Thursday, December 10, 2009

Catchin' Up

Once again, I find myself dusting off the blog after a long unintentional hiatus. As you can tell, my plan to blog everyday from August 20th through the end of September lasted a mere ten days. Oh well. I enjoyed it while it lasted and I found myself coming up with lots of ideas to blog about. And, I have been missing my confessions here.

A lot of knitting has been going on. My knitting group is doing a GKAL (group knit-along) for the end of the year. We're calling in our mmmmmmMalabrigo Madness GKAL. What that means is we can knit whatever we want using yummy Malabrigo yarn. Sign me up! As always, I had BIG plans. I was going to make two Easy Wraps (Rav link), a pair of Evangeline Mitts (Rav link), a Clapotis (Rav link) and two Grinch-like Christmas Stockings (Rav link). Stop laughing. So far I've finished one Easy Wrap and I'm three quarters of the way done on the second. Our GKAL ends Dec. 31st, so I won't cast on all of the above projects, but I will get to them eventually. I'll be able to cast on one more before Dec. ends. Either the Evangeline Mitts or the Clapotis.

Project: Easy Wrap
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, Chestnut
Needles: KnitPicks Options, US size 8
Start: October 4, 2009
Finish: November 10, 2009
Mods: I used size 8 needles instead of 10 1/2. For some reason when I swatched with even size 9's, the fabric seemed too loose to me. Using the smaller needles I cast on 107 stitches instead of 85. I also had to buy a 5th skein of yarn because I wanted it to be the same length as the store sample I had seen at Twist (my new favorite LYS).

Easy Wrap #2

This time I'm using size 10 needles. When I swatched for this one, the fabric didn't seem all that loose. Weird I know. It must be a mood thing. Anyway. I'm loving this color - Azul Profundo. Just gorgeous! And wait until you see the rockin' button I found for it.

We took a mini vacay last weekend in Santa Barbara. I always want to move there when I visit. I went to school there and it's a very nice way of life. Someday maybe. The real reason for the trip was that Jeff ran in the marathon.

He did awesome! 3:29 and some seconds! He shaved over six minutes off his PR. Amazing.

I'll leave you with this parting shot:

Until next time....

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Day in the Life

Oops! I completely forgot to post yesterday. I almost didn't make it today either, but I would have had a better reason.

My day started out fine. I had an appt. in LA, so I took the opportunity to visit my good friend Traci. We went to Santa Monica to run an errand, so I suggested that we stop at Wild Fiber. When you're that close to a yarn store, you just have to go in. I taught Traci how to knit when she was first pregnant fifteen years ago. She knitted for several years when her kids were little, but then stopped completely. I guess motherhood took over.

We roamed the store admiring and petting the yarn. We were just about to leave when my friend spotted a sample scarf that she really liked. I told her she could easily make that. Ha! She walked out with the yarn and pattern. Hook, line and sinker! Maybe it will stick this time. Just doing my part to spread the joy of knitting.

After we enjoyed a nice lunch, I headed home. Before I got there, I learned my 2 year old nephew was in the hospital, so I headed straight over. Turns out, he has a bad case of the croup. They're keeping him overnight for observation. I hope he is well enough to come home tomorrow. He looks so sad. I'm going back tomorrow. Even though I can't do anything to make him better, I can at least give my sister some moral support.

Get better soon Adam!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Farmers' Market

One of my favorite things to do on Sunday morning is go to the farmers' market. Claremont's is a small one, only spanning the length of one block, but there's a good variety of fruits and vegetables.

There are even a few artists that sell their work. Jewelry, pottery, photography, handmade soap, etc.

I especially love these little ceramic jars. They're so delicate and beautifully made. The little figurines on the lids add a touch of whimsy. I always admire them and yet I don't own one. Someday. Part of the problem is choosing which one I want to bring home with me. I just can't choose only one.

This is how I spent my morning. I'm glad I went early. We've been having very hot weather. Yesterday it was 104.

The market always inspires me to buy vegetables I usually don't buy and to try to use the ones I do in new ways. Today I bought figs. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet. I bought stuff for salads too, but the figs were the unique ingredient of the day.

