Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I had a three day weekend because of Veteran's Day, and it was pretty awesome. I didn't really get out that much though. I kind of did one tiny thing each day and then just sat around reading and doing fiber stuff. *I'm kind of not sure how to differentiate what I post on this blog versus what I post on jill & jill. It's not like I have a big following on this site. It's really just Jason that reads it I think! I haven't made a decision but I guess for a while there's going to be some overlap. And then eventually this one will probably become obsolete*

Friday I finally blocked my Three-cornered shawl.

*I apparently also need to figure out how to upload my pictures into Flickr with a higher resolution, hmmm*
I also finished some yarn that I spun. I watched Gaslight (1944) with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.
Saturday I went to the GLASG meeting. I showed off the shawl for show and tell. I also worked on spinning some silk and kind of figured out how to Navajo ply. Mariko took a few of us out to a tasty Japanese lunch at Yabu after the meeting. I love love love Japanese food. I made Spanikopita for dinner that night, using puff pastry instead of philo dough, making it extra fatty and buttery. Then watched Lolita (Kubrick version) and worked on my knitting.
Sunday I went to Jazzercise in the morning and then Adrienne and I met up with Brian G at the Los Angeles Tamale Festival! It was held at MacArthur Park in downtown Los Angeles. There were about two blocks reserved for the festival. There were maybe a dozen different tamale booths, plus other vendors and stuff. I had a really good green chile and cheese tamale at one booth (maybe Nini's Tamales?). It said they were New Mexico chiles, but they were very mild which is perfect for me. I got a humongus cup of horchata. I got a chicken tamale from Me Gusta, but it seemed like they had just run out of their homemade tamales and were using back-up ones from boxes. I also got a pretty good cheese papusa, my first ever! The lines got super long at some point and it would have been too difficult to go back to the first booth to get more of the amazing tamales. We tried to see the Tamale Eating Contest, but when we got to the stage it was just the tail-end of the veteran's presentation and a band was setting up. It was kind of disappointing, none of us have seen a real live eating contest. We also went into the 99 Cents Store, which I've never been into. I bought a box of Moon Pies and some lingerie wash bags for washing my fiber.
Monday was my day off, so I stayed in bed late reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I managed to read over the weekend. It was pretty good. A quick read. It kind of reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha. A girl going through numerous ordeals with a pay-off at the end, kind of book. I spun some more silk and watched The Office (American) Season 2. I went out to Century City and saw The Darjeeling Limited, finally. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. A similar feel to his other films with a little less humor. I then sat in traffic for 30-40 minutes to go 4 miles home then made me way to SnB at The Spot. I worked on my Cedar Dancing sock and discussed dirty internet memes and Tyra's fear of dolphins with the other ladies.
I didn't do much work yesterday so spent a lot of time on Ravelry putting new projects on my queue and reading blogs. I also managed to finish my socks. Now the only thing on the needles, besides things I kind of gave up on, is the Vintage Velvet scarf for my sister. I need to move some of those things off my queue and into real life! I'm gearing up to start a big project. There's a sweater coat in the Rowan magazine 38 that I have the yarn for and could start on. Or there's a cabled sweater in the same magazine. Or I could find something good in the latest Vogue Winter issue to start on. I better start knitting big sweaters since the brief cold season will likely pass by quickly.

Monday, November 5, 2007

New accounts

I had a pretty eventful weekend. Saturday was my birthday so I decided to celebrate it by cleaning my first fleece! I went over to Jill's and we started scouring my Pygora fleece from OFFF. We tried a few different cleansers, but went with the Orvus paste. It seemed to work better than Dawn. At the end of the day I had a bag of slightly damp, mostly clean Pygora fiber. Pretty exciting. I then went out for dinner with a few friends (at Mishima my favorite!). Sunday I went to Santa Anita for Oak Tree horse racing. It was my first time. It was pretty cool, but I didn't win any bets and there was a lot of downtime. But the people I went with wouldn't have appreciated me knitting there. It just seems so anti-social sometimes.

Jill and I also started a new joint blog! It's over here. I've got big plans for it blowing up all crazy and then we'll get famous and get a book deal. For now we'll aim at posting semi-regularly. I guess I'll still keep this one, because I like it, and see how it goes from there.

