the high 80's and the humidity was down to 14% - No not me. This weekend it was about 70 and 49% humidity so it took a full 24 hours for each batch to dry and that's with a fan on it all day too.

Saturday I blocked the parts for Hey Teach

Hey Teach blocking

While pinning out the front pieces I saw that I'd knit two more rows on the Right front than the Left front. This is at the top of the neckline so, yes, it will show. Why couldn't I have seen this when I was knitting?? Absolutely the worst place to have made this MISTAKE! So my choices are to pull out the whole shoulder and re-knit or try to pick out the two rows and anchor the extra yarn at the back. Thick I'll try pulling out the two rows first and see how it looks before pulling the whole shoulder and re-knitting. Sigh... It's always something.

Sunday I blocked three scarves.

3 scarves blocked

The scarf on the left is My So Called Scarf which I finished in February.
Ravelry link here

Center is the Noro Stripped Scarf I mentioned last post.

The Right hand scarf is the Grace's Scarf I mentioned in my Nov. 7th blog entry.

And this morning I pinned down the last project that's been languishing in my blocking pile.

Midwest Moonlight Scarf blocked

My Midwest Moonlight Scarf from the book Scarf Style; at 12 inches in width seems more like a small shawl than a scarf.
Mentioned in my Sept. 8 blog entry. Ravelry link here

My second knitting problem was I ran out of yarn 2.5 inches from the end of the second sock! I kept looking in my sock bag like more yarn would magically appear.

This is the first time this has unexpectedly happened. The yarn label says 350 yards and that's usually more than enough for me to make an 8" leg with a 9" foot. I'm thinking the pattern may be the reason. I'm knitting the Welsh Traveling Socks out of the book Shear Spirit. So I ripped back the toe of sock one in order to finish the pattern part of sock two and will finish both toes in another yarn. No pictures as the sun went in before I got the photograph and the detail of the pattern wouldn't show up. I'll finished them and then you can tell me if I picked an acceptable color for the toes.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S.; enjoy your time with family and friends.

Now is a good time for me to say how thankful I am to all you that read this blog and have taken time to write to me. I really do enjoy hearing from you.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Noro striped scarf
I'm always amazed at how something you thought was all your own turns out to be happening in other places simultaneously. Seems I started a Noro Striped Scarf at the same time as another Famous Blogger and I'm sure there are at least several other knitters that cast-on with us. Wonder what was in the Knitting Stratosphere to inspire this unplanned group knit-along? Can't be weather because it's still summer temperatures here in Southern Cal.

Is anyone else having trouble with their Bloglines updates? Some days there are duplicate updates and then other feeds have no updates for days. When I go to check on bloggers that usually have daily entries I find Bloglines has missed three or four daily entries. What's the deal? Am I really going to have to transfer all my feeds over to Google Reader? What do you use to keep you updated on all the Blogs you like to read?

Wednesday, at the Yarn Shop where I work, several of us that teach or have taught knitting were having a discussion on teaching Provisional Cast-on (click link for a YouTube video by Lucy Neatby) in a class setting. What method is the best for what purpose and which is the easiest to teach in a limited amount of time? We all agreed that the Crochet Cast-on was the quickest and easiest for us to teach. Of course, having many cast-on options at your command would be ideal but in a class with several students time constraints limit the time you can spend on any one topic. The Shop has tried a class on Cast-on and Cast-off methods which is always poorly attended; our customers seem to be project oriented. I'd like to hear your opinion on teaching a Provisional Cast-on.

And to show how crazy the weather is... I have an epiphelium in bloom. These plants normally bloom in this area in May. The big Epiphelium flower show in Balboa Park is always on Mother's Day. How crazy is that!!!

There are no pictures of the Epi; it's hanging in direct sunlight this morning which is beyond my abilities to get a decent photo. Maybe this afternoon.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Weaving & Fiber Festival

Coned Yarn

Sunday last The Photographer and I drove up to Torrance (just North of LAX) to attend The Southern California Handweavers' Guild "Weaving & Fiber Festival"
It's been two years since I attended and they've grown. I much prefer this show to the FiberFest held in Santa Monica in August. The Weaving and Fiber Festival in Torrance is aimed directly at the Weaver, Spinner and Knitter while FiberFest in Santa Monica has a very loose definition of "fiber."

