Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm Moving!!

I think I'm ready to make the big move... from now on, my blog posts will reside at - the direct link is : for those of you who use links...
here's the RSS feed: to update your reader...
Thanks to everyone who takes time to read my blog - and special thanks for those of you who post comments - getting feedback means a lot to bloggers - and it still amazes me that people take time to read my ramblings! -
See you on!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Strawberry Festival!

First, a note about knitting - yes, I have been knitting - I am close to finishing my snowflake sweater, and the rust top down raglan... I'm plugging along on something special for a friend who donated a enameled box to the shop at - that piece is for sale to raise money for the Amanda Foundation... along with some other random items in the shop. Her gift is slow moving... so is the cabled vest I'm working on - the vest pattern is from Through the Loops! - she designed the vest in honor of her father, who is/was a respected microbiologist - check out that link - donate if you can, and get this pattern - if you have never cabled, before, this pattern is super easy - I'm doing it - only an inch or two into the project - but it's beautiful so far. (more on that another day; today is for the strawberries!)

What a beautiful day! This was the third time I have gone to the Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, CA and every time is as fun as the first... we always end the visit with our annual "Strawberry Shortcake Portrait" - me and my friend Debbie go through the line, making our yummy treats and sitting in the shade (thankfully) - and devour the delights...
There were hundreds (literally) of craft booths - we bought some candles, some candied pecans and almonds, and some neat magnetic bookmarks - but there were also beautiful artworks, glass pieces, windchimes, bags and hammocks, anything that you could imagine... today was the hottest May 18th since 1892 in Los Angeles - YIKES!
I recommend going to the festival - next year - it's over for this one... check out the link, and stick a note in your computer reminder service of choice - and next year, you'll be surprised with a wonderful early summer thing to do come 2009
The other beautiful thing we got to see was the Budweiser Clydesdale horses - this one beauty was laying down (which seemed kind of odd; but I think they just were driven for a few hours standing in their trailers, so perhaps he was sleepy)- my oh my - what beautiful creatures... they weigh over a ton each...

Here's one more treat - as I was getting ready to go this morning, the sun was SOOOO bright that I had to keep the shutters pulled... I left the shutters opened a tiny tad so that there was a sliver of light on the floor - Winky found that sliver and though she was the smartest kitty in the whole world... Watch the little movie to see if she's the smartest cat in the house or not!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hissy Knits says Goodbye

ANOTHER (yes, another) Los Angeles yarn shop is calling it quits - this time it's sweet Annie Tyron and Hissy Knits - located in Highland Park….north of Lincoln Heights, south of Pasadena, off the 110 Fwy. 1601 North Ave 55 Los Angeles, CA 90042; (323) 550-8960

This weekend is her last weekend "open" - and she's having a beyond crazy blowout sale - major discounts (50% off!) - even on Noro! - I have already been - and cleaned up on Kuryeon (20 skeins!) and Silk Garden (I think around 16-18 skeins) as well as a few other odds and ends -

(yes, I know, I know... yarn diet) - truth is, by the time I got back home I was *almost* sick at how much more yarn I have... there's not really anywhere to put it - I will need to put it in a new bin... which means buying a new bin... :)

SO this brings me to a question - of the kuryeon that I bought, I got all kinds of different colors. My want is to make some sort of crazily colored, somewhat artsy (but not too girly) sweater - using all kinds of colors - sort of like a coat of many colors... I'm not afraid of intarsia or changing colors often - but I'm looking for ideas.

My first thought was to do something in the round, bottom up (or in sections figuring out how to keep the color changes somewhat consistent from one section to another) and change yarns every few rows or so - creating horizontal stripes... the second (and better, I think) idea was to do something like the gridlock cushion pattern from Kaffe Fassett; (essentially it's just a checkerboard sort of pattern) using all different colors and not having rhyme or reason to the order except that the same color can't border itself... My partner thinks that it might be too "girly" so I'm asking...

so to recap - like 15 different colors of Kuryeon (I had to double up on a few) And keeping in mind they ALL are color changing.... so lots of color - I want some sort of "artsy" pattern that a guy can wear... if you have ideas, please; pass them on - it's not something I have to start anytime soon... but it's something I want to figure out...

and lastly, if you're in the area... please PLEASE go by Hissy Knits this weekend - I know, it's hot - but the deals she's offering are amazing! AND - Charles is doing a yarn dyeing class either today or tomorrow - I can't remember - call, visit, take the class if you can, and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

High School Mural

I didn't know if it was still around - so I contacted my old High School (Deer Valley High School, in Glendale, AZ) - and sent a random request through their website and got ahold of one of the facilities folks - and she sent 2 photos - the second of which was actually the mural I helped paint in the early 90's when I attended school there!

I am happy that she was able to send a picture of this mural to me - I remember spending time after school with a few other kids, sketching out the mural on the wall, and using dozens of cans of wall paint to finish it... I did the flag, the smoke under the space shuttle, and the feather in the inkwell - I look at it now, as a 33 year old man and I see so much that could be improved - the perspective is all wonky, the blending needs work, scale is off - but in the end, it's something that I did and I'm really glad that I was able to get a photo of it -

It makes me think that there's other things I have done that I didn't document - they may not be the best examples of artistry ever, but they're part of my history and I want to try not to lose them...

This is part of what I love most about Ravelry - being able to document my knitting arts - I know now - (I have a record!) of every piece of knitting I make - what yarn I used, how much, needle sizes, progress photos, finished photos (sometimes; when I get it done) - and that's good - in time, I hope there's a way to print out these projects so that I can have them in bound form...

someday... someday... for now, I'll rely on the saving grace of people who still have access to the images and items left in my wake...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

super quick little update... of sorts...

