Thursday, December 23, 2004

One and a half days of knitting time left!

Forget shopping time -- once you're into this knitting thing it's all about knitting time. I just want to wish those knitters out there who are still in the last desperate hours of project completion the best of luck -- may the caffeine gods smile upon you, may your tired fingers make no errors, and may your FO's be graciously and appreciatively received.

As one who has dropped out of the race, I nevertheless made mucho blue cardy progress over the last couple of days while on a brief skiing trip to Bear Valley -- the snow was uninteresting and not terribly plentiful, so we skied little and I knit lots! I finished the right hand side, and am looking forward to getting well into the left side on the plane tomorrow. The gauge continues to be slightly off, which is worrisome -- I think I can block it fine, but now I'm worried that the slightly bigger pieces will cause me to run out of yarn! I've decided to NOT do the pockets until I'm quite sure there will be enough. I can always put a cute embroidered fish on the moss st side instead of pockets.

I'm off to Illinois in the am, so happy knitting to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Zen and the Blues

Thought I'd better write again, before everyone assumes that I have jumped off Pier 39 with moss st cardigan in hand.

I was listening to Elwood's House of Blues radio hour on KFOG last night, and his special guest was this very cool lady named E.C. Scott. Kinda sounded like Etta James. She said singing the blues doesn't make you depressed, on the contrary, it makes you happy. That made me think about Aristotle's poetics and catharsis, and that made me think about how blogging when you're depressed is a lot like singing the blues -- you get it out there, out of your system, and other people read it and say, "Right on, sister, you're okay."

So, I'm feeling better. I have decided to take a very Zen approach to Blue Cardy. It will not be done in time for Christmas unless I grow two more sets of hands and knit 24/7. But that's okay. It will be done when it's done. In the meantime, CNITU is much too young to care which particular day of the year he's supposed to get his prezies.

I did get the Christmas cards sent, which was a fairly major accomplishment.

I also did something quite decadent and sinful -- I purchased some ridiculously expensive green and brown ribbon yarn to make wraps for the bridal party. It's really perfect yarn and I couldn't resist it.

Friday, December 10, 2004

A Rough Week. A Blue Day.

Sad news today - I just found out my dear Uncle David in England died yesterday of a massive heart attack. He's only in his sixties and he was playing badminton with my Aunt at the time. The family is in shock, it was just so sudden and unexpected. He kicked cancer a few years back, so this was not the way we expected him to go. I can't afford to fly there for the funeral, but my Dad's going.

It's just the worst thing in a week that has been out of whack in general - I've had a bad cold, had to perform in our touring show Tuesday when both an actor AND her understudy couldn't do it, and ended up with no voice at all on Wednesday. Did get some knitting done that day, but my heart hasn't been in it this week. Just slogging away on moss st, nearly done with the back of the lt blue side but dreading the rest of it. I'd love to finish by Xmas, but I don't know if it's going to happen.

Most of the rest of the Xmas shopping is done, though, and I got the decorations up, so it's nice and festive in our little apartment. The highlight of the week was watching Charlie Brown Christmas on TV. I think Linus is my hero. Of course, ironically, this lovely, wise little story about Christmas being too commercial was interrupted every five minutes by, guess what, commercials. *Sigh* as CB would say.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Thanksgiving Progress

A great weekend, from a knitting, family, and activity point of view! We had four beautiful days in Bear Valley. I finished the dk blue hood on Wednesday (did not run out of yarn!), thus completing the stockinette side of the Blue Cardy, and got about 12 cm into the Lt blue moss st side during the rest of the weekend. Would have been further, but I made a mistake while simulataneously knitting and playing Scrabble, and had to tink a few rows. Moss st requires a bit more focus than St st.

CNITU was as adorable as ever, and stood relatively still so I could try the safety-pinned pieces of the cardy on him. The sleeves are a bit short -- those French bebes are not as long-limbed as my little American nephew. I think I can fix that with blocking.

Skied Friday and Saturday while my sweetie snowboarded. There were many heated games of Sorry, Scrabble, and Backgammon in the evenings.

