Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Good news/Bad news

(It's a mixed bag really)


I accepted a position on the management team at work. I really like the company and I love the product which makes it easy to sell.


It's full time, which means less time for knitting and less time getting together with my SnB sisters. : (


It does mean more money for buying yarn though! It's also at the store in the Santa Anita Mall, which means it's closer to Pasadena (come by and visit me!). So I can join the group on days that I have off and when I'm scheduled for the night shift. And I plan on it being temporary - just until DH and I have a baby - hopefully only a year or so away (less would be good).


It's a little crazy to take on right at the cusp of the holiday season. The store makes half of it's annual sales in December alone! So if I seem dazed and confused and look like I'm running on fumes - just send me some yarny eye candy for rejuvenation.


I'll repeat - more money to buy yarn! Yay!

Since I don't have any knitting news, I'll leave you with a picture. The bougainvilla in my backyard loves this time of year:

I'll try to have some knitting news up soon. Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Will Power

This past weekend was fun and eventful. Saturday was my nephew Anthony's 1st birthday party. Let me introduce you....

As you can see, he wasn't shy about digging into his cake! He went wild and needed a bath afterward before continuing on with the festivites. I did not finish the hoodie in time - still working on it. But I brought him the new Tickle Me Elmo, which I'm sure he'll enjoy more than the sweater. This toy is hilarious! I think the adults liked it even more than the kids. It was a fun day for a very special little guy.

On Sunday, my amazing husband ran the Long Beach Marathon. This is his third marathon this year! Makes me tired just thinking about it. I'm his personal cheerleader. I have to say that standing on the sidelines watching all the runners cross the finish line is very inspiring. Makes me want to join in the fun...almost. I better start with a 5k and work my way up from there. Here he is after the event -

Here's where the will power came in. My will power anyway. After I got DH settled back at the hotel to rest for awhile, I thought I would take the opportunity to visit Alamitos Bay Yarn Company, the local yarn store. I had never been there before and had heard good things about it. The entrance alone is charming.

And who do you think I ran into?!

It's Marie from Pasadena SnB! This is the second time we've run into each other at a yarn store out of our area. The first time was at Velona in Anaheim. Clearly we don't mind a little road trip when it involves yarn.

Alamitos Bay Yarn Company did not disappoint. The store was warm and cozy, the yarn beautifully displayed and the staff was very friendly. I will definitely go back. There are several restaurants in the area to have lunch - next time I'll make a day of it and bring a friend.

So here's what I bought:

It's allhemp6 (100% hemp) in Brick. I bought enough to make this market bag. Jillian made one over the summer in a pretty purple and I've wanted to make one ever since.

I also bought the Dale of Norway pattern book. It's book number 171.

I want to make the sweater on the cover someday. And I bought some yarn for my secret pal, which was my excuse to visit the store in the first place.

(Big sigh) I didn't buy the Rowan Tapestry to make the Lady E wrap. Or the Dale of Norway Svale to make the sweater on the cover above. Or the beautiful Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn in beautiful reds. Or the Lamb's Pride for various felted projects I would like to make (the store had a great selection of colors by the way). I could have done some major damage to the bank account, but I showed some restraint. But I'll be back.

A Fun Link

You Are Pecan Pie Soda

Sweet, but totally nuts

Saturday, October 14, 2006

SP9 Contest #1

My Secret Pal 9 host asked us to post this list so our secret pals can learn more about us. It's hard to list just one answer for many of these, but I'll try!

Actor - Sean Penn - I think he is the best actor of his generation.
Actress - Meryl Streep - I love everything she's in.
Animal - Cat
Band - Pete Yorn at the moment
Book - The last book I read that I loved was The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - it's a love story with some fantasy mixed in - beautifully written.
Bubble Bath - I'm not picky...any excuse to take a bubble bath is good for me.
Candy - Milk chocolate
Color - Red
Flower - Peonies
Food - Pizza! - I like all toppings, but pepperoni is my favorite.
Lip Balm - Kiehl's (it heals chapped lips in a jiffy)
Lotion - Bath & Body Works Orange Ginger Aromatherapy
Movie - When Harry Met Sally (the perfect romantic comedy IMO-I can watch it over and over - it never gets old)
Song - It's a Beautiful Day by U2 (one of my faves - there are too many to just have one)
TV Show - Will & Grace, Sopranos
Vacation Spot - Booneville, Ca and New York City - two extreme opposites! Dream vacation - Paris!

Friday, October 13, 2006


By request, I'm posting a picture of a sweater I made for my nephew this past year.

