Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays to all!

Just a quick post before I take off for Laguna Beach. There was a bit of a scare earlier this week that CNITU2 had too large a head and may have something wrong with his wee brain. However, Sis saw a specialist yesterday and it turns out that he's just large in general, so they don't want her to carry to term but will induce next week. Hopefully on my birthday!

We had some Xmas present opening already -- wonderful gifts from Spinnity and Bill include a gift certificate to Creative Hands in San Carlos as well as fun goodies from REI. Their birthday present to me was a beautiful pair of fingerless gloves, in brown and cream with lacy cuffs. So elegant! Susan and Princess M went all out with a brand new knitting bag for Christmas (it's Jordana Paige's messenger bag in brown) and a beautiful silver Tiffany necklace.

And at last, Adam got some of the photos out of the camera. Here's me finishing up (L to R) Kylie, Lucas, and LuLu bags for the sale.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Another long hiatus

After this one, it will be amazing if anyone's still reading this blog! My very good excuse is that I have been rehearsing and performing in "A Christmas Carol" up in Napa. I think it turned out rather well, so if you're interested visit our website for more information.

In a triumph of holiday knitting, I also finished four purses for the trunk show in Laguna Beach. I failed to finish the fifth. Turned out that the sale was badly attended, anyway, but I did sell one purse! Zofia, the sherbet-colored one with sparkly maribou trim. Wendy is keeping the other three in the shop for the time being. It was a fun experiment, but I have to admit that it got boring, knitting the same thing four times in a row. I couldn't wait to get back to Lucas' onesie.

I *did* take all kinds of photos, still in the camera, of course, but I promise, they're coming.

I have not been to a knitting meet-up in ages due to all this rehearsal stuff, but last Wednesday I did spend a delightful evening with M.O. at Julie's in Alameda, working on our Christmas knitting projects. We like Julie's; they are very knitter-friendly and have a crafting night every Friday. And very good teas, coffees, and cookies.

The rest of my modest Christmas knitting is a secret. I have not taken on any big ambitious projects this year, except for the onesie, and that's progressing well. Needed a break from deadlines. But for all of you who are counting the hours, keep the faith! You will make it!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Music plug

No, sorry, no photos yet. But I just wanted to mention the lovely night of music the DH and I experienced yesterday! Normally, I try to avoid plugging theatre too much on this blog - it's impossible to promote everyone's shows, and as a casting director I don't want to be perceived as slighting anyone. However, when it comes to music, I am purely a consumer with so little talent of my own that I can only sit in awe when I have an experience like last night's.

My former roommate Megan and her partner Sam are extremely talented musicians, and they played a great gig last night at the Bazaar Cafe in SF. This is one of my favorite music venues -- tiny, cozy, great food, nice folks, and of course, you can knit to your heart's content. If you're familiar with Beth Waters, Mokai, Vienna Teng, or Ira Marlowe -- they play there. It also happens to be half a block away from our old apartment. It was a birthday show for Megan, and the owners even had chocolate cake for everyone. When was the last time you went to a concert and got free cake?

Anyway, we bought the new Bazaar compilation CD, which M & S are *not* on. This morning, I went to the SF Hootenanny website where you can buy a compilation CD including two of their songs. The site also heaps praise on this terrific duo. If you can't get enough of Sam and Megan's acoustic brilliance, their CD is on CD Baby, too.

In other music news: Four tickets to KFOG's concert for kids (featuring Madeleine Peyroux, KT Tunstall, and Aqualung) up for grabs! After purchasing tickets to the concert and pre-show wine and food tasting, I found out I can't go due to my rehearsal schedule. The rest of the group decided not to go either. These are great seats, so if you're interested in buying them let me know!

Knitting news: Trunk show progress continues -- the knitting for LuLu is all done and I've started Kylie. Friday, I'm planning a big sewing day for all the linings, buttons, trim, etc.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Trunk Show preparation...

... is actually going pretty well. Credit goes to long hours spent in rehearsal. Knitting really is the perfect hobby for actors. You can simultaneously pay attention to what's going on, study your lines, and get projects done. No missed cues, which tends to happen when you immerse yourself in a book during rehearsal. And you never get mad at your director for keeping you there for 2 hours without ever getting to your scene. It's all good -- it's knitting time.

The adorable little girl playing Tiny Tim is also a knitter. Last week she saw me with my knitting and told me all about her projects. Yesterday she brought a little fuzzy scarf in to work on. At one point, leaping to her feet to make an entrance, she got tangled in her yarn and arrived on stage trailing pink and blue fluff. If I had done this, I would have looked stupid, but coming from Lucy it was just about the cutest thing that ever happened on a stage.