When I came back, there was a package from KnitWhits waiting for me! I will not mention what was inside since the intended recipients sometimes frequent this blog. But I will say that Tina Whitmore puts together a nice little package. I would mention, however, that at least on my browser, the colors are much brighter in person. Very nice colors, mind you, but a touch more vivid that I thought I was getting.

IF my luck holds out and I manage to escape jury duty this week, I will hopefully be learning to decrease in moss st at the Meet-up on Wednesday night!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. A holiday entirely devoted to eating good food and spending time with family and friends, that's so much less commercial than Christmas, and without the pressure to buy, buy, buy.

I am counting so many blessings this year! Here are a few:

A wonderful future husband
An extended family of in-laws
A job! (Stressful though it sometimes is)
Many wonderful friends
A safe, beautiful apartment
Good health (although that may not last the weekend, I'm getting a cold!)
So much more money than most of the world
A car that runs
A new hobby! Knitting! And all the great new friends I get to share it with.

Looking forward to eating turkey (my twice-yearly meat-eating), cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes! Yum!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Needing sleep and painkillers

Crazy weekend -- Saturday was a highly productive day during which we managed to choose the bridesmaids' dresses, look at invitation papers, and cater a five-course meal for some theatre supporters in Napa, all in one day. Sunday, however, was a bit of a disaster. Long story short, I spent 13 hours finishing the program layout for Napa Rep's next show, finally finishing at 1:15 am. When I finally stood up from our creaky old Mac G3, my right shoulder and neck were burning with pain. I don't think it's set up very ergonomically, but after that many hours at the computer, I think anyone would be hurting.

Add to that only five hours of sleep, and I was pretty much a zombie yesterday. I knit about 12 rows in the afternoon while watching the San Jose after-school Shakespeare kids do their run-throughs, but that hurt my shoulder. I am trying to do as much as possible with my left hand right now, but I'm so NOT ambidextrous. Time to learn Continental! I definitely think that will be a New Year's project. Assuming that I can still move my right arm by then.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Another month, another meet-up

We had a great Santa Clara Meet-up last night! Mel amazed the crowd by TEACHING HERSELF TO GRAFT after making a mistake on her very first project. (Lesson learned: don't drink and knit.) Apparently she just took it apart at a join and figured out how to put it back together from the live needles. Fantastic! Did I mention she did this after midnight as well?

C is working on a dog sweater on teeny needles, which make your back stiff, a problem I can definitely relate to. ESPECIALLY after Tuesday night, when I made major progress on the blue cardy hood only to realize I'd cast on the wrong number of stitches in the first place. Read the pattern wrong. RIIIIIIIP! I'm now well back into it, but it was frustrating.

J and I discovered that Blue Rock Shoot makes a damn good coffee cake. And they'll heat it up for you. Yummy!

The sock goddesses were all in fine form as usual, putting us all to shame with their genius.

I have a slight fear of running out of blue yarn before I finish the hood. I THINK I'm okay, but it's down to the last 3/4 ball.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Holiday Ambush

As usual, I was completely unprepared for the holiday onslaught this week. No sooner did I crawl back into the world from my post-election doldrums, but horrid Xmas musack came blaring at me from the walkway outside the movie theatre last Saturday. (Went to see The Incredibles - you must go! Very fun.)

I went from feeling quite confident about finishing Blue Cardy for Xmas to feeling a bit panicky. I am nearly done with the sleeves now (I expect I'll finish those tonight), and then the hood is all that remains of the darker blue side of the cardy.

HOWEVER, then I've got to do the whole thing again in Moss st in the light blue! So typical of me, to get this ambitious. And not a chance that I'll get to make gifts for anyone else. Maybe I can draw little sketches of the scarves, ponchos, etc. I want to make for everyone and give myself the year of 2005 to get those done.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Stitches West!

Many thanks to Christina for spreading the news about Stitches West in February in Santa Clara! I am signed up for classes on grafting, pattern making, crochet, and combining knitting with fabric. Come one and come all!