Pattern - Cow Cardigan in Kids' Country Knits by Debbie Bliss
Yarn - Rowan Wool/Cotton
Size - 3-6 months
Needles - US 2 (I think - it calls for US 3 and I usually have to go down a size to make gauge. It's been awhile and I didn't take notes.)
Modifications - Only with the cows. I made some of them almost fully black and brown. In the pattern, all the cows look the same.

This is the second time I've made this sweater and it comes out super cute. You can't tell in the picture very well, but some cows are black and some dark brown. The buttons are little tractors except for the top (a cow) and bottom (a rooster). I've made several patterns from this book. The patterns are for newborns through age 5. I know I will make more in the future (including the cow sweater!).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Secret Pal 9 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I like wools and wool blends, alpaca, some cotton - more traditional yarns. Most Rowan and Debbie Bliss yarns, Koigu, Mountain Colors, Blue Skye...I don't like many novelty yarns. No acrylic.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I use a plastic storage box that pulls out like a drawer. I bought it at Target and it's worked well so far, except that it's nor very portable. I just pull what I need and keep those items in my knitting bag.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for about 16 years now. I took a class at a yarn store when I was in college. In the beginning, there would be times when I didn't knit for a couple of years here and there, but I've been pretty consistent for the past ten years and I plan on knitting forever (as long as I am able). I consider myself to be an intermediate/advanced knitter. There is still a lot I can learn. I just learned to do cables a year ago, which are very easy, I just never learned. And then there are socks - I made a baby pair in a class, but I haven't finished an adult size pair yet. But I plan to soon!

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No - I keep it all in my head.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
I love candles and bath products. I like a variety of scents - citrus scents (orange ginger, grapefruit, lemon), lemongrass, lavendar, flowers, vanilla - pretty much anything goes except for food smells like chocolate chip cookies (I'd rather that scent was coming from the oven!).

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Yes! I have a weakness for homemade cookies and ice cream. I don't eat much candy, but I love chocolate, especially milk chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I've done a little scrapbooking - I like all the paper products and stickers. I love to cook and bake - I'm always trying a new recipe that I saw on Food Network. I don't spin. I won't let myself take on another fiber related hobby. I'm happy to just knit.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like rock and alternative rock. I think U2 is the best band of all time. Even the Beatles (who I also love) didn't have the career span that U2 has had. Pete Yorn is a favorite. Also Radio Head, Cold Play, the Killers - I could go on and on. And yes, I can play MP3s on my computer.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
My favorite color is red. When it comes to yarn I like earthy tones rather than bright primary colors. I'm drawn to blue/green colors a lot, like teal, indigo blue, sea green. I really like all colors, just not bright ones. I also like neutrals - black, white, cream, taupe.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm married, no children yet but we're trying. I have a male cat named Nikko who's going to be 15 this month.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I like them all. There isn't a huge need for them here in Southern California, but we do have chilly nights and mornings in the winter. And my husband and I like to travel, so I like to wear them if the weather permits.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Sweaters. I especially like to make baby sweaters because they knit up so quickly and they're so darn cute. Lately I've been making a lot of fingerless gloves and a couple of scarves.

13. What are you knitting right now?
A baby hoodie for my one year old nephew, a felted tote bag - I have a small collection of UFOs, and I'm trying to decide which sweater I want to cast on for myself next.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I like both - it depends on the project. Sweaters are usually easier with circulars because of their size and bulk. I use a lot of bamboo, but I'm beginning to lean toward Addis or something similar - again it depends on the project. I don't like the metals dpns because they're slippery and fall out leaving loose stitches behind.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No. Can you believe I'm still winding my yarn by hand? I use the cardboard tube that's in the middle of the roll of paper towels. It works, it's just slow. I intend to buy a winder and swift, but I always buy yarn instead.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
About 8 years! Its a cardigan designed by Annabelle Fox. It has intarsia flowers along the bottom border and then a leaf lace pattern on the top. I got stuck on the pattern and put it away for a long, long time.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving and Christmas. And my birthday. :)

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Not really. I keep all my knitting magazines and have several pattern books. I like antique dishes - china, depression glass, especially little sugar and creamer sets, but I only have a couple so it's not really a collection.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I'd like to have the Treasury of Knitiing books by Barbara Walker, Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush, anything by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I don't have any subscriptions to magazines - I buy Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits regularly.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'd like to learn Fair Isle and conquer making socks.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I'm a wannabe at this point. I haven't quite taken the plunge and committed to finishing a pair. But I keep buying sock yarn! So I will be some day. My foot measurements are 9 1/2 inches long and 8 1/2 inches around the ball of the foot. I wear a size 8 shoe.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
May 22nd

Monday, October 09, 2006

Yarn Crawlin' on the Westside

Saturday a group of us from the Pasadena knitting group met up with 3 gals from West LA and did a yarn crawl in West LA and Santa Monica. I had been looking forward to this for weeks, since the first yarn crawl we did in the Valley was such a great time and the second one in OC was cut short for me. It did not disappoint. What's more fun than spending a day with friends (some old, some new) who share the addiction, um, I mean passion for fiber, visiting yarn store after yarn store?! Anyone? Anyone? I can't think of anything either.

