Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Were You Naughty or Nice?

So, how are every one's holidays so far? Hope they've been fun filled, and that Santa brought you lots of goodies. Because see this? He obviously had one too many after the presents were delivered, and ended up passed out on a neighbor's front lawn. (I had a boyfriend in college who passed out under a bush in a rainstorm for a night, but that's a story for another day.)

Tom and I spotted Santa yesterday afternoon. Our presents were opened, it was a crisp, bright day, so we jumped in the Mustang and took a drive up into Angeles National Forest.

We stopped and had a light picnic lunch, returned home and plopped on the couch for Lakers basketball and knitting.

We finished the day off with a scrumptious prime rib dinner (Tom's favorite and our Christmas traditional dinner). Lovely.

As for gifties, Santa did bring me with a copy of Boho Baby Knits, which I've been coveting since it came out this fall. It's full of adorable patterns!

He also brought these great colorways from Tempted Yarns: Left to right we have Fishnets, Roxanne, and Bordello.

Under them you can see our Christmas tree skirt. When I learned to crochet eight? nine? years ago, it was the first project I completed after twelve billion dishcloths for practice. Made out of unknown brand ack!rylic, we use it every year. It's a humble connection to women's work through the centuries: the families we form, the food we serve, the homes we warm, the gifts we make and give selflessly to those we care about and love. Every time I take it out and lay it under the tree I rejoice in this connection, and the world shines a little brighter.

Merry, merry to all! And to all a kick ass crafty 2008!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Makin' with the Merry

Bright blessings to you and your families.
Here's hoping your holidays are extra sparkly!

Friday, November 30, 2007


Hope all my US readers had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was crazy. Tom woke up on Thanksgiving morning with a bad virus, and spent the next five days in bed. Really sick, poor thing. He's back to work, working 12-15 hour days this week, and still isn't better. So, no holiday to speak of, even though I did serve a righteous turkey and fixins. Chalking it up to being that kind of year and moving on....

What else has been going on? Well, I've seen a l'il devil in his brand new hat.

Kille came to knitting group last week with Baby W. Isn't he adorable? The hat is even a tad big, so he'll be able to grow into it over the winter.

I've joined a couple of KALs. My KAL involvement was spotty at best this year, but I'm hopeful my brain and fingers will work better in 2008. One is the Stash Knit Down 2008 Ravelry group, which I've joined with Barbara. Next year I have to go on a strict yarn budget, and I'm hoping this group will keep me upbeat about knitting from stash.

The other is Melanie's Fearless Knitting KAL. I love the idea behind this one, and will either be learning Fair Isle and/or making a top down sweater. (Isn't it crazy I've never made a top down sweater?) So, if you're in the mood to add new techniques to your arsenal o' knitty knowledge, or conquer your fear of eeky steeks, I hope you'll join us on this one.

Also gotta give a shout out to La, who has designed a Firefly inspired blanket named Serenity. Cunning, ain't she?

And I've been doing the usual knitty things: I've obsessed about the new Raven line from Blue Moon, and am anxiously awaiting my order. I've swatched for Tom's Cobblestone and have somehow lost the swatches. (Huh? How do swatches just disappear?) I didn't even measure them before they went poof, so gotta start again. My holiday knitting is almost finished, and I'm anxious to get back to my second Campfire sock. Once it's done, Mary and I will be joining Carolyn in making our Socks That Rock Lenores. Can't wait for that gothic goodness to be on the needles.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gobble, Gobble

I'm in the midst of Thanksgiving preparation, but wanted to pop in and wish all my US readers a very happy turkey day...and the rest of the world a very happy weekend. Tom and I will be cooking the full-on traditional spread of turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and veggie. (He always grumbles, but I always make sure we get a little green bean or broccoli action.) Tonight I'm baking a coffee cake for breakfast and a pumpkin pie for dessert, so I gotta go get busy with the mixing bowls and spices. Tomorrow we'll be feasting, he'll be watching copious amounts of football, and I'll be knitting between naps. Can't wait.

Happy holidays! See you after the tryptophan wears off.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Flyin' High

This morning I was set to write a little post, and then I saw Anne's Raven shawl in all its blocked glory. Thoughts flew out of my head and scattered like dandelion seeds on the wind. Who knows what I was going to say. I now entreat you to go look at it here.

