Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Great Haul

It has been incredibly busy the last week: Sunday there was a lovely knitting party at Knitdevil's house, about which she has posted lots of pictures; Tuesday was the 2nd annual Dodgers' Stitch n Pitch Night (reported by Crazy Aunt Purl in her own fun style) and Monday was a terrific yarn buy at Black Sheep Knittery, a LYS which is going out of business. Knitdevil's pictures are a great view of the party and knittery fun; see them here. And yours truly and Knitdevil are in the middle of Purl's 2nd picture; I'm in the vivid orchid, near the middle of the photo. I think this is about the 100th degree of separation, but y'know, I do live in LA and therefore must crave publicity, lol!!

I have a couple of photos to add to Purl's post: Here's a picture of Unwind's terrific staffer Krista in the green top, trying to herd some 70+ knitters onto 2 buses in an orderly fashion. It was quite a project, keeping track of all of us and making sure no one got left behind.

I just had to include this great picture of my friend Mary Ellen on our bus ride to the game.

This is Madge and the crowd checking in for the goodie bags. Sorry about the bad lighting.

And here's Stephanie, the LYSO of Unwind, my favorite LYS, still on the phone with arrangements at the 7th inning stretch.

Monday was a huge event stashwise. Black Sheep Knittery, a LYS in the Hollywood area, has lost its lease, and yarns still remaining after several weeks of 50% discounts were now on sale at 75% off! A sane woman *CANNOT* pass up a 75% discount on anything, let alone yarn. That's just IMO, but ... Four of us, Dim Sum Mary (she's posted about her swag!), Annette, Knitdevil Madge and I hit the store shortly before lunch. Even after the big sales volume they had on the weekend, there were a lot of great buys. I tried to grab really good yarns and basics, in quantities that would work with the sort of projects that the yarn would be suitable for. I have to admit, a bit smugly, that I scored some really good stuff!

The best was the Grignasco 100% fingering weight cashmere, 8 skeins in lavender and 4 in deep teal. Shawl. Scarf. Lusciousness.

Then there was the Noro: 8 skeins of Kochoran in color #21, a jacket's worth, and two single skeins of Cash Iroha, each perfect for a gift or a gift scarf.

I' ve left out photos of 4 skeins of teal Rowan tweed 4-ply (sportweight) , which will make a nice large warm scarf; a bag of Jaeger Matchmaker Aran in a lovely and elegant tan, which will probably become a vest for DH; and a bag of Louisa Harding Kashmir DK in a midnight blue. Plus I grabbed a bag of DB alpaca silk in deep purple, purpose yet undecided. It's purple, it's incredibly soft and silky - how could I pass it up?

In the category of yummy 'plain' wools, I found mixed-color bags of Jaeger Matchmaker DK, five skeins each of a lovely soft sage and a tasteful tan, and some NZ wools, deep blue, tan and one pale blue, all in 200yd skeins.

Last, but far from least, I adopted 7 skeins of mixed red Encore, perfect for next winter's Red Scarf Project, and some pretty, deep shades of Lamb's Pride Worsted, which I plan to use for Afghans for Afghans or the Dulaan Project. I know LP is great for felting, but I don't really plan much felting. Some of these very basic wools may be around for a couple of years, but at $1-2/skein, I couldn't leave them there. Good thing I've done some de-stashing recently. But how did I know that there'd be such a can't-pass-up sale??

Oh, about knitting? I knitted most of a kids' hat at the baseball game and then completed 2 squares for a couple of blankets that Unwind creates from yarn they include in their goodie bags, asking the participants to use the free yarn for a good cause. These are the entire extent of my FOs for most of May. Sad, really, the amount of time I've spend in the Frog Pond. As my DH says, I sometimes get a lot of use from the same skeins of yarn.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Did That but Not That

Grace put me onto this meme, from Mimknits (Miriam Felton). I found the list as it was to be difficult to follow, so I've alphabetized it.