I also just got my invitation to Ravelry last week. My ravelry name is: nodice. I've been pretty lazy so far about uploading pictures and everything, but I'll try to do it soon.

I've been working pretty hard on the Cedar Dancing socks from the Cat Bordhi book, and should finish the first one tonight. Then maybe onto some holiday knitting. I also almost finished plying some superwash wool 3-ply yarn. I didn't plan ahead, so now have 1/2 oz of singles. I guess I'll have to try Navajo plying, but I don't feel confident about it!

That's it for now, more later!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

End of acrylic obligation

I've been feeling recently like my knitting time has not been my own. I think that I'm just too selfish and don't like spending time making things for other people. Since the last time I posted (years ago!) there was a huge ole debacle with my WEBS order. I wait for at least eight days, and then my yarn finally came. I'm all excited about it, and then it turned out to only be half of my order. The crappy half. The rest of it had been backordered but they never informed me. And I was careful to pick yarn that had multiple balls in stock still (according to their site). The
Cascade Ecological was on backorder as well as the Malabrigo lace. What did come was the ball of Rowan Calmer and a bunch of balls of garish acrylic. The acrylic felt kind of gross, not as soft as something I would buy at Michael's. I could have expected the colors would be off of the pictures, but they were way off. What I thought was white, ended up being fluorescent yellow. I bought eight colors, but only three or four were going to work for the Pinwheel sweater. I emailed WEBS with kind of a disgruntled message. They called me back and gave me a fake apology. "Well, I'm sorry you're upset.." Like it was my fault that they messed up. They claimed the emails were being bounced back even though I had gotten multiple other emails from them. Two exchanges later and I had to cancel the rest of my order. And I still haven't bought any Cascade Ecological.

I had been on a bit of a deadline, because I wanted to bring the hat up to my Uncle's when I went to visit him. But the yarn took too long to get there and I had to finish it later. It was the Shedir hat from the special Breast Cancer issue of Knitty. My gauge was way off, so it ended up a little too big, and needing a second ball of yarn. But I may be able to make another one that's a little small with the left over yarn.
So back to the acrylic. I started the Pinwheel Sweater a few weeks ago. I've been sitting around hating it ever since. When people ask me what I'm knitting, I give a bunch of disclaimers, ranting about how much I don't like the yarn. How it would be different colors, different yarn if only I hadn't already bought this crap. I finished it today. The sleeves are knit in a grey color, that even though it's the same yarn as the rest of the body feels like it's made of petroleum. Maybe if I wash it first it will soften up. I'm trying to delude myself that there's spinning oil in it or something. The pattern was kind of fun though. I don't think I can ever make it again, but I don't hold it against the pinwheel. It was kind of hard to figure out how to weave in ends, and where to do arm decreases because the sweater can be turned upside down and stuff.

I also wanted to enter Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunken Cat Sweater contest. My co-worker had the great idea to make a Freddy Krueger sweater, because of the claws. I used some of the acrylic The Leader (it's good for something!) yarn to make a red and green striped sweater. I wanted it to look kind of ragged so I put some deliberate holes and drop stitches in it. But these somehow evened out and it just looked kind of sloppy. I even put short rows in the back of the neck to accomodate his hunch. As it turns out, cat bodies are really weird. They are totally different when they're sitting versus when they're standing. Something was missing though, so I made Paquito a felted fedora to go with it. I used a free pattern online for a felted cowboy hat accessory. I had to make it a little bigger, but it ended up working out great. I used KnitPicks Wool of the Andes that I had left over. Probably like half a skein. It felted really quick by hand. Then I just used little safety pins and pinned a rubber band under the hat to put it on his head. I bought ribbon to trim the hat with, but the hat part sloped too much to be able to attach it well. He was such a good sport. He didn't really freak out, but he sat there really still and kind of dejected. I guess that's his own way of freaking out. Here's a couple pictures:
This is the one that I entered into the contest.

But this one is my favorite.

