Monday, November 28, 2005

The Thanksgiving That Dare Not Speak Its Name

In order to protect the innocent (pictured at left), I will say only this about my Thanksgiving: There was a meal prepared by the grocery store then warmed in the microwave and everybody but me was in bed by 6:45 p.m. As in, in bed asleep for the night. I cried and called my mother.

On Friday, while still in the East Bay at my handsome prince's aunts' house for Thanksgiving weekend, I visited this fabulous store. It was so nice and good for my soul. My mother-in-law and the hp's two aunts (my MIL's sisters) went with me. They were exceptionally good sports about it, especially since only one of the three of them even knits. They didn't rush me and they let me touch and sniff and babble about the yarn for as long as I wanted. I don't think they even realize how sweet that was of them. (If you are ever in Walnut Creek, you really should stop in to Fash-ion-Knit. They have a great selection and everyone there - including and especially the Knitress pictured on the website - was kind and friendly and helpful and funny.)

On Thursday night, after everyone else was in bed, I read Laurie's Thanksgiving day post about her friend and the children in Afghanistan. So while I was out look at yarn, I picked up this bundle of wooly goodness

(pictured here with some Christmas ornaments I've been painting) and I am knitting a quickie hat to send along with the collection of stuffed animals and gently used toys I have waiting around for just such an occasion. I am knitting oh so very quickly on the new Addi-Turbos I also bought on Friday. I must say, I finally understand their cult-like following. They are dreamy.

Oh, I also bought 6 skeins of Rowan Calmer. Oh how I love the Rowan Calmer. This particular purchase (of the coral) is destined to be a sweater for a baby I know that is due on my birthday (February 1). I have been swatching but as I took this (awful) picture, I remembered that I should be working on my Christmas cards (see them there?). My goal is to get them out before Christmas this year. I know that doesn't sound like much of a goal but trust me, it is.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Ok! What Next?? button

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

LYS Envy

So green really isn't my best color but today I'm wearing it anyway. I am envious. . . jealous, even. Jealous of all those knitters who speak lovingly of their local yarn stores. Envious of knitters who have a favorite yarn and can just bop across town or down the street to a friendly, quaint little store and buy a skein or two. Jealous of knitters who actually know other knitters who live in close proximity and get together sometimes and knit. Where no one thinks they are rude for delaying a conversational response until the end of a row or a pattern repeat.

Last night, I visited a quilting and cross stitch store here in town that also carries yarn and knitting needles. I just want some cotton, people. Really, is that so hard? They have lovely $18 a skein mohair and some of the beautiful $45 and $50 a skein handpainted wool silk blend, blah blah. All I really want, though, is some Classic Elite Provence, of which I have only ever had 3 skeins and they were a gift. And also, as many skeins of this Clip as I can get my hands on. I want to touch it and smell it and, you know, embrace it a little, maybe, before I pay for it and take it home with me. This store, the one I visited last night, they don't have any cotton. Not one single skein of yarn in the whole place that is either 100% cotton or even greater than 50% cotton. Seriously. And it is one of only two (non-chain) stores within reasonable driving distance of me that carries yarn.

Professional athletes and men in public restrooms, I'm told, have envy issues. Somehow, though, I don't think it really compares to this terrible case of LYS Envy I have recently.

In the spirit of the season, however, I would also like to note that I am thankful for the internet. Late at night, when the house is finally quiet and no one is asking me what I'm doing and no phones are ringing and no one needs anything, I fix myself a cup of coffee or (well, yes sometimes) a glass of wine, and I make my way over to the WWW, my very own LYS.

It is located at the corner of Living Room & Kitchen. It isn't the fanciest establishment or the tidiest and sometimes the service is a little slow, but it is a great place. Pretty much, if there is a knitting magazine or a pattern or a yarn you want, you can find it there. If it isn't in the first place you look, just keep looking. If you can get it, you can get it at the WWW.

And all my knitting friends hang out there. Kay & Ann, who reminded me way back why I fell in love with knitting in the first place. Polly, who with the help of her French Market Bag gave me the desire and the courage to try the dreaded dpns; and Laurie, who loves the wine, too, and makes us all laugh a lot and cry a little sometimes, too . Then there's Laura with the new baby and Rhett with the thank you notes and Stephanie with the patient husband who poses in his partially knit sweaters. Oh, and Meaghan, who I've only just met but who knits beautiful things and has a real jones for felting, apparently. And all sorts of other knitters who I barely know or haven't even met, but they are there, too.

Really, I wouldn't trade it for a bricks and mortar LYS on Main Street.

Yesterday, I said something about a package I had sent to one of my knitting friends. My husband said, "Oh that was nice. Now which one is she?" and he didn't even pause to remind me that we wouldn't know each other if we met on the street somewhere. Such a dear, that one. Of course, ever since I hooked up with the the Stitch & Bitch group at the WWW, he doesn't have to listen to me talk about knitting as much. Really, it is a win-win situation.

