Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Hoot! Hoo-Haw! Yowza! I won!

Yep, I won a prize in the drawing that Wendy, of Wendy Knits! held for those who contributed to Heifer International in her fund-raising drive. I won a copy of Cat Bordhi's book, Treasury of Magical Knitting.

I'm so jazzed!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

This is Interesting Indeed

Found this on Enidation's blog; she and I came out with the same card. Interestingly, this is dead-on in several respects. Give it a try if you like!

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Going, Going

The palest pink and green quilt with the pink reverse and the deep pink quilt with the deep green reverse have both found a happy home. I'll keep updating as these little warmers go. Thanks to those of you who are helping my charity group. BTW, it will be simplest if your payments are credits to me via Elann; I'll write a check to my seniors' group and they won't have to deal with an out-of-state check.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Lap Quilts, Anyone??

Our charity boutique was financially successful, since we raised $900. But since our group has grown a lot in size, we had a lot of nice items left over. In particular, we had several of M&M's (mother and daughter) lovely lap quilts unsold. I picked out the four prettiest, and, since several of my loyal readers commented on the rock-bottom prices, I thought some of you might like to buy these. The cost of the quilts will go to our group funds, which we donate to various local causes which can't use our handmade items. $500 of our boutique funds immediately went to one of the local Catholic churches for their Thanksgiving feast for the hungry. We also donate to a group which provides financial assistance to elderly people who need a bit of help, called the Burbank Temporary Aid Center.

The price for these lap quilts is $15US. In the US, the shipping on the quilt would be $5-$6, depending on your distance from SoCal. They fit in the flat Priority Mail boxes, and weight just under 2 lbs. In Canada, I'd have to figure separately via the post office scales, since it won'tl fit in the Global Priority Mail flat rate envelope.

The lap quilts are made from cotton fabrics with cotton batting inside. These are not quilted per se, but they have pieced tops and plain coordinating backs. They are approximately 3ft x 5ft. Care would be machine wash in warm water, dry at medium to low heat.

The two pink and green quilts have the same pink-figured fabrics, though the lighter colored one has a pale green and white added to the blocks and has the solid pink reverse.

The peach quilt has a seersucker reverse, and the peach fabric on the pieced side has
a slubbed weave.

I've included 2 photos of the deep green and pinks quilt, since it is made
a bit more elaborately, with the blocks being framed with white and a narrow dark green insert, matching the dark green reverse.

Remember, you can click on the photos to see a larger view.

If you are interested in buying one of these, and if I have your email, leave me a message in the comments. If you don't think I have your email, please spell it out and I'll translate it. There's also an email link in my October posts; I recently changed one thing in the bottom section of each post and lost the email link somehow.

Catching Up

It's been busy, but knitting has happened, as well as major housecleaning and stash organization, which of course was in preparation for Thanksgiving. We had a guest from my seniors' group, and as Erma Bombeck wrote years ago, "If you want your house cleaned, invite company." I really *intend* to keep the clutter down, but there's always knitting to do, knitblogs and knitting forums to read, and, uh, yeah, some Sudoku. I always swear that the knitting patterns in particular multiply overnight. But the company thing really does work, and this time I started early enough that I wound up with only one small box of last-minute 'shove it in here' objects. Midnight and Shadow (left to right) escaped the commotion by curling up in the bedroom windowseat.

We set a pretty table, IMO, so here's a quick view of the before-food table. Our
dining room has become our office, so we now dine in the library end of our kitchen. We've had 4 adults and a 7yo at this small table; I don't know where we'd put a 5th adult, lol!

OK, the good stuff, the knitting! I made a kippah, a yarmulke, for the nice Jewish guy who is the head of the nice Catholic nursing home where Mom has been living for the last 4 years. I found 3 patterns online, and I tried one, but I thought it was far too large and I didn't like the all-over reverse stockinette, so I winged it. This is knitted from the center out, in 6 segments (for the Jewish star)and in the Israeli colors. The yarn is Elann's Devon, worked double on US6 needles. It's right at 6in in diameter, and is soft but with enough body to hold a bit of shape on its own.

I switched from the ill-omened brown Di.vé Autonno yarn to the same yarn in a combination of greens, brown and aqua. I like the way this is coming out in
brioche stitch; the pattern is just *yo, slip 1, k2tog* over an even number of stitches. What you see is 2 skeins (200 yds), and it's right at 3ft; I'll add one more skein. This yarn is flying out of my LYS, and Stephanie just got some new stocks, including some new colors. I saw them yesterday, and it was really tough to pass on the deep red or the blues/purple.

