Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Upcoming Knitting Events in San Diego

It's been an interesting few days. First, The Bonita Knitting Store, my home away from home, has announced a couple of events affecting me. The San Diego County Fair is coming up and Susan has set a goal for the shop and its customers of submitting at least 20 items. As soon as she gets the decision whether I can enter as a regular person [the way I would if I submitted items via the Foothills Knitting Workshop] or as a 'professional' since I teach once a month at the shop, then I'll decide which items to submit. Right now I'm thinking of the Braids cardigan I completed last November and a gansey I made a few years ago. Although I used the percentage formula in creating the gansey and got the motifs from stitch dictionaries, I believe I can enter it in the original pattern category. Then, as the alleged sock diva, a pair of socks. I'm working on some toe ups in the Yarntini I got back in January using a ribbing from Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. If I had the time, I'd love to do the knee high socks featured in this month's Knitty. I have 4 skeins of maroon Knitpicks Essentials that would be perfect. The submission paperwork is due 2 May and the actual projects on the 20th.

The second event is the Stitch n' Pitch, a TNNA sponsored baseball game at Petco Park on Sunday, the 22nd of July. This year we have the cooperation of the Padres front office and more LYS's participating. I hope more than the few hundred who showed up last year make it this year. Seattle had 2,500 attendees and it would be great to have at least 1000.

While hanging out at the store this Sunday, an international visitor breezed in. Jo from Ireland found it via the internet and we had a blast. Since she's a journalist, her telling of the encounter is much better than mine would be.

Meanwhile, I haven't been a slouch. I finished the Pinwheel sweater on the 16th. Not bad for having started it on the 3rd. The thing is huge and wonderfully comfortable. I can wear the collar up as a hood and in other variations. The back edge is knee length. I plan to use it with one of the pretty shawl pins I just bought because they will give me more flexibility than buttons. When it's cool enough to wear, I'll post pix of a human modeling it.

I also finished the pair of socks in Panda Wool. I worked these toe up because I was concerned about having enough yarn. Each 50 gr skein has 170 yards. I used size 1 needles and could have gone smaller. I did a lace rib from Schurch thinking if I ran out, it would cute as an anklet, but there was plenty.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Cave

With the house to myself, I took all the yarn out of the Yarn Cave to fondle and reorganize.

The innocent looking hall closet
The jackets are just camouflage.
Empty except for the baskets of acrylics and some other craft stuff.
The stash in all its glory. I don't think it's that extensive, as I'm mostly project oriented. The big pile on the couch is all the Woolease for the Great American Aran Afghan. Then it's 3 bags of sock yarn, 2 bags of machine washable baby yarns, and the Cotton Ease collection. The baskets are acrylics deemed soft enough to keep after major destashing a few months back. One of the bags above the baskets is sport weight project leftovers and the other 100% wool worsted weight leftovers possibly for felting.

After putting everything back more efficiently, I'm left with this very dangerous situation. I've got lots of room for more.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Distracted by fun sweater

I was doing so well catching up on those many works in progress.... When I was playing around with my stash and setting up the closet shelves, I added this pinwheel sweater to my "To Do" list. Although the pattern calls for a spiral of colors, I have 6 huge skeins of Lion Brand Fisherman wool I felt would be great for sweater to cuddle in.

It stepped up from idea to must do right now when I went to the LYS and there was a class in progress working this very same sweater. As I helped some people get started, I couldn't stand it. Got home and started this last Saturday. It looks almost done in the photo, but I'm probably less than halfway. It needs another 7 inches around the circle so it will close in the front, then the sleeves. The most time consuming task will be the twisted Icord edge around the entire circle.

I did manage to finish the rework/repair of these old Regia socks. I had made them back in Oct 2003 and they were my first pair made in real sock yarn. They never fit right and annoyed me everytime I wore them. I frogged them back to the cuff and reknit them. Since I had already used the leftover yarn in another pair of socks, I needed to add a contrasting yarn to the toes.

After much fun playing with my stash, here's the final storage display in my newly named Knitting Studio. I used shoe hanging shelves for my pretty fun lace, scarf and some sock yarns. The sweater shelves have my works in progress. The patterns and notions needed for each project are together in each space. The empty floor space below the shelves seemed wrong, so this underbed container contains some of my sock yarns. The Yarn Cave is also much more organized, but is still pretty full.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cutting sleeves

The sleeves on the gray sweater were too long. At first I thought I could get by with turning the cuff and I tacked them down. But after blocking, the damned things grew. I knew cutting them should work IN THEORY, but it still was a leap of faith. Whew! It worked and I'm happily wearing the sweater as we speak.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Studio pix

Since it was picked up, I took more pix of my knitting corner of the universe. My computer is my true window to the world.
Baskets under the table store my notions.
Sewing Books on top and knitting references in the shelves below the window.