I am working on a new website - (fixed the link; sorry guys!)

when you have a minute, and want to see some of the things I have made over the years, click away!

also, there's a shop on there (sparse so far, but there nonetheless) - that I started to help raise money for the amanda foundation - a group that is amazing at rescuing pets in the Los Angeles area.

bookmark my new site - check out the store from time to time... and if you're feeling generous and want to help out the animals, buy something! I plan on adding all kinds of items to the shop - including knitting books, yarn, finished objects, etc.

if you can think of something else to add to the store that might sell, let me know! I have a goal of giving $1000 this year - help me reach it :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tomato Update

They're groooowing!!!! I have been following the direction of the people who sold us the seedlings at tomatomania! - and picking off the flowers... I think they're big enough now to start producing yummy fruit... stuffed in these 2 pots are 11 different plants - it's going to be a crazy madhouse of plants soon - I think it's seriously time to stick some cages into the containers :)
For those of you who love 'em... just think... heirloom tomato after heirloom tomato... if you're in the area, I will probably be begging people to take them, so "sign up" early! :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

More Yarn? are you kidding?!

Before I get into the yarn that I got this weekend, here's another finished object:
I made another yarmulke using Jenny White's pattern from Greetings from Knit Cafe - I used KPM and this one turned out a bit too small - it's more "boy" sized - but fits pretty well as a skull cap on my day of the dead skull I got during our trip to Mexico this past February! - It'll eventually end up as a gift I'm sure; it is just a touch too small for me or Gregg...

OK - Simply Knitting was having a 50% off everything (but Noro) sale this past week - if you got to go, it's a great time to stock up - she does this a time or two each year to clear out inventory and to prepare for the next season - I got some goodies but forced myself not to go too overboard...

First, I got yarn to make something for my Pay It Forward pal, Jadielady from Ravelry - I am not posting much about the yarn (it is a potential secret to her) - but it'll be beautiful... it's in my list of projects on Ravelry, but I haven't started it... at least the yarn is acquired...

I scooped up 2 hanks of Marisol Sulka in a light grey - yummy and soft and beautiful - to make a hat... no pattern yet... but having supplies is half the battle...

I also bought up 5 hanks of each of these 4 colors - to make a sweater or vest of some kind - I was originally thinking of a striped sweater, but as the day progressed, I think my idea has morphed into some sort of vest - I have no pattern for a vest yet... if anyone has a suggestion I'd love to hear it! - I'm not opposed to some sort of intarsia or fair isle, but the yarn is kind of thick so fair isle might not be a good idea... but intarsia (or blocks of some kind) or maybe just good old stripes will be good - I think that cables are out of the question just because I'm not fond of horizontal stripes mixed with vertical cables... ideas? :) (also, do you like the stripes in this color order or would you change it?

I picked up this slow color changing yarn because of its yardage and because I thought I might be able to practice some of the fair isle pattern stuff that I want to do with other yarn in my stash - worst case, it'll end up as *another* scarf - but hopefully I'll find a nice chart to make some sort of pillow front or something...again, ideas?

I started a one row scarf (from the Yarn Harlot) using some Noro in my stash - it's my "carpool" project - I did get my car back from the repair shop - it's all better save a few touch ups - and the stereo is re-installed - but I still love my knitting time while carpooling with a coworker - I need something easy to work on that I can do mindlessly - without much thought - and this pattern is definitely easy - and pretty - and I love this yarn... I'm hoping I'll be able to get a scarf out of one hank of yarn - I have 2 hanks just in case... if I have to break into #2 I can always make a matching hat..

Hope you had a great weekend! :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Passover, fixed cars and yarn sales

We went to Palm Springs for Passover dinner with my partner's sister's family - I made a yarmulke for my Brother-in-Law...
it's a really simple pattern - using some short rows - by Jenny White from Greetings from Knit Cafe - be sure to check the corrections page before starting the pattern - there are a couple mistakes in the pattern... but once I got through those, it's really a breeze!

I also went to Ultimate Point which has recently moved to a new shopping center - the store is chock full of good yarn - I bought some berroco alpaca something or other, and some KPM to make another yarmulke -

I'm also working on the multi directional scarf right now... carpooling with a coworker - so that gives me something to do while she drives... (Thanks, Debbie!) - I love my knitting time in the car -

OH! I also got my car back on Tuesday -it's 99% done; there are a few interior scratches that will be fixed next week, and the paint job looks AMAZING - but there's a tiny bit of lacquer or something that needs to be buffed out on one inconspicuous spot - (only I see it!) - and my stereo needs to be installed - which happens tomorrow.... once that's done (and a good detailing/cleaning) it'll be good as new.

Auto accidents are frustrating and inconvenient, but all in all, I can not complain - I was safe (not hurt badly), I was able to run after the fool as he tried to drive away, I had a camera and was able to photograph and document the accident scene, I had insurance, and the ability to pay the tow truck driver (even this can be a blessing; I have always been lucky enough to have a credit card when I need it) - and in the end, the other driver's insurance company accepted liability and paid the costs to fix my vehicle. Once they pay for the other charges I have incurred (the stereo removal/re~installation that happened because they said my car was totaled, then after I had the stereo removed it suddenly wasn't totaled so I have to have it reinstalled) and the tow bill, etc., it will be all better!

I'm trying desperately not to buy yarn - although simply knitting is having a 50% off yarn sale through this weekend... UNWIND in Burbank is arranging Stitch and Pitch bus trip, goodie bag, etc. for $40- contact them quickly if you're interested in joining them - I believe it's for June 2nd...

have a great weekend everyone!