Mark the items Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

  1. Afghan/Blanket (baby)
  2. American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
  3. Baby items
  4. Bobbles - I'm assuming I'll have to do this someday
  5. Button holes
  6. Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
  7. Cardigan
  8. Charity knitting
  9. Continental knitting
  10. Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
  11. Darning
  12. Designing knitted garments - doesn't include minor/major modifications
  13. Domino knitting (modular knitting)
  14. Drop stitch patterns
  15. Dyeing with plant colors
  16. Dyeing yarn
  17. Entrelac
  18. Fair Isle knitting
  19. Freeform knitting
  20. Fulling/felting
  21. Garter stitch
  22. Gloves
  23. Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
  24. Hair accessories
  25. Hat
  26. Holiday related knitting
  27. Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
  28. I-cord
  29. Intarsia
  30. Jewelry
  31. Kitchener BO
  32. Knitting a gift
  33. Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
  34. Knitting and purling backwards
  35. Knitting art
  36. Knitting for a living
  37. Knitting for pets
  38. Knitting for preemies
  39. Knitting in public
  40. Knitting items for a wedding
  41. Knitting on a loom
  42. Knitting smocking
  43. Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
  44. Knitting to make money
  45. Knitting with alpaca
  46. Knitting with bamboo yarn
  47. Knitting with banana fiber yarn
  48. Knitting with beads
  49. Knitting with camel yarn
  50. Knitting with cashmere
  51. Knitting with circular needles
  52. Knitting with cotton
  53. Knitting with dog/cat hair - I am not including the cat hairs that get knitted into everything Chez CBM
  54. Knitting with DPNs
  55. Knitting with linen
  56. Knitting with metal wire
  57. Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
  58. Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
  59. Knitting with silk
  60. Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
  61. Knitting with soy yarn
  62. Knitting with synthetic yarn
  63. Knitting with wool
  64. Knitting with your own handspun yarn
  65. Lace patterns
  66. Long Tail CO
  67. Machine knitting
  68. Mittens: Cuff-up
  69. Mittens: Tip-down
  70. Moebius band knitting
  71. Norwegian knitting
  72. Olympic knitting
  73. Participating in a KAL
  74. Pillows
  75. Publishing a knitting book
  76. Purses/bags
  77. Rug
  78. Scarf
  79. Shawl
  80. Short rows
  81. Shrug/bolero/poncho
  82. Slip stitch patterns
  83. Slippers
  84. Socks: toe-up
  85. Socks: top-down
  86. Steeks
  87. Stockinette stitch
  88. Stuffed toys
  89. Swatching
  90. Sweater
  91. Teaching a child to knit
  92. Teaching a woman to knit
  93. Teaching a male how to knit
  94. Textured knitting
  95. Thrummed knitting
  96. Toy/doll clothing
  97. Tubular CO
  98. Twisted stitch patterns
  99. Two end knitting - Tvåändsstickning
  100. Writing a pattern
So, if I've counted correctly, I've done 63 of these, I'm interested in or will do another 13, and have no interest in 24 of them. Which I guess means I've done quite a lot of things in my current 3 years of knitting, since before 2004 I only made 2 sweaters and some scarves and hats. I can think of all sorts of other things to add to this list, but I only added one: teaching a woman to knit.

For real insight into what we knitters do and what we like to do, visit the polls at Knitters' Review, and Clara Parkes' compilation, "The Anatomy of a Knitter, As Revealed in the KR Polls".

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

iTunes and Other Stuff

I've been slowly learning about my iPod nano and iTunes. I can't quite figure out how to get the iPod list. But here's what's in Party Shuffle on iTunes this morning:
  1. Run Away - Halo Friends
  2. Tears In Heaven - Eric Clapton
  3. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes - Paul Simon
  4. Alberta - Eric Clapton
  5. Path Of Thorns - Sarah McLachlan
  6. Moving - Secret Garden
  7. Mozart - Quartet, K.285b in C, Variation I - Jms Galway & Tokyo Str Quartet
  8. Summerbreeze - Emiliana Torrini
  9. Underneath Your Clothes - Shakira
  10. Richard Strauss - Sonata for Violin & Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 18 - Midori & Robert McDonald
  11. How Long - Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  12. Shake - Sam Cooke
BTW - the Halo Friends and Emiliana Torrini are from the Buffy soundtrack album. I can't tell you a darned thing about them, other than it was a purchase at the height of my BTVS fandom. I still find myself putting the first couple of seasons on when I want something 'comfortable' for knitting. Don't ask; I don't get it, either.

And I credit my excellent friends Knitdevil Madge and Jayne for getting me to actually do something with my little magical music player. This in spite of the fact that they are both of the Mac persuasion and don't have many of the quirks of Windows to deal with. They are tempting me.... tempting me....