While this is Lacevember, and I joined the KAL, not much happened with my
Dayflower Lace shawl until Thursday evening. This is a rectangular shawl, with separately-knitted end edgings. Because the pattern calls for a finished size of 7ft by 4ft, and me being 5'2", I decided to downsize to 5ft by 3ft. This took a lot of math since I had to refigure to the pattern repeats in both directions, 17 sts wide and 18 rows long. I quit last night on main pattern row 12, since I was starting to make mistakes. This changes stitch counts every row, so I don't expect I'll be memorizing the pattern, even though there are a few clues to what should be in which spots. It doesn't look like much yet, but I'm happy with how it's coming out. I can't get the color right in the photo; this is Elann's Baby Silk in Cedar, worked double on size 10s. Cedar is a luscious deep foresty green.

Remember, you can click on the photos to see a bigger view.

BTW, the consensus of my friends who have done the accent quiz from my last post is that this quiz doesn't know squat about accents, since we have native New Jersey and Canadian speakers coming out as Midlanders and so forth.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Accents, Anyone?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The South


The Inland North

The Northeast

The West


North Central

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

This isn't showing the bar graphs part of my result. They come out as about 95% South, 60-70% Philadelphia and Inland North, 40% Northeast and West, and nearly nothing for Boston and North Central.

This is really odd, IMO. I grew up in Southeast Missouri, lived in Wyoming and Denver, CO for 20+ years, and have lived in LA since the late 80s. It was a HUGE effort to get rid of the Missouri accent when I moved to Cheyenne at the beginning of high school, and oddly the hardest part was changing the terms people use for things like Pepsi and Coke or those things you fry in. Other than short trips to Florida and Minnesota, I've never been east of Illinois. So how did my speech become so Northeastern??

So, readers, you're tagged here for an MeMe Accent

Tagged for a Mama MeMe

Junior Goddess has tagged her buds for a Mama MeMe. My mother was not into girly things - the only hairstyle advice I remember was "Get your hair out of your eyes!" about my bangs. And she *definitely* didn't do makeup.

When I was in high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Mom was a cashier at the huge motel and truck stop at Holding's Little America. A manager who liked Mom a lot suggested that Mom should wear a little makeup, at least some lipstick. So Mom and I went to Woolworth's. She hunted around in the bargain bin and came up with a tube of really dark red. Now Mom is a pale-skinned woman, with dark blonde/light brown hair, so dark red was *not* a becoming color. Regardless, she wore the lipstick to work, and she got her way. Her supervisor said, "Mmm. Maybe no lipstick is OK for you."

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lots of Yarny Goodness

Whee! I'm having Christmas in November, and I'm really thinking I have to tell DH that I've already had my gifts and he can forget the shopping and wrapping.

I've recently bought 3 new books, which satisfies both the knitterly and the bookish me. Melissa Leapman's new Cables Untangled is both a primer and encyclopedia for cables. Having just finished 3 cabled scarves, I'm now a fan of cables, and an Elann knitter clued me in about how great it is. Some of the designs, especially the Aran sweaters, are really for knitters who live in much colder climates, but the motifs are gorgeous and I look forward to knitting my way through lots of them.

And of course there's the new XRX book, Victorian Lace Today. OMG! When this arrived yesterday, I had to go do errands so that I wouldn't spend the rest of the day reading avidly through the designs and
history. I will savor this book, learn from it and take joy in knitting the designs.

Amy Singer's Knit Wit is based on a recommendation from another Elann knitter, and when I first opened it, I thought, "Oh, drat, this was a mistake!" But happily, I found 3 designs that I liked enough to bookmark besides the pattern I wanted.

Then we have yarn. WEBS' new hand-dyed laceweight is absolutely wonderful to touch, and the colors couldn't be lovelier. The yarn is 80% alpaca, 20% silk, in the Atlantis colorway. There are 950yds in this 4oz skein. And here's some Di.Vé Autonno (from Cascade) that I couldn't resist last week at my LYS, Unwind. You see 2 different colorways, the bottom one, which segues from light browns to darker brown/mocha and then to rusty tones; the upper one has olive greens, browns and aquas. This is 100% fine merino wool, loosely plied in a sort of marl, and with a slow and beautiful color change. This feels like heaven to knit and is even softer knitted up. And it is durable: The bit of scarf you see is in the 5th or 6th version; I've changed patterns 3 times, revised the width, frogged for 2 different mistakes, and it still feels wonderful and doesn't show anything other than a lovely bit of halo. It currently is done in Brioche Stitch, on size 10.5US needles.