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Thank you, Mr. Daniels!

I must thank Dave Daniels of Cabin Cove for spinning up this beautiful yarn for me out of some roving that I had bought way back when I first attempted spinning. I decided that there was no way that I was going to be spinning any time soon since I had attempted it in a class and failed so miserably, so I sent the roving to him... he spun it on his Kromski Mazurka (in walnut finish just like my new wheel!) and sent it to me wrapped in beautiful tissue, pinned with his CUTE "Cabin Cove Mercantile" pin (I want to know where he had these pins made; they're adorable!) and labeled with the type of fiber, yardage, etc. on a super nice little printed card - he even included a little lavender packet - he thinks of everything! OH! so, as everyone now knows, after sending all my roving stash to Dave, I decided to buy a spinning wheel of my very own - it's kind of funny that it wasn't until AFTER I rid myself of all my roving that I found my wheel - I always said though; when it's right, I'll know it; and the time was right for my wheel.

Thank You, Dave - for the beautiful yarn - I don't know what it's going to become... for now, it's sitting in my room and I'm admiring the skill and thoughtfulness you put into it just for me :)
I'm glad I met you online and I am thankful that I have the chance to know you. Check out his store - if you see something you like, buy it - and if you're interested in beautiful hand spun yarn - email him; I'm sure he'll make something just for you as well!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hellos and Good Buys - Weekend in Review

On Saturday, we went to Tomatomania! - a great place to buy heirloom tomatoes... I bought 11 different kinds and can't wait (for 70 +/- days to go buy) until I have lots of neat tomatoes!! My favorite sandwich is heirloom tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, a little mayo, some basil and a lettuce of some sort - on a nice soft bread... YUM! - This place also ships so if you're interested, go to the website and buy some... I recommend trying any of the "black" tomatoes! :)

Saturday afternoon, I took out the Circular Sock Knitting machine and made a pair of socks! they're not PERFECT, but they're complete... I did something funny with the top hem, and the sizing is a little strange (although they do fit!) but all in all, for my first complete pair, I'm pretty darn proud! Some people told me not to throw out my first pair.. this would be the first set I completed - and I'll keep them. I don't know that they'll ever be worn (I need some way to make the top more elastic; maybe when I get the ribber working) but they're worth preserving for nostalgia!

here's my 2 socks fresh off the machine - the fluorescent color is my "waste" yarn -
More good news from the weekend: Meet my new Kromski Mazurka! Yes, most of you know that I don't know how to spin *yet* - but I couldn't pass up the great deal (30% off) I got on this one - Stick and Stone Fiberarts is/was closing... so on Saturday, I met up with my pal Kelli (who knows how to spin AND owns a circular sock knitting machine) - and we raided what was left of the store. I bought the wheel, some roving and a few hanks of beautiful yarn at 70% off - The owner arranged a meeting for us to be able to go to the shop for one last spree (thanks, Margarete!) - and we both got some goodies.

I was able to spin immediately with my new wheel - I don't know what it is - I just sat down, pedaled and started making singles - I definitely need some classes on how to use it, but I am excited and can't wait to learn :)

Another thing that happened this weekend - I stopped by Knit Cafe and got my book signed by Suzan - the store closed Sunday at 3 - I had a chance to give her a hug and congratulate her on making her dream real - She inspired so many people - I can't wait to see what she does next! I'm glad I was able to get her to sign her book for me - it's special to me to have a record of these businesspeople who are ambitious enough to open shops... get published... their knowledge and perseverance inspires me... her book goes next to the Kaffe Fassett books and the Elizabeth Zimmerman autographed books I have. I'm curious - what other knitting superstars are around that you'd want autographed books from in your library? I can think of others I want; but I am curious to hear who you list :)

I met up with Doug Laughlin and a group of guys Sunday from 1-4 in West Hollywood to teach how to knit - I didn't really realize how many new students there was going to be at this meeting - just Doug and myself knew how to knit, and about 10 new students were there wanting to learn - it was challenging to say the least; I am admittedly not the *best* instructor, but after an hour or so, everyone had casting on down and most were knitting! By the end of the visit, a few guys were even purling - I hope they'll keep trying and practicing - it takes time, and with time, they'll get the hang of it!

I didn't get much knitting done this weekend; a little work on my blanket is all I managed - we did a lot (including the chores and shopping/"stuff" I didn't' write about) - so the 2 days were pretty full... it's Monday now, and time to get back to work -- nose to the grindstone, and all that sort of stuff - which is hard to do when so many fiber hobbies sit at home patiently waiting for me :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Knitting Needle Sale!!!

Need some brand new wooden knitting needles at a fantastic deal?
Today is your (very) lucky day!

I bought a BUNCH of bamboo (and other wooden) knitting needles from Bishop's Yarns when she was going out of business last summer. The big idea was to either use them in a business that I might open someday or to sell them online. I don't see the yarn shop in my near future, so I decided to post some needles here and sell them to whomever might be interested. The goal is to reduce some of the excess that I have and to share the good value of these needles.

UPDATE: - 5/7/08 - I have created a new website - - and there's a shop on the site that has my needles (as well as other knitting related items) listed for sale. a good portion of proceeds goes to the amanda foundation - a wonderful Los Angeles based animal rescue group who prides itself on saving animals from high kill shelters!

Check out the website store, and buy because you want to... and know that buying is saving lives. Can it get any better than this?

(and thank you.)


