Sunday, December 17, 2006

Waiting for Christmas

I've got almost all the presents wrapped. Still waiting for a couple of deliveries by the UPS brown elf, but am practically done. It's my favorite time. I can take in the Christmas spirit and knit like crazy while I'm 'waiting' for the big day. Both girls will be home for Christmas Eve dinner and the opening of presents on Christmas morning. This year we have a happy addition of a son in law, so it promises to be great fun.

I'm working on plain black socks for me and a plain light brown pair for my husband. I think 2007 is going to start out with basic socks in solid colors. The others are fun to knit, but when I need a plain pair to go with an outfit, I HATE wearing store bought socks. I'd like to have 2 pairs of black before the mid January knitting cruise.

Somewhere in there I want to finish the gray sweater awaiting the sleeves. I'm going to TNNA and the 2 classes I've signed up for have homework for a total of 11 swatches.

Oh, and I finished the winter band for the vest. I've decided a plain band along with fall and winter ones are enough. Who wears a wool vest for spring and summer in San Diego?

I got yet more needles, this time the size 1, 2.5 mm DPNs from Knit Picks. It made my original needle case explode, so since I had a couple of these already made up, I spread out my basic DPNs into smaller carrying cases. My big needle roll is breathing a sigh of relief. My original DPN needle roll which served as the prototype now on sale at the LYS is gone to the trash.

No more scarf deficit

Didn't have any of my own, so I made four.

The blue and silver ruffled garter stitchscarf is from Needful Yarns Piccadilly.

The gold is just garter stitch with Crystal Palace Fizz Stardust yarn.

The blue denim reversible cables is a Lion Brand free pattern [slightly modified] made with stash Paton Classic wool.

The skinny black scarf is from Berroco BOHO. You can't see the 3 different textures. I did a vertical rib working the long way. It used 2 skeins.

My daughter got a new phone and requested a phone sock for protection made from a bright yarn she could easily find in her purse. Bernat Sox yarn.

Then I finally finished the second sock to my Austermann Step #04 pair. I'm wearing these right now and they feel wonderful.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Knitting on the Road to Vegas

We got back Friday night. Even though I brought along the sleeves to the gray textured cardigan to work on in the car, I finished up 2 second socks instead. My projects in progress are now down to 7.

Las Vegas was fun and slot losses moderate. Every time we go, it's a totally different experience. This time we timed it to coincide with the National Rodeo Finals. The thousands of cowboys who descend on the town are polite and cute in their pressed Wrangler jeans. We don't go to the rodeo, but love country music. We stayed downtown and all the casinos were piping in good stuff. The casino waitresses donned their jeans, as did some of the table dealers.

The rodeo kickoff on Wednesday night was a hoedown on Fremont Street. There were 2 stages with 4 bands. Each band did a 2 hour show starting at 7 and 9 pm. It was all FREE. We saw Ricochet, Trick Pony and Little Texas. We missed Deanna Carter. On Thursday there was a band at each stage for an 8 pm shows. I did not recognize the names, but the music was good.

We got there on Tuesday and scored half price tickets to the Simply Ballroom show at the Golden Nugget. 5 world class ballroom dancers strutting their stuff with 2 emcees who could really sing. Even Bob enjoyed it. The Golden Nugget has refurbished its showroom. The movie theater style seats were really comfortable and with only 600 seats, there isn't a bad seat in the house. This is good to know since we'll be back in February.

It was nippy at night [in the 20's!] but I had my wool sweaters under my windbreaker and was comfortable. I did notice the scarves everyone was wearing and realized I did not have any knitted ones. I will for the February trip for sure.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm getting caught up on my blog while the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade gets started. I hope you all have a great holiday.

This year, for the 1st time since before we had kids, it's back to just the old man and me. Oldest married daughter is Ohio with the in - laws [we get them for Christmas] and youngest will dine with boyfriend's family. She and BF are vegetarians and someone over there will be preparing a tofu turkey for them.