And then there's this adorable T-shirt, which is especially apropos after my scarf frog pond incident. One of the knitters on the About.com knitting forum mentioned this picture, and was kind enough to give me a link to the vendor, Artemis Imaging. I am probably going to wear this shirt to my knitting group today, lol! Remember, you can click on these pictures to see a larger view.

There has been knitting progress. Having finished the 3rd
gift scarf, I started on the boys' hats I want to finish for my DGSs-by-love in Alaska. The base yarn for both of these is Nashua's Creative Focus worsted superwash. The orange one has bands of Bernat's Camouflage acrylic; this is for an 11yo, who is currently in an orange and black phase. The stripes on the blue one are Plymouth Encore, and will be adorable on the 6yo, with his pale blond hair and blue eyes. All the yarn is worked double-stranded on size 10s. The pattern for these earflap hats is courtesy of Jayne. It is a very quick knit, easy to memorize and easy to tweak.

I asked DH to take some additional pictures of the blue cabled scarf
which I finished last week, so here's a much better view of the color and the cable pattern. He's a talented amateur photographer, though he hasn't pulled out his non-automatic camera in a couple of years.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Gift Scarves Done!!

I'm jazzed. Last night I finished the third of my planned gift scarves for this year. I still have some hats I want to knit, but they're not going to take as long as designing and knitting scarves. Jayne, who is a really fast knitter, has offered to knit up an earflap hat from her own pattern so she can write down the directions for me; what a pal!

So here, still unblocked, is the last scarf. I knitted this one with about 375yds of Elann's Highland Wool in the Deep Blue Sea color. This is a truly rich deep blue, though not navy, and therefore easier to see to knit. It's one of those colors that are hard to capture on camera, but I got a fairly good picture indoors, though you have to ignore Shadow, who was very reluctant to let me have the scarf for other photos, lol!

The pattern is a variation I thought up on the Twisted Rope Panel as shown in the Harmony Guides, Vol 3. I wrote up the directions as a seamen's style scarf, but this one could easily be done end to end, without the central neck ribbing. The pictures of the scarf alone are paler than the yarn, partly due to lighting and partly to show off the cable design. So if anyone would like the volunteer to be the test knitter, or is willing to try this design, please email me. There's a link in the bottom section of the post, next to the comment link.

This has been a week of tiredness, though I don't know why. It seems odd to attribute it to the switch from Daylight Savings Time, which was last weekend. But I've conked out a couple of times for an energizing afternoon nap; the cats are all for this, of course, since they can snuggle up. But napping cuts into knitting time, just as blogging and blog-reading and forum-posting, and so on does. Plus I just found a free online Sudoku game, that will teach you how to play, complete with do-overs, lol! I've finished the first 3 Very Easy puzzles, and yes, they are addictive; 'let's just do one more....'

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Lacevember MeMe

This is a sort of Lacevember contest, and I really want to win, so here are my answers:

The knitting questions, or the usual suspects

How long have you been knitting? I learned to knit about 1970 and knitted for a couple of years, then I did a little more in the early 80s, but I didn't pick it up again until 2003

How did you learn to knit? My first husband's mother taught me

Favorite thing about knitting? The yarn, the textures and the colors; making an object that is beautiful or useful or both

How long have you been knitting lace? Made a few scarves for last Christmas using Vine Lace from BW; finished my first Kiri Shawl in July this year

Favorite thing about knitting lace. It's beautiful!!

The yarn questions, or flash your stash

Favorite lace yarn? Elann's Highland Silk makes beautiful warm but lacy scarves; don't yet have a favorite yarn in a smaller gauge, but I want to grow up to knit Zephyr

variegated or solids for shawls? Depends on the pattern, IMO

Favorite lace color? I'm always a sucker for purples of any shade

Technique, or show us your skillz

Circs or straights? Always circs!

Favorite lace knitting trick? Don't have one yet

Lifelines? If so with what? Oh, yes. Crochet thread works great

Fancy blocking wires, or just sewing pins stuck in your carpet? T-pins on a big sheet of styrofoam insulation board

Pattern, or can you follow directions

shawls or lacey items? Yes, I've done both.

triangle, rectangle, or circular shawls? No circular ones yet.

Charts or printed instructions? Can do both; I make my own charts with pencil and paper or in Word or Excel, with the Aire River Fonts

Favorite lace you've knit? Vine Lace is so easy but so pretty, and the only one I've done more than once.

Favorite lace you want to knit? A long, long list; currently, it's Hand Jive Knits Dayflower Lace Shawl

Just Fun, yup that's right, just for fun

Favorite jelly belly flavor? Who can choose?

Tell me everything you know about Eric the Red..... Viking; was he the one who found North America before Columbus?