After the market, I went to a local cafe for coffee and a pain au chocolate.

The recipe for a perfect Sunday morning.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Interview with Jeff

I had seen this interview a long time ago on a couple of blogs I read. I always wanted to do it and now I'm finally getting around to it.

Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Jeff: That it gives you a creative, constructive hobby.

Me: What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
Jeff: That it distracts from other things you could be doing.

Me: What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good?
Jeff: My gray sweater.

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
Jeff: No. An expensive hobby would be like collecting cars, racing motorcycles or golf. I think men have more expensive hobbies. Knitting isn't a cheap hobby, but it's not expensive. It's average.

Me: Do you have any hobbies?
Jeff: Yes

Me: What are your hobbies?
Jeff: Running and watching NFL Football on TV.

Me: If we compared money spent on hobbies, who would win?
Jeff: What does winning mean? Spending less money or spending more?
Me: Who spends more?
Jeff: I think mine are more expensive.

(Let me explain, because you're probably wondering how just how expensive running and watching football can be, right? Jeff is a serious runner. He runs 2-3 marathons a year. He buys new shoes every two months and we travel to other cities for marathons, so he's figuring in these costs.

As for football, we have NFL Sunday Ticket which is a service Direct TV offers which gives you access to every football game being played each week. He's also in three fantasy football leagues and traveled twice this year for two of the drafts.

I think we're probably even when you factor in my expenses at Stitches. But I'm glad he doesn't think so. wink)

Me: Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you?
Jeff: No

Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Jeff: No. I know that you don't like synthetics, but I don't know what your favorite type of yarn is. I don't even know if you have one. I thought it depended on what you were going make with it.

Me: Can you name another blog?
Jeff: Brooklyn Tweed. And then there's also the Yarn Harlot.

Me: Do you mind that I want to check out yarn stores everywhere we go?
Jeff: No.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
Jeff: No.

Me: Do you read my blog?
Jeff: Yes

Me: Have you ever left a comment?
Jeff: Yes

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn’t knit?
Jeff: Yes

Me: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Jeff: I'm happy that you have a hobby that you enjoy. I'm glad that you're into your thing and it makes you happy.

Jeff: What is the importance of a swatch? Is that what you knit first when you start a FO?

And with that, I'm off to explain the importance of swatching and what a FO is.....

Friday, August 28, 2009


Project: Princess Mitts
Yarn: Blue Sky Melange
Needles: Size 5 dpns
Start: 8/27/09
Finish: 8/28/09

I finished these by 2 pm today. Here I thought I would be weaving in the ends in the parking lot before I went into the restaurant. I finished in plenty of time. You can't see the cablework in the picture very well. If you squint you can see it. Kind of. I was very happy with how these came out. They are so soft. I almost didn't want to give them away. The good news is that I can always make myself a pair. :)

My friend loved them. I thought I would get home with plenty of time to post this, but here it is almost midnight. Just in the nick of time.

I'm off to bed now. What will I knit tomorrow? Oh yeah. The soakers. I have to finish them so that I can move on to something more exciting.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One down...

I decided at the last minute to knit a birthday gift for my friend Lynda, because I'm crazy like that. I thought about what I could actually finish in two days. Fingerless gloves might work. Since I've made several pair of Fetchings, I didn't want to make those. I wanted something different. I've been wanting to make Evangeline for a long time, but because the arms or so long, I was worried I wouldn't finish. They're almost like a pair of socks without the toe and heel. And I'm not very fast at making socks.

So after some stash diving, and then getting distracted by lovely stash that I haven't visited with in awhile, I came up with this.

I found some Blue Skye Melange in this pretty blue, and the Princess Mitts pattern which are about the same size as the Fetchings and, therefore, possible to finish before I leave the house tomorrow at 6pm for Lynda's birthday dinner.

Status: one down.

One to go. It's going to be tight, but I think I can do it. I'm going to call it a night and get up early so the knitting can continue.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So close

I'm so close to finishing my soakers do-over. I thought I would finish them today at my knitting group, but no go. Now I have to put them on the back burner until Saturday.

