Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stitches West Loot

Hey, wanna see some yarn? Here's what came home with me from Stitches.

First up are nine 4-oz. skeins of Black Water Abbey 2-ply worsted weight in Pippin (100% wool, 220 yds.). Of all the vendors, BWA was the one I most wanted to visit at the show. It didn't disappoint. It was my first stop, and as I greedily snarfed up these skeins I heard one of the saleswomen say, "There goes the green." I'm hoping the luck o' this Irish yarn helps me break my current sweater curse; it's earmarked for Knitscene's Central Park Hoodie.

As soon as I finished with Black Water Abbey I hightailed over to Blue Moon Fiber Arts. What a mob scene. I'd heard about past shows and thought my loins were girded tightly enough, but reality was still a shocker. Luckily, Marie headed there first thing and scored us both skeins of Lucy (100% superwash merino, 360 yds.) - thanks, Marie! - before they sold out. I've had my eye on this colorway for months, along with Lemongrass, and am so pleased they're now part of stash.

I also bought a skein of their heavy weight (100% superwash merino, 350 yds.) in Ruby Slippers, which you can see here amidst the Koigu KPM (100% merino, 175 yds.) I bought from a new-to-me online vendor, Foxyknits.

From left to right the Koigu colors are 1180/scarlet, 2400/black, 1160/burgundy, and 1100/tomato red. The scarlet is earmarked for a Flower Basket Scarf for my sister; the rest is for stash. The 1160 looked almost black under the convention lighting, but once you get it in natural light it turns into this amazing color. Nice, yes?

Next up are two new discoveries - Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks' tussah/merino in Sandalwood (280 yds.)

and Honey Lane Farms' DK weight alpaca (100% alpaca, 215 yds.) in Forest. This yarn is very soft and cushy, and it comes in lots of colors. So many, in fact, that it took me forever to choose this green.

Here's an outside shot so you can see the heathered shading a little better.

Finally, the trip just wouldn't have been complete without some lace weight, and 7/2 Spun Silk (100% silk, 875 yds.) from the Village Spinning and Weaving Shop fit the bill perfectly.

No doubt about it - Stitches West was a success!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Getaway

With a tip o' the hat to the Oscars, here are some highlights from our jaunt to San Francisco. Lots of tourist action and not much knitting, though I did make it to Artfibers and scored some of their awesome Kyoto (see below). It was a great trip!

Best View - the one from Twin Peaks at night

Best Building - de Young Museum

Best Bookstore - City Lights
Best Book - San Francisco Noir by Nathaniel Rich
Best Buddha - Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park

Best Cocktail - Toasted Almond at Trad'r Sam's
Best Burrito - Pancho Villa

Best Yarn - Artfibers

Here's the Kyoto. It's even more vibrant in person. I would've bought a bunch more of it, but was holding out for Stitches.

Speaking of, I'll be posting about it as soon as I round up all the stray skeins from the car trunk. Because people? The yarn, it was a-flowin' freely. And I partook.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Ever since this arrived in the mail....

...I've been giddy. Yep, I'm going to Stitches West. It's my first "knitting expo," and I'll be hitting it full force with several friends. Can't wait for the fun to begin!

An added bonus is that beforehand Tom and I will be spending several days in San Francisco. It's been ten years since I've returned to our old stomping group. I'm looking forward to visiting some of our haunts - the Mission for Pancho Villa burritos, North Beach for City Lights, Chinatown for Li Po's and the Far East Cafe. We're currently discussing whether or not we're up for a rum infused dose of tiki - can we hit the fabulous Tonga Room, the divey Trad'r Sam's and the original Trader Vic's without passing out in a gutter somewhere? I'm hopeful, as I love all of these Polynesian places. I'm also hoping to squeeze in a trip to Artfibers before heading down to Santa Clara and spending my retirement fund at the Stitches Market.

So, we leave this weekend. I'll be away from the blog until the 26th. See you then!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Barbara tagged me for the '5 Secrets' meme, and I gotta admit this one is tough. Mainly because I have very few, and those few are, well, secret. Hey, I could run for president one day, you know?

1. Tom was the first guy with a ponytail I ever dated. And this is the secret part - At first I couldn't believe I'd go out with a quasi-hippy who listened to 70s horn bands. Go figure, because here we are 14 years later....
2. Tom and I were married in Vegas six years ago. At the Graceland Chapel. An Elvis impersonator performed.
3. Neil Diamond is a total guilty pleasure. Usually he and I get together in the car, where I can sing along to Sweet Caroline and Cherry, Cherry at the top of my lungs. And that scene in Pulp Fiction with Uma dancing to Urge Overkill's version of Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon is sheer brilliance.
4. If I could live anywhere, I'd live in Scotland.
5. Okay, I'll end with something semi-naughty. In the fireman/motorcycle cop/UPS guy scenario, I'll pick the motorcycle cop every time. I think it's the shiny boots.