On other news, it's been a quiet time Chez CBM, though rather worrisome. My darling Midnight began to have balance problems last week, especially whenever she would do the big head-shake, which can knock her right off her feet. DH took her to the vet on Friday, who found an infection in her ears and prescribed yet another med. She's being a real darling about the daily indignity of eardrops, but there seems to be no improvement yet. Oddly enough, she still seems to have no problems jumping up onto things. She has suddenly developed thyroid problems and has not been eating, so she is rather skinny at the moment. With her kidney problems, it's not good to try to tempt her finicky palate with the Really Good Foods that come in the tiny cans marked Fancy Feast. And even though her $$$ prescription food is covered in gravy, she passes it by for the crunchies. I think she's bored with it, and, as Lazarus Long wrote: "Never try to out-stubborn a cat." With all of this going on, she's just not in the mood to groom, so she looks rather pitiful; she did finally allow me to brush her a bit yesterday. Hey, Bast! You need to take better care of my little purry girl!

We had a quick but most enjoyable visit from one of DH's oldest friends. Louie flew in to do some business down in Newport Beach, and showed his real level of friendship by driving over 50 miles from there to here on Friday night for an overnight stay. Nice thick steaks on the barby Friday night, leisurely Saturday morning brunch in the back garden, and then he was off to John Wayne airport for his flight home to Washington.

For all sorts of reasons besides my concern about Ms Elegant Pawsitude, I've not been in the mood to knit much, though I have read several books.
  • One of my impulse buys at Borders last week was The Bookwoman's Last Fling, by John Dunning. The title and the cover attracted me, combining horseracing, books, and a protagonist from Denver. Plus it's a Book Sense bestseller, which often leads me to authors I might never choose otherwise. Friends, read this book, and the ones which came before it. I found it the best of the lot I brought home on Tuesday, and I'm trying to keep from running out to my nearby B&N for the others.
  • I've also worked my way through a couple of my mountain of "To Be Read" titles. One was Atlantis Found, one of the Dirk Pitt novels from Clive Cussler. I've been a fan ever since the first Cussler stories in the late 70s. Remember Richard Jordan in Raise the Titanic?
  • And I'm currently being both fascinated and exasperated by a Linda Fairstein mystery, The Kills. Fairstein is a competent writer, with interesting plot twists, but then there're the incredibly stupid things she has her heroine doing. I mean, if Our Heroine Alexandra thinks she's being stalked - her tires were slashed - why would she consider walking farther than her car, let alone 10 blocks through lower Manhattan, and why would her two cop buddies let her do so? Or go off to her Martha's Vineyard house by herself in the last hours before a hurricane? Huh? Can we say 'Ridiculous'??? This is the sort of book that causes me to skip to the end and then work my way backwards.

I did finish the sleeves on the little green KP&S baby jacket, and the other, in the James Brett Marble yarn, is finally nearing completion, too. I really want to get back to my Luna Moth shawl and my Horcrux socks (now ripped back to the end of the leg), but I'm just not settled enough. Maybe today?

And that's the way it is (thanks, Walter!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Little Knits vs. CBM's Yarn Stash

Many of us got an email from Little Knits today. Sue has new yarns on sale, especially some lovely cottons, including the fabulous King Tut cottons . And she's announced a sale next week on Noro yarns. Heck, I'm still gazing at that Peru DK yarn, the one with merino, alpaca and silk, on sale for $26 a bag, over 1200yds. In off-white. Or maybe the light blue.

HOWEVER! I bought a lot of yarn, especially sock yarns, in April, as I confessed in my earlier posts. My kind and generous friends KJ and Mary Tess gave me yarn already this week. And I spent a lot of the weekend digging through the CBM stash to find yarns that really need to be adopted elsewhere. Just now I went to look at some of the yarns that are still resident Chez CBM:
  • the DB Merino Aran (bags in 2 shades of green) that I bought from Little Knits at year-end,
  • the lovely light blue Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran I bought from Elann in February, and
  • the off-white Optimum I bought last fall when it blew out the doors of my LYS
  • Plus there's the Elann cottons, the Butterfly 10 cotton and other cottons that are filling up 2 entire big bins.
  • And the stash reorganization uncovered an entire bag(!) of Noro Kureyon.