Coke, classic or with lime? Diet only, TYVM, but I'd rather have iced tea

Holiday carols, sing along, or wish they would be banned from all public airwaves? I like to sing along, but they should be banned before December 7.

What is the definition of irony? using words to mean their opposite, a kind of sarcasm

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? Ask a kid

Why is my cat always puking in front of my son's bedroom door? Really doesn't like your son and wants him to step in it, preferably barefooted.

What is your superhero power? When did I get one? Where was I?

If the laundry is 9 foot by 11 foot (just dreaming, that's a big laundry room), and the walls are 8 feet tall, and you are going to tile the entire room in tiles that are 3 inches by 5 inches, what color should those tiles be? Blue or green, and you're going to need a lot of them

What's for dinner tonight? Salmon with pesto crust

What is clogging my children's bathtub drain? Are you missing one of your kids?

Monday, November 6, 2006

Fiber Festing!

Yesterday one of the Weavers' Guilds in the LA area celebrated their 60th year with a really nice little Fiber Festival. I went with some newly-met friends, Sknitty and Knitdevil, having only chatted with them online. Of course a great many of the vendors had fiber for spinners and weavers, but there were several really nice yarn booths, especially those with small-lot hand-dyed yarns. I once again won the award for "most purchases within my group", but I can't show off most of it, since the goodies are for presents to my yarny friends. {VBG} (very big grin). This little pile of yarn heaven is from Capistrano Fiber Arts, in their 'Poppies' color; enough 50% merino/50% silk for a lovely small shawl. The color name is puzzling, since I've never seen poppies in these subtle, elegant shades of rose and mauve and greeny-taupe, but it is beautiful nonetheless.

There was an especially nice raffle setup. Each item had its own jar, so you put your tickets into them depending on what item you wanted. Great idea, since for a knitter like me, winning a bunch of gorgeous roving would be nice, but essentially useless. I managed to crack up the group, and I mean nearly the whole group of eager raffle hopefuls: I'd put my tickets on a couple of big lots of sock-type yarns, and when both of those went to someone else, I tossed my stubs into the trash bin next to me. The next item was a big skein of Schaefer's Laurel mercerized cotton, and the number called out sounded familiar. So I dived right back into the bin (clean waste) and retrieved my winning ticket! Yay! And I laughed as hard as the rest; I'd completely forgotten that I'd put a ticket in for that! Here's the beautiful skein, in Schaefer's Queen Lili'uokalani colors; it makes me think of those big macaws, or a school of tropical fish!

The weavers' guild had a truly lovely little fashion show of beautiful items, and Sknitty and a friend who'd driven up from another part of LA to meet us, both of them tall, slender blondes, were asked to model! Knitdevil took pictures, and promised to put them on her blog. There was also special recognition given to two of the guild members, who were apparently among the earliest members of the group. It was fascinating to look at the skill and artistry of the fibers and intricate weaves of the featured garments. No, I didn't catch the weaver bug, nor the spinner one. It was so interesting to see the various types of portable spinning wheels, including one I'd never seen before, which folds up into its own beautiful wood cabinet.

It was a long drive home, but we had a great time chatting and getting to know one another better. I've been invited to visit their weekly meeting, and they've promised to include me in their next trek to the fabled Yarn Lady parking lot sale! They said it has to be experienced, though neither of them have yet worked up the yarns they bought at their first visit.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

What a Day!

I spent most of the day at the boutique yesterday. Business was SLOW! A lot of the group showed up at 8am to help M and me set up, and some customers arrived really early, too. M had made 20+ tote bags, all in the last 2 weeks, and at least 8 of them were gone before the official opening time. This year we did a lot of our work for particular charity groups, like the foster kids and the hospice group, so we had less 'unallocated' FOs, particularly lapghans and larger afghans.

We volunteers buy quite a lot of our own work, lol! I picked up a couple of tote
bags, one that was particularly perfect for the Learn to Knit set I'm going to send to my Auntie, since it has a pretty pastel desert motif. And another little quilt just had to follow me home; it is a mixture of my favorite purples and mauvy pinks, and the reverse is a lightweight flannel, white with a sprinkling of dainty little purple flowers. Shadow clearly approves.

After a visit to my mom and a quick stop at Unwind, I got home about 6, and WOW! did I have a lot of mail, all yummy mail! The new Interweave Knits, the latest Patternworks catalog and the November Elann newsletter were in the mail. And packages! Yarn from a terrific friend, more yarn from WEBS, and some luxurious new high thread-count sheets, found on deep discount at LinenSource because of discontinued colors.