I've decided to knit a last minute gift for a birthday dinner I'm going to Friday. This Friday. You know what I'll be doing for the next two days. Can she do it? More details to come tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Good Customer Service Still Exists

I know I didn't talk much about Stitches this year. Probably because I had not been blogging much at the time, and then it seemed too late. But one thing I did want to share was the awesome customer service I received from two of the vendors there.

Vendor #1

ImagiKnit (San Francisco)- I was looking for some Malabrigo Chunky in pink to make another Dumpling Bag for my friend Brooke who is a very fun and full-of-life preteen. The ImagiKnit booth had a lot of Malabrigo. I quickly zoned in on a skein of Shocking Pink, but it was in worsted weight. I asked one of the people working the booth if they had it in chunky. He looked, but didn't find any. Now this is where I would expect him to say " I'm sorry, but we must have sold out." Instead, he said, "We probably have some at the store. Let me call and check. If we have it, we can bring it for you tomorrow." And that's just what they did. In the craziness of the market, they went out of their way to get me one skein of Malabrigo Chunky in Shocking Pink. A perfect example that good customer service is alive and well in today's world.

Vendor #2

Purlescence Yarns (Sunnyvale, CA)- My mom offered to buy me a sweater's worth of yarn as an early birthday present. Since using the Dream in Color Classy in the Baby Tulip Cardigans, I had really wanted to make something for myself with this yarn. The color Chinatown Apple was calling my name. Both Webs and Purlescence carried Dream in Color at their booths. Purlescence had more of the Chinatown Apple. As I was looking through the skeins trying to match them the best that I could, one of the employees came up to me and offered to open them from the wrapped skein so that I could compare the colors more accurately. She stood there with her arms out while I opened the skeins and draped them around her arms. I opened every skein they had and picked the ones that matched the closest. Did I mention that this was Saturday afternoon? The busiest day of the market.

I have not yet had the pleasure to visit these two stores. But after the great customer service I received from them at Stitches, I will definitely visit them when I'm in their area and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to friends.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Coffee cake, anyone?

Today was a pretty low key day. I took this Sour Cream Coffee Cake over to my friend Ann's house for a visit this morning. It's a Barefoot Contessa recipe. Ina never disappoints. I'm a huge fan. I'm convinced we would be the best of friends if we only knew each other.

In the afternoon my dad came over and we worked in the garden for a little while. Three of the tomato plants had fallen over, so we had to put stakes in the ground to give them more support. We also tied up some limbs that were lying on the ground. More tomatoes are becoming ripe! We picked two today. I wish I had taken a picture of the one I sent home with my dad. I bet it weighs 2 lbs.! Close anyway.

Jeff is home this week on vacation, although he's studying for an exam he needs to take for work. At least we get to spend some extra time together. :)

More to come tomorrow...

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I am not a crocheter. I remember when I was little, our neighbor who lived across the street taught me how to do the chain stitch, but I think that was it. I remember sitting on the curb, chaining away until I had the longest chain ever. I don't know why she didn't teach me more. As you can imagine, the chain stitch lost it's appeal and I eventually moved on to weaving potholders with a loom kit. Remember those?

I guess fiber arts has always been in my blood even though it didn't really take hold until I was in my early twenties. My grandmother crocheted an afghan for me when I was a preteen. I still have that blanket, and even though it's made with acrylic yarn and the colors have faded, I cherish it to this day.

This summer my knitting group deciced that this would be the "Summer of Crochet." I thought it would be the perfect time to start Babette, which I have slowly been collecting the yarn for the past two years. This is what I have so far. I started out strong and then my crochet mojo (much like my knitting mojo) fizzled. It's okay though. This blanket is intended for my future daughter who we are adopting from China. We're in for a long wait, so I have plenty of time to finish .

I was going for very girlie colors that are bright and cheery. I think it's going to be very pretty. I wonder if I finish it sooner it will make our wait shorter. One can only hope, right?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Like Waiting for Water to Boil

Actually, it's been worse.