So - I sez to me - what do you need King Tut or Peru DK or even Noro for? I permanently deleted the Little Knits email. I'm trying very hard to ignore the 2 new Elann yarns that have been introduced this month (and it's only the 9th!!). I'm holding strong, I am.

And I'm also reminding myself that I had a nice browse through Borders yesterday, coming home with a bunch of new reading.

After all, I *am* CatBookMom!

BTW, you might check your own Borders store; I found 3 of the Yarn Harlot's books on the Buy 2, Get 3 tables. The only one missing was 'Knitting Rules'.

Wonderful Friends!

I've had a great week! And I've been reminded how incredibly lucky I am to have made so many wonderful friends through knitting.

Monday I got a surprise gift from my friend KJ, who lives near Jayne (of the lovely See Jayne Knits!) in Vancouver. KJ and I met through the Knitting Forum, where she is known as Lunadog, and I visited with her in 2005. Then last year we met at Stitches West and had so much fun we were exhausted every night!

Lunadog works with a Vancouver animal rescue group, and I sent her some White Buffalo recently to help with a fundraiser auction. Well, lookee what came in my package!! Here's a gorgeous new kitty bed (Wendy's pattern) for Midnight! I am amazed at how pretty this turned out, considering the um, odd colors of WB I sent. The bed sits quite properly as a cuddly cup just kitty-sized, as shown on the link page, but I wanted to show the pretty colors and perfectly matched trim, so I squashed it for the photo. As soon as I can, I'll post pictures of Miss Elegant Pawsitude enjoying her new bed. (Why did I have White Buffalo, you ask? Well, um, it was really, really cheap and I had ideas about lots of felted projects. After 2 years' marinating in the stash, I admitted to myself that I don't like felting, and KJ's projects are the best use of this warm yarn I can think of.)

KJ sent some other wonderful goodies, too! She is a spinner and sent me a skein of her handspun; I don't know what it wants to be yet, but the yarn is lovely, with one tightly spun strand and a much fluffier one. Yum! And, as a laugh at Jayne's expense, I received a beautiful skein of Araucania Nature Wool, "one of the few yarns left after Jayne shopped!" at a LYS near both of them that was going out of business. And, as if that wasn't a terrific gift, she sent 6 lovely iridescent shell buttons and a matching shawl pin.

Then yesterday I had appointments in West LA, and I was able to get together with Knittess , also known as Mary Tess, for lunch. She recently made a trip to Austin, Texas on family business and brought me yarn!! How great is that!! This is Fauna, a very, very soft 70% baby alpaca/30% merino yarn, from The Fibre Company (dot com); the color is Blue Lagoon. This is dreamy yarn! The colors are melded into a wonderful tweedy effect, with greens, blues and mossy shades all together.

And Mary Tess brought me one of her new inventions: a tethered stitch marker for socks. She is a truly fine knitter, and works socks exclusively on dpns, so designed this to solve the problem of sock markers that go flying off the dpns. The fittings are sterling silver, and the little fish matches a set of markers she made for me a couple of years ago. Knittess makes the most beautifully-crafted markers, with never an end of the wires sticking out to snag on knitting. Click on the picture and look closely at the joins in a larger view. I am in awe of her skills with beadwork!

Continuing this week's theme of iridescent goodies coming my way, I stopped in at a nearby Coldwater Creek store (one of my fav's for many years!) to exchange a couple of tops, and found that there was a gift with purchase, just the size of my exchange; they treat it as a return and a new purchase! Look at this lovely sterling-silver and abalone bracelet! How great is that???

Friday, May 4, 2007

How About a Knitting Tour to Wales?

The following is an unpaid knitting commercial. But this could be the best knitting trip you'll ever take.

Alice Trueman, the wonderful knitting teacher whose Salt Spring Island (Vancouver, BC area) workshop I attended in 2005, is taking a knitting group to Wales. She led a group to Scotland last year and it was a resounding success. Sadly, I wasn't able to go last year and won't be able to this year either, but I wanted to clue you in on a fabulous opportunity. The group will be in Wales from September 22 to October 4.

