Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Dark Side

I'm studying up. And practicing what I learn with Marie, my partner in knitty crime. Gotta tell ya, we're so bad we're good.

A few days ago we found out from Ellen that Black Sheep Knittery is having a 50% off sale on their entire store. 50%. Off of everything. That's our kind of sale. So yesterday we cased the joint.

It looked safe, so we leisurely made our way inside and scored. Scored big. Afterwards we lit out, deciding on the fly to make sure the stashbusting police weren't on our trail. To throw them off the scent we hit a cafe and knit a bit on our CPHs. Then, it was back to our lairs to bliss out over our purchases.

My loot includes Rowan Calmer (3 balls each in Onyx and Coffee Bean) and a slew of Koigu. (I bought more, but that bit is earmarked for a friend's gift I'm going to make, so I have to be all mysterious about it.) Also some Bryspun and Brittany dpns in sock making sizes, and Louisa Harding's Winter's Muse Classics, which has some great 40s inspired garments for channeling your inner gun moll.

As I keep a low profile today - there could still be roadblocks up - look who's keeping me company. Maggie and Joey have become fast friends. I'm off to pop some Jimmy Cliff into the CD player - Johnny Too Bad - and join them on the couch and cast on socklet number two. Ah, villainy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Brave Friends

A little while ago Barbara offered to (re)teach me how to knit socks. I said okay, but it made me nervous. I told her to take a Valium first. Because as Mary knows, trying to get me to knit a sock successfully is like building the Eighth Wonder of the World. My first attempt? Not so good. It made me wonder if socks and I will ever become friends, because right now we're just suspicious neighbors eying each other in the trailer park as we park our 1972 Dusters and take our six packs of Bud inside.

But after today there's hope that maybe in the next lifetime socks and I will come back as gorgeous best friends trust fund kids who have nothing better to do than spend our money on little dogs with bulgy eyes that fit in our purses (we'll name them Tinkerbell and Junebug) and excel at sexually inappropriate behavior with the male population (with men named Damien, Sven, Matt, Roberto, Thor, Steve, Ahmed, Dean, Big Daddy, Greg, etc., etc.).

Yowza. Because today Barbara patiently began teaching me remedial sock making 101. For my second attempt I'm knitting a simple top-down baby sock (we're winging it with the pattern) with worsted weight yarn (Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Superwash) on US 4 dpns. Simple 1x1 rib, followed by stockinette, followed by Idon'tknowI'mnotthereyet. So far so good with this cute little socklet. (I'm naming it Lucky.)

Thank you, Barbara and Mary, for being brave and helping me become a bona fide knitter. It feels great.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Meat's Done

Regina, this is for you. And peeps, go check out her latest creation. It's a bag you can really sink your teeth into!

Photo taken at the 2005 Blessing of the Cars, a mighty fine Los Angeles area tradition.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Springtime Haiku

bare bones donning green
joy as spring arrives today
the earth awakens

Monday, March 19, 2007

Up to My Armpits in CPH

Check it out - 14 1/2" of Central Park Hoodie.

Today I began the armhole shaping.

The ribbing is still freakin' my scene, but the green tweediness is crushworthy. Mmm hmm.

Gotta go knit some more.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Joey the Square

Pattern: Squarey from Jess Hutch's Unusual Toys for You to Knit and Enjoy
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Limeade (M120 - 1 full skein), Onyx (M05 - half a skein) and White Frost (M11 - half a skein)
Needles: Takumi US 8, straights and dpns
Mods: None
Rating: Squeezable

Mr. Square is finito! He looks quite dapper in his prison stripes, so I've named him Joey after a pop gem of a prison break song titled "Quick Joey Small."

I fell in love with Jess's toys from the moment I stumbled over her website a few years ago. Her whimsical, retro design sense delights me, and after buying her booklet I cast on immediately for Joey. I'd never made a toy before, and only once before used dpns, so I figured he'd be good practice for both. And he was.

The knitting and sewing up were both easy...and would have been quick except I derailed myself trying to use 7" dpns to knit the arms and legs. I hated fiddling with them so much that Joey turned into a UFO until I tracked down some 5" dpns. Aaah, much easier to use.

Invaluable to me in the sewing up was Vicki Square's trusty Knitter's Companion. Jess's booklet gives great directions on everything but finishing the toys (she cites another book for that, one that I don't have in my library), so I wasn't sure how to seam up the bottom/last seam. Vicki's directions for an invisible horizontal seam fit the bill exactly. As for sewing on the arms and legs, I sewed the legs closed and then inserted them as I closed up the bottom seam. The arms I sewed on after seaming; not the greatest job, but he's finished!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

She's Back!