I finished lining Zofia and sent it off to Sis to show to Wendy at Wizard of Yarns. Stupid me, forgot to photograph it before I sent it. It's pink, orange, and green sorbet colors with a fluffy trim and a green floral-embroidered lining. The button is a little green butterfly.

I'm close to done with the Lucas backpack (named for CNITU2). This one is all Aurora 8 wool, smoky blue, persimmon, and Aurora Melange in fall colors. The lining has little trucks on it, and the button is a wooden teddy bear.

I started LuLu a couple of days ago (named for CNITU's best girlfriend). It's pale blue, yellow, and green, very preppy. I plan for it to have sparkly trim, a little blue button in the shape of a house, and a blue lining with girly sayings on it like "call me," "let's shop," and "girlfriends."

Ethan's backpack is already spoken for by its namesake (CNITU's other best friend), but I'll probably do it next. It's primary colors -- blue, red, and green, with racecars on the lining and a little green VW bug button.

Kylie is the last one I've designed -- it's spring green, pink, and lavender, probably a floral lining and a button in the shape of a little purse. It's named for my DH's co-worker's adorable daughter, who is amazingly cute and smart.

I'm debating whether to do a couple of holiday-specific ones, with sparkly blue and red yarn and a fluffy white trim. Maybe if I have time! Sis thinks they would sell well.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Check out the new look!

I kept the address, but changed the title. You like? I had to make sure first that other knitting "Wiz"es Spinnity and my MIL were not interested in using it.

I opted *not* to use "Auntie Becca Knits" as the title, although it is my brand (I have a brand! Hee hee!). I have been in touch with lovely Wendy from The Wizard of Yarns My purses and backpacks will hopefully be featured in a trunk show in Laguna Beach on Dec. 2-3. I say hopefully because I will actually have to work damn hard on making them before then. I had better finish Zofia's lining tonight, so I have one to send to Sis (my business manager) tomorrow!

Monday, November 07, 2005

New books, since I can't leave a knitting store empty-handed

At Wednesday's meet-up, I acquired two new books and a magazine. One was a carefully considered purchase, one was a whim, and one just jumped into my bag, helped there by my DH.

The first is the new issue of Rebecca Home. (I always like to pretend this magazine is named after me.) Some great Christmas ornament ideas (easy, fast gifts!), and a little bed jacket in GGH Amelie that I saw on-line and really like.

The second is last summer's Rowan. I like the pictures. I'll probably knit something from it eventually, but mostly it's for inspiration. It's all kind of girly and vintage and all that stuff I like.

Finally, I got a great book of patterns for kids called New Knits on the Block, by the host of Knitty Gritty. This is like Stitch 'n' Bitch for kids. My DH made me buy it for the miniature Viking costume, but I also like the mermaid, the chain mail, and the superhero cape. For an auntie who constantly finds herself knitting Halloween costumes, this is essential.

Speaking of which, CNITU was a major pill about wearing his Halloween costume this year. Sis managed to get a photo of him right before he took the hood off, which she says she'll email me shortly. Luckily there will be a new nephew next Halloween, who will have to be either a ghost or a bear.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pick an M&M, anyone?

First of all, I wrote Draft One of this post on Monday. For some reason, no matter how many times the universe proves me wrong, I never think I have to save my posts before posting them. Especially if they are particularly long or particularly (I think) witty. I even go through a thought process wherein I say to myself, "Self, you should save this before you try to do some fancy photo thing and the whole post vanishes into the blogosphere." And Self always says back, "Ha! I am all-powerful Blogger Babe! Take that, Me!"


I haven't had the heart to re-create this post for the last several days, because, as Garrison Keillor knows, the Great American Novel was the one you left behind on the train 10 years ago.

So the post was all about this sale at Vanessa's. Vanessa's is fairly far down my list of favorite LYS's, somewhere around #7. However, when they send me a postcard advertising an October pick-your-discount sale, of course I have to go. This is because, as the yarn harlot has said many times in much cleverer ways than mine, buying yarn is not about needing yarn. It's about the fact that somewhere out there, there is yarn that needs you.

(There, I just saved. Ha, Universe. Ha, Self.)

The postcard said that depending on whether you picked an orange, purple, green, or black jellybean, you'd get a 20%, 25%, 40%, or %50 discount. Shopping AND gambling combined! So I had to go.