Newton's was there
I didn't buy anything but was really tempted by their cashmere blends at really good prices.
The green cashmere I bought from them several years ago at Stitches West, that's still in my stash, held me in check but it was a close call. They had a gorgeous Navy I really wanted.

I did buy this (top of the picture Teal and Orange) incredibly soft Silk and Merino Roving.
from Red Fish Dyeworks.

More of the fiber at the Red Fish Dyeworks Booth
Fiber & Yarn

A weaving demo on a nice folding Japanese loom.
Weaving Demos

I wish there had been more weaving demos but the show has expanded to fill all the rooms now, I'm not complaining about that - more Vendors is a Good Thing! Just as a beginner weaver I can't get enough of watching people weave.

There was lots of handdyed yarn. Here's Chameleon Dye Works Booth
Chameleon Color Works

and a local dyer, Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio.
Hand dyed yarn
I bought two skeins of sock yarn for a pair of socks.

We had a great time. I enjoyed the show while The Photographer did his usual thing. And we stopped at one of our favorites restaurants on the way home. Fritto Misto in Santa Monica.

Here's a look at my current scarf project
Grayce's scarf

I bought the yarn and pattern at the Taos Wool Festival.
The yarn is from Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Company. It's a hand dyed sport weight single. Actually more blue than it looks in the photo. And the pattern is "Grayce's Scarf" from The Pearly Queen. (No link for either but I do have email addresses if anyone wants them.)

That's all I have, too much work this week not enough knitting time. So, what else is new!

OH YEAH! I am so glad the election is over! Can you believe it went on for 22 months? There has to be a better way!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Sorry for the posting delay - I started reading the Twilight series and just couldn't put them down until I'd read all 4.5 books. Not sure if I want to see the movie - the Edward in my head looks nothing like the actor playing him. While, surprisingly the actress playing Bella is nearly identical to how I pictured her. I hope there will be more books in this series, I really enjoyed them.

Anyway, back to knitting. Here are my Kandy Korn Socks
Kandy Korn Socks
knit from Rock Creek Yarn's, Super Soft Sock Yarn in the Koi color.
Koi Sock Yarn

This color of yarn is no longer available but there's a very similar color here.
Purl Spiral
This was a plain 64 Stitch sock. To form the purl spiral stripes on the cuff I purled when ever the orange section of yarn was above an orange stitch in the row below.
Easy Halloween Socks, the yarn did all the designing; all I had to do was knit and purl!

Then there's my problem project: The Sofia Cowl from One-Skein Wonders.
Sofia Cowl

My end result doesn't look in the least like the original in the book or like others I see on Ravelry. I can't figure out what I did wrong. This was for a shop sample but it looks more like a turtleneck than a soft cowl. I checked and there doesn't seem to be any corrections on the publishers site. I'm working from a copy from the shop rather than the book and it looks like there's a hic-cup in the printing. I'll compare it when I go into work this week and see if that explains my odd strangler variation.

That's the end of my knitting update; if you hate vacation pictures now the times to click away.

The second half of our Trip the beginning of the month was Denver.
Denver Sky Line
Such a pretty city. This picture was taken from the Natural History Museum.

We spent a warm late afternoon in Golden
Golden, CO
They have a cute business district and a gorgeous river running through town. This is the water that's turned into Coors Beer. The whole down smells odd and we couldn't figure out what it was until we remembered how they make beer. It was the mash we were smelling, kinda similar to the smell of boiling potatoes.

While driving down to Taos we stopped in the little town of Trinidad (yeah! THAT Trinidad!! we had no idea until we were home) for lunch. Our car was stuck due to street closures so we watched and enjoyed the High School HomeComing Parade before we could get back on Hwy 25.
Trinidad, CO Homecoming Parade
It was a fun small town experience; it had that something that's missing in big city life.

We stopped in Manitou Springs and visited the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Manitou Springs, CO
Decided it was not a great idea to take the open railcars up a very tall mountain in a thunder storm. That's one of the problems of being older, you're way to practical.