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Scumble Swap Signups! (Signup Deadline 4/25/08)

Originally posted on Ravelry, but I want to make sure everyone has the chance to play with freeform - this is a good way to get 3 different scumbles and some fun packages of goodies! If you’re interested, let me know by emailing me - Deadline for this signup will be April 25th, and ship date will be May 25th. This isn’t a “secret” swap if you don’t want it to be - if you’re interested in talking with your swapmate about the scumble you’re making for them, feel free.

Give the following info in your EMAIL to me:




State, Zip:


Ravelry ID (if you have one):


What colors do you want to do/trade: (note I’ll try my best to match you with similar color people- but the colors you get might be different) - that’s part of the fun of a swap! - I’ll do my BEST to get you at least ONE swap of the main color you wanted- and ONE of the scumbles you get will be a random MYSTERY scumble!

are you willing to ship internationally?

are you willing to help out if someone doesn’t follow through (sending an extra scumble to someone who didn’t get one):

Do you have any pets: Any allergies? (cats, dogs, wool, etc.):

I’ll compile the lists and put everyone together for the swap -
Email me with any questions :) This is going to be FUN! Deadline to sign up is April 25, 2008


Goodbye, Knit Cafe :(

For those of you in the West Hollywood, CA area, some sad news has been discovered. Suzan Mischer's store, Knit Cafe is closing its location on Melrose Ave. She has yet to find another location with realistic rent, so, after April 6th, we'll only be able to shop with her through her website.

I spent a little time yesterday after work with Suzan at the shop, and bought a few things.... oh - did I mention? EVERYTHING IN THE STORE IS 50% OFF! - I didn't go overboard - but it would be so easy to do - she has tons of books, needles, yarn, bags... anything you could possibly want - now is the time to buy - there is a large selection of cotton summer yarns there also (and on SALE!) -

I met a new friend there also - Doug Laughlin (on Ravelry and Men Who Knit) was there - so that was neat - we talked about the upcoming crochet class he's going to be teaching this Sunday at the shop - it's 99% confirmed - if you're remotely interested, please call Suzan at the store and reserve a space. From what I understand, it'll be a basic overview of crochet - which, in my opinion, is a good set of knowledge to have; especially for those of us who like the whole free form thing!

Also, the following Sunday (April 6th), Doug is hosting a men's knitting group at his place in West Hollywood. It's the first of its kind - if you're interested in meeting up with the men's knitting group, contact me or him and we'll get it all arranged.

So, just a quick sad post - its frustrating that rent and finances must drive so many decisions in our big grown up world - but I understand the plight of the small business owner. I did beg Suzan to move her shop closer to the valley- she has the most amazing color sense and the products she carries (carried?) in her shop are stunning.

A pinwheel blanket update - I bought a 60" circular needle at Knit Cafe yesterday - the blanket fits on this size needle *already*! - So, I think I need to buy 2 more of them - but it's coming along. I am on a set of rows using Ozark Handspun that I bought a year or two ago from the Knot Garden in Encino - it was on clearance and I was in LOVE - I couldn't go to sleep last night when I realized that it was the next fiber in the blanket - and I HAD to do one round of knitting with it - it's so soft and beautiful and all the little tufts of fiber are gorgeous! I want more more more of this amazing yarn - and highly suggest if you're doing a blanket or something free form that you invest in a few skeins of this yarn!!

Go check out knit cafe one more time before it's gone - get Suzan's book if you don't already have it - and gather up a few good deals at the shop while you're at it! This location is closing for good on April 6, 2008. And, if you're interested in the men's knitting group, email me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pinwheel Blanket

I was inspired by ravelry member JavaMama - she made a beautiful pinwheel blanket for her soon to be born baby girl - I took the pattern she used, designed by Genia Planck (this link only works if you can get on ravelry; sorry) and chose this large crate or neutral colored yarn that I have been collecting:
This collection has lots of different yarns in it, including hand spun from a friend in VT, as well as yarns from VIP fibers that were made with Winky's hair (my cat) and Dakota's fur (our old doggie) - After starting and doing a few rounds on the blanket, I decided to get organized -

I laid out all the yarns in an order that I thought worked well - sort of a color arranging order - moving around textures and colors to try to get a nice even mixture of colors - once I was happy with the arrangement, I took some Ziploc baggies and stuck a piece of paper in each one, identifying the order of yarns by number (if I intended to carry 2 yarns together, then those 2 went into one bag) -

There are a total of 36 bags in this collection - once I'm done with the 36 bags, I'll probably stop and look at what I have and re-arrange the colors again - doing my best to ensure that I have enough yarn for the rounds needed - the larger this thing gets, the more yarn it'll take (obviously) - and I'm nor sure how far it'll be before I have to buy some more yarns... I hope I can make it large enough to suit me; since establishing a repeat, most of the colors I have been doing 4 rounds of... some of the harder to deal with yarns (or more flashy glittery yarns) have been getting used only 2 rounds... I like the way it's coming along - this "in progress" photo doesn't show the colors very well - it's pretty earthy though; browns, greys, creams, and just a hint of metallic golds and some indigo and deep olive greens...