Vanessa's carries a lot of Trendsetter and Crystal Palace (unlike other yarn shops I could name), as well as a whole wall of Cascade 220 and lots of Berocco. They also have random yummy things like Great Adirondack and this:

This is called Patagonia, and I've been admiring it since I received a sample from Yarn of the Month a little while ago. The color seemed appropriate to the season.

Vanessa, being smart, doesn't actually let you pick the jellybean until you are checking out. And in the end, they weren't jellybeans, but M&Ms (preferable to the DH, who sanctioned the yarn purchase since he was getting free chocolate out of the deal.)

I have to give Vanessa props for letting me put back the first three green 20%-off M&Ms until I got a 25%-off purple M&M. I think she was feeling generous since I had promised not to buy Sally's latest book on Amazon but wait until she got it in the store. (By the way, Sally, what's up with the bad 80's look on the cover?)

I still wouldn't place Vanessa's super-high on my list, but 25% Patagonia is a good thing. The sale's on until the end of the month, and there's no limit to the number of times you can go. I think I'll have to take the MIL when she's in town this weekend.

Oh, and I'm trying to think of a new name for this blog. I ignored my bloggiversary altogether (since I didn't know there were such things until I read C's blog), but on Kathy's urging I will move on. Knuknitter no more! Anyone have any ideas?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Stitches is up!

How many blog posts have that entry today, I wonder? Anyway, I'm all registered -- two Sally, one Nancie (Wiseman), one Lily. My theme for the year is color -- intarsia, fair isle, and creativity. (Lily's class is on edgings, so I guess that kind of counts as long as they're colorful.) As soon as I find out if I got my first choices I'll post my full schedule.

Went to Meet-up in Santa Clara last night for the first time in a while. Went over to Knitting Arts, picked up a new Rowan book, Classic Woman. Nice vintage-look patterns, particularly fun flower pins that will make nice gifts. Knitting Arts is also discontinuing Crystal Palace and Trendsetter (are they high?), so I gathered a few random skeins for trims, etc. Nice and cheap.

Here's the promised photo of the bear costume:

Hopefully it will fit! That's 2005.18, for those who are counting. I think at last count I was around 200.14, the White Lies panty. I've now gone through 2005.15 (Vintage camisole), 2005.16 (Ugly yellow hat), and 2005. 17 (Green bolero).

Go sign up for Stitches now, y'all! See you there!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I'm baaaack!

I've also added word verification to block all those annoying blog spams. I actually got excited when I saw 6 comments on my last blog; alas, most from anonymous sploggers (blammers? blommers? splaggers?)

I'm finally back to the place where I can waste time blogging at work again -- after three weeks of rehearsal for The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Fortunately, my lack of blogging has not coincided with a lack of knitting. I finished the cute green bolero in time for Sis' birthday. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a photo before I mailed it, so I'll have to rely on her for that. It's apparently a bit small for her in her very pregnant state, but that will only last a few more months.

I also finished the bear costume for CNITU and mailed it out this morning. Photos to come! It's in an annoyingly fluffy cotton washcloth yarn from Ironstone yarns, with a baby alpaca and eyelash yarn trim.

Haven't done much more with the Gedifra tweed project, and the Zofia purse remains a UFO, waiting for a lining. Last night I made a swatch for a Debbie Bliss onesie in light blue cashmerino for the new baby. Size 3 needles -- wow. Teensy. But so soft and pretty. I'll just have to switch to a larger-needle project occasionally so I don't lose my eyesight.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The world's ugliest hat

The yellow kid's ski hat turned out to be the ugliest thing I've ever knit. I don't even want to give it to charity -- I can just picture some little Afghan child looking at it and going "ew."

Perhaps I will leave it lying around and the first person who says "nice hat" will own it.

Anyway, it's off my needles and out of my mind. I dithered around about what to do next (must finish CNITU's Halloween costume, but I'm way ahead of schedule), and cast on several different things at once.

1. New Auntie Becca signature purse, in melon, strawberry, and lime sorbet colors. This design will be called "Zofia" after one of CNITU's friends. Knitting is finished, just have to sew it together and add the lining. I also pulled yarn for two more designs, "Lulu" and "Ethan."

2. Did a little more with the Gedifra Golden Tweed. I think it's going to be a little purse for me for fall.

3. Finally figured out what to do with light green Rowan cotton rope -- a version of Debbie Bliss' Fiery Bolero from Interweave Knits summer edition. Did the math at meet-up on Wednesday, cast on afterwards, and I'm about a third of the way through already. I think it will be a present for someone...

I must put the Halloween costume back at the top of the queue shortly, but for now I am just having too much fun with the Bolero!