Alice has lined up a gorgeous house, The Colloquy , for the visit, with all modern conveniences including a pool. (The two links give you different views and information.) Several day trips are scheduled, including visits to the Colinette factory and to Hay-on-Wye, the little town full of bookstores, which are reputed to have 500,000 used books for sale. (Oooohhhh! Books!! Yarn!!) All of your meals at the house - all of them! - are included, prepared by Jenny the Wonder Chef, whose delicious food I enjoyed in 2005. Five meals a day, including elevenses and afternoon tea; tasty, proper-sized portions and yet completely satisfying. Honest, I only put on 2 pounds in a week of this.

Sasha Kagan, who lives in Wales, will be teaching a 2-day workshop on working with color and designing from nature using her special intarsia technique, and Alice will direct the other knitting, designing and knitting a paneled cardigan or pullover incorporating Sasha’s instruction with fitting to flatter your unique shape.

Your costs for this, besides your airfare to and from Wales, will range from $3,200 to $3,900US, 3,700 to 4,500Cdn. If you want to bring a non-knitting partner, the additional cost will be $2,700US or 3,100Cdn. I don't know much about knitting tours, but based on the incredible bargain that Alice's Salt Spring Island retreats are, I'm sure these are the best prices you'll ever get for so much enjoyment.

I want to go, oh, I want to go, but DH can't get away then, and I won't make my first trip to Europe without him. Boo hoo. Another year. Alice is the knitter who taught me to make cables and to read and make charts. I may be frustrated sometimes about these, but I'm not afraid of them!

If you want more info, please email me, and I'll send you the full information.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Eye Candy Friday - Early Style

This year the David Austen roses bloomed rather later than the other roses in the garden. We have six, and here are pictures of four of them. You've seen the lovely white Glamis Castle, and Pat Austen has the most glorious copper shades, but isn't a sturdy or heavy-blooming plant and has finished blooming for this round.

The showpiece of our Austens is Gertrude Jekyll, a deep pink and with a heavenly fragrance. Here in SoCal she grows 8-10 foot long canes, and we try to rein her in by pegging some of them into bows. This tends to make lots and lots of flowers covering the arches, and right now she is trying to take over the entire rose bed. The first picture is a happy accident, but I think it's about as pretty a rose picture as can be done with one snap.

My personal favorite is Abraham Darby, a pink/yellow/peach and the fragrance has a hint of citrus. Abraham isn't as aggressive as Gertrude, but the canes are more horizontal, so we still get a lovely show.

Here is Evelyn, a very pale peachy-white. Evelyn is part of the rose blend that makes up the signature fragrance of Crabtree & Evelyn. After a very slow start and one transplant, Evelyn is showing her happiness and a healthy growth.

This pale pink is Heritage, and you can just see it at the bottom right corner of the large picture, with Gertrude overshadowing the plant. We may have to move Heritage, since pruning Gertrude just seems to encourage her to grow more!

Other parts of the garden are looking pretty, too, and the epiphyllums are in the middle of their bloom. The smaller plants that we've had a while have come and gone, but these two new plants are the show right now; the blooms are HUGE. Right behind the yellow one is the one-gallon pot that it's growing in. And yes, the hot pink one is rather fluorescent!

This picture is for some particular friends, who sent us the plant last year. It is the Rio Blanco grapefruit, with a pleasant flavor and a thick skin, according to the ones we've found at the farmers' market. Much to our delight, the tree survived the frost (unlike our avocado), and here you can see fruit. Right now they are the size of large blueberries, and it will be months and months before the fruit is ripe.

Remember, click on the pictures for a larger view!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Yarns and What I Did with Them

Since I have so much to catch up on, with a lot of pictures, I split today's post. I left out some of the most special yarns I've recently bought, my gorgeous new goodies from See Jayne Knit. Jayne just opened an Etsy store, but you can email her directly via her blog. There's Apricot in merino DK, Lilypad in merino worsted, Lilacs in superwash wool (the softest superwash I've ever felt!) and Meadow, a 50% alpaca/50% wool sportweight, in that order. I have 2 100g skeins of each color except Meadow, which are 150g skeins; I think Meadow will become a shawl. And Apricot, of which I have nearly 500yds, may become Elann's Sun Ray shawl.

After the long, frustrating and unsuccessful search for the right yarn for Wren, I wasn't in a knitting mood, so it's only the last week or so that I've actually done much knitting. I've finished a couple of things and made good progress on several others. Most of the projects are for charity, but I've also joined two KALs, the Six Sox Knitalong and the Elann Shawl-a-long.