A very productive wedding weekend -- you can visit our new website at

Thursday, November 04, 2004


...I guess today is the first day of the rest of our lives, or whatever it is they say. Despite a depressing indication that yes, America is just as lame as the rest of the world thinks we are, we must keep fighting the good fight. After all, how will we ever become less lame if all the cool people move to Canada?

I finished up most of the left front of blue cardy while watching election returns, bound it off in the doctor's office the nest morning while listening to the final verdict on the radio, and did the pocket last night while my sig other and I vented our frustrations, which made me feel less despondent. Seemed appropriate that it was the LEFT side of the cardigan. The side with the cute buttons, while the right side has the holes.

Then, symbolically as 'twere, I cast on both the right and left sleeve on the same set of circulars to knit them side by side. After all, the people have spoken, and though I disagree with a slight majority of them, we must carry on.

My friend Stephanie McCanles wrote this poem, and I think it's rather brilliant:

Farewell John Kerry
brave whiffle bat
partisan prince
droopy dog
the best thing we had
a man who actually had
fired a gun
seen death
and knew what war smelled like.

Good night.
May you sleep the soft sleep
of someone who did the best they could
as opposed to the waking sleep
of the grieving
the heartsick
the hopeless and confused.

In other words,
better than us.

The real work starts tomorrow
and it is unattractive
without buttons or bumper stickers
demands permanent vigilance
and a willingness to expect too much
and be disappointed.

All else has failed.
We will have to be citizens of this country.
Because if we won't claim it,
we know who will.

We are only as good as our best actions.
We are only blameless in our constant effort.
We have no choice but to fight for what we know is true

Because we started the work
and cannot give it up.
Because if it was ever worth fighting for
(in the first place)
it was worth fighting for
(in the first place)

Here is to
Our once
and Future Country.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Get off yer duff and VOTE!

Okay, that's pretty much the political ranting for this posting, since after all this is a knitting blog and not one of those crazed extremist political blogs I occasionally come across. Only a short line at my polling place, fortunately, so it was shocking to go on the internet and see all the images of 400 people lining up in Ohio before dawn. If nothing else, it's nice to see Americans getting off their collective rears and caring enough to get out there.

In the knitting world, we had the first theatre folk Stitch 'n' Bitch in Oakland yesterday. Wonderful homemade pizza. Just five of us -- three knitters and two newbies, both bravely attacking the yarn and forging ahead on their very first attempts. Since I believe in spreading the love, I lent my SnB book to one of them. Best of luck to her!

Excellent progress is being made on the left front of the blue cardy; might even be finished by the time Jon Stewart finishes his "Indecision 2004" report tonight. To my mind, it's the only election report worth watching!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Just look at the little Ghosty with his Mom the witch! My sister was thrilled with the costume, left multiple joyful messages on Friday, and sent over cute photos on Friday evening. A friend of hers apparently sells hand-made goods on the web and would love to sell my children's clothes -- I told Sis I'd have to get a little faster at this before I can keep up with demand! The hood fits JUST PERFECTLY and stays on his head. Hooray for Sally Melville!  Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Here's Ghosty, all sewn up and ready to go! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


And in the mail. Back to the soft solace of Blue Cardy. And eagerly awaiting photos of CNITU in his costume.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Cutest Nephew in the Universe, and his cat, Bea. Posted by Hello

Ghosty with the Mosty

I am just barely going to make it, but Ghosty will be finished for Halloween, hooray! I knit for about six hours total on Saturday, and another two yesterday, and the hood is done -- thanks to Spinnity for the loan of Sally Melville's fab hood pattern; it works really well. The hood is now pinned to the body of the poncho, ready to be sewn up tonight. I am dreading the seams since the fuzzy whiteness of the things makes stitches so hard to see.

I think instead of embroidering ghost eyes and the word "Boo!" on the front, I am going to make little felt patches and sew them on -- faster, and also I saw a similar look on a children's cardigan in the Anthropologie catalogue and it was extra-cute.

Then I'll overnight the whole thing tomorrow morning, and Sister and CNITU will be all set just in case there is a Halloween party on Friday night!