I planted a HUGE crop of heirloom tomatoes this year. Twenty-five plants to be exact. And none of them are ripe yet, except for the yellow cherry tomatoes.

I know I went overboard, but there is a reason for it. I purchased ten different kinds of seeds and I wanted at least one of each. I wasn't sure how many of the seeds would germinate, so I planted four of each kind. Out of forty seeds, thirty-five grew. I gave ten away, which left me with twenty-five. So I have my own little tomato factory growing.

I feel like I've been more than patient, but to be honest, my patience is wearing thin. I want ripe tomatoes. Now. Today I saw a glimmer of hope. See that tomato on the left above? There's a hint of redness. A promise of something good to come. That's a mighty big tomater there.

And then I saw this one:

It's even closer to being ready. I see caprese salads, marinara sauce and stuffed tomatoes in my future. I didn't walk away from the garden completely empty handed.

Still, it's all about the tomatoes for me!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tips on Gauge

Let's face it. We can all use some extra help when it comes to the subject of "gauge" in regards to our knitting. It remains an illusive pursuit for many of us. Even when we think we've got it, it can turn on us and stab us in the back. I've read interviews and blogs of veteran knitters who lament on the subject.

There are many factors that effect gauge. Needle size. Yarn choice. Pattern (ribbing, cables or colorwork vs. stockinette). Flat vs. circular. Whether you're at the beginning of a project or in the middle. Knitting in the waiting room of your dentist's office right before you get a root canal versus knitting under a cabana with a tropical ocean view and a pretty drink with an umbrella in it sitting next to you. I could go on and on. You get the picture.

Swatching is an essential part of our knitting. Without it we're knitting blind. We don't know how things will turn out. Heh. We don't know how things will turn out when we do swatch sometimes, but we stand a better chance of getting results that we'll be happy with. I know of knitters who never swatch, those who swatch depending on the project and a few who swatch religiously. Me? I'm a half-assed swatcher. I rarely knit up an entire 4" swatch. Usually, I'll knit half of it and then measure my stitches per inch. It works. Sometimes.

A few months ago I heard two interesting tips on gauge on podcasts that I listen to.

The first one was on the KnitPicks Podcast. It was an interview with a designer. Sorry to say that I can't remember who. I went back and listened to a couple of episodes that I thought it might have been in, but I couldn't find it. Have you ever tried to get gauge and one needle size was too big and then you go down a needle size and it was too small? You feel like Goldilocks. Well. This designer suggested trying one of each size on interchangeable needles. So you would have a size 7 on one end and a size 6 on the other. Brilliant! The gauge should be in the middle of the two. I haven't tried it yet. I could have with Bella's top, but I think I was in such a hurry to get it done that it didn't even cross my mind.

The second tip was on the Knitmore Girls Podcast. They were interviewig designer Cheryl Oberle (episode 51). Cheryl talked anout the "30 stitch gauge swatch" which was developed in a knitting group she belonged to.. She always casts on at least 30 stitches. She then measures the entire width of the swatch. If you cast on more than 30 stitches, you wa,t to measure the width of only 30 stitches. If you change one needle size, the width will change exactly 1/2". This works for all yarn weights from chunky to lace and all stitch patters. She taught this in a class at a yarn store and one of the employees was skeptical, so she tested it in every weight of yarn and reported that it worked. Interesting, no?

Swatching to get gauge will only enhance our knitting by producing more better fitting garments. I'm looking forward to trying out these tips on my next project. And I plan to work on being a better swatcher. I love that I've been knitting for 20 (!) years now and there are still plenty of techniques for me to learn or improve.

How about you? Do you have any special gauge tips to share?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In a funk

Dear Blog,

I apologize for abandoning you the way I have. It's been not one, not two, but three months since my last post! How could that be? Where did the time go? Please know that even though I haven't been giving you the attention you deserve, I do think about you often. Daily even. I'll read, hear or see something that I want to share with you. But then I don't. The only thing I can attribute such behaviour to is that I feel like I've been in a funk lately. You know the kind, where you're going through the motions but your heart not into any of it? Well, it's time to take some steps to snap myself out of it. And I promise to do better.