UFO finally completed

I started this textured cardigan from Classic Knits for Real Women back in June. It's from Knitpicks DK Merino yarn. It's mostly stockinette with the occasional purl. I opted for the textured version instead of placing beads where the purls are.

Now that it's done and it's really comfortable, I can see I'll be wearing it quite a bit. But it's a basic, serviceable sweater. I have gotten sidetracked by so many more fun projects and luxurious fibers. The cruise projects really put a detour in my knitting plans. At one time I had 12 works in progress! With the completion of this cardigan, I'm down to a much more manageable 7 WIPs. Three are socks, so they hardly 'count'. Two are lacey shawls which I plan to save for summer knitting. That leaves my 2 workshop projects. These will be my primary focus for the next few weeks. Then I really need to start yet another sweater. I promised my mom one more Sitcom chic for Mother's Day.

I feel more in control now. I reorganized the Yarn Cave, have my Knitting Studio and can now knit til my arms fall off.

Knitting Studio

I decided to get pretentious. I knit, compute, and otherwise spend most of my at home hours in the downstairs bedroom that had been my mother in law's back when she lived with us. This bedroom and nearby bathroom are off the kitchen and are why we got this house back in 1991. It was where the kid's got to watch TV or use the computer. At that time, the kids called it the den. I had always done my sewing, knitting and TV watching in the evenings in the family room. But as one has gone off and gotten married and the other is about to graduate from college and is rarely home, I've taken over the den. It's got all kinds of built in shelves, cabinets and draws. I moved my favorite couch in here. Since it's a sleeper, this is the guest room on the rare occasions family ventures west. I've always tried to keep the closet at least half empty so guests would have somewhere to put their stuff.

But I've taken all clothing out and store my needles and works in progress in the closet. Surrounded by all my books and patterns, with many more patterns on the computer and my notions in covered baskets under the coffee table, I decided my corner of the universe should more aptly be dubbed my Knitting Studio. The computer also doubles as my music system, so I knit during the day listening to favorite tunes. At night it's TV. Life is good.

Gift layette done!

My daughter's sister in law is expecting her 1st child in April. It's the first grandchild for the family and I wanted to knit something. I let my DD and her husband go through my patterns to pick something out. My intention had been for a sweater and booties, but they fell in love with the entire ensemble including the blanket. Since the mother to be does not want to know the baby's gender, they picked an ivory color. I selected TLC Cotton Plus and 50/50 mix of cotton and acrylic that's machine washable. I would never give a handwash item to a new mother.

The TLC is a light worsted weight and the pattern I had called for DK. I made the smallest size, but it turned out 6 month size. The blanket had to reworked because it was supposed to be 19 x 24, ridiculously small. I added a pattern repeat and filler motifs to get the more standard size of 30 x 36". I knit up the blanket in a much looser gauge than the garments to make it more cuddly.

Although my DD can knit, she's so busy with her job, hubby and church, I knit 'for' her. It seems all her friends are expecting, so I have fun making a little something to include in the gifts she buys them. For the above expected baby, they got them a stroller too.

It took almost 8 skeins of the TLC for the entire set. I liked working with this yarn so much, I went ahead and ordered 24 more skeins of it to have on hand. I got 12 each of pink and blue so I could whip up something gender specific on short notice.

Las Vegas was fun as usual

For those of you who know us, we trek up to Las Vegas at least 6 times a year. At this point, we consider it our vacation home. We don't have a condo or time share, but are the biggest cheapskates. This last time we stayed downtown and got free hotel for 3 nights at the Plaza. Not the fanciest hotel, but the beds are comfy and the rooms clean. We enjoy the hustle and bustle of all the different people and activities. Each time we go, it's a different experience. We always go during the week, 'cause it's less expensive. I also look forward to the 6 hour drive since my DH prefers to drive and I get to knit both ways.

For the past several years we've gone for Valentine's Day and my DH's birthday in February. We count the number of brides and grooms from all walks of life and of all ages. One of the gifts DH got was a book on how to play video poker, our favorite. We studied up on the statistics on what to keep and discard. It's comforting to have a plan at least. We play the nickel machines. I told you we were cheap. We played until fatigue and sore arms made us rest. Although not big winners, I'm happy to report that 4 days of gambling to my heart's content only cost me $52. We'll see if that holds true when we go up next month since we are staying uptown and the machines are less generous than the ones downtown.

The main activity Vegas was preparing for this time was the NBA All-Star game the weekend after Valentine's Day. It was the first time it took place there and it was all the news programs reported on. They expected as many people as they get New Year's Eve. They went all out and even dressed up the Statue of Liberty at New York New York in an East jersey and MGM Lion in a West jersey.