M has convinced me to go to Fengari tomorrow to sin. It wasn't very difficult to convince me. I have way too much yarn already from the earlier shopping spree, but I like helping other people fall from grace.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I am so behind!

My one consolation is that many of my various blogging friends seem to be behind as well. Must be some sort of end-of-summer thing.

I am behind primarily because I went on a glorious end-of-summer-camp vacation last week to Laguna Beach, my traditional September sojourn. There's nothing nicer than Laguna Beach post-tourist season -- it's still sunny, it's not crowded, you can get a table at Javier's, and Little Bohemian has a sale. This year was somewhat less glorious than last year because CNITU and family are doing a remodel. A massive, marvelous remodel that will be absolutely amazing when it's finished, but right now it means everything's covered in dust, they're living out of half the house, there's no real kitchen, and they have a two-year-old, difficult enough at the best of times.

Yes, CNITU has entered the terrible two's with a vengeance. He hurls violently back and forth between adorable sweetness and shrieking tantrums. His favorite words are "no" and "mine." He speaks a combination of English and a peculiar tongue known only to him, and when you can't translate fast enough, he gets annoyed.

He is always forgiven, however, because he adores his auntie. He always wants me to sit next to him in the back seat, and laughs at my stupid jokes and silly faces. He lets me play with his matchbox cars. He thinks my DH is as cool as I do. He asks me to make him turtles out of play-doh, and collects shells with me on the beach.

Highlights of the trip include a trip to San Juan Capistrano to have tea and watch the trains (CNITU's top ten: 1. Mommy 2. Daddy 3. Grandma 4. Auntie & Uncle 5. Trains 6. Fish 7. Turtles 8. Trucks 9. Cats 10. Dogs). We also had a great little shopping spree at Little Bohemian followed by lunch at Zinc. On Saturday we went on a hike in the canyons all the way to Dripping Cave, which was lots of fun.

The knitting highlight of the trip was a visit to a brand-new, teensy tiny knitting store called The Wizard of Yarns. The owner, Wendy, is an interior designer who has decided to use part of her office space to indulge her yarn hobby. She carries some Colinette and some really lovely local stuff that I haven't seen anywhere else. She also sells jewelry by some of her designer friends, and she may, soon, be the first retailer of Auntie Becca purses and purse kits.

You see, Sis has decided that I need to become a brand. Her friends have been asking about the Fish Backpack, and even requesting them for their own kids. I figured that I would just have to charge too much for the things for anyone to ever buy them, but Sis took me to a number of local high-end baby stores with $35 hand-knitted booties, $115 sweaters, etc. So there really are rich people in Orange County who will buy these things.

So I am trying to come up with a logo and a website. And make about ten purses by the end of November for a trunk show. I am also vowing not to let this little endeavor take over my life or make me stop enjoying my hobby.

There are so many FO's in my world, but as usual a lack of photos. Off the needles: White Lies panty, finally, and Vintage camisole, which is fabulous and divine and my new favorite thing. I have been goofing around with the Gedifra golden tweed, not sure what it's going to be. I have a crazy yellow kid's hat on the needles. And CNITU's teddy bear costume is coming right along, should be done in plenty of time for Halloween.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sick girl and yarn shopping

I suppose it was inevitable that my all-powerful immune system would eventually succomb to all the kid germs I've been exposed to all summer. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and stuffed head.

CNITU may have been the culprit -- he and his family were visiting from Laguna this week, and he has a case of the sniffles. Didn't slow him down much -- we had some rousing games of Frisbee, trains, and Play-doh, and we went to the train museum on Thursday (he loves choo-choos).

We have all been trying to think of a name for CNITU2, the younger brother who will arrive in January. So far, my favorites are Oliver, Jeremy, and Miles.

Because a younger brother is imminent, I have been yarn shopping! Sis told me yellow was unacceptable, she's so tired of yellow from when CNITU was born (they didn't know the gender in advance.) So she wants CNITU2 to have an all-new, all-blue wardrobe. So I had a yarn crawl day last Saturday with M and Spinnity. Here's what we got at Creative Hands in San Carlos:

Debbie Bliss cashmerino in light blue for a onesie from Debbie's Baby Cashmerino book.

Crystal Palace Kid Merino (this comes in amazing colors!) with Filatura di Crosa Millefili Fine cotton to make baby hats/booties.

Creative Hands is a wonderful store -- lots of helpful staff and well-labeled containers with the cost and fiber content of everything. It is well-organized, everything is easy to find, and the prices are fairly competitive. Love it!