You probably won't believe me, but I have been knitting. I just haven't been very excited about any of it. My most recent FO is the Karys top, which I made for my friend Bella's 5th birthday. It looks adorable on her. But then, everything does. She's too cute.

Project: Karys
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cotton dk, color 13038 (hot pink)
Needles: KnitPicks Options US 5
Start Date: July 14, 2009
Finish Date: August 1, 2009

Mods: Since I used a different yarn, I had trouble getting gauge, so I did a little math and made some adjustments to get as close to the size I wanted as possible. I was getting 5 stitches per inch, instead of 5.5, so I cast on 76 stitches instead of 84. When it came to the width of the garment, I followed the instructions for the smaller size. For length, I followed the pattern.

Finished pattern size:
15 1/4” across the bottom
12” across the mid-section
5 1/2” across the top, shoulder to shoulder
17” long

My finished size:
16” across the bottom
10 3/4” across the mid-section
8 3/4” across the top, shoulder to shoulder
17 1/4” long

The size isn't exactly like the pattern suggests, but it fits! So I'm not bothered by it. The one thing that does bother me is the sleeve situation. I didn't count how many stitches I had picked up on the first sleeve. I thought there couldn't be that big of a difference. Wrong! I picked up a lot more for the second sleeve, resulting in a more ruffled version than its counterpart. sigh Lesson learned. Count how many stitches you pick up so that you have two matching sleeves!

Here's another picture, since my model shots of Bella were washed out by light.

I also made a pair of soakers for a friend who is using cloth diapers on her baby. Alas, they were too small, so I'm reknitting them in a bigger size. Here's a pic of the first version.

In an effort to get my blogging mojo back, I'm going to experiment. Back in May, Clara Parkes posted on her blog everyday. I remember thinking that this is what I need to do in order to make blogging more of a habit. So I'm going to do it. From now until September 30th, I will blog everyday to make up for the lack of attention that I've given you. There, I said it. (yikes) Of course, I don't knit fast enough for it to be all about knitting. But I will try to include as much knitting related content as I can.

So. Until tomorrow....

Edited to add a title to this post. See. I'm rusty.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Birthday Musings

Today is my birthday.

Unlike many who view getting older as depressing and don't want to celebrate, I look forward to mine every year. At some point, many years ago, it might have been in high school, I started celebrating the week of my birthday. Later in my twenties, I decided I would celebrate the whole month. Now this may seem a little over the top, and I don't mean that I have birthday cake and blow out candles every day for the entire month, although that doesn't sound like a bad idea. I'd probably be sick of cake after the first week, but maybe not. I do love me some cake. But I digress. My month long celebration is more about being in the birthday spirit.

I see it as an opportunity to consciously celebrate life. My life. It's very easy for all of us to get caught up in day to day routines and responsibilities, taking life for granted. When my birthday comes around, I reflect on the past and wonder about the future. I think about all of the ways in which I am fortunate. And there are many. I feel gratitude for experiencing great joy along with great sadness. For feeling love, friendship, laughter, anger and frustration. Because all of it adds up to the fact that I am alive, right now, at this point in time, in this great big wonderful, and sometimes horrible, world that we live in. It beats the alternative, which is not physically getting younger. That is not possible.

I do not want to be sixteen again. I had some great teenage years, but there were also some growning pains and plenty of heartbreak, not to mention having to be in chemistry at 7:05 am. Nor do I want to revisit my twenties. Yes, I was young and thought I held the world by a string. But those years transitioning into full fledge adulthood had their tough moments that I would rather not relive. No, I think I'll stay right where I'm at.

Many years ago, when I was young and had my whole life ahead of me, I made a decision to embrace getting older. I usually view the glass as half full. It was a good decision.