Thanksgiving dinner is the one meal I do make. DH made the pies yesterday and our tradition of pie for breakfast has already taken place. We like to eat at dinner time, so I won't be getting started until noon, since the turkey is smallish. I'm usually slicing and dicing during the parade, but I like this new tradition of relaxing. When I'm done here, I'll be knitting for a while before doing my cooking thing.

Life is good here, so I hope everyone [hello, Terry!!] is having a great day.

A sweater for Thanksgiving

The Braids Cardigan #402 from Cabin Fever is done! I used Patons Classic Wool in the Dark Natural Mix. The pattern is very well written. It's worked in one piece to the armhole and the sleeves are picked up at the shoulder, then worked to the wrist. When I finished the second sleeve, it was totally done. I'm down to a total of 9 projects in progress

Now I need to go back and finish the gray cardigan I started in June. I'm more than half done with the second front, but when I picked it up yesterday, it took me 10 minutes just to figure out where I was. The knitting factory has got to get in full swing. My mom informed me she loved the Sitcom Chic cardigan I made her last year, she wants another one just like it another color. I told her to take a number, as I was committed to other projects, especially the layette for an April baby. Then I started to feel guilty.... I grew up Catholic and can't help it. Mom's going to be 82 next month so I can't wait but for so long. We'll see where I am after all the holidays.

Back view

Field Trip

On Monday, the 20th, we trekked past Los Angeles to Simi Valley to visit the Regan Library. We were in the car for over 6 hours that day. I knitted like a fiend until it got too dark. I made great progress on my Braids cardigan - almost an entire sleeve.

We had lunch at The Elephant Bar Restaurant and enjoyed a few hours touring around the museum. This retired Air Force One looked so impressive in the specially built pavilion, but inside it seemed tiny and cramped. Elvis' plane on display at Graceland was way more elegant.

Around San Diego

November in San Diego. At the beginning of the month, we went to the yummy and elegant Sunday brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado.

It's been so warm here that I have not had the opportunity to wear my socks and sweaters. But soon....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What's on the Needles?

After playing with all my sock yarns, I kept out my favorites bag and fondled them so much I was itching to start working some up.

But first, I finished up the second socks to some languishing in my basket all summer.

On the left is a nice long pair from Magic Stripes. I had bought 3 skeins to make 2 pairs, but could have really made a pair from one skein. I thought I'd run short. Both pairs were made for women's size 9 to 10 feet with 8 1/2 inch cuffs. Even with matching stripes, I had over 90 grams left from the 3rd skein, so if you're thinking about Magic Stripes, keep your cuffs to 7 inches and you'll have plenty.

The second sock is from my wardrobe staple of Sockotta. I really like the cotton/wool blend, but am ever fickle because now my new favorite is the Fortissima Cotton Socka. It's softer and overall more yummy. Here's some of the new yarn at the Bonita Knitting Store. Once I figured out the color repeat, I couldn't help but start on the Austermann Step ones pictured earlier.

Then to top it off, this Regia from my stash started yelling at me.

As if that were not enough on the needles, the chill in the San Diego air reminded me I really want to wear this Braids cardigan sweater, so I've been working on it for the past few days.

I could really use several more pairs of hands.

Bye, bye Terry

I did not realize when I bumped into Terry last Thursday it would be for the last time. I thought we'd see other Saturday. Alas, she and her family were too busy getting ready for their Monday departure. You have to admire someone who doesn't just give lipservice to a life long dream. She and DH sold everything, bought a sailboat and headed out Monday, never to return. The first leg is part of a sailing flotilla called the Baja Ha Ha, then they'll take off on an open ended cruise visiting places as their whims and winds take them.

Selfishly, I wanted her to stay right here, knitting and sharing herself with us San Diego folks.

Hey Terry, when you get to a WiFi hotspot, give us an update. Miss you, girl...

Visiting the Queen

Last Sunday, DH and I took a Daytripper bus ride up to Long Beach for a tour, lunch and show aboard the Queen Mary. The day was all a lot better than I thought it would be. We got a great tour of the ship's public areas. Here I am lounging on the Queen's deck with a more modern cruise ship in the background. I'm in training for the knitting cruise coming up in January.