Mission for Wednesday night's Macaroni Duck -- post pictures.

Oh, and there is a new Stitch 'n' Bitch starting Monday in Oakland with some theatre friends -- we'll have rotating hosts, so I plan to host one soon. Fun!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Lost Month

Oh, where did it go, that last month? I logged on today in shame, knowing that I had not written since the day after my first kntting meet-up, one full month ago! Updates in my life:

1. I finished the sparkly-fuzzy poncho and wore it to C&L's wedding on Oct. 10. (Many photos have been taken and will be posted just as soon as I figure out how to do that.) Much admired, esp since my sweetie made a point of telling everyone I made it myself. Weather was unusually warm so I ended up just wearing it in the evening. I also wore it at the Meet-up last night and there were some demands for the pattern. FYI all, it is a free pattern from Knitting Arts called Felicia/Paris Nights poncho. I changed the Felicia yarn to Softy since I wanted black and Felicia only comes in quite bright colors. I also got the vintage button and silk ribbon at Knitting Arts. As I was saying to C. last night, the flower could also be made separately and turned into a brooch, a cute, easy, and thoughtful Xmas gift!

2. I am slogging away on the ghosty poncho for CNITU. It is nearly 90 cm long, almost ready to fold in half and add the hood. Must finish by next Wednesday to put in mail on Thursday. Spinnity was an absolute goddess and designed the hood last night, based on a Sally Melville pattern.

3. Blue cardigan is lying lonely in my knitting project basket at home. I miss you, blue cardy and your lovely Rowan cotton yarn!

4. I directed a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream which is now touring the state. I guess that's where I went for the last month.

5. Wedding update -- have date, site, caterer, florist nailed down, and dress, of course.

I guess that's about it for updates! Keep checking in for pix of sparkly and ghosty, I promise they'll get here eventually.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Knitting Meet-Up Wednesday

Wow, there is progress in my knitting land!

Wednesday night I spent a lovely few hours with the Santa Clara County knitting meet-up chicks. The "theme" for the night seemed to be siblings and all their good and bad qualities. It started when I arrived with the new Ghost outfit for CNITU, for which I had drawn a little pattern and was working out stitch counts. L., who was already there, commiserated with me over demanding sisters. (I actually don't mind doing it, but although my sis bought the yarn, bless her, she did pick that tricky washcloth-y stuff where it's hard to see the stitches in all the fluff.) It was revealed later that L. has some fairly intense sibling issues. On the positive side, my new almost-sister Spinnity was there (she's the organizer), and we talked about how she just realized she had a new sister! Then on the way out, Spinn and I talked about her brothers, one of whom is my sweetie, and their difficult relationship.

Successes -- I worked out what needles to use for Ghost (10 1/2) and how many stitches. I also decided I want to wear Sparkly Poncho for L&C's wedding on 10/10 (Sis rejected it as too warm and formal for her Laguna Beach life), so I have to get that done. Deadlines are good!

But I'm doing well on that front, too! I bound it off at the meet-up, and then at home laid it out and put safety pins along the seam. Last night I started work on the flowers, plus I sewed the seam and wove in all the ends. It could actually be worn now as it -- it looks great! But I am looking forward to adding the ruffle and flower embellishment. I figured I can do all the petals tonight, then add the ruffle and sew the flower together on Saturday. Should have a FO by my next post! Then I can free up the 10 1/2 needles for Ghosty.

Where does this leave little Cardigan? I need to do the left front before too long. but the deadline for the FO is Dec. 25, so less urgent. Sis also wants a cotton poncho, and I want to make myself a little purse for the wedding (deadline: March 12). So many projects! I am starting to feel like Spinnity!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Vacation, all I ever wanted!

Drat. Just wrote a whole posting and the computer crashed before I could hit "post."

The basic gist was that I just spent a week in Laguna Beach with the cutest nephew in the world (CNITU), and I am starting my third concurrent project, a little fuzzy white poncho that will turn him into a ghost for Halloween.

I also wanted to share my discovery that sunscreen, sand, and yarn do not mix well.