The Rockies had their very first snow storm while we were there so, of course, we had to go see. Idaho Springs, CO
We headed west to Idaho Springs a very cute town. Most of the old buildings are still on the Main Street.
Estes Park was in full Fall Color - the most gorgeous Fall Color I've ever seen
Fall Color, Estes Park

And The Photographer was elated to find Elk to photograph.
Here is his portrait entitled"Elk Raspberry"
Elk raspberry

Friday, October 10, 2008

Taos Wool Festival

Taos Wool Festival - long view

Did you miss me? I'm just back from the Taos Wool Festival. The Photographer and I decided to jump on a plane and go to the Festival. We didn't go just to see the festival there was the added pleasure of meeting up with my Colorado Cousin.

Saturday there was the threat of stormy skies but we were lucky and the forcast rain held off until evening. The sun even tried to peak through the clouds a couple of times that morning.
Stormy skies

We saw sheep
Sheep for shearing

AlpacaAlpaca 3

and Goats
goat pairInteresting pets

but the dogs out numbered the fiber animals three to one. The Photographer suggested they change the name of the show to the Taos Wool & Dog Festival.
pair of GoldensGrand PyreenesCardigan CorgisBelgium Shepardpuppies

there were even dogs in clothes
dogs in clothes

Great people watching
outfitsoutfits 2

My only mild disappointment was that there seemed to be more finished items, especially hats, than fleece, fiber or yarn. As a knitter, spinner and very new weaver I wasn't looking for finished clothes, blankets or hats. I overheard a conversation (so I can't vouch for the truth of the statement) where it was said that they didn't get the number of vendors applying this year as they usually do, so they had to let everyone in rather than trying to get a good variety of sellers. Considering the melt down in the US and the World right now the organizers did a very good job.

I bought a couple of patterns, 5 skeins of yarn and a Shetland Fleece. More about that and the rest of our trip in my next Post.
Taos Wool Festival

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weaving First Steps

Knitter's loom.jpg

I've joined the San Diego Creative Weaver's Guild last week just so I can rent a Rigid Heddle Loom - the Ashford Knitter's Loom. While paging through an old Spin-off Magazine (Winter 2002) I came across a scarf that I HAD to make. I've no idea how this scarf possessed me; it's nothing super special but after being haunted by it all weekend I surrendered. We had several weaving demonstrations in my Spinning Class that never mad me want to ever try Weaving so this insistent urge was a real surprise to me.

Monday I contacted my Spinning Teacher, Margaret Tyler, for some guidance in beginning weaving books and boy, she ran with just the hint I was interested in weaving. Seventeen days letter I'd joined the Weavers' Guild, arranged to rent the Knitter's Loom and Margaret invited me to her house to teach me how to warp the loom and the rudiments of weaving. Two hours later I walked out with a project that was very similar to the scarf in the magazine. (True it was woven on a 4 harness loom but as close as you can get with a Rigid Heddle.)

First Woven Scarf.jpg

This is the scarf. Gray is Cascade 220 Heather color 9491. The Black is a 1/2 inch nylon ribbon yarn with no tag I bought in the $3 basket at 2 Sisters and Ewe, where I work. It's rough and very homespun but I'm so proud of it. Between work and errands I finished Sunday morning and had the loom warped again (with help from daughter #2) by dinner time.

Gray Scarf Close-up.jpg
A close-up of my weaving and a true image of the colors .

The second scarf that's now on the loom uses homespun (Merino, Alpaca & silk) that was overspun so I thought it would make a good strong warp yarn. And the weft is (75% acrylic/ 25% wool) Plymouth Encore ColorSpun #7172. I'm such an ignorant weaver that I have no idea how this fiber combination will work together but I think the combination is really cool. The bright oranges of the warp seems to change the marled look of the brownish/oranges of the Encore.

Orange Weaving.jpg

When I wash what will happen? Haven't a clue but it's fun to see how the colors combine - this combination really surprised me.

Fair Warning: if this post looks different or the pictures don't post of whatever, I'm trying out making an entry by email rather than on Blogger directly.
Fingers Crossed when I hit send!

And the answer, YES, I will be getting a loom of my own!!

Edited to add: email posting was 50/50. Words came through find - no pictures just HTML. Had to go back and post them same as usual on Blogger.