After Creative Hands we went to Fengari in Half Moon Bay. This place is the opposite in personality to CH, but just as good in its own way. If CH is a librarian, Fengari is a disorganized packrat. There are boxes and bags of yarn everywhere, spilling onto the floor and rolling down the aisles. It looks disastrous until you realize that the girl behind the counter knows where everything is! And they have things I've never seen anywhere else. Here's some Gedifra Serano I bought to trim the edges of the onesie:

I got some soft, fluffy GGH in a lovely aqua color -- maybe a scarf for me?

I couldn't resist this Peter Pan yarn. So soft, and they had a pullover made up in this color that was just adorable.

(Excuse the blurry photo!)

Just when I thought I was done, I noticed a shelf under the counter loaded with Mission Falls cotton! I have become an addict, and someone told me it was being discontinued, so I grabbed a ton in a bunch of different yummy sorbet-y colors.

Finally, to complete my yarn purchasing frenzy, I stopped by Vannessa's yesterday to but a gift for a friend, and they had some great stuff in the 50% off basket! I got her some nice Berocco Monet in lovely fall colors, and couldn't resist this Gedifra Golden Tweed. I'm already working on a seed stitch rib, it's a little too firm for a scarf but might be a purse? It's a really lovely, chunky, natural-looking yarn.

In other news, I gave Ethan his birthday hat. Here it is finished and on a bear.

It looks even cuter on Ethan. He looked like a miniature longshoreman. His mommy took some photos right away, and she promised to send them to me.

I also finished Luke's hat in time for his birthday next month. I really like how this one turned out. I made it to match Andrea's scarf, just cause I like the yarn combo.

So I have plenty of things to keep me occupied while I sip tea and sniffle.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Just found out that my friend Eryka's baby Ethan turns one tomorrow -- ta-da! Stockinette stripe hat recipient.

I had lunch yesterday with another friend whose adorable son Luke turns one next month. I cast on another hat last night -- I think after the success of the Mission Falls scarf, I will design him a Mission Falls hat in basket stitch.

At the San Mateo meet-up last night, I finished up the major knitting on the Vintage camisole -- I just have to block it, seam it, and do the funky edging and straps. This part looks tricky, so the project has graduated from a carry-in-the-tote-bag-to-the-park project to a finishing project.

I had a weird yarn dream last night, perhaps caused by hunting through my stash for hat inspiration last night. I was in Mervyn's, why Mervyn's I don't know, but there I was. And Mervyn's had great yarn, major brands, for cheap! They had Noro, they had Berocco, they had some of the beautiful green alpaca M brought to Meet-up last night. I kept on picking up skeins, thinking, okay, this is here, I'll just look at what else they have and come back for it. Then I'd go down another aisle and around a corner and see more great yarn. But when I came back for that perfect yarn, I couldn't find it anymore, the bin had moved or the aisle had changed direction. If I was able to grab an interesting skein, I had no basket to put it in. I took it up to the counter and left it there, just hoping it would stay until I returned. And of course, it was gone, or it rolled off the counter and down an aisle and I couldn't catch it.

A fascinating, realistic dream, with amazing colors and textures, both thrilling and endlessly frustrating. I am sure it's deeply symbolic, but the symbolism hardly matters when the content itself is so interesting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Knitting Adventuress!

Knitting Adventurer
You appear to be a Knitting Adventurer.
You are through those knitting growing pains and
feeling more adventurous. You can follow a
standard pattern if it's not too complicated
and know where to go to get help. Maybe you've
started to experiment with different fibers and
you might be eyeing a book with a cool
technique you've never tried. Perhaps you
prefer to stick to other people's patterns but
you are trying to challenge yourself more.
Regardless of your preference, you are
continually trying to grow as a knitter, and as
well you should since your non-knitting friends
are probably dropping some serious hints, these

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

That's me, according to the quiz I found on The Knitist's blog. Fun quiz with very good questions, I had to think before answering them. But I think the final result is something most people would agree with.

I am nearly done with the baby hat I'm doing for Continental Knitting practice! It's turning out quite cute, but man, I am encountering some challenges. First of all, I kept doing my SSK's backwards in Continental. I think I've figured it out now. Secondly, my double-points are annoyingly long and awkward and I'm at the point where I very nearly stab myself in the eye every time I attempt a decrease. I guess I would rather buy yarn than needles, so I always think I can survive with the dp's I already have, but I've been using them a lot more lately with wrist warmers and hats.