I may not be gorgeous, but get a load of those wonderful socks matching my Halloween orange shirt.

The late lunch was also a lot tastier than I expected, as was Tibbies, the caberet style show where the wait staff were also the entertainers.

Of course, as a true knitter, I looked forward to the actual bus ride from the several San Diego pick up points up to Long Beach. Knitting time! Imagine the pleasant surprise when the man in the seat in front of me pulls out the sock he is also working on. Like me, he was working with 4 double points AND we were both using the same yarn, Austermann Step, but in different colorways. This is the sock I was knitting.

We got to talking about knitting and such, then I passed along the info about the LYS near me. He lived up North, so frequented the shops in Encinitas.

All in all, a wonderful day.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Not enough yarn yet

So far I have resisted buying more sock yarn. But Susan will be ordering more, especially when Charlie bought some I had my eye on. Some of the colorways she had looked familiar, so for the past couple of days, I have been fondling and photographing my sock yarn. I took a lot of close ups then printed them out to carry in my knitting bag. The better to fill in the color gaps.

As you can see, I do not have nearly enough. I've researched the colorways available in the yarns the store carries and have carefully made some selections. You see, when I'm not knitting, I'm thinking about it.

This is my mostly likely to get knit up sooner than the others.

Traditional wool/polyamid sock yarns

Then there's my cache of acrylic/nylon sock yarns for those who may be allergic or will mistreat the socks.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New sock yarn discovery

This is some seriously yummy stuff. I made up this sample sock for the Bonita Knitting Store from Austermann Step yarn. It's 75% wool and 25% polyamid and comes in 100 gram, 420 meter skeins. The extra bonus is the Aloe Vera and Jojoba oil smooshed in it. The 1st row felt a bit slick, but then I got used to it. Made a plain sock to bring out the yarn pattern, but it's more the soft feel of the yarn that appeals to me.

It will be a test to see if I can resist buying lots of it.

This is color 11 - Dune

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The subject is feet

I have a thing about feet. I think it's because, along with hands, they are the part of me I can always see. Living in San Diego, my toes are exposed for 5 to 6 straight months. Regular pedicures are a must. I've got lots of shoes because feet must be accessorized. These are most of my shoes, but I've got some stored in secret corners of other closets. I used to have lots of heels and other pretties, but now it's all about comfort first. When I was in the Navy, I had about 10 pairs of black pumps and 5 of the white. Different heel heights accounted for some, but if I found a comfy pair, I'd get at least 2. The most I've ever spent on a pair of shoes is about $250. They were black pumps I used in uniform.

By extension, I've always liked socks too. I used to buy funky socks even though I could only wear them with civilian clothes. So far, I have knit 59 pairs of socks. DH has some and others were gifts. These are all mine!

I store my socks at the foot of the bed in this chest, under my 'blankie'

I have 5 of those photo storage boxes (so far) of hand knit socks. I have them sorted by yarn type with my Sockotta and other cotton blends together, the Opals in another. One box contains my handwash only socks.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Magic! It didn't take that long to get down to my size. I put my foot in the wet clogs to shape them, but it'll be a day or two before I can wear them. I'm so happy with the tweed effect.

Doubtful at this point.

The classic Fiber Trends Felt Clogs. I made the women's large since my toes are 9 1/2 wide. This would have normally used just 3 skeins of Patons Classic Wool, but with the color mix I needed 2 1/2 of the brown and just 1/2 of the beige. I had my doubts this would work out.

The vest and the first bottom panel of my Many Seasons Vest from this fall's Knitting Workshop is done. 3 more seasons and a plain panel still to go.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The factory is closed

These are just 2 of the 12 scarves I made in the past week. I'd been working on some for the Breast Cancer event at the LYS last week, using stuff from my stash and my store discount to buy yarn. WELL, at the event on the 7th, the owner had solicited and received a big box of pink yarns from Crystal Palace. She stated she had a goal of 100 scarves. I told her she just couldn't say something like that to a former military woman. A numerical goal is a challenge. I committed to a total of 20.