Oh, and also, they don't mind the drinking of the wine while I shop.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hoover Blanket (Dishcloth)

I have fallen in love with a baby blanket pattern. The Hoover blanket is beautiful and such a wonderful story. This is the blanket I want to knit for my own first baby while I am pregnant. I am not, however, expecting. And I have plenty of other knitting scheduled before that time is allowed to come. So, to feed my need for this pattern and to try my hand at this double knitting business, I decided to use this pattern (slightly modified, of course) and make a dishcloth for my mother-in-law for Christmas.

There are several reasons this is a good idea.

1. I had several skeins of Sugar 'nCream dishcloth cotton languishing in my stash and so this gives them a purpose - a reason for living, if you will.
2. My MIL is a knitter and so, therefore, will appreciate the effort.
3. I am an obsessive person. Once I get hooked on a pattern, I have to knit it. I must. It is like addiction. Knitting is crack to me. Now, if only it would cause some unexplained weight loss, our love affair would be complete.

These pictures aren't very good. The colors are not at all true. The garter stitch border is a deep, Christmas tree/grass green. The center is green (the same as the border) and navy and pale blue and purple variegated. It is very pretty.

It is very pretty and double-knitting is like knitting magic. I am fascinated by it. The pattern is also slow going. Part of my problem is that I am trying to do too many things at once right now (imagine that) and this pattern doesn't really lend itself to a lot of starts and stops.

Short weeks are great. The only down side is that even though I only have to be in the office for three days, there is still five days worth of work to do. Wednesday evening we are heading to my aunt-in-law's house for Thanksgiving. Sunday night I baked cheese cookies with my mother to take and then Thursday I am making sweet potato puffs. That will be my contribution.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Sunday is our one year anniversary. Hurray for us!! It has been quite a year. For everyone who told us that the first year of marriage is hard, no matter how long you'd been together before, harder than you could guess, you were right. And for everyone who told us that marriage is better that you think and more rewarding than you could guess, you were right, too.

By nature, I am a list maker and so, here is a partial list of things I've learned this year:

1. My handsome prince is a kinder person than I realized.
2. I am a harsher woman than I realized. And tougher than I ever wanted to be.
3. I can also be more sympathetic and more understanding than I thought.
4. I am a terrible housekeeper. If someone else will do it, then I will let them.
5. My friendship with my husband is better now than ever.
6. Our friendship is the best thing we've got because it makes everything else we've got better.
7. My HP is not very good at pretending he cares about knitting. Sometimes, though, he stops at the yarn stores when we are running errands and he doesn't ask how long I will be or how much I will spend. This is enough.
8. Until we got married, I was ambivalent about having kids. Not so much anymore.
9. Even though people warned me in advance that marriage is hard, I didn't believe them. Now I do.
10. There have been days that I wanted to drive away and not look back. There have been a lot fewer of those days this year than in years past.
11. I'm glad I married him. I'm glad he married me.

Here we are, November 20, 2004.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Really, I think "progress" would be too generous a term.

Do you see that? That is the 5th - yes f-i-f-t-h - attempt at casting on for a "super quick" "super simple" "little nothing" of a project. I am trying to make a tampon cozy (and no, I am not ashamed) for my friend's stepdaughter for a stocking stuffer. I have already made three of these in the last month or so. There is nothing to it. Seriously. Maybe an hour, hour & fifteen minutes of knitting. Maybe. And that is me, the world's slowest knitter. But for some reason I keep screwing this up. I am inept. So I cast on again, took a picture of the 20 little cast on darlings and decided to wait until tomorrow. I'm sick of fighting with it.

Yesterday, with a little guidance from Kay, I discovered Rowan. I am hooked. What beautiful, striking patterns and pictures and people. Perfection! How have I missed this until now? I have been knitting for several years. I'm not a salty veteran knitter nor a wet behind the ears newcomer. I have seen Rowan mentioned in passing. I have even frittered past a few pictures. Until yesterday, I had never taken the time to stop. To look. To consider. I love color and contrast and classic combinations as well as unexpected combinations. Looking through the magazine samples, it was like coming home for my wandering knitterly soul. (Ugh) Really, though. I am thrilled to have made this discovery. And now I know what to ask for for Christmas.

I have been trying to find a picture of me to add to this blog. When I read other people's blogs, I always search around to find a picture of them and I am always disappointed if there isn't one. Maybe I think I might bump into someone I know or perhaps I just like for my imaginary friends to have faces. Whichever, I feel like a hypocrite for not having my own picture. Thing is, I really really hate having my picture made so there aren't very many snapshots of me running around. I do have a pictures from my wedding . . . what do you think? Will one of those do or is that a bad idea?