So here goes it. I admit I was very lazy with the camera that day and now regret not taking a group photo at least. I have since, however, taken photos of my stash enhancement.

The first store we went to was A Mano. This was by far our favorite stop. Super friendly staff, great selection of yarn and competitive prices. The staff invited us to come back and hang out with them, knit and have lunch. I bought three skeins of Noro Kureyon in color 164 (green, gold, cream) to make a felted purse. The red yarn at the top is Cherry Tree Hill that was 40% off. I'm going to make myself a pair of socks...someday. (I have yet to make a pair of socks even though I continue to buy sock yarn.) And the orange and brown skein on the right are Cascade 220 from which I plan to make these felted pumpkins from last year's Knitty.

Our second stop was L'Atelier in Santa Monica. This store used to be a favorite of mine in the late 90s when I lived in the area. Over time, they started favoring novelty yarns which is not my taste, and I began venturing out and found other stores I liked better. Basically there are two options in this store - novelty - or their version of traditional....cashmere....which I absolutely love, but is simply not an option for me at 30-60 dollars for one ball! Needless to say, I did not buy any yarn here. I did buy the Holiday issue of Vogue and a Tahki (I kept pronouncing it "tacky") pattern book. The staff was very friendly - moreso than I remember them being in the past, and the manager stopped a couple of us to ask what we liked and didn't like about the store. She wanted us to be honest and we were. If they were to increase their inventory to include reasonable priced traditional yarns, I would visit the store from time to time.

Our third stop was Jennifer Knits in Brentwood. This was my second favorite store. The owner and staff were super friendly and they have a very nice, but pricey, inventory. The downside is that none of the prices were marked, so we had to ask each time we wanted to know how much something cost. Or look it up on the price list, which didn't work for me. See the pretty yarn in the picture? It's Prism 100% Angora. I carried it around with me the whole time I was in the store, like it was a pet bunny or something. I really liked it but I kept wondering what I would make with it. I didn't want to buy it, if I wasn't going to really make something. I can always figure out what to do with the different wools in my stash, but angora is different. I need to have something in mind. I looked this up on the price list - Angora 100% - 10.25 - Sold! Then the owner gave me a pattern for a ruffled scarf - perfect. Then I went to checkout and that was not the price my friends. It was much more. I could have told her I didn't want it, that I had thought it was only 10.25 per skein. But I had been carrying it around for an hour and had fallin for it already. I think this is the method to their 'no price' madness.

And finally, we went to Wildfiber. This is a very nice store - the space is nice, the inventory is good, the prices are fair. The service and staff are not. The owner was very snotty to me and another member of our group. It wasn't so much what she said as the way she said it. I bought the Noro Cash Iroha as a contrasting color to go with the other Noro I had purchased. But I won' go back. There are too many other options in our area. I would rather shop online than give her any more of my business. I think the owner is a little 'high on the hog' from all the publicity on her book that recently came out. She obviously doesn't need or want my business.

I had a great day and next time I'm on the Westside, I'll visit A Mano for sure. But there are other stores closer to me that have good prices and good service.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Beth's Baby Shower

Yesterday the Pasadena SnB had a baby shower for Beth. The theme was knitted items, since that's what we do together, and do it well. Here's the best part. We had it in a yarn store! What fun is that?! A private party in a yarn store. Heaven, my friends. We had it at Unraveled, thanks to Fay Lynn (who organized the event), Christine (who owns the store and allowed us to use it) and Sandy (who was Fay Lynn's right hand woman).

Here are most of us who were there:

From left to right: Jan, Marie, Joan, Beth, Fay Lynn, me, Mary and Jillian

You cant' read it in the picture, but Beth was wearing the sign that was on the door which said "Closed - Private Party".

Here is the basket of gifts (so cute!):

Beth with a crocheted Bear made by Joan

A profile with the cake

And finally-

An FO just in time for the event (barely). I was sewing it up the morning of - but it's finished! This is the Baby Hoodie from Special Knits by Debbie Bliss. I made it in size 12-24 months. I used a washable wool - an italian brand that I bought at the Yarn Lady Bag Sale. The sweater came out so cute. I'm now making another one for my nephew's first birthday.

I would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to Fay Lynn and Sandy for a wonderful party!!!