The stockinette stripe pattern for this hat does make for good Continental practice, though, and I'm enjoying alternating between this project and the camisole I'm knitting English-style. I worry a little about the Rowan tweed being a little itchy for a bald baby head -- the design was actually for a cashmere-cotton blend, but I had the Rowan lying around and I love the color.

Next question -- who will be the recipient? The hat is sized for a one-year-old, and I know a few of those. The main criteria is that the parents must own a camera and be gushingly appreciative.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Today was not a good day

First of all, I spent way too much time dealing with parents of Shakespeare campers who didn't think their kids had big enough parts. Granted, there were only two such parents, but two stage mothers is two too many in one day. One parent proved eventually to be rational, the other cannot be reasoned with.

I have been doing this long enough not to let the turkeys bring me down, but lest I attempt to have a good day in other ways, I found out this afternoon that a dear friend's father has suddenly had a coronary and isn't expected to last the week. This friend lost her mother to cancer about five years ago, and she has barely recovered. She's completely devastated now. I called a number of mutual friends and we are going to attempt to do something for her once she returns from hospital, funeral, etc. in New York.

We DID see a great movie tonight which cheered me up -- March of the Penguins. I urge you to waddle as fast as possible to the nearest cineplex and see it! It is just amazing, and will make all your troubles go away for an hour and a half while you worry about the survival of baby penguins.

In knitting-related news, I finished the Mission Falls scarf for Andrea, which was just a week-long project and therefore quite satisfying. Here it is, a bit fuzzy:

I really like the way the nubby texture of this yarn looks in basket stitch, and I have to congratulate myself on a good design choice. The design also incorporates some of the nice fuzzy nubbles I got at the Stash Swap. Here's a detail:

I knit this scarf on #9 needles, a little bigger than recommended for the Mission Falls, but I like the airy-ness of the stitch this way -- looks more like a basket. The fall colors look so nice together. I used almost two whole skeins of Mission Falls Cotton, so the scarf is quite long and wraps nicely around the neck and falls to the waist on both sides. Andrea lives in Pennsylvania for most of the year, so I figure she needs scarves for more than just a fashion accessory. Here's my easy pattern:

Cast on 15 stitches on #9 needles, holding cotton and novelty yarn together. Garter stitch (knit every row) for eight rows, then drop novelty yarn. Continue in basket stitch:

Row one: K3, P3, K3, P3, K3
Row two: P3, K3, P3, K3, P3

Repeat rows one and two, then:

Row five: P3, K3, P3, K3, P3
Row six: K3, P3, K3, P3, K3

Repeat rows five and six*, start over at row one and repeat to *. Continue in this 8-row pattern until you've made the scarf as long as you want it to be, then pick up the novelty yarn again and do eight more rows of garter stitch. Bind off.

I have a little over a skein of the Mission Falls left over, so I might try for a pair of wrist warmers to match. Don't think I have enough for a hat.

I've also updated the links on the post below to include photos of wrist warmers and my Rowan baby hat.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

FOs springing up all over

I was reading Spinnity's blog, and I like the way she numbers her FOs 2005.12, etc. This probably comes from her librarian training, but it's a good idea, certainly imparts a sense of accomplishment! I decided to make a list of all my FOs so far this year:

2005.1 Shawlapalooza for Sis (Love Prism shawl)
2005.2 Princess M Purse (Katja and Muench yarns)
2005.3 Crocheted dishcloth (never shown on this blog since it's embarassingly lopsided, but it was good practice.)
2005.4 Crocheted coaster (very small and easy but turned out well. I gave it to my DH, the only thing I've ever made for him!)
2005.5 Red wrist-warmers (from last-minute knitted gifts -- in Brown Sheep Prairie Silk
2005.6 CNITU's backpack (Muench and Karabella)
2005.7 Blue Cardy (Rowan 4-ply cotton)
2005.8 White Lies Nicole camisole
2005.9 Squiggle Choo-choo scarf (Crystal Palace)
2005.10 Green wrist-warmers (Karabella Aurora 8 in parsley, my new favorite green. A gift for my co-worker, photos coming soon)

Very, very close to FOs:
2005.11 Mission Falls basket stitch scarf for a friend's birthday
2005.12 White Lies Nicole panty

Next in line:
Dark pink Vintage Knits camisole in Rowan cotton glace
Ribbed baby hat in Rowan DK Tweed (Continental practice project)

If only I could photograph them as quickly as I knit them, I'd have a really interesting blog!

Monday, July 25, 2005

TKGA Conference

I feel like I have SO MUCH to blog about, and so little time to do it, but TKGA is the sort of event that it's important to blog about, so here we go.