For now, here is a funny picture of my twin sister, Katy, from our trip last month to Cambria. This is at the beach in Morro Bay. I told her to pretend like she had fallen in a pit. This is what I got. She is so funny.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Super Secret Projects and Who Hijacked Fall?

Last night there was no knitting. There was, however, a super secret knitting related project going on at my house. There was yarn and there were needles. That's all I can say for now. One day I will show you pictures and then you can say, "Oh yeah. That's what the super secret project was!" (I'm sure there are people everywhere waiting with bated breath.)

For now though, I must lament (like Laurie and many others) that there apparently will be no Fall in California this year. It has been "unseasonably warm". I don't even need a jacket. I am a product of the South. I am a big fan of the seasons. All four of them (even summer) because the seasons? They are a silent little reminder that all is right with the world. That in spite of all the other craziness, some things just keeping going around and around. Like the tide. (There is still tide right? No one is missing that, are they?) If things keep up like this, I will spend the next 12 months confused, waiting for the pre-Thanksgiving weather to show up.

The only good thing about this freakishly mild autumn we are having is that the trees are beautiful and the colors are lingering later. I guess that is the silver lining.

Here is a picture of the orange tree in the parking lot at work.

And then the yellow one off in the distance.

Try to ignore the blinds. They are the kind that are inside the window. I guess that is what I get for taking pictures from inside the office.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

And on the seventh day, there were Fuzzy Feet.

At long last, here are the finished fuzzy feet.


Post felting:

I was pretty pleased with them. I used Lamb's Pride bulky (I really should read patterns more closely. I was so enthusiastic to get them started and use up some stash, I didn't pay attention to the word "worsted"...)

The cuff didn't shrink as much as I would have liked. These will probably be pretty drafty. They are also a little on the short side (heel to toe). Tomorrow I am going to try them on the feet of their intended. We'll see then. I made them to the pattern (9 inches from the heel before starting the toe decrease.) I'll let you know after she tries them on. I am going to make a second pair for another friend for Christmas. She has narrow, smallish feet so I will probably knit these to the pattern, too. But if I ever make any for me, I will knit them longer so I can felt them more and hopefully snug up the cuff.

Pair #2 on the needles. I made the cuff 4" instead of the pattern's 3".

11/14/05 2:00pm Public Service Announcement: I delivered the red & black Fuzzy Feet to Courtney (with the small feet) and they are a little too short for her, too. She is going to try dampening them and wearing them around with some bulky socks for a few days and see if they will stretch back out enough to be comfortable. We'll see. The LP bulky shrinks more in one direction than the other so adjust accordingly.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Ball & Skein & More

In October, my sisters and I went to Cambria, on California's central coast. We had a wonderful time. It was one of the best trips I've ever taken. Relaxing, fun, interesting. We had a great time. We visited Hearst Castle (seen here in the distance)

And then we drove a little further up the coast on 1 and visited the sea elephants.

As you can see, they are very relaxed here, sunning themselves on the beach. We also went shopping at the antique shops in Cambria which was a lot of fun.

The next day, we went wine tasting and then my sisters went to another shop (they don't knit) while I went to the Ball & Skein & More (recommended to me by Inky), a great little shop with lots of (extremely pricey) treasures. I left with these:

Has anyone ever knit with bamboo yarn? I also bought these size 4 dpns. The shop owner suggested the bamboo yarn and the dpns would yield a lovely pair of socks. Maybe it was the two(ish) hours of wine-tasting preceding the shopping trip, but, umm . . . I don't knit socks. And out of bamboo? It doesn't seem that soft. . . Any thoughts?

I also got that skein of Fuschia Tahki Cotton Classic for an on going project, as well as three skeins of the Berroco Softtwist in that fabulous dark red. I don't know if they are going to not carry it anymore or what, but it was only $3.50 a skein and I really like it. I have no idea what it will eventually become, but it was too good to pass up.

And in the very best news, yesterday afternoon, after an exceptionally long week (month...summer/fall...) my Boss gave me the day off today. Even though it wasn't a scheduled holiday for us. Even though I don't technically have the vacation time. Even though there is still plenty of work to do. He just told me I could stay home today and that he appreciated all my extra effort recently. And I had actually done a great deal of catching up yesterday so I can take the day off and not feel guilty and worry about what isn't getting done. So, I'm off to watch Law & Order on tivo, finish up Fuzzy Foot #2 and drink my pajamas!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Someone get me a drink.

In the last two days: Pounds lost: -3 / Hours slept: 7 / Threats to have someone snuffed out: 6 no, make that 11. / Rows of Knitting: 14, of which 11 were ripped out. Yarn purchased: two balls of dishcloth cotton, to soothe my nerves.