The heights our craft reaches can be awe inspiring. Humbling. Inspirational. And drop dead gorgeous. Here's hopin' your knitting is allowing your creative wings to soar today.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Behold the first sock made entirely on my own.

I need another one. And, uh, what's an eye of partridge heel? I wanna do that next.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

WIPs-y Wednesday

Taking a cue from Mary, here's a recap of what I've been working on lately.

First up are two projects I'm making for my Mom. A few weeks ago she asked for a black version of my Triangle Bag, and all I have left to do on hers is sew it together and felt it.

I'm also knitting her a Reverse Cable Scarf in some luscious Lush in the Blackberry Wine colorway.

Sorry for the blurry closeup; I had a doozie of a time capturing the color (is it just me, or are dark reds hard to photograph?). This would be a quick project, except that I am so over scarves at the moment. I think the Chevron did me in. The progress I have made was in the wee hours one night when I was watching The Proposition on cable. Man, Ray Winstone sold that movie, and Guy Pearce...well, all I could think as I watched him was, Eat a donut, man. He was creepily emaciated. My man Nick wrote the script and the soundtrack, and overall I think he did a good job on the first and a fair job on the second. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, knitting...

I'm also working s-l-o-w-l-y on my Campfire Socks.

First sock, 3 1/2" in. I started it forever ago, then put it down and now am picking it back up. The cheery colors spiral nicely, don't they?

Mostly what I'm working on, however, are holiday gifts. Normally I don't do much holiday knitting, but this year I stumbled over a gift idea that's functional and fun to make for folks, and I'm a holiday knitting machine. I'm also dreaming of casting on new projects: Kat Coyle's Lala Scarf and the Yarn Harlot's Lenore Socks. I also recently raided WEBS for some of their cut price Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed, and came away with two sweaters' worth; one sweater's worth shall be a Cobblestone for Tom.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

We Have a Winner

Actually, two. Since the Halloween mini-contest comments were so clever, I couldn't narrow it down to just those folks who told me their fave scary fairy tales. So I did the following: I put the name of everyone who commented in a bowl. Then anyone who actually told me a FSFT I put their name in again, so they'd have a fair chance of winning. I shook things up, pulled the following names a few minutes ago, and...drum roll please:

The winners are Shannon and Liz! I'll be in touch about your goodies.

Thanks to all who participated.

Our Halloween was fun. For some reason the imps and goblins weren't out in force like past years, and we actually were able to hand out candy, eat dinner, hand out candy, watch a movie, hand out candy, and then gorge ourselves on the left over Butterfingers. It was quite civilized; in past years we'd burn through 400 pieces of candy and would be eating at 9:30 pm. The mellowness was nice. We took turns answering the door, and I was even able to knit a bit. Tom's cyclops pumpkin - his signature carving - was a hit with the trick or treaters, as was the "good" candy we handed out. The Junior Mints were a marked favorite. All in all a good time.

It's been a while since I've flashed my WIPs, so knitting content next post. And lookee here. I've frogged my MS3 stole.

Whew. I feel so much lighter.

Happy Day of the Dead. May you and your families - those living and departed - be blessed through the coming year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Want Some Candy, Little Girl?

My thoughts are turning, as they are wont to do this time of year, to the delightfully scary. And what is scarier than those macabre Grimm's fairy tales? Man, it sucked to be a little match girl back in the day. In celebration of the better times we live in - let's hear it for central heating and Snickers - I'm having a mini-Halloween contest. Tell me your favorite SCARY fairy tale in the comments by the witching hour tomorrow night (Samhain, midnight PST), and you could win a skein of spooky sock yarn. I'll draw a winning name from my trusty cauldron on Thursday for one of the following skeins of yarn, and the winner will be announced then. Oh, and if you have a preference for a particular yarn, let me know that, too.

Lovesticks Superwash Sport in Count Sockula

Lovesticks BFL Fingering in Day of the Dead

Razzy Tazzy Knits Superwash Sock in Witch in a Blender

Two other recent acquisitions aren't included in the drawing (sorry), but are too good to omit in my Halloween yarn roundup. Both are sock club colorways, and both get my motor goin'. The first is Yarn Pirate's Killer Bees. I was hoping for a groovy Halloween colorway from her, and she definitely delivered a clever spin on this holiday's colors.