Today I turned 42. I think it's going to be a very good year. Because along with getting older, I like to think that I'm becoming better. And I still have the rest of my life ahead of me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Rainbow of Koigu

This weekend Jeff asked me if I'm still knitting. What?! He said he's asking because I haven't blogged in over a month. I guess I've been knitting more when he's away than when he's at home. I think I'm going to have to post every week, now that I know he's checking in while he's out of town. Isn't that sweet? I'm a lucky gal. He reads my blog, he asks about my knitting and he never complains about my stash. So honey, this one's for you. : )

See that? That's Koigu. I've been collecting it for two years now to make the Babette Blanket and I have 30 skeins. My knitting group is doing a group knit along, I mean crochet along called "Summer of Crochet". It's the perfect time to start Babette. I'm not much of a crocheter, but I've been practicing and I will be when this is finished.

This blanket will be for our little girl whom we are in the process of adopting from China. Adoption is a long journey and not for the faint of heart. We are still a good three years away from meeting our daughter, unless a miracle happens and the wait shortens. I'm hoping for a miracle, but preparing for the long haul. Whenever it happens, she'll have this beautiful blanket to welcome her home.

Project: Dream in Color Tulip Baby Cardigan #3
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy
Needles: KnitPicks Options US Sizes 7 & 9
Start: April 22, 2009
Finish: May 17, 2009

I made another Tulip in the past few weeks. See. There has been some knitting going on. This makes Tulip #3 and it's for my friend Wendy's new baby girl, Pema, who was born on the 9th of this month. I adore Dream in Color Classy. I don't think I'll ever get bored with it. The colors are like candy.

A little luck came my way and I won a raffle! Orinda had a fundraiser for the Roseville String Ensemble, of which she is a part. She had a drawing for everyone who donated and I won the handspun called "Lame Duck". It's 175 yards of Superwash BFL in DK weight spun and donated by Nuttnbunny. Thank you Orinda and Nuttnbunny! It's beautiful!

And last, but not least, I'm hoping to have an awesome tomato crop this summer. Red ones, yellow ones, purple ones.... I can't wait. Grow little seedlings, grow!

I hope your knitting is treating you well! Until next time....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

To be, or not to be...

Last year, my knitting group did a group knit along and made the Lenore socks. I cast on and knit about 1.5 inches and that's as far as I got. Since I love wearing my Pomatomus socks, i.e., my only pair of handknit socks, I decided that this year I want to knit more of them. When I took them out of hiding, one of the needles had partially come out and some of the stitches had come undone. This is a lace pattern, so I figured it would be easier to take it out and start again rather than fixing the lost stitches that entailed yarnovers, k2tog, slipping and passing it over. So I did. Now I have about 2.5 inches and I'm stuck. I can't knit anymore.

Do you want to see what can kill your knitting mojo faster than 1970's scratchiest acrylic in the ugliest color you can imagine?

I had wound this skein into a pretty cake. As I was knitting, it was getting harder and harder to pull the yarn from the center. In an effort to pull out the problem so I can fix it, I had to pull half of the middle out. It's a tangled mess. I don't know if my Lenores are meant to be. sigh

I worked on detangling it for awhile, but then I got frustrated. So I cast on Tulip Baby Cardigan #3 for a friend who's having a baby in May.

Oh, I finished Ingenue, but still have to block it. Hopefully I'll have some FO pics soon.

And because I can't resist. Here are my nephews, taken at the park.

Aren't they cute? They're very sweet boys.

I hope you're knitting is making you happy!

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'll raise you two cowls and a dumpling.

I have some FOs that I haven't shared with you. Two were part of the Feel Like a Floozy KAL my knitting group did back in January. Finishing what we cast on with wild abandon wasn't in the rule book, but it is likely that I will eventually finish them all except for one. I frogged the Toasty fingerless gloves. They were knitting up too small. I'm not sure if I'll use the same yarn, or look for something else in my stash. I do want to make myself a pair, but now that spring is here it isn't urgent.

Project: Tamarind Cowl
Yarn: Sundara Aran Silky Merino in Ruby Port
Neddles: KnitPicks Options US Size 7
Start: January 2, 2009
Finish: January 10, 2009
Mods: I only did two repeats of the pattern instead of three because I didn't have enough yarn. I used up the remains of Sundara that I had used for my Shetland Triangle Shawl. I can't think of a better use for it than to be wrapped around my neck. Even though it's shorter than the pattern, it still covers my neck to keep me warm.