I think I'm on the 20th color now (farther along than this photo) and I'm at around 340 stitches around - (34 stitches per section) - every second row the thing increases by 10 stitches - it's taking longer and l o n g e r and l - o - n - g - e - r to even make it around the circle! I still love it, and I'm happy with the idea of using all these different yarns in a round throw - Gregg still doesn't "get" how one would actually use a round blanket, but I know that if I can trick myself into making it about 5' across (it'll only take 100 years) and then if I add a neat ruffle using the manos colorway that's in the center piece, it'll end up being a beautiful blanket - I had a great time with the blanket and I'm not quite tired of it *yet* - I do know that I need to finish one of the sweaters that's near completion - before I get too far along into this monstrosity!
I hope everyone had a good weekend? Easter was nice for us - we went over to my sister-in-law's house and she had a kids easter egg hunt/party for little 1-2 year olds - they were VERY cute - but I can now confirm that age 2 and under is too young to attempt egg dying! - no photos, but definately funny! (I don't have to tell you that I stayed clear of that!)
OH! One other mention - today (day after Easter) all that easter egg dye is going to be 50% off- go get it - buy it up from your neighborhood stores - and use it to play with yarn dying! I have yet to mess with dying yarn, but this is a good (and cheap) way to dye yarn... so try it out!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Top Down Raglan Progress and GAP suggestion!

This pattern is so easy and relaxing - I'm done with the body of the sweater and put the neck band on last night - it's time to pick up and knit sleeves! I'm being hopeful, I know, but I think I'll have this done in a week or so! - Things have been busy around the house- we are doing some fun spring cleaning - washing the eaves of the house, repainting things - scrubbing stuff... all that takes away from my knitting time... but it's necessary and rewarding...

Other good news for those of you following along - the other driver's insurance company accepted responsibility for the car accident I was in a few weeks ago - and decided that despite having sent me a letter on the 11th that my car was totaled, that it is actually not totaled! (I'm glad for this; it means I don't have to try to get a new car.... and it means that I get to get my car back and I don't lose the investment I have in all the money I have put into the car...

Car accidents are icky and I hope everyone will take a few minutes to just double check their policies - if you don't own or lease your car (and really, even if you lease) make sure you have proper GAP insurance to cover the amount of money you owe on your car vs. the "real" or "cash" value that an insurance company may pay if you are in an accident. If my car was in fact totaled, I would have ended up "upside down" a few thousand dollars - and from what I have researched, that cost remains my responsibility, regardless of fault - (of course, if I had to, I'd fight that in court; but who needs another battle!)

That being said, check it out - once I get my car back from the shop in a few weeks, I am most certainly going to add GAP protection to my policy!

OH! one other knitting related bit - I bought some Kauni Multi Effekt Yarn online (Shade EP)- it's a beautiful color changing (sloooooow) yarn that is amazing - you can see what the yarn looks like knitted up in a different colorway here - scroll down a bit till you see the rainbow looking sweater - NICE! - I bought a fallish colored version of this on Ebay - (from England) and can't wait to see it arrive - I won't be starting it for a while, but just knowing it's on its way makes me smile! I am up for the challenge of making the sweater but have to think also about how I want to do it - it'll be a lengthy project for me....

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Almost a Sock! (or what I did this weekend)

The weekend was full of lots of fun things - along with other errands, I picked up my 2 felted bags from the seamstress that lined them for me - I don't love this first one - it's too thin (I used one strand of yarn instead of two) and the strap is too thin - I still like the colors, and I like my little vintage patch I had her put on for me - lessons learned on this one - when trying to felt a bag, make sure you either do a test swatch of felting or use 2 strands of yarn... it makes for a more substantial fabric!

The second bag I did turned out much better - 2 strands together - beautiful colors - grey, green, black - and it holds some memories for me - I worked on this bag in February, 2007 when I attended my dad's funeral - I sat at the viewing for an hour or so and just knitted with him - life is short - and I think that objects hold memory for us - that as time goes by, this bag became more than just a bag; it became an object that marked the passing of my father.

Anyway, I had it lined and put a fun zipper in it:

inside the pocket is a brown/orange fabric lining - I also supplied wider strap for the handle for this bag - I know how to tie the strap to connect it to the 2 "D" rings on the right side, but I haven't figured out how to attach the rest of the strap to itself... if anyone has bright ideas, I'd love to hear them. My latest thought was to add some snaps up the side - to allow for adjustment... BTW- the label was given to me by a friend for Christmas - I think they actually came from Connecticut, and they are woven across the pond in England! Here's the website... and I love them very much!

The other fun thing I was doing this weekend was trying to get the parts together for my antique circular sock knitting machine - there were some missing pieces to the puzzle, as it were, and I needed these items to make my next attempt.

I found these bath scrubbie buff puff thingys at the $0.99 store - 4 for $0.99 (go figure)- I bought a 4 bags of them - I had heard from another sock knitting machine person that they can be taken apart and the mesh was a tube that could be used to start a sock on the CSM! A quick untie (literally took about 5 seconds; I was surprised how quickly they come apart) , and voila:

like 6' or so of beautiful mesh tube! This is a glorious find! Using this net makes starting a breeze - it's also possible to use onion sacks, but I prefer this because it's even the right size for the setup! After I had my netting for the set up basket, I still needed heel forks - so I bought some forks, some weights, and some key chain rings, and after some rummaging in the garage came up with these:

yes, I made 'em! I think I want the weights to be heavier, but they worked pretty well. So now, armed with everything I needed, I sat down in the messy garage and started to work on my sock. Gregg was organizing the garage and keeping me company while I studied and tried to make my Legare 400 do what I wanted it to do... for about an hour or so. I am pretty proud of how far I got, but I kept dropping stitches and the sock was messing up - It was a lot of fun though... and while it's a challenge still, I'm determined to make this thing work!