The second is Socks That Rock's Lenore. Up until now I've been ambivalent about the STR Rockin' Sock Club colorways. Oh, they've been nice, yeah, okay, but not particularly me. Well. Then they sent me Lenore.

Isn't she gorgeous? The goth fangirl in me almost fainted when I ripped open the box and Lenore - along with a gothic sock pattern written by the Yarn Harlot herself (!) and these cute spiders - popped out. As I've told several friends, I think my hand trembled as I opened up the plastic bag and held her for the first time. And yeah, Lenore makes me that much more anxious for next week's unveiling of the rest of the Raven about you? (I just checked the Blue Moon Fiber Arts website, and unfortunately it doesn't have anything about the Raven series listed right now. I think the other colors go live on 11/5.)

That's it for now, as I must dust off the broom and practice my cackle for tomorrow night. Happy haunting, my ghoulies.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Revvin' Up for Halloween

On Saturday Tom and I, along with our friends Laura, Carol and Holly, hit the 8th annual Festival de la Gente in East Los Angeles.

A pre-Dias de los Muertos street fair, it included music, altars...

a classic hot rod show...

...and skulls as far as the eye could see!

It also provided me the chance to give Laura the two scarves I recently knit her to replace the stolen Bruise.

Pattern: Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (AKA Bruiser)
Yarn: La Petite Knitterie Hand Painted Merino in colors 324C and 824 - 1 skein each
Needle: US 5
Mods: None
Rating: 17 billion Chevrons can't be wrong

It was enjoyable being part of the Chevron Scarf phenomena. I probably spent hours perusing Ravelry and the Flickr group checking out all the lovely permutations. The pattern itself? Mind numbingly boring. Initially I was going to use two skeins of each color and make a longer scarf - this version is roughly 45" long - but quickly realized I'd rather chew my left hand off than continue knitting it after I used up the first of the two skeins. So instead, Laura received a throat warmer sized scarf, and I get to keep my left hand...what I call a win-win.

For her second scarf, I wanted to make her something luxurious in her favorite color. I've been hoping for an excuse to try Seasilk, and when I saw this subtle semi-solid blue colorway, I knew now was the time.

Pattern: Montego Bay Scarf from Summer 2007 issue of Interweave Knits
Yarn: Handmaiden Seasilk in Polar Sea - 1 skein (bought from Tidal Brook Yarns on eBay)
Needle: US6
Mods: Omitted the fringe
Rating: Proud to be a Seasilk virgin no longer

The stitches literally dripped off my needles, pooling into a beautiful scarf. I thought the fringe the pattern called for was a waste of good yarn, so I added a few rows of garter stitch to the ends and just kept knitting until my skein was used up. An understated, lovely project in a to die for yarn. Good knittin'!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meet the OOPs Gang

Debbi: Duke, let's go do some crimes.
Duke: Yeah. Let's go get sushi and not pay.
~Repo Man

My local knitting group is named the OOPs Knitters. We're a private group that grew out of a Stitch n Bitch group in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles, and we've been meeting together for two and a half years. I feel very lucky to be a part of this group, and you'll see why right now as I introduce you to some of them.

Our ringleader, Needles O'Banion

Ami G. Rumi AKA Bunny Killa

Yarn Terrorista (our newest, sadly blogless member)

And me, Missy "Steeks" McTweed

We're all modeling the Balaclava I whipped up as a lark for Single Skein September. (We're also armed and dangerous around cashmere, so be careful if you run into us in a dark alley and have some on your person.)

Pattern: Balaclava from Knit.1 Winter 2006/07 issue
Yarn: Cascade 220 in color 8555 - 1.25 skeins (easily 1 skein if you shorten the neck portion)
Needle: US 8 16" Addi Turbos; US 8 DPNs
Mods: None, though I may single crochet around the face opening to tighten things up a bit.
Rating: Having your friends model a woolly ski mask in 80 degree heat for you? Priceless.

Oh, and the blurry photos are intended to provide gritty verisimilitude. Really.

Watch your stash!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rock n Roll Hoochie Coo

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments about my eye situation. It was super hard to 'fess up about it. Now that I have, your caring and acceptance of the possibility of endless miles of stockinette - and maybe garter stitch, too - in the days to come have deeply touched my heart. I'm sending each and every one of you big virtual bear hugs. And air kisses. 'Coz that's how we roll in LA, don'tcha know? Hehe.