The finished item - seamed, with trim and ends woven in, is a baby jacket from a while back. This spent a while in time-out. The tweed yarn is Red Heart Fiesta and the solid is Encore. The pattern is a free one at the Lion Brand website. When I first started sewing the seams, the tweed yarn hung up badly, and in trying to take out the seam, I *cut the blue yarn* - at the edge of the front panel. This led to bad language, flying objects and general grumpiness. After a cooling-off period, I was finally serene enough to finish the painful frogging and re-knitting. I knitted the cuffs by picking up stitches, and the trim around the edges is crocheted. The little hat and pompom used nearly all that remained of the tweed yarn - I think there are less than 4 yards left. This project will go to a local Burbank charity, providing clothing for people who need a bit of help.

This little green jacket was inspirated by Patty, a member of the Monday SnB group I've recently joined. Patty is an amazing knitter and knitting teacher, and she popped a totally adorable little red hoodie out of her bag last week. The pattern is a freebie from Knitting Pure & Simple, a top-down raglan. The yarn is Nashua's Creative Focus Worsted 75% wool/25% alpaca in Juniper, and I'm really enjoying knitting with it. I started on this after dinner on Sunday and all that's left is the sleeves, which are picked up and then knit in the round. I did all this with just one 220yd skein, so it won't take much from the 2nd skein for the sleeves. The only seam is the top of the hood, and as Patty suggested, I did a provisional cast-on and will use a 3-needle bind-off. This will go to Afghans 4 Afghans, their Mother's Day project.

The little red socks continue to grow. These are the demonstration items in the one-woman knitting class I'm teaching. Knitdevil Madge is learning to knit socks, and we started her out with worsted weight yarn and size 4 needles. The only thing remaining is to do the toes, and we'll do that next week. I'm hoping to squeeze the rest out of the 220yd Paton's Classic Wool skein. Cross your fingers! Madge is a terrific student, and her pretty blue socks will be great for whomever gets to wear them. These red ones will probably go to Dulaan or A4A.

The Six Sox Knitalong is working on the Horcrux pattern, and my first sock is finally moving along well. The yarn is KnitPicks Essentials merino. Yes, the zigzag pattern on the leg makes it flare out like that! With this color yarn, it doesn't show up very well. If you don't want to join the KAL, the worsted weight version of the pattern is free.

I finished the gusset last night, but I'm concerned about the loose fabric I'm getting in the sole portion. These are being knitted on US0s, and this gauge is about at the limit of my ability to see the stitches. So I don't know what I'll do if I can't figure out how to tighten up my tension. I have an idea that the sole portion may tighten up if I switch the stitches to one needle rather than dividing them, but I'll try that on sock #2 before I frog the gusset in this one.

And I found a KAL to replace the Wren-a-long. The Elann Chat group has set up an open Shawl Knit-A-Long for anyone who wants to knit a shawl from one of the many free patterns at Elann. It doesn't have to be done with an Elann yarn. Here's the link to the KAL site. My shawl is the Luna Moth, designed by Shui Kuen Kosinski. Elann has published 3 versions of this shawl, in their Pure Alpaca, in Super Kydd, and in their brand-new Callista rayon/cotton/linen yarn. I had the fun of meeting SK (as she is called) last year when she came to the LA area to visit her mother. The two of them are incredible knitters and produce an amazing variety of lovely knitted objects. I'm doing this with a yarn I bought at Elann last year, Filati Fantasia Cezanne, a viscose/cotton/silk blend in Straw. The yarn is lovely and drapey, but it does tend to split a little. I've reached the 2nd repeat of the main pattern. The design isn't difficult, but I don't find that it lends itself to knitting it from memory, though once you've started a row, it's easy to work the repeats.

And, as a bit of furry comfort, here's Midnight, wondering what I'm doing with that noisy thing instead of petting her. What *is* that thing, mom?

She went to the vet's a week or so ago, and all is well. Balancing her meds, between treating her digestive and kidney problems, is tricky, so I've been trying to get her checked up every 3 months or so.