Season 8 begins today. Sweet.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Today Is a Great Day

Today went from being a good day to a great one, all in the space of ten minutes. First, Barbara (she's having blog issues, but hopefully will be back up and running again soon) called to let me know that Stephanie at Unwind put out her final order of Sweet Georgia yarn today. I missed the infamous Loopy Ewe SG final update, so this was sweet news indeed. Barbara knows Yarn Delirium when she hears it - was it the quake in my voice that gave me away? - and rang off immediately so I could call Stephanie and score me some of that. Which I did. Soon to be in my grubby little paws are a skein of Handpainted Lace in Fondant, two skeins of Superwash Sock in Blue Steel, this is very embarrassing, but I'm not quite sure what the third thing is that I ordered. I think I bought a skein of Speed Demon in Elf. Well, whatever it is, I'm sure it's lovely. (Sheesh, I have it bad.)

After calling Barbara back and acting like a normal human being - we had a conversation and everything! - I jumped online to catch up with some blog reading. Bopped over to JenLa, where I discovered I've won the lottery. That's right! Today La posted the winners of her De Feet of Cuteness contest (oh my! the cuteness!), and the photo of Maggie's toes won one of the Lottery spots. I'm tickled pink. Maggie is, of course, nonplussed.

The CPH news is good, too. (Heh, I crack up every time I write CPH. It makes me think of the PCHers, the bad boy gang in Veronica Mars. Tattoos! Motorcycles! Leather!) After an angst-filled weekend doing all sorts of random swatching, I cast on again and things are progressing much better this time around. I've knit the ribbing on US 7s, and am using US 8 Addis for the body. It's early days yet - I've only knit 6" of the back - but it looks like I'll have an adult sized sweater when I'm done. Maybe even one that'll fit me. Bueno.

Sorry about the crap photo. And please be kind about the ribbing. I tried everything in my power to make it behave, but it just won't. But before I sound all sorts of crazy and continue talking about it like it's a recalcitrant teenager, let's just say it is what it is and move on. Marvels can occur in blocking, right?

A big thank you goes to Liz at Crossroad Knits for posting the instructions on "how to do ribs so they don't look like you knit them drunk." While my CPH's come out tipsy no matter which method I use, I've tucked this gem away in my tips 'n' tricks grimoire, as I know it'll come in handy down the road.

And all you Black Water Abbey fans - go check out Moth Heaven's Celtic Dreams. Isn't it delish?

Oh, yeah, and I've started my sister's Flower Basket. After the CPH drama, it's a dream. Lovin' the red Koigu.

Yes, today has been grand.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Behold! Nine inches worth of Central Park Hoodie.

[Insert favorite swear word here. If you're me, it begins with "f."] As feared, it's knitting up super small. It looks like I'm knitting it for a child. Or a supermodel. Or a midget. I can't tell which. There's no way I'll ever be able to block it severely enough to get the size I want. [Repeat favorite swear word.]

The ribbing is driving me crazy with how awful it looks. [Insert second favorite swear word here. If you're me, it begins with "s."] I just found how to fix it. [What the h*ll, how about another one?]

I need a margarita.

Because we all know what happens now, don't we?


Wednesday, March 07, 2007



Pattern: Bulky Moss Rib Gauntlets by Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio
Yarn: CFAS Handpainted Superfine Alpaca in Red Lantern - 2 skeins
Needles: Takumi US 6 dpns
Mods: None
Rating: Sweet

Last summer my knitting group went on a yarn crawl behind the Orange Curtain (i.e. into the conservative depths of Orange County, home to Disneyland, the John Wayne airport and other landmarks south of Los Angeles). One of our stops was at La Petite Knitterie, which is the outlet for the amazing hand dyed yarns and roving of Lori Lawson's Capistrano Fiber Arts Studio (wish she had a website). While there I picked up this pattern and two skeins of this lofty alpaca, spun by Kat Garcia, the owner of LPK, and dyed by Lori. Oh la la. If this yarn were a dessert, it would be meringue. So light and frothy, it almost melts on your needles.

These gloves were my first real "practice on dpns" project, and made the experience a lovely one. I'm gifting them to my friend C., who rides her motorcycle to classes in the evening. (Hi, C.! Hope you get good use out of these!)


Pattern: Fountain Lace Scarf by Kristen Gonsalves (freebie with yarn purchase)
Yarn: Valley Yarns Florence in color 38193
Needles: Takumi US 10
Mods: None
Rating: Satisfying

Last fall I was curious to try one of the Valley Yarns' yarns - the in-house yarn line from WEBS - and I picked Florence for my test knit. This scarf is an easy lace pattern that came with this really rather unremarkable yarn. If you're on a budget and want a slightly fuzzy worsted weight yarn, it would be a great choice, but I won't be knitting with it again. It is 50 merino/35 acrylic/15 mohair, and while the mohair isn't scratchy, the acrylic content is a little too high for my taste. If it were a dessert, it would be some Oreos with a glass of milk. It's going to my Grandma, who gets cold easily and can always use a new scarf.