I tried really hard to finish the sock - holes, dropped stitches and all - and I was able to "fake" my way all the way to the toe before the sock was messed up to the point that I couldn't continue - I documented my attempt before tossing it out:

not bad for the "almost" first sock! I'm doing a 3x1 "mock" rib because I haven't figured out how to make the ribber work quite yet... I think that my first goal is to get a sock complete before moving on to other complications! I will say that this sock was too "loose" for my taste - I like a sock that hugs my leg more... But... can I just say, even though it ended up practice and garbage, for all the sock knitters out there... I did this much in an hour! eek! - using the old machines in no way replaces hand knitting, but it's a beautiful compromise! I can't wait to get good at this so I can use some fancy yarns! - someday in the future, I may try hand knitting socks again - but I believe the machine has spoiled me...
Oh! The only other thing that happened this weekend was Winky got her haircut... poor Winky! :) she's so skinny now!! She loves this blanket - it's so soft and cushy -

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Good Old Rusty

I started a new sweater on March 7th - it's flying along... I'm a few inches past the armholes now (top down; my first!) and I love it! this yarn is so soft and at around $6.50 a ball it was a great deal! Here are some of the details (stolen from my ravelry page:)
US 6 / 4.0 mm
US 9 / 5.5 mm
Elsebeth Lavold Silky Flammé
How much?
15 skeins = 1230.0 yards (1124.7m)
006 Sienna
Purchased at
Simply Knitting in Santa Clarita, California

I thought I was going to be frustrated or bored with the forever knitting in the round to do the body of the sweater, but, surprisingly, I am calmed by it! There's lots of knitting that I want to be doing - but for now, at least today and tonight, I'm happy with working on this project. It's also nice that a friend from work is driving me to work until I get the whole car thing figured out, so I have an hour or so of knitting time while she drives! I guess, depending on how we look at things, there's good in everything... sure, my car is wrecked and I have no clear information as to when or how it'll get fixed, but at least I have knitting time!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

bad news... good news

Bad News-

While on the hunt for a small table that I want to mount my new (old) circular sock knitting machine, humping from one Big Lots to the next, I was greeted by a wonderful man who decided to make a "U" turn in front of me- in the middle of the street - while I was going 35 mph or so.... which resulted in my not getting to go to Big Lots, my car being rendered inoperable and getting towed away, and the future number of weeks being annoying for me with dealing with auto repairs, insurance adjusters and claims folk... the good news: I am OK - no big cuts or scrapes or bruises (I'm very lucky; a huge box of stuff I was donating to Goodwill was in the back seat and flew forward, breaking the windshield and scratching up the interior) - including a portable phone, a ceiling mounted square metal light fixture, books, a tray, etc. Great news - it wasn't my fault - bad news, the guy tried to get away but the car wouldn't let him... it'll be a fun drama I'm sure - but since I'm OK, I'm willing to deal with the frustration.

I am glad I didn't get hurt, and that I have insurance. If you're playing with fate (tempting it) please go get insurance NOW. Having someone on your side is quite helpful. Here's a photo of my car, towed to it's temporary resting spot (purgatory) waiting for me to send it to the car hospital - it made it out there today... and should be fixed in a few weeks...

Good News -

last night, I finished my Lucci scarf - Winky agreed to model it last night while we were watching Big Brother... she's dozing off... only slightly annoyed that her daddy is puttin' stuff on her! I'm glad this is done - it's soft and nice, but strangly colored - I sort of like it...

have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Yard Sales, CSM Success and *almost* Finished Objects!

My my, how time flies - we're already in the 3rd month of 2008 - I can't believe it! This weekend was incredibly busy for me; we started by having a crazy yard sale on Saturday - we had lots of friends and neighbors come over to help out and to visit - and to buy our junk - a pretty good turnout, all in all - not the largest sale we have ever had, but go down our street and ask anyone; they'll tell you that our yard sales are a community event - one lady a few doors down always comes over to help -she's an amazing sales person - we don't tell her about the sale; but set out some stuff and put up some signs, she's there working hard and helping us out! We got rid of all kinds of stuff and we're happy to claim a little more space in the garage!

Saturday afternoon, I met a wonderful angel - her name is Kelli and she offered to help me clean up my circular sock knitting machine and get it going. (note that link isn't my machine; but it is similar)... Anyway, we met around 2 and in an hour or so it was cranking away - she was amazing - drove out to my house, brought her machine and all her tools, and was ready to dive in head first scrubbing and restoring my machine - she offered all kinds of advice and information - and we were both happy to discover that my machine was (is) clean enough to just start working! I still need to come up with a stand of some kind - but the machine works! we bent a few needles getting it going, but I'm beyond happy! We went to a yarn shop not too far away that specializes in cone yarn and fibers for spinning - I bought some cotton yarn (green) and we even turned a heel! it's not perfect, and I have LOTS to learn - but I am very inspired and so excited about my new toy! I will try to take some photos of it in action this coming weekend when I meet up with other circular sock knitting machine folk in Anaheim at Newton's in Anaheim on March 8th. I hope to learn lots from the folks there - it'll be amazing to be able to use my machine and make a pair of socks in 2 hours or so!

here's my first "heel" - my machine has been brought back to life! (Thanks, Kelli!)

In other knitting news, I continue to work on the Lucci scarf - 1x1 rib- I'm not in LOVE with this yarn, but with colors this strange, I can't imagine it being anything but a scarf - so I continue to knit it... I'm learning to like it more and more as time goes by.. it is soft... :)

On Sunday, I went to Simply Knitting and knit with my friend Terri - I didn't want to work on the snowflake sweater, and had some incentive (sale, returns, gift certificates) to buy buy buy... so, I bought 3 balls of yarn and tackled the striped beanie hat from Knitting for Him - it's an easy knit - I copied the page out of my book and just made notes on it as I go. I'm sad that I have so much yarn left over- I might try to make another one but with mostly blue... we'll see... I have yet to seam it up, but it's really pretty... I like the way it looks inside too!