No tags, but if you feel like baring your soul or chiming in on #5, go for it.

Friday, February 09, 2007

This One's for Mom

Pattern: Flower Basket Scarf/Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Knit Picks Gloss - 1 1/2 balls
Needles: Bryspun US 6 29" circs
Mods: None
Final dimensions: 41" x 22"
Rating: Pure knitting satisfaction

Flower Basket has been in my to-do pattern queue for a good long while, and when my Mom asked for a small black lace scarf I knew it was finally time to give it a whirl. And I'm so glad I did. I used fingering weight yarn (Knit Picks Gloss from stash), made the scarf size (seven repeats), and the thing practically knit itself!

This time last year I was just learning how to knit lace...and what a difference twelve months' worth of knitting makes. Now, this is a simple lace pattern, but what a pleasure it was to completely understand the directions and the charts, to be able to follow the pattern of the knitting, to knit the entire thing without dropping a stitch or ripping back rows to fix a mistake. (If you see any, please let me live in ignorance about them. Merci.) I feel empowered to try more difficult lace patterns now, and maybe even tackle my Hanging Garden Shawl again. Pretty cool.

P.S. If you have FBS in your to-do queue, let me pass on some advice given by my friend Patty: If you have it, use the Interweave Knits version of the pattern instead of the Fiber Trends one. The IK directions are much easier to follow.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Last night I cast on the Fountain Lace Scarf using Valley Yarns Florence. Both are from Webs. The pattern came free with the purchase of the yarn, which I bought last year to 1) try out a Valley Yarn, and 2) knit with an unusual - for me - color. Because blue? Not a shade to which I gravitate. But since it's one of this round's Project Spectrum colors, I decided now was the perfect time to bust out of my color complacency and knit this puppy up.

After I figured out what 'skp' meant the pattern moved along swimmingly. I'm enjoying the worsted weight on size US 10s. The yarn is fuzzy (always a plus for a mohair/angora lovin' gal like me) without being scratchy, and good quality (50 merino/35 acrylic/15 kid mohair) for the price ($4.79 for 109 yds). It knits up easily, is squeak free (acrylic freaks me out with its squeakiness), and using it makes this a quick and enjoyable lace project.

And speaking of lace...Flower Basket is finished! More later, because right now I'm off to wash and block her.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


On Sunday Sknitty, CatBookMom, Mary and I hit Unwind's annual No Football All Yarn Superbowl sale. There were great deals to be had - all regular yarn was 30% off, sale yarn was 50% off, and everything else was 15% off. And if you arrived before opening, you got an additional 10% off your total amount. Now, you know me and a bargain...well, of course we went early, and we weren't the only ones. It was a total mob scene. Once those doors opened that yarn didn't stand a chance.

First up, the sale stuff. This is all for stash.

From left to right: Katia Mississippi 3 (shade 721 - kinda washed out, but it's your run of the mill baby blue), Lamb's Pride Worsted (155 Lemon Drop, 65 Sapphire and 110 Orange You Glad), and Louet Gems Pearl (Terracotta).

Next up are two balls of Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Superwash (shades 35 and 2). This is my practice yarn for my Project Spectrum Bea Ellis headband. Which I need to get working on.

And finally, the good stuff. Appears I just can't pass up a nice chartreuse, can I?

Clockwise from the top: Rowan Natural Silk Aran (shade 462 Palm Leaf), Sweet Georgia Handpainted Lace (Willow), Sweet Georgia Superwash Sock (Willow) and Artyarns Supermerino (shade 133).

I've been curious about Rowan's Natural Silk Aran, and bought a couple of balls to make another pair of fingerless gloves. Probably Fetching, though the tweediness might obscure the pattern; if so, I'll go with something simpler. I'd only seen SG's lace yarn on her website before this, and was very happy to score some. I've never used any of the Artyarns yarn, but just had to buy three skeins, which will be enough for a pair of socks (or gloves or a scarf) because the price was too good to pass up.

It was quite the event! Owner Stephanie and her staff outdid themselves, offering friendly service and lots of finger food and beverages in addition to the great sale prices. There really was a party atmosphere, and even the obligatory LA star sighting (he was buying lots of chunky yarn). The only detractor was that we had to wait an hour and forty five minutes to check out. I'm not sure if they were caught off guard with the amount of customers they had, or what, but if they do it again next year (and I assume they will), I hope they rent another cash register or two.

Afterwards Sknitty and I dragged ourselves half a block up to Porto's Bakery for a much needed lunch, and then hit the highway and headed home. Managed to catch the last of the game with Tom while working on my Flower Basket shawl, which was the perfect ending to a fun-filled day.