Only the last four got a bit tedious, but I had a lot of fun experimenting with all sorts of yarns I do not normally use. Now I know why people are addicted to scarf making. Instant gratification. But I don't usually wear scarves. I did buy some extra lace weight Kid Merino for a ruffled scarf since it's such a light bit of fluff that adds a splash of color.

Back to long list of WIPs. Now, if my DH wouldn't come up with these brilliant ideas. He thought it would be nice if I made newly married daughter and husband matching sweaters for Xmas. I don't think so. He now thinks I need to make the son in law a Xmas stocking. That's a possibility, but then no one else in the family has a hand knit one.

Monday, October 09, 2006

My 21 year old daughter walked away from this when it was on its roof with just bumps and bruises. Most visibly the seat belt rash on her neck. She was around the corner from the house on Friday on her way to class when she reached over for something and hit a parked SUV just so. Her VW went airborne and both front wheels flew off. She even walked through glass barefoot without a cut. Life is good.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My second home. The Bonita Knitting Store is about 1 1/2 miles from my house. Additional shelving has just arrived in anticipation of new yarns being added to the inventory. Did I mention the yarn cave also has some empty shelves? This is the temptation I'm constantly bombarded with!

My Icarus shawl on display. When I have a special occasion, I'll have to swing by the LYS to get it.

A student's 1st sock. Joy, joy, joy. Gloria finished her 1st sock and even started the second.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Dangerous situation. I rearranged the YARN CAVE when I got some big clear storage bags from WalMart. I found my 3 bins of Cotton Ease fit under the 1st shelf along with my 2 boxes of miscellaneous acrylics. Now I have EMPTY SPACE on 2 shelves and once I'm done with my vest and cardigans in progress, even more on the top shelf. Must .... get .... more .... yarn ....

Felting Kit. I was putting my felting tools away, then thought of sharing the secret of my 3 felting projects. I had been tying a pillow case closed, but just got a zippered one. But my secret weapon is this old pair of sneakers. They flop around in the hot water and make it felt up faster.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

So much TV and other musings

With the new TV season upon us, my only regret is that I only have 2 VCRs which limits me to just 3 shows in one time slot. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the most crowded, as I am especially addicted to Dancing With the Stars. I know a DVR is more efficient, but just call me old school.

Lots of TV means lots of knitting. The photos posted earlier are my current accomplishments. I am pleased to report my summer goal of conquering lace has been achieved. I feel confident I can attack an all over lace project soon. But first I finish my 2 cardigans and 3 socks in progress while still doing my Workshop homework [student] and the occasional private knitting lesson [teacher]. My next goal in progress is color work.

Next Saturday is the Breast Cancer Knit In at the Bonita Knitting Store. I have another ruffled scarf in Kid Merino cast on and ready to work on while Susan hosts the Pink Party from 12 to 5.

I missed the Whistlestop Sunday, as I had spent the entire day Saturday at Bonitafest at the Bonita LYS, my second home. I knitted at the booth and schmoozed with all the neighbors. I turned the heel on the sock I'm making from Magic Stripes. With the really elastic 2 needle cast on, I made the cuffs long enough to reach mid calf.

Mom requested a hat to match the green coat she wears when walking her new dog in the chilly mornings. Bob suggested making the dog a hat to match. I made it up as I went along. It's more of a gag gift. The hats are being mailed to Virginia today.

The panel is ready for duplicate stitching, embroidery and beading.

My first jump into color work. This is the first band in my workshop vest. It's a simple pumpkin repeat. I did not realize I would need 13 bobbins dangling from my work. I was pleased it was not the mess I thought it would be.

The lace sampler is done and blocked. I used Peppermint Alpaca Cloud from Knit Picks.

This center section was all centered double decreases.

The Butterfly is just too cute, but what a pain! Here I practiced [as in struggled with while cursing] yarnovers on every row and double yarnovers.

The Fern section had the decreases far removed from the yarnovers making it more wavy. The center section was aligned vertically in the graph.