I work in a real estate office. I am an assistant to a commercial realtor. Yesterday afternoon, a woman called and asked for Boss's voicemail. I put her through. Of course, I am the one who picks up his voicemail 90% of the time so, later, I listened to her message, got the information she needed and called her back. After I gave her the info she requested, she asked my why I had return her call when she had actually left a message for Boss. I explained that I am his assistant and I handle these kinds of questions, to which she said, "So is there anyway to avoid having to talk to you in the future or am I stuck?" I accidentally hung up on her.

So tonight, come hell or Martha Stewart, I am going to finish Fuzzy Foot #2.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Knitting Needles: A Still Life

I don't have any knitting pictures for today so here are my needles - well, most of them - hanging out on the entertainment center with the wilderness candle.

I haven't knitted much today. I did about 6 rows on Fuzzy Foot #2 and about 10 rows on a potholder I am knitting for my mother-in-law for Christmas. (I am doing a miniature version of a baby blanket I want to make. Just as a trial run. Is that neurotic??)

I've been meaning to stop at the book store and buy Ann Patchett's book Truth & Beauty butI haven't managed it yet even though I work less than 1/4 mile from Barnes and Noble.

I had an exceptionally long day at work and tomorrow promises to be equally soul-sucking. I really just want to stay home and drink hot tea and watch tv and try to get busy finishing up the Beach I'm knitting for my mother for Christmas. I'd really like to knit one of these for myself and relax in a bath with a glass of wine and a good book. For now, I will settle for a quick shower and a warm bed.

My first wedding anniversary is in 11 days. I feel guilty I haven't planned anything special.

Monday, November 07, 2005

For the Love of Fuzzy Feet.

So here is Fuzzy Foot #2, just after I finished turning the heel and just before I picked up the stitches around the gusset. As you can see, I used a circular for the heel flap. Other than that, I've been using dpns. The whole first FF was knitted on dpns.

After dinner, during a tivo'ed Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Hurray for Tivo! Hurray for Vincent D'Onofrio!) I picked up stitches and started down the Fuzzy Feet home stretch and polished off a bottle of wine because, really, what goes better with picking up stitches than wine? Nothing! A little wine, a few decrease rows and now we are here:

. . . only 3 more sets of the decrease rows, some toe shaping and then I'll be ready to felt. I think I'll pack my lunch tomorrow so I can knit for an hour at lunch time then be ready to felt tomorrow night. Ideally, I could felt tomorrow night. Realistically, it will probably be Wednesday or Thursday night. We'll see. For now, I think Fuzzy Foot #1 is have a cup of coffee and patiently awaiting a tumble in the washing machine. I hope the caffeine doesn't effect the felting process...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I am a co-designer! I think I've finally discovered how to put this in my sidebar....

Today I spent a little time knitting fuzzy foot #2 and a little time designing the square neck line for Ann's Perfect Sweater future search. As you may or may not know, Ann over at Mason-Dixon Knitting has been doing a Future Search to design the Perfect Handknit Sweater. Many of the basics, including the type of yarn (Cascade 220), have already been determined. Yesterday I went to my LYS (funny, they don't even list "yarn" as one of their product lines. Hum) and bought a single skein to do some swatching. You see, in addition to being the world's slowest knitter, I also have some gauge issues on occassion. I tend to knit super tight. I am in counseling for it. Anyway, I am eager to see the results of the hem tally and see this project progress. I intend for this sweater to be my first project of 2006.

Oh, I also finished this hat for my husband's aunt's birthday, which is the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. (Ahead of schedule, even!)

It is just a plain hold hat pattern, K2, P2 rib for 6 rows and the stockinette. It is knit from Berroco Lullaby in the Willy Winky colorway. For some inexplicable reason, I love this yarn.

Well, there it is. My very first Fuzzy Foot. I'm knitting away on the second one. I can't wait to felt these babies. I got momentarily distracted this evening, working on a purse I've been trying to design plus trying to figure out how to run this blog business but tomorrow it is back to Fuzzy Foot #2.

Tonight I got an email from fellow Fuzzy Feet KALer Laura responding to my question about using Lamb's Pride Bulky instead of LP Worsted. I'm eager to see how it works out. Do you think anyone would notice if I knit in church tomorrow morning? ha Anyway, Laura made a good point: knit blogging is great for moral support. Maybe there are others out there who, like me, lack local knitting friends. These are the friends that I knit with: Sally & Zena

(Not the best picture but a quickie from my cell phone...)

Anyway, tomorrow night we are going out to dinner for some family birthdays so I am going to try to get some good quality knitting time in tomorrow afternoon. We'll see since, as previously disclosed, I am a super slow knitter.

P.S. I didn't realize how much I would have to deal with actual "code" to have a blog. Bleck!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Here we go!

So here I am. What the heck do I need a blog for? I already have a million and one distractions that cut into my knitting time. But, hey, I am a bit of a follower and I feel left out of all the blog craziness. And I hate seeing my name on the Knit Along lists with no link. Poor me. :)