I also bought 15 balls of Elsebeth Lavold yarn at the 30% off sale - I had some yarn left over from a project that I was able to return for credit, and I had a $50 gift certificate I had won from one of Simply Knitting's drawings - so with all things considered, the yarn for the hat AND all the yarn for this project, AND a set of circular needles ended up costing me under $30! I have a simple top down sweater pattern that I want to make designed by Diane Soucy - the neck down pullover #991. I have yet to try top down, so thought that it'd be interesting to work. I love this rusty color - at first, I didn't know if I liked it, but the more that I look at it, the more I love it! (sorry that the photo isn't quite the right color; I took it at night with a flash)

So, that's what happened this weekend - I'm pleased with the accomplishments. my goals for the week are to get the parts for my CSM that I need (or should have), to try to source a table for it to go on, and to finish the hat (should be done tonight), the scarf, and possibly make one more hat from the leftover yarn of hat #1.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Knitting Bag

I am a bag-a-holic. Not only am I addicted to knitting and yarn, but I am addicted to finding the "right" think to keep my knitting in... I have LOTS of bags - but can't have too many. Recently, I discovered military surplus (as if it's a new thing!) and found an online place that sells the name patches for uniforms, etc.

I ordered a bag and a name badge... they arrived, and I had the patch put on the front of the bag. it's a super cool bag (of course, I can't remember the website now!) but doing a simple search online will give you a number of them to choose from!

so this is my current favorite knitting bag - the straps on the front of the flap are velcro (ick) and go around brass hoops attached to the base of the bag to hold it shut - the rest of the closures are either snaps or zippers - perfect for a knitting bag!
What do you use to transport your knitting? anyone else have fun ideas for carrying or storing your projects? As far as storing projects in progress, I usually have each different project in its own bag - ready to haul out - and I just stuff all the bags *somewhere* in my closet - it's not a perfect arrangement; but it works.
Happy Thursday, Everyone!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mexican Rivera Cruise (lots of photos)

I am back - We had a great time on our cruise - we traveled with Norwegian Cruise Lines on their "Mexican Rivera" vacation; traveling 8 (or 9 days, depending on how you count it) from Los Angeles to Acapulco, Ixtapa (Zihuatanejo), Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, returning to Los Angeles- it was an amazing and relaxing time - full of fun excursions - and actually quite reasonably priced! We went for Gregg's birthday - (he turns 40 this month!) Here are some photos (sorry for those of you with slower connections) - showing a selection of what we did. I was really photo happy on this trip (over 400 photos) and since my camera is waterproof, it made for comfortable photo taking in the pool area, snorkling, etc. etc.
Los Angeles (boarding day)
We saw the ship (WOW it's much larger than I thought!) - it didn't take much time to board and find our rooms - we toured the ship, found our room and began the muster exercises...
Here we are in our room - with our life jackets on - within the first bit of time on the ship, some law somewhere (international?) requires that we do a muster drill - putting on the life jackets, and meeting in our location in case we're sinking- of course, they don't say where to go if our section is under water or on fire... but I guess just knowing where the life jackets are is helpful.... but wow - there were so many people who couldn't even properly put on the life jackets... eek.
Touring the ship, I found this urinal with a view... aah the sights you can see while tinkling! (sorry ladies, I have no idea if your bathroom had such a view!)
All over the ship, they had these anti bacterial systems - motion activated dispensers that spit out the precise amount of solution to keep your hands germ free. The ship had some sort of incident a few cruises before and lots of people got sick - so they have these everywhere (you can buy them online for about $100) and for the first 2/3 of the cruise, we weren't even allowed to serve ourselves; the crew was serving our buffets, filling our glasses at the self serve drink stations, etc. It took a bit of additional time, but the precautions were appreciated. Near the end of the cruise, this procedure was removed, and we were free to serve ourselves....
In the room, I found my favorite spot - sitting in the window knitting - looking out at the waves as we sailed at around 22 knots (around 25 mph)- we were on the 5th floor (I think about 3 stories above the water) and it was nice. We had friends on the 10th and 11th floors, and they both had balconies - I think next time (with membership discounts, etc. we'll try for a balcony; the only part I didn't like about the room was that the window didn't open)...
there was art everywhere on the ship - this was part of the permanent collection - but they also had art for auction... I saw a Salvador Dali original that I loved and wanted to buy - we went to the preview to find out the minimum bid - and I left when I found out the minimum was $6,500.00! (eek) - that's a lot of yarn!
A view of things I don't understand at the top of the ship - lots of cameras everywhere... we were sitting playing cards when I took this pic... during this time, our friends were baking their backs... lobster red... ouch
towel animals inside the staterooms... cute!
during the morning walk I snapped this photo - on deck 6 - (7 is where all the lifeboats were) - 4 times around the ship on this level was just over 1 mile.
Stop #1 - Acapulco, Mexico

We left the ship (it is HUGE) and went on a snorkling excursion - the water was in the 70's - and was really salty (yes, I know; it's the OCEAN) - the water burned my face because I forgot that it's not wise to shave the day of a snorkling dive! The people we went with were lots of fun - the best part of snorkling was sitting on the boat, in the middle of a small bay, watching everyone search for creatures. The guide brought up a small octopus and a beautiful puffer fish for us to see!
We had our choice of many drinks, including Corona (after snorkling), Coke light (diet Coke) and these two - I tried the Manzanita soda - carbonated apple juice is quite tasty!
Here's the best photo of underwater friends - the water was kind of cloudy so it was hard to see - I had never snorkled before, so it was a little unnerving - we kept being moved slowly closer and closer to rocks that were covered with little crabs - I just couldn't handle it for very long so after about 30 minutes I had to get back on the boat...
My camera is waterproof - (I love it) - and I took this "self portrait" from under the water facing up at myself... silly.
Photos come out much better out of the water - here's a sailboat that was going around the peninsula across the way -
Either this house or one a few houses down belonged to a famous actor from Fantasy Island - or so the tour guide said!
In town, later that evening, I found these mermaids - Barbie has apparently undergone an "Extreme Makeover" in Acapulco!