I had a somewhat mixed experience, starting with arriving at 8:30 am on Saturday and finding out that there was no record of my existence in the TKGA files. (Even though I was holding a print-out of my email confirmation.) Apparently, I should have received a packet in the mail with tickets and badges and things. Odd, since you had to check in at the registration desk anyway! Fortunately, my classes were still available, so I paid (again, or so I thought), and went in to Nancie Wiseman's Continental Knitting class.

I looked around for Spinnity -- alas, she was up at the registration counter having the same experience. It's not a huge surprise that a craftspersons' guild like TKGA might be filled with Luddites -- and I should have been alerted by the hopelessly inept website that I won't even link to here -- but this is the 21st Century, people! Even knitters do things on-line! Especially California knitters. I doubt Spinnity and I were the only ones -- I overheard another woman talking about how they had her signed up for all the wrong classes.

So, one strike, or maybe even two, against TKGA already. However, by 9:01 am, when Nancie Wiseman opened her mouth, I'd pretty much forgotten about it. I love this woman. I would take any class from her. She is so down-to-earth, so modest, yet so knowledgeable. By the middle of the class I was knitting Continental. By the end I was purling pretty comfortably and even contemplating Fair Isle. And it felt painless! My only gripe was my crummy yarn kept splitting, but that was my own fault. I never like to practice with good yarn, so I had some crummy Lion Brand Wool-ease. Should have brought the good stuff.

So by noon we were in a grand mood and singing the praises of Nancie. I took a quick spin through the market and got some gorgeous deep red bamboo yarn from Habu (a cool fiber company in New York, very expensive but it's one of those things I needed in order to go on living), a skein of undyed alpaca which looked like my DH might actually wear it, and a ball winder, which I've been meaning to get for ages. Then I had to go to work, no afternoon classes for me.

After a late night finishing the seven (!) swatches for Joan Schrouder's Finishing class, I came in Sunday caffeinated and ready to learn. Alas, I picked the wrong class. It was advertised as "Intermediate," but this clearly means very different things to different people.

We spent the morning, all three hours of it, practicing grafting. Now, I had a brilliant grafting class with Sally Melville at Stitches, and completely understood it, but I haven't had an occasion to do it since, so I needed the practice. But Joan's teaching method pretty much consisted of saying "This is important, you need to learn it. Now do this," without demonstrating very clearly. I basically followed the instructions on her handout, which I could have done at home. Some of the students were completely clueless, and Joan spent a lot of time helping them and no time at all with those of us who were semi-competent. Or she'd just stop by, glance at my work, say "You're doing this wrong," and move on without helping me. I was not pleased.

But the two-hour lunch break was great. I spent way too much money on Rowan and Manos at Skein Lane, bought enough Koigu for a Baby Surprise jacket at Foxyknits, and visited White Lies to show off my camisole, which I was wearing. Joan had some excellent suggestions on finishing the Nicole lingerie that I will share in a future posting. The market was not very big, but there were some interesting new things.

We had a delicious lunch at the hotel's restaurant -- this, at least, seemed an improvement over Stitches, since everyone complained about the hotel food there. Spinnity had taken a Slim Stash Reduction class in the morning, and had a couple of adorable swatches to show off.

In the afternoon half of Joan's class, we started by grafting in garter stitch. Ack! More grafting! Then, believe it or not, we did mattress stitch. This, to me, is a beginner skill. I have done a LOT of mattress stitch already. But Joan, who knits her sweaters in the round then grafts the shoulders, hardly ever does it, so I guess she considers it to be a difficult skill.

At about 3:30, we actually got to some of the new stuff I was interested in learning, but we were running way behind schedule since there were so many beginners. We learned two nifty ways to join slip-stitch edges, both of which are very pretty. Then we rushed through 3-needle bind-offs, which I will have to review, but I was happy to learn them. We skimmed lightly over button bands, which I really could have used more work on, and blocking.

Joan is a brilliant knitter (her sample sweaters have graced numerous magazine and book covers), and her sweaters are always gorgeously finished. However, she is not a great teacher. I should mention that many of the beginner students around me seemed to be learning a lot, but I would say that the class was not as advertised, and therefore not right for me.

I should have gone to Nancie's Color Work with Short Rows class -- what a gorgeous swatch Spinnity had to show after that class! And what praise she heaped upon the divine Nancie!

As one student observed, the class subject matter itself is not necessarily what's important. A good teacher will always teach you something new. Nancie and Sally are at the top of the pantheon for me.