Project: Dumpling Bag
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky
Neddles: KnitPicks Options US Size 17
Start: January 7, 2009
Finish: February 22, 2009

Another of my Floozy knits was the Dumpling Bag. This bag is so cute. Why don't I felt more? It's so fun to see the transition from oversized knitted bag to cute little felted dumpling. I knitted this on size 17 needles because I didn't have any needles between size 11-17. The size 11s were too small. I figured if I came out with a bigger dumpling, no problem. But I left it in the wash too long and it's actually a little smaller than the pattern. It's 9.5 x 4.5. The width is comaprable to the pattern, but it came out a lot shorter. Next time I won't leave it in the wash as long. I left it in for 20 minutes, so next time I'll check it at 10. Still, I think it's cute and I'm sending it off to my friend, Teresa, in Florida.

My next dumpling will be pink for Brooke (my friend, Traci's daughter) who will be twelve in May. I'm going to work on improving my dumpling skills. ;)

Project: Tamarind Cowl
Yarn: Malabrigo
Needles: KnitPicks Options US Size 7
Start: March 13, 2009
Finish: March 24, 2009
Notes: My bind-off made this very tight going over the head, so I took it out and bound off again very loosely. It was still kind of tight. Thanks to Mary for teaching me the ssk bind-off (knit two, ssk, knit one, ssk, to the end). It had the perfect amount of stretch to go over the head easily.

Coming home from Stitches with this beautiful Malabrigo, I decided to knit up another Tamarind Cowl as a belated birthday gift for my friend Becky. Becky is one of my very best friends. We've been friends since second grade (I was in second, she was in first). We were girl scouts together, took dancing lessons together, had sleepovers at each others house, etc. As we got older, we went to parties together and tried to alter our I.D.s so that we could buy alcohol underage (unsuccessfully, I might add). People would ask if we were sisters. We look nothing alike, but we spent so much time together that I think we acted alike. We've known all of the boys and men in each other's life and have been there for each other in good times and bad. I have no doubt that we will be friends for the rest of our lives.

And the verdict:

She loves it!

And just for old times....

Here we are in the 80's. Were we stylin' or what?

Love ya Beck!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Still alive and still knitting!

I started the year out with a bang blogging four times in two weeks, and then...well...and then it fizzled like leftover champagne on New Year's Day. Hope is not lost entirely for me to be a more active blogger. I think I will make it a personal goal to increase my number of posts this year comapred to last year.

Despite my absence, I have been knitting a lot. I finished my Le Slouch hat and the Tamarind Cowl. I hope to post some FO pictures soon.

My current focus is my Ingenue sweater. I love knitting this sweater. I think it's the combination of falling hard for the Brooks Farm yarn I am using (color and knitted fabric) and the elegant simplicity of the pattern. It's not so simple that it's boring, but it's straightforward and it's knitting up quick.

I was cruising along and easily could have had the body done last week, but I set it aside for a few days. I needed to make a decision. Do I keep going and ignore the pooling of color that resulted from the waist shaping? Or do I rip it out and alternate two balls of yarn to prevent pooling? Here's a picture:

Sorry about the low lighting. When I used the flash it washed out the fabric and the pooling didn't stand out as much. Here's a closeup:

Yes, those are live stitches at the bottom. 184 to be exact. I decided this morning to rip back to where the waist shaping started and get rid of the pooling effect. I really love how this sweater is knitting up and I want to love the finished product. It's back on the needles with stitch markers in their proper places, waiting for me to continue on.

I went to Stitches West in February! I had a ton of fun and bought lots of beauties, which I'll post about soon.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Holy Crap!

Today, I learned my tolerance for traffic that is at a dead stop is roughly two and a half hours. I think this is not bad. I know this because that was my breaking point. That's when the headache came on and when I started cursing at people who were honking when there was clearly no place to go. That was when I nearly broke into tears when Jeff called and I was no further to getting home than I was an hour and half prior to that moment. Okay, I'm exagerating. I was a mile closer. Seriously. It took me an hour and a half to drive a mile east. It took me twenty minutes to drive two hundreths of a mile. I was still in a good mood when I decided to time how much progress I was making. This did include trying to find a better route, but there was standstill traffic everywhere I turned.