Zihuatanejo, Mexico
(my favorite stop)

This town was quaint - and it felt untouched by tourists... although it was clear most of the shops were there to cater to us, it was still pristine.... the boat had to stay out in the bay, and we used "tender boats" (the life boats from the ship) to take us to the shore. There was no pier here and they're actually fighting against getting one - I bought a Tshirt here in support of this cause - the building of the pier will bring bigger commercial development and it'll mess up the beauty of the town - it's an adorable fishing community - they don't need a huge concrete pier - and they don't need the commercial "McDonalds" or "Wal Mart" mentality destroying the beauty (enough rambling)
Fishing boats and part of the fish market (I tried not to take photos of the fish for sale; ick)
funny shop - the fat mermaid.... I bought a tin figure of a mermaid (man) skeleton with a fish lower torso here - it also had wings (I think) and is cute...
I did find yarn in Mexico... at a rug shop - they had beautiful (itchy) wool and I tried to buy some just to have it... but they said that they couldn't spare any - it's used for incredible rugs they weave by hand - outside that shop was this spinning wheel - hmmm... I am not sure if it's a spinning wheel or not but sure looks like one!
angels and masks in the market
this person is beading a skull - it's covered in clay and then they put these tiny beads onto the clay, pressing them in and covering it in amazing patterns - time consuming (this person had the beads on a toothpick or a needle) - I'd like to try this one day but would want to take a class here... perhaps in a studio and not in the middle of the shopping area.... but somewhere in Mexico...

Puerto Vallarta

This birdie was right at the port - when we got off the ship - - it's an endangered species.... pretty.

We went on the "Canopy" adventure - about an hour outside of town in the wilderness - it's a zipline tour where you fly through the trees... here's how they describe it on their website:

On this spectacular eco-adventure tour you will experience what can only be
described as a pulse-stopping view of one of the most beautiful and complex
biological communities on earth. Feel the rush of adrenalin pump through your
veins as you whoosh from platform to platform, 90 ft (30 meters) above the
forest floor! A series of thrilling zip lines gives you the maximum opportunity
to marvel at the stunning, tropical setting as you effortlessly traverse through
the huge tropical trees, amongst wild orchids and a diversity of native birds
and reptiles.


Pelicans on the bay...
heading out of town....
here's a donky (at the adventure place) - they didn't let us bring our cameras - I'm actually glad; it would not have been fun if I had worried about taking photos - of course, they had a photographer along with us - and we bought one photo each from the trip - we haven't received them yet.... so for now, the donky will have to do! :)
more scenery from the drives... one hour each way got us lots of gas fumes (we were in the back of a Mercedes all wheel drive millitary style truck)
Here we are in Puerto Vallarta - we did lots of shopping, but this was not my favorite port - I did buy a wallet but now I'm sorry I got it - it's not the most practial but it's pretty...
as we left port, I got a photo of the pirate ship (it's another excursion thing that you can do there... I thought it looked kinda fun but not something I'd spend precious port time doing) - cute photo though.... and an amazing ship!
dinner each night on the ship was multi course... 4-6 to be exact, and usually ended with a selection of desserts... I felt no shame in selecting 2 desserts for myself... (and as you can see, the others had no problem with it either!) - the food was almost always exceptional!

Cabo San Lucas

Here's a shot of a tender (lifeboat) taking people to the port - this was a long boat trip (about 15 minutes) and the water was actually kinda rocky by the time we ventured out...

more birdies...

Cabo was interesting - we did some walking - I found this guy climbing across that skeleton of framework - they were fixing that sign - look to the left - there's a store called "die trying" - it seemed like an appropriate location to be climbing around on the fragile framework of an awning... see where his ladder is on the right? doesn't look too smart, amigo....

Cabo Wabo - I took the photo - we went in for a drink - it was small and pricey. Gregg (and Tom) both went to the bathroom to wash their hands and the light didn't work - there weren't any towels... I went in about 2 minutes later, and flipped the light switch and the light came on... and there were towels.... I'm not sure if the wiring was wacky, or if they couldn't find the light switch, or if the people there changed the lightbulb or what... but it was wierd....

more boats...

back on the ship, we met lots of new friends from all over the country (others not pictured from other parts of the world) - a random passenger took this photo - she took another with her camera and said she was going to title it "Hot Man Soup" - funny.

The morning of the 12th we woke up to Long Beach (Los Angeles) CA port - we decided to do the unique "walk off" procedure instead of waiting for the regular disembarkation - basically, between 730 - 830AM you take your luggage and roll it off the ship - go right through customs and immigration and out the door - it was special for people living in the US - and we walked off and were in our car in about 30 minutes! A great end to a beautiful trip.

I got much less knitting done than I thought I would - but we had a fantastic time and so many memories of our time in Mexico. I recommend highly a cruise for anyone looking to do something really relaxing. it's not overwhelmingly expensive and it's definately good to get away - no phone, no internet (by choice; they actually had internet on the ship) and a true vacation. I am still working on the scarf I left working on... and hope in a few days to be back in my knitting groove... for now, I'm finishing this scarf~~