Not a lot of other knitting news. I'm about to cast off my first fingerless glove, and am on the seventh of seven repeats of Flower Basket. I'm really enjoying the Project Spectrum site, but admit to being a total slacker myself about it so far. (My recovery from surgery is taking longer than expected, and is slowing me down. But I have plans! big plans! for jumping in whole hog when I'm 100% again.) Now I'm off to do some recon about sewing together Mr. Square. He's my first toy, and I'm not exactly sure how to sew his arms and legs if anyone has any Jess Hutch toy experience, I'd love to hear how you did it.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

10 Things That Begin with the Letter A

It's a little cumbersome to explain, but Dipsy recently posted a meme wherein you list ten things about yourself that all begin with the same letter. The ten things must be things that have true meaning in your life. You receive your letter from the person on whose blog you read about the meme. It was fun reading her comments on her letter (which was T), so I asked her if she'd send me one, too. She kindly sent me the letter A, and after some navel gazing here's what I came up with about myself. (And if you'd like your own letter, drop me a comment.)

1. Aries - This totally brings to mind cheesy 70s "What's your sign?" jokes, but I'm starting with my astrological sign. Cons: Bossy, stubborn and won't let you finish a sentence when I get excited about something. Pros: I'll talk you into doing that KAL - or that trip to Vegas - with me on a spur of the moment whim, and we'll have a really great time doing it.

2. Autumn - My favorite season.

3. Alphabet - The building blocks of language are cool. They make those nifty things called words, and I've had a great love of words ever since I was a small child. Some of my earliest memories are of being read to at bedtime by my Dad, and as soon as I could read and write I was penning my own stories and enjoying Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss, et. al. I worked at the public library in high school, majored in English Lit in college, and spent close to 20 years in the book publishing industry; first managing bookstores (what a hellish job that was) and then working as a sales rep for several publishers (much more fun).

4. Active imagination - Closely tying in with #3 is #4. Stories are great. Real ones, made up ones, I love hearing and reading them. In fact, when I'm bored, I've been known to make up whole lives for people I see when out and about. Writing this down probably makes me sound like a loony. But, really, it's for entertainment purposes only. Like writing a tabloid in your head as you walk down the supermarket aisles or stand in line at the post office. Try it, it's super fun.

5. Angelino - I've lived in the Los Angeles area for ten years now. It's the longest I've lived anywhere. Parts of it are difficult - the smog, the traffic and the high population density can all be wearing some days - but for the most part I really like it here. There's great people, great architecture, great history, great stories. Like Thai Elvis.

6. Artsy craftsy - I've always had artistic people in my life, and I hope I always will. Whether they're cutting televisions in half in the backyard with a chain saw to make a statement about society (a friend from college); or knitting shawls for solace (Marie); or writing a theme song (Petunia the Skunk) for the skunk who lived outside our Silverlake flat when we first moved to Los Angeles (my dear Tom); or penning book reviews for the local newspaper (Duane); or painting super cool artwork to commemorate my blog (Laura), it's a blast to be their friend. Oh, yeah, and I knit.

7. Alternative music - I remember hearing about the Sex Pistols' aborted attempt of playing for the Queen's Silver Jubilee when I was in my early teens; we were living in Paris, France, and I was in the kitchen eating breakfast and heard about it on the BBC news. Something clicked, and while I was five years too young to run off to London, the thought was there. From then until my late 20s, music was everything. I've mellowed a bit, but still love my tunes.

8. Acerbic wit - Okay, so I'm a bit of a smartass.

9. Apricots - Dried apricots (the California kind, not the Turkish kind) are yummy. Ever since I was a little kid, they've been a favorite treat.

10. Amour - Makes the world go round....

...and a perfect foil for me to say no, I haven't started working for these guys.

People, those were arms and legs. For Mr. Square. Sheesh.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Today is the Second Annual Brigid in Cyberspace Silent Poetry Reading.

* * *

San Joaquin Valley No. 1

A teenage girl
works the night shift
at a self-serve gas station
in Modesto.

She says little
but what she does say
is without a smile and through a hole
in the window.

She wears
an orange and pink uniform
under the shadowless
yellow fluroescent lights.

All the customers
make jokes
as a cold wind blows
across the valley
she doesn't laugh.

~ Dave Alvin, Any Rough Times Are Now Behind You: Selected Poems and Writings

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ain't Love Grand

Last night turned into a dpn lovefest. And I've got the little arms and little legs to prove it.

Mr. Square is very happy he shall soon be limbed. He's being blocked as I type, and next up is a trip to the craft store to find a pillow form for his body. Now, you know how I am about finishing stuff, but I plan on sewing him up pronto. Really. Because, well, I'm kinda tired of his nagging.

And thanks for all the encouragement. You were right; it just took some practice. Around midnight, I realized my hands had memorized what they needed to do, and I was zipping along as I watched a stinky episode of Bones recorded earlier in the evening. It was one of those satisfying knitting epiphany moments, and hopefully signals good things to come with the double points.

Like these wrist warmers. Gotta keep the dpn love flowing.