Middy eats the $$ oh-so-special, only-from-the-vet, Royal Canin LP foods, chunks in gravy and Hill's 'prescription' dry food. But I've been watching the Royal Canin site carefully, as well as the Hills prescription dry foods information. So her food is OK, for now. Every now and again she gets an extra-special treat of a bit of Purina's Fancy Feast. Somehow Purina products seem to have been unaffected by the contamination problem. But too much protein is bad for Midnight's kidneys, so she only gets a spoonful or so once or twice a month. And always after a visit to the vet. Guilt food!

Oh, What Yarns!!

This is going to be a BIG post, with lots of new yarns (ahem, shuffle, blush) . There were quite a few sales on sock yarns in April, and I sort of fell into a lot of them. My credit card is being ouchy, and I am going to be really, really good again in May. Especially since I rather spent both April and May yarn 'budgets' in April. I could tell you a 'yarn' about how it was my Evil Twin who made these purchases, but I'm more of the 'I cannot tell a lie' persuasion, so yep, I have to 'fess up that 'Me did it!'

There are a good few new needles in the stock here Chez CBM, most of them being the KnitPicks Options. I didn't buy the kit, but I got tips in sizes 4-9, some cables and 2 each of the sock-sized circulars. I don't often use sizes larger than 9, and for those I already have a good selection of needles, besides my beloved Denise set. I am finding that the KP needles are not replacing all of my other needles. Like the Addi Turbos, they just don't work with all yarns, being too slick. And I still reach for my Denise needles for all sorts of things, especially those which are 2-sizes larger for binding off. I'm storing the KP in a couple of their 2-item pouches, in a nice 3-ring binder that wasn't doing anything else. The KP holes are the same as most compact planners, but the pouches are wider.

OK, to the new yarns. First are two special treats, gifts from generous friends. First is a skein of gorgeous Sundara yarn, in the Cherry Blossom colorway that she created for her first anniversary. I received a gift certificate, and I spent part of it on this special yarn.

Then a skein of the wonderful new Fleece Artist Sea Wool, in the Marine colorway. I tried to get a good photo, but perhaps the link will give you a better view of the lovely greens, blues, blue-greens and lavender/purples. In the variegated colors, scroll about halfway across. This was a most unexpected gift, and believe me, I went "SQUEEE!!" all over the place, with a few happy dance bits thrown in.

The green you see, 6 skeins (1200yds) of Classic Elite's lovely Provence cotton, I bought while trying to find the 'right' yarn for the Wren-a-long many of my Elann friends held. The Berocco pattern was done in Berocco Zodiac tape yarn, and I didn't like any of the colorways, even at the huge Elann discount. So after many auditions, I gave the vote to Provence, and, if it was the nice subdued spring color you see here, all would have been happy. But it is considerably brighter, just enough that I don't feel comfortable with it. The color is Basil, a new color for 2007, and neither the color on WEBS (where I bought it) or on the Classic Elite website(bottom of the page) shows the brightness and the little bit of too-much-yellow (IMO) that makes me unhappy with it. The yarn itself is top-grade plied cotton, with a lovely sheen. If anyone wants to give this yarn a new home, please LMK. After this disappointment, I relieved a lot of stress when I decided that the omens were not in favor of a Wren in my wardrobe.

I have to confess that Little Knits is a real problem for me. Sue Little has so many lovely closeouts and bargains that I have to stay away from the website. During April she had a huge sale on sock yarns from Opal, OnLine, Cherry Tree Hill and others, many at nearly 50% off. So, since sock yarn "doesn't count" against Knitting from the Stash (KFTS) resolutions, I crumbled. I got 2 skeins of OnLine's Not-so-Winter and 2 of their Sierra yarns. Each skein is enough for a pair. Then the Cherry Tree Hill solids came up, and I bought some of the lovely deep red for a small shawl and some of a nice walnut-y color for DH. He gets the Sierra sock yarn, too.

Last but not least, Chez Casuelle had a sale on Lorna's Laces, nearly all of their yarns, whatever she had in stock. There wasn't much of a discount, but any new stock of yarns from Lorna's Laces are going to be at a significant price increase. She had quite a few colorways I haven't seen before. So I gave in to the temptations. Two of the yarns I wanted disappeared from my order as she filled orders (grr!), but I got the pretty Buck's Bar for socks, and the really lovely Baltic Sea in enough for a good-sized shawl.