Laguna Beach has a lovely yarn store called Strands and Stitches. It's not Knitting Arts, but then, what is!?

And I bought my wedding dress.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Macaroni Duck

The traditional Wisnewski-Walker-Ennals macaroni duck night was buzzing with pre-wedding discussion last night. Arguments about the guest list were safely postponed until next week's vacation, when we'll have more time to talk about them.

Although we spent most of the evening eating, chatting, and playing Munchkin, I did have an "a-ha!" moment when I created my best buttonhole yet on the Best Nephew Cardigan. I think it's all got to do with doing a knitting cast-on rather than a cable cast-on, and keeping the stitches nice and tight.

Also did the indulgent shopping trip to Knitting Arts -- I restrained myself and made my smallest purchase ever. I had a $20 credit on my stash card -- God, I love that, what a brilliant marketing move -- so I treated myself to the new Rowan magazine, and also got two vintage buttons and a length of silk ribbon. The buttons are green and gold (for the poncho) and blue and gold (reminds me of my ring, I may have to make something for the wedding. A little tiny purse with a button closure?) The ribbon is ombre dyed in reddish-pink, blue, and green -- a PERFECT match for Paris Nights!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Exciting weekend

News... I am soon to join the ranks of married people! My sweetie proposed on Saturday on the beach in Big Sur. The ring is gorgeous, a sapphire surrounded by diamonds. It was not a huge surprise; I expected it to happen some time in the next few weeks, but the moment it happened I was definitely taken by surprise. Wedding in March!

We took a bunch of blog-bound photos this weekend, including me knitting at 4000 feet on a hike in the Ventana Wilderness. The project? Cardigan for Best Nephew in the Universe. It's coming along slowly; nowhere near the speed of Spinnity's lovely Narcisse sweater. I'm looking forward to vacationing with the Nephew and his lovely parents next week. I'm going to knit and knit and knit! Of course, my sister will also drag me out to shop for wedding dresses, a prospect I view with some dread and trepidation. Having worked briefly in the industry, I know it's an enormous scam. However, I look forward to a Koigu wedding shawl from Spinnity.

Other knitting news... not much to report! I am making steady progress on the spidery sparkly poncho. Expect to have a FO while on vacation. Cardigan will be done by Xmas, if I'm lucky. I really want to start something from Vintage Knits as well, in a Rowan yarn. Love Rowan. I'm planning a naughty little visit to Knitting Arts tomorrow, to pick up a dragonfly button to decorate the poncho.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Well, here I am... first home on the internet. Some paint, a few curtains, and it'll really be something.

I was inspired to start this by my friend and almost-relative Spinnity's fabulous blog ( Like her, I knit. But, as my name suggests, I just learned. From her, actually. And I am constantly amazed by the zen of knitting, the things it makes me think about, as well as the overwhelming coolness of what you can actually do with a simple ball of yarn and a couple of sticks. I've developed a very dangerous Knitting Arts habit (

Have you noticed that yarns have personalities? (Of course you have; if you're reading this, you've probably been knitting much longer than I have.) My very first two projects were a hat and scarf in a super-soft Anny Blatt angora blend, dreamily colored in gentle blue, green, orange, and raspberry. Aaah! So peaceful. So relaxing. A good first yarn -- misty and forgiving of small mistakes, but still not too tricky to see the stitches.

Now I've got two totally dissimilar projects. One is a poncho in Softy and Ironstone Paris Nights. The Softy is black and spidery and sticky. One evening I realized it was an angry yarn. I wrestled with it a lot at the beginning. We've come to a sort of truce now. I've conquered two whole balls now and I think it knows who's boss. The Ironstone is more elusive. Sparkly and colorful, but with a sharp edge. It hides in and out of the black but helps me when it's time to count rows of purl bumps.

The other is a blue cardigan for Peter, Best Nephew in the Universe. My new favorite yarn, a Rowan cotton. It's miles and miles of stockinette, but soothing somehow through the fingers. Except the buttonholes, which have been onerous.

I suppose other people have favorite yarn personalities. Tell me!