Now, time to catch up with what I've been knitting. I have several FOs to show off this week! The first is a knitdevilish combo for a knitting friend's new baby. She's vehemently anti-pastel, and very rock n roll. I hope the color combo tickles her fancy.

Rock n Roll Blankie

Pattern: Fluffiest Baby Blanket from Greetings from Knit Cafe
Yarn: ggh Esprit in color 4 Black - 4 skeins; Patons Cha Cha in Siren - half a skein at the most
Needle: US 10 1/2 and any ole crochet hook
Mods: None
Rating: Business up front, party in the back

Ever have a stash yarn you don't know what to do with? So you log onto Ravelry, and do a search of what patterns other knitters have made with it? Well, this is exactly how this blanket came to be. The Esprit was one of my oldest stash yarns (from 2004); it was destined to be a crocheted scarf (the Fun Fur Scarf from Vogue Knitting on the Go: Crocheted Scarves, to be exact), but I couldn't see the stitches well enough to crochet with it. I'm not sure how it survived culling, but during the latest (as I was prepping for the crafty garage sale Marie hosted a few weeks ago), I unearthed it again. I picked it up. So soft! And then, somehow, I'd sat down at the computer and discovered this blanket pattern. As Catwoman says, Purrrrfect.

Once the blankie was done, I knew it needed a little something extra to go with it. I'd just bought this skein of WOTA at our garage sale, and once again it was Ravelry to the rescue.

Lil' Devil Baby Hat

Pattern: Lil' Devil Baby Hat by K. Schmidt
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Red - 1 skein
Needle: US 7
Mods: Knit the horns separately and whip stitched 'em into place
Rating: Wicked cute! (do check out the Ravelry pics - there are some adorable imps modeling their red hats)

That's it for today. Tune in tomorrow for the perfect accessory for a bankrobber.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Oh, how I wish I was talking about the Noro kind. Instead, I'm talking about the life changing kind, the kind that the Fates bonk you over the head with as they cut one strand of existence and substitute another one in the fabric that makes up a person's life.

Yep, it may sound dramatic, but my non-knitting life has been intense lately. The short version is that I have a medical condition that is drastically changing my world. The long version follows, and is the reason why my blogging has suffered. More on that after my explanation, if you care to read my tale of woe, gentle reader.

In spring 2006 my optometrist discovered a problem with my peripheral vision. Months of seeing doctors and medical testing led me to a retina specialist at USC, who informed me in January 2007 that I probably have a variant of a disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). It is a genetically inherited disease, and untreatable. In March I quit driving. In August my doctor declared me legally blind. I still have a small amount of core center vision, but I am uncertain how long it will remain, and am now in the process of preparing as best I may for losing the rest of my sight.

So, yeah, intense. And time consuming. There's a huge learning curve that will be taking up more and more of my time, and so I've regretfully come to the point where I don't know how much longer I will be able to maintain this blog. I'll keep knitting and posting as long as I can, but posting will probably continue to be erratic from here on out. Plus, my knitting has become reductive, with easy stockinette and felting patterns the only things I can wrap my head around, which must be dullsville to read about! Hopefully I'll be able to get back to sweaters and lace and socks soon.

Being part of the knitblog community has been a joy in an otherwise difficult time. I'll continue to read all your blogs, and visit with you on Ravelry, and hopefully still see you here once in a while. Thank you all for your friendship and knitty brilliance. Knitters rule!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Crafty Garage Sale

If you live in the Los Angeles area and are hankering for a good garage sale, here's one for you! This Saturday (9/29) Marie is hosting - and I and several of my knitting group cronies are contributing to - a crafter's bonanza of yarn, patterns, books, knitting, crochet and needlepoint supplies, fabric and sewing supplies, scrap booking supplies and much, much more.

Here's the pile of stuff I'll be selling. I've added to it a bit since the photo was taken this morning. I will be selling a few pieces of vintage pottery and a brand new/unused Elna 1010 sewing machine with case and walking foot, too. (I'm asking $125 for the sewing machine.)

Please contact Marie or leave me a comment if you need directions to her house. Hours of the sale are from 9 am to 4 pm. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Yesterday was a day of firsts.