There are more in Flickr and there should be some more soon, once I get some pictures developed.
I also finally finished the Victorian Lace Today shawl. I need to block it before so I can take some good pictures. It turned out pretty good. I think it's going to be huge. It's already huge before blocking. I just got those fancy Myrna Stahlman blocking wires, now I just need a good place to block something that huge. And I'll have to be sure to lock the kitties out of my room so they don't tear it apart. They're kind of savages.
More soon. My next projects are Cat Bordhi socks, a beret from my handspun and maybe a big project. Look pictures finally!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Slow Progress on Everything

No FOs to show today, of course. I just have the very top of my first toe-up sock to finish. It should take like five minutes, I don't know why I'm not doing it right now. I wasn't entirely crazy about the pattern. I could do without P3tog on tiny needles. But this has been a good occasion to learn some new sock techniques. I did the short row toe, a short row toe-up heel flap with no picking up stitches, and the bind off is an elastic bind off. I don't know what the official name for the bind off is, but it's kind of like doing double knitting for four rounds first, then doing a kitchener stitch to bind off the top. I'm interested to see how it will turn out. I'm not sure how I feel about the Panda Cotton. My gauge is pretty tight so the fabric is pretty inflexible even on the lacey leg part. And it has the tendency to split quite a bit. I thought the bamboo and cotton would be good, because sometimes my feet get too sweaty in wool socks.

I've been getting two or three rows a night on my VLT shawl. The rows are just so long, each one takes forever! I'm still only on my first skein of yarn, and I need at least three of them!

I've been trying to be good about buying yarn, but I made a large purchase from WEBS the other day. It took me hours to figure out what to get. My uncle has just started going through chemotherapy so I wanted to make him something. I bought a ball of Rowan Calmer to make the Sirdar chemo cap from Knitty. I'll use a manly color, but hopefully it's not too girly with all the cables. I also joined a KAL for Brooklyn Tweed's Hemlock Ring Blanket. You can join up here:

I bought some Cascade Eco-Wool to make the blanket. No substitutions for me today. I hope that the fact it's not washable won't be a problem for my uncle. I can't wait for my yarn to get here so I can start. I also ordered some acrylic yarn in a bunch of colors to make the Pinwheel Sweater for my friend's baby. I hope the yarn isn't all nasty when it comes. It is The Leader from the WEBS Mill Ends yarns. Only $1.29 a ball! I was hoping for a blend, rather than 100% acrylic, but maybe this'll be okay. I always think washable is a good thing for babies.

Tonight I'm heading to a workshop to make crocheted hyperbolic planes. My crocheting skills aren't that great, but I should be able to handle it. Hopefully it won't be a problem that I don't have any stiff acrylic to bring to the table. I guess it's the best for making hyperbolic planes... It's at That Yarn Store in Eagle Rock. I almost never make it there because it's kind of far away from me. But I want to support them, and Jill is going so I'm tagging along. It should be fun, maybe I'll have pictures to show for it later. (ha!)

Friday, August 24, 2007

back to blogging

I had kind of given up on this blog, mostly because I'm always too lazy to upload pictures. But now my internet at home is working so I can now theoretically put pictures from my camera up on Flickr. Also from talking to Jill and Jason this weekend have decided to get back into it. I've been pretty busy with knitting recently, but don't know if I'll be able to go over everything.

This last weekend I volunteered with Jill, Jason and Kim at the Fabulous Fiber Fest at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. I had to work on Friday, but I was there all day Saturday and Sunday. I mostly did spinning. I spun singles from some Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks Merino/Tussah (80/20) Roving in magentas. I plied the two together the next day. It's the first time I've really spun with colors that weren't carded together so it was fun to see the different sections of color and how they combine together. I worked a little on the Mystery Stole and on Sunday used the drum carder on some SnowBeast fiber that I dyed. I had dyed it green at the GLASG dye day and it had gotten a little felted. So I carded it and added some sparkles in to it. I also made an attempt at spinning a bulkier yarn. I used some natural Indigo-dyed merino that Marguerite from Stick and Stone had dyed. I wasn't entirely sucessful. It's pretty uneven and I had hoped to use it as a single. I'm not really sure. I have two hanks of it now, but haven't decided if I should go back and ply them or just try to set the twist into them.