More and more, the Patternworks catalog reminds me of the old Sears catalogs. There seems to be too much on each page, leaving too little room for good-sized pictures of the featured projects, and Patternworks doesn't list the pattern sources, which is particularly annoying. OK, OK, the good part is that they list a big range of the color ranges of the yarns, which is good for reference.

The WEBS order is purely the fault of the Holiday catalog and all the oohing and aahing from the blogger community. They made me do it! I got 2 skeins of their cotton/microfiber Longfellow in Periwinkle to add to an earlier purchase; this will make a largish scarf, I think. It may not be Calmer, but it is even softer knit up than it feels in the skein, and there's a huge price difference! I got 2 skeins of their new 100% merino Amherst in Soft Grape, a dusty mauve, just to check out the quality. Then we have two of their alpaca blends: Lenox in Grape Jelly - this is a 60% baby alpaca/40% merino yarn, and feels really next-to-skin soft; and their Deerfleld Soft Chestnut, 80% baby alpaca, 20% silk in a DK weight. Since I've been struggling with Elann's Baby Silk in the same fiber blend, I wanted to see how WEBS' new yarn compares in softness; it HAS to be easier to knit with in the heavier weight, lol!

But the biggest happy thing is the entire cone of Silk City's 3/2 perle cotton in a vivid turquoise, the generous gift of a friend. Here is 1300+ yards of yarn destined to be a beautiful shawl, perhaps Shoalwater. Girlfriend, you are too
much, and I love, love, love the yarn!!!

And to show off the upside of living in LA and dealing with the traffic and smog, here are two views of our back garden. As I've written before, we love the fountain and the peaceful sound it makes, and it is lovely to have brunch outdoors under the lime tree. A lot of the plants are overgrown, especially the roses; the SoCal climate makes our David Austen roses grow like mad, with Gertrude Jekyll (a beautiful deep pink) the height winner at 8ft plus. We'll trim back the roses in mid-January, and the first flush of blooms will come in late April. The other picture shows our herb beds and our 'Sunny Wall', which we've decorated with a small collection of sun plaques.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Lacevember 2006

I've joined Lacevember 2006, a new KAL, and I've spent most of my knitting time the last two evenings trying to get going with my project. Back at Stitches West this spring, I bought several beautiful shawl patterns from Hand Jive Knits, and when I started looking for a lace pattern, the Dayflower Lace Shawl jumped right out. I have a lot of Elann's Baby Silk and I've been wanting to use some of it, in particular the lovely Cedar green, so since the pattern calls for a fingering weight yarn, the match was made. I thought.

I have a simple lace scarf
going with a single strand of Elann's Baby Cashmere, so I thought I could make a go of the Baby Silk, although it is more slithery because of the silk content. OK, so I cast on for two repeats of the pattern and started my swatch. Hah! Couldn't get to row 5 without losing stitches somewhere. Frog. Repeat. Grabbed some DK Optimum and sailed right through the first set of the pattern rows. Back to Baby Silk. Frog. Repeat. Grr. Eventually I tried the Baby Silk doubled, and again sailed right through the design. This is a pattern with varying stitch counts from row to row, so I figured that was part of the problem I was having. But after considerable mental and audible grumbling and cursing, I accepted the message I was getting about this project.

So Dayflower will be a double-stranded project, still in the lovely Cedar Baby Silk. I've included pictures of the pathetic results of my two evenings' knitting, though there's actually 11 repeats done on the Edging. There's a picture of the pattern swatch and the Edging (bottom), which is the start of this shawl, and closeups of both. These are dry-'blocked', just pinned out to show the design. Obviously, my gauge is significantly
different, though I am using the size 10US needles called for, and I'll be doing some math to adjust for the number of repeats across the width. I thought about using 11US needles, but they are just too big for this long a project, at least IMO; they felt like telephone poles! I can't give you a link to the pattern, since Hand Jive Knits is no longer selling directly from its website.

On other knitting progress, my holiday gift scarf #3 is moving right along, and I'll post pictures of it when there's a bit more of the pattern to show. I'm nearing the end of the boring 4x4 ribbing section, so more cables are not far off.

I have had a lot of comments about the pricing of the boutique items my seniors' charity group sells. We don't have a Queen Bee in the group, but we do have a Tradition, and Tradition is being difficult about adapting. Hence the ultra-low pricing. Until about 4 years ago, the boutique funds were used to buy yarn and quilt supplies when the donations of yarn and fabric ran low. Since I joined, other than some quilt batting, we haven't needed to buy anything. So we are s-l-o-w-l-y moving Tradition along toward raising more funds from our work to donate to other charities.