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!