I made a few purchases at the show. At Carolina Homespun I bought the new Cat Bordhi book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters (love it!), some Nature's Palette to make fair isle socks from More Sensational Knitted Socks and a couple skeins of Malabrigo to make a shrug. At the Lisa Souza booth I got some sock yarn, some Superwash roving to make sock yarn and some Merino/Tussah roving (50/50%). I'm pretty pleased with my purchases over all. I had a lot of fun just helping out and I felt so productive having so much dedicated spinning/knitting time. It did feel like the carding took up a huge chunk of time though. There was a lot of quilting stuff and fabric, which almost tempted me into quilting. I missed out on some great classes. But I did get a few opportunities to talk to Michael Cook and I sort of talked to Judith MacKenzie McCuin. We also had some lovely meals with Mariko on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Always such amazing Japanese food.

I managed to finish the Mystery Stole 3/Swan Lake Stole on Monday. I haven't blocked it yet, because I don't have the energy. It's so tempting to buy blocking wires! I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I like it, but sometimes I'm not crazy about the design. It was definitely fun to knit, but the wing does look kind of weird. Now that I've finished that, I can go back to the lace shawl I started from Victorian Lace Today. I can't remember what the name of the shawl is. It's hard to get momentum because the rows are so long. I seemingly can only knit two rows a night. I started a pair of toe-up socks out of Panda Cotton yarn and have been working on that primarily. It's my first time using a short row toe. It's pretty obvious how different my gauge is for working back and forth and in the round are. The toe is quite a bit looser, but it's only apparent on the bottom side.

I need to start some baby projects soon. I think I'm going to knit the Pinwheel sweater from I need to find a good yarn for it though. I'm thinking about buying some acrylic from WEBS but I'm bummed that I missed out on the good close-out colors of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. I wanted to buy some to make a sweater from Fitted Knits.

This post already seems too long. Maybe if I post more often they can be shorter and not too cumbersome. Tomorrow is the archive beach trip that I tried to organize. We're going to El Matador beach in Malibu. I'm hoping to do some boogie boarding (my first time!). I'm also planning on picking up some cream puffs from Beard Papa, because you can't go to the beach without cream puffs! I decided to get the messiest, stickiest things to eat on the beach. But first I have to go to the Spinning Guild meeting in the morning.

Okay, more soon, and some pictures hopefully!

Monday, March 19, 2007

waiting on an order

A lot of my projects seem to be stalled up right now. Of course I ran out of yarn for the Turtleneck Shrug and had to order two more skeins from WEBS. Since I was on the website I figured I'd browse and see what else there was. I ended up ordering some Rowan Kid Classic (which was the recommended yarn for this project), a niddy-noddy and some size 0 DPNs. I ordered it last Tuesday so thought it might be here today. But I just got an email saying they just shipped it out today. So no working on the shrug today at work.

I started the Titania's Revenge socks on my flight to Portland. I bought some Brittany wood DPNs at the A Mano sale. They worked okay for the ribbing at the top, but when I started the lace pattern they started giving me trouble. I really like working with metal needles since I tend to put a lot of pressure on my needles. I've had problems with bowing some size 2 bamboo DPNS. And the problems are only intensified on size 0s. I ended up snapping one the first night. My Mom was able to go through some knitting stuff of my Grandmother's and found two metal 0s. I was able to finish the socks alternating metal and wood needles. But while finishing the first sock I did break a second needle. It was also quite a bit slower knitting than I would prefer. I'm generally happy with the first sock. The lace on the leg doesn't have a lot of give, so it's a little difficult getting my foot into it. But if it was any looser it might be baggy when on. The colors also pooled quite a bit. I don't really mind this, but the front of the leg and the back are in two different pairs of colors. The only thing disappointing is I like the colors on the back of the leg better than on the front. I'll probably start the second sock today even though I was hoping to use the Inox metal needles I ordered.