P.S. Do you see the cat tail in the scarf pic? That's Archie, our piss 'n' vinegar cat. Can you tell he's a pistol?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Central Park Hoodie

Thank you, everyone, for your enthusiastic comments about what project I should cast on. The majority vote went to the Central Park Hoodie, so I whipped out my trusty Addis and went to swatch on Saturday. And, wonder of wonders, I got gauge on US 7s. This officially breaks the Great Sweater Curse of 2006, when I attempted umpteengazillion sweater swatches and couldn't get gauge on a single one. (We shall not speak of modifying sweater patterns. I am fickle. And lazy. And wasn't up to the task at the time. Thank goodness there are other things to knit, or I would've been carted off to the crazy house.)

So, after confirming (and reconfirming - that curse has made me a little skittish) that yes, my swatch really did have 4.25 stitches to an inch, I got busy online. Errata page? Check. How about a KAL? Check. (It lists the pattern corrections, too.) I signed up for it, and read that several people say the pattern runs on the small size. To compensate, I'm knitting the largest size (48"), since I'm suburban, middle-aged (read: my ass is as large as Texas), and wanted it to be more of a coat than a sweater. Then I got busy.

I knit all morning yesterday. And, after time out at an evening class with Patty to learn how to knit continental (phase one of my Learning to Fair Isle program), I returned home and knit until 2 am. At which point I had to rip back four rows to fix a snagged stitch (even using Addis the two-ply Black Water Abbey is splitting on me), so I uncrossed my eyes and did a rough measurement before trundling off to bed. Take heed, those of you who are thinking of doing this pattern, because the KALers who have gone before do not lie! It My gauge is correct, but I should have gone down only one needle size for the ribbing instead of the two in the pattern, because I'll be blocking the heck out of this puppy. But see that first set of cables? Gotta keep knitting.

As for the yarn, I'm having mixed feelings. On the con, it's stiff to work with, and my 2x2 ribbing came out wonky no matter how hard I tugged on my stitches. Definitely more rustic and homemade than I was hoping it would look. On the plus, my swatch did soften after washing, so hopefully the ribbing looks better after washing/blocking. I absolutely love the color. And the pattern, it's so easy! Perfect knitting circle/tv knitting, and a wonderful foil to my sister's Flower Basket Shawl I plan on casting on today. (As for Adamas, the third pattern I was considering, I'm holding off for now.)

P.S. This just in! Pure Knits just announced a Yarntini sock club. What a way to spend your summer!

Friday, March 02, 2007


While on vacation I finished the Project Spectrum blue lace scarf and the fingerless mitts I've been knitting (their specs will be up when they've finished blocking/drying), and haven't started anything new. So now I'm down to one measly project: the nearly-relegated-to-UFO-status Hanging Garden Shawl, which I haven't picked up in months. (I have, however, placed it near to hand, just in case.)

How crazy is this? Pretty crazy, since I'm usually working on five or six projects at any given time. The yarn fumes from Stitches West must have incapacitated me somehow. Oh, every day I look at my stash, and lovingly stroke my recent purchases. (That Honey Lane Farms alpaca is sooo soft!) I daydream about what patterns I want to knit, and hold the anticipation of what's to come close, like a secret crush. I'm not bored, or uninspired; actually quite the opposite. I just haven't cast on anything new.

Well. Enough dilly dallying. Time to get crackin'. I got busy with the ball winder (heh heh) this morning, and wound up a few skeins destined for specific projects. I promised myself that I'll cast on at least one of them by tomorrow night.

Black Water Abbey 2-ply in Pippin for the Central Park Hoodie

Koigu KPM in Semi-Solid 1180 for my sister's Flower Basket Shawl

Knit Picks Shadow in Lost Lake for the Adamas Shawl slated for the next round of Project Spectrum colors

But darn it, I'm still dithering. So I need your help. What should I knit?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

For the Love of Captain Sensible Pt. 1

I'm it. Jayne has tagged me for a musical meme wherein I show how my formative years were spent in the cultural wasteland of late 70s/early 80s American suburbia. This meme asks that I list the songs that are "guaranteed to make me speed in my car, dance in my seat and sing out loud." Since I'm still ipod-less, this meme turned into a two day walk down memory lane as I pulled out CDs to play and discovered that most of the music that gets me air guitaring in the living room, speeding in the car, etc. comes from that era. The memories flowed something like this: Aw, the Misfits. I remember when Jim H. stage dove and cracked his head open at their show. Good times.
Channel 3 - You Make Me Feel Cheap
Clash - White Riot
Damned - New Rose
Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida*
Pioneers - Long Shot Kick De Bucket
Reverend Horton Heat - Galaxy 500
Southern Culture on the Skids - Love-A-Rama
Stiff Little Fingers - Suspect Device
Stranglers - Something Better Change
Supersuckers - Doublewide
Undertones - Get Over You
X - pretty much anything on Los Angeles and Wild Gift

*I'm going through a total mullet rock phase at the moment, which includes gems from Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and other classic rock bands. Embarrassing, but true.

And I'm breaking my "don't tag don't tell if you don't wanna" rule for this one. Cher, Dipsy, Ellen, Kristie, and Lyndsey-Jane: you're it. Rock on.