First #1:

Seeing the Yarn Harlot at the Los Angeles Central Public Library with my knitting BFFs: Annette, Barbara, Jillian, Marie, Mary, MJ and Patty.

L to R: MJ, Jillian, Mary, Annette

Also in our grrl gang for the day were knitting BFFs Carolyn, Wendy and (sadly blogless) Zoe.

L to R: Wendy and Marie

Carolyn drove down from northern California, so she gets the Longest Distance Traveled Award...and the Most Intrepid Award for still finding the event after her car's navigation system sent her to a mortuary in San Pedro instead.


Wendy gets the Best Traffic Story Award: En route she ran into a traffic jam because a house had fallen off its truck and was blocking everything for miles. Check it out here.

The Harlot was the Harlot. Funny, a little prickly, a lot empowering, she spoke for almost an hour and a half and graciously signed hundreds of books.

Barbara and Stephanie

She even took the time to pose with our group for a photo, which, uh, I don't have (hope to get a copy soon). My photos are once again random and blurry - I really need to work on taking better event pictures! - but please check out everyone else's blogs for more in-focus scoopage. And Ellen has a wonderful post about the event, too. (She introduced Stephanie!)

Our motley crew (photo credit to Mary - thanks)

It has been a while since our knitting group has had a day out together, and what a day it was. Not to get all maudlin, but as I sat in the audience, surrounded by and chattering and laughing with my friends, I felt this wonderful completeness at the connection we all shared. Very cool.

First #2: My first year blogiversary. Hey, it's been a year. How'd that happen?

First #3: Renewing my Yarn Pirate Booty Club membership. (It's still open, in case you're thinking about doing it.) My fingers are crossed we get a bitchin' Halloween colorway. 'Coz you know me and Halloween.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We're Having a Heat Wave

It's been a crazy week. Highlights:

+ Temps in the low to mid 100s. Wicked hotness, especially for all the furry critters. At night I've been leaving water out for the skunks and possums, in addition to keeping a close eye on our outdoor cats Fiend and Archie. (I know. Varmints. Can you say soft hearted? I'm the walking dictionary of it.) So far we're all okay, but whew, it's been hot. Especially since...
+ On Sunday, our a/c died. Tom MacGyvered it after 24 hours of 90+ degrees in the house, but we're looking at replacing it. Our internet service has also been intermittent, but seems to be back now that temps have cooled somewhat. (Today it's only 90! Whee! Break out the sweaters!)
+ Fiend was in another fight which left his head an infected mess, prompting a trip to the emergency vet at 9 pm on Monday night. For being such an ornery cuss, he's amazingly docile when at the vet; he's also taking his liquid antibiotic like a champ, and his head is healing well. Poor little guy.

So. Kinda intense for a holiday weekend. But hey, there's knitting to be done, right? Too bad I don't have much to show you. But look! Over there! Is that a sock yarn club kit I see?!

Why yes, it is. This is the first installment of the Yarn Tree's A Sock for All Seasons Yarn Club. And while my photos are decidedly lo-fi, the club is anything but! Our first yarn is Schaefer Anne in this groovy autumnal colorway. Also included is this reversible project bag, a sock pattern designed by Rachel DeNys named Falling Lace Sock, as well as Yarn Tree's Basic Sock Pattern, a handmade Brittany cable needle, a how-to DVD and a brief history of Schaefer Yarn. Score!

Local knitsters Jillian and Jerry are also in this club, and Jillian has a nice write up about the club here.

As for knitting, my stealth project is finished, though it still needs to be blocked. It qualifies as my first FO for Single Skein September. Speaking of SSS - Liz has started SSS groups on Ravelry and Flickr, and it'd be great if you joined us in using up those odd balls in your stash.

For my second SSS project, today I cast on the first of my Campfire Socks. Each will use a skein of Artyarns Ultramerino 8, so I'm hoping they qualify. I also want to knit some hats, but have to hit the LYS for some needles first. (Out of all the needles I have, how can I not have a US 8 16" circ? It's vexing.) And Fetchings. Would you believe I've never made a pair? About time, isn't it? I love fingerless gloves, and have two balls of black Cashmerino Aran earmarked. Not sure if I'll get to all these small projects, but they're certainly the perfect hot weather knitting!