I had assumed that I had a lot of unfinished projects to work on in the interim. But as it turns out I don't have that many hanging around. I have a pile of things that need finishing or buttons. And multiple things that need blocking. I just don't have the energy to get out my foamcore boards to pin stuff down. Last night I started sewing in the elastic on the Euroflax skirt. So yes, there are projects to work on, but no knitting to do. I was going to swatch for the Ram's Horn Jacket, but didn't want to track down the right needles. I really want to make a pair of gloves and garter belt from Naughty Needles out of Blue Sky Alpaca Silk but am not necessarily up for making something I can't use. There are hundreds of things I want to make, and at least dozens that I have yarn allocated for, I just need to make a decision.

Back to the A Mano Yarn sale. I ended up leaving extra early from work before my flight to go to the sale. It took me longer to get there than I expected, so had less time to pick out my book purchases. I ended up buying Lace Style, Knitting Vintage Socks, and the Knitter's Handy Guide to Sweater Patterns (or whatever it's called). All at 40% off. While I was there I bought the aforementioned Brittany needles and two skeins of Cherry Hill sock yarn, both solids, one navy and the other burgundy. Because I went to the sale, I was somewhat late for my flight. Luckily there wasn't much of a crowd at the airport. But this did make me realize that I have a bit of a problem. Maybe yarn sales are beginning to negatively affect my life. While waiting for the airport shuttle from the parking center, one of the guys that works there was very intrigued with my knitting. I got a few, "How did you do that, sweetheart?!" I showed him what I was doing a little bit, but he seemed completely baffled. His interest did earn him a tip.

While I was home, I went with my parents on a tour of the Pendleton Woolen Mills, located in our neighboring small town, Washougal. It was a pretty interesting one-hour tour. We saw the raw wool in giant bundles on pallets, the huge vats they dye the wool in, cleaners and mixers. At the mills, they do batch dyeing, yarn dyeing and material dyeing. The tour guide couldn't tell me when each process is used. But it seemed like batch dyeing was done mainly for when they were making a tweedy thread that had multiple colors mixed together. There were machines to pre-draft the wool, of sorts, then others to spin what they call the roving (looked like slightly twisted very fine pencil roving) into thread. The thread is then set into a weaving frame by hand, then machine woven. Workers inspect the material afterwards and fix small errors by hand. The material is then fulled and finished, much of it into blankets. It was pretty interesting. I think the tour guide didn't know what he was getting into, with a group of two fiber people and an engineer (lots of technical questions that he wasn't trained to answer!).

The wedding itself was a lot of fun. I was very intimate and definitely an original setting. It was very casual and relaxed. A little emotional for me, but great to see the bride and groom and many other people from high school and college that I haven't seen in a few years.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Hut Wedding

I'm leaving early from work today so that I can go home for a wedding. Jeff and Morgan are getting married in a hut on Mt. Hood. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone (people from high school and college) but I'm also being pretty lazy. I feel like I was just out of town because of Stitches. And this is really too short of a trip up. It would be nice to see more of my parents while I'm home. I had a hell of a time packing for this trip. It was like I had to pack for three climates. I had to have clothes for warm Los Angeles weather, kind of cold Camas weather and then for really cold Mt. Hood weather. Plus something kind of nice to wear for the wedding. It was also time to bring home the giant suitcase that I borrowed from my Mom to bring my spinning wheel down. This suitcase is huge. I could probably curl up into it. And now my weekend clothes are just swimming around in it.

I spent just as long last night trying to figure out what knitting to bring with me. I have the Turtleneck Shrug with me, but I may not risk metal DPNs on the plane. I might do a swatch for a pair of socks. I'm going to start Titania's Revenge by Cookie A. from Blue Moon. I have some Socks that Rock Lightweight that I got at Stitches. I think that I'll probably have to buy some 0s, because I always knit loose and it asks for 1s, which I do have. I am also bringing some KnitPicks Wool of the Andes to swatch for the Ram Horn Jacket from the Knitting Nature book. I think Norah Gaughan is my favorite designer right now. But I don't really want to start on this all stockinette sweater right now. And it'll probably turn out where I don't work on anything while I'm gone.

The worst thing is that I'm thinking about leaving work extra early so I can hit the A Mano Yarn sale on the way to the airport. Today is 40% off all books, and there's some books I really want. I want to get Lace Style, Suss Wedding Knits, and take a look at the Fitted Knits book. I don't know if any of these new books will be on sale. And I was just complaining earlier about not having any money.