The first half of the day was lovely. I went to my knitting group, had lunch with Mary and went to Vroman's, one of the few independent bookstores left in our area. Everything went downhill from there. The freeway was shut down due to an overturned tanker. I think it might have been carrying gasoline. So I had to take the streets home from Pasadena to Claremont. Around 25 miles. Traffic everywhere. In the end, it took me three and a half hours to get home. Jeff's in it now from West LA. He's taking a different freeway, but you know what happens when one freeway shuts down, it creates havoc on the others. He called me at 7:30 pm (2 hours into his drive) and told me he thinks he'll be home by 9pm.

At one point, I was listening to my iPod, I texted Mary because I had to vent and I pulled out my knitting. All things one is not supposed to do while driving, but I would argue with an officer of the law if I would have been pulled over that I wasn't driving. I was sitting in my car. Thankfully, there was no way an officer was going to get anywhere near my car to see that I was doing all of those things. The knitting did calm me down a little.

I worked on Le Slouch. I'm just about ready to start my decreases.

I finished my Tamarind Cowl. I hope to take pictures soon to post.

Today is my boy, Cooper's, first birthday. Here he is in his new favorite napping place. Happy birthday Cooper! We love you!

BTW, thanks for listening. I needed that.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Today I was tempted again by malabrigo. Since I finished my dad's scarf, another skein waiting in front of the line in my stash has been calling out to me. "Pick me, pick me", it pleaded. What was I to do? I missed that buttery fiber running through my fingers.

So, as part of my knitting group's Feel Like a Floozy KAL, I decided to cast-on Gretel. It did not go well. I swatched three times before getting gauge. By then I just wanted to cast-on already. But no. I had to watch the tutorial on the tubular cast-on. Seems pretty straight forward. But then she suggested casting on with a straight needle before transferring the stitches to circulars. I had already pulled out a plethora of circulars and dpns, I didn't want to go digging through my straights.

Plus, I realized I would have to use the Magic Loop method since my dpns aren't long enough for the amount of stitches required. This meant I would have to watch another tutorial because I've never done the Magic Loop before. Forget it. I just wanted to knit. Gretel will have to be for another day. At least I know what size needles to use to get gauge. Maybe a short pair of circulars will work in lieu of the magic loop. I'll have to go needle diving again (another day).

Instead, I cast on Toasty in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

These look so cozy. We've been having some chilly weather here in SoCal and it seem my hands and arms are always cold when I'm out and about. These should help.

I want to share a great yarn resource with you. Many of you probably already know about it, but for those of you who don't, meet Yarndex. It's an index of yarn information. You can look up a particular yarn and it will give you its weight, fiber content and shades that it comes in. I use it when I want to see if a yarn will work for a specific pattern, get ideas for other yarns I can use, or when I want to see the shade cards. It's a very useful site.

Stay tuned! Will Gretel make it into the Floozy KAL or will she be tossed aside for other enticing knits?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Flooziness - Day 2

Today I cast on the Tamarind Cowl (rav link) for the Feel Like a Floozy KAL.

I'm using leftover Sundara Aran Silky Merino from my Shetland Triangle Shawl, which I now realize that I never posted the finished product. Partly because some of the photos are blurry and I was hoping to get better ones. I never got around to it, so here it is.

Just squint your eyes to adjust the picture. ;)

Project: Shetland Triangle Shawl
Yarn: Sundara Aran Silky Merino in Ruby Port
Neddles: KnitPicks Options US Size 9
Start: August 10, 2008
Finish: August 31, 2008

I'm really happy with how this came out. I wore it around the house all evening after it was done blocking. I added three extra repeats in the pattern. I wanted it to be a little bigger than others I had seen.

I. Love. This. Yarn. It is gorgeous. If you have the opportunity to buy some, do it! You won't be disappointed.