I did like one thing Joan had to say, which is particularly relevant to my White Lies designs experience: knowing how to finish something is your responsibility. A lot of pattern writers will not give you great directions, so you should figure out what works best for the garment and do that, regardless of what the instructions say.

I cast on for my second pair of fingerless gloves last night -- in Continental. They're green Karabella wool with a little zany Crystal Palace Squiggle at the cuffs, and they're pretty cute!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Busy, busy summer

As usual, my summers are filled with six- and seven-day work weeks and 10-hour days, so I've been a little lax on the blogging. Thanks to Free Shakespeare in the Park, however, there's been plenty of knitting time. And a couple of FO's to show for it!

First of all, last weekend was CNITU's second birthday, celebrated on the beach in Laguna. He had a blast! Here we are prepping the food (Chef Adam, sous-chef me. You can't tell, but I'm making PB&J sandwiches in the shape of fish.):

He liked his backpack (Stitches courtesy of taking a nose dive off his mini-Adirondack chair. Ah, the perils of suburban childhood.):

But he liked his bunny from Mom Wiz even more:

The beach is a great place to knit:

Finished the back of the dark pink camisole on the beach:

I also decided the fuzzy belt was not a belt but a scarf. I wasn't sure I liked it, but Sis admired it, so I finished it off for her with some green glass beads from a bead shop on Pacific Coast Highway:

The beads aren't terribly obvious, but they're there! I love that this scarf is made from Squiggle and Choo Choo yarns, since CNITU's favorite word is "choo choo." (He is a major Thomas the Tank Engine groupie.)

Finally, here are some photos of the White Lies Nicole lingerie. I will blog extensively about this pattern later, since it has some issues. But I wore the finished camisole to a concert yesterday and it was much admired.

Here's the back:

Here's the front:

And here's the not-quite finished panty:

Yikes! Scandalous photos on my blog! Don't worry, I'll stop short of photos of me wearing the above items, lest I be banned from the blogosphere.

You will notice the lack of photos of CNITU dressed in Blue Cardy. It's a bit small, as expected, plus it was darn hot and no way was the boy going to be put into a snuggly cardigan. It may well end up as a garment for Sibling-of-CNITU, due in January. SOCNITU's gender will be revealed in due course of time.

Monday, June 27, 2005

One-year Knitting Anniversary photos!

You'll notice that I have a tendency to lump all my photos into one posting. This is because I'm lazy, primarily, but I also like the way they all look together! I particularly like the pinks, blues, yellows, and greens in this spring-y posting.

First of all, I must dance the happy Blue Cardy dance! It's really done! I kid you not!

Here's the dark blue side, with nifty round buttons and pockets:

Here's the light blue side, with a little fish on the chest that I embroidered to match the buttons:

Here's the birthday gift together, cardy and backpack:

What have I learned from Blue Cardy?

1. Gauge is important. Without careful attention to gauge, your two contrasting sides won't fit together exactly, and there will be some puckering. This will bother you even if it doesn't bother anyone else.

2. Buy more yarn than you think you need, and don't give away the extra ball at a stash swap until you're quite sure you don't need it. (It was touch and go there at the end!)

3. If you don't feel like doing it just like the pattern, don't.

4. American children are way bigger than French children.

5. If your intended recipient outgrows the gift before you give it to him, never fear. People get pregnant all the time.

On to more fun photos! Here is a fun new project, made from Crystal Palace "Choo-choo" and "Squiggle." I got one ball of each at the Meetup Stash Swap, and decided to make a little easy belt, garter stitch on the bias, with the two yarns held together. I like it!

And here are some more photos of my Stash Swap acquisitions. This pile of yellow chenille and novelty acrylics are going to go toward a funky layette for the new CNITU sibling. (Sis is going to find out the gender in advance, so I'll combine it with blue or pink accordingly.)

I'm going to make this fluffy washcloth brown into teddy bears, and maybe a teddy bear costume for CNITU this Halloween.

Now a couple of things for me! First, the new project, the camisole from Vintage Knits (super close-up for full appreciation of Rowan cotton glace):

And here's White Lies lingerie, all ready for finishing. Scandalous!

Also, I was dissatisfied with the French knot I used as a button on PM's purse. Found the perfect button at Joann and replaced it on Saturday. She loves it! (She kissed it several times after I sewed it on. It might even get a name, we'll see.)

How satisfying to find the perfect final touch!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

New camera, and major progress

Oy! Work has been occupying my time more than usual lately, no time to blog. But a few quick notes:

Camera report: Thanks to the good wishes of several kind friends and family members (and a very nice wife), the DH has a snazzy new early birthday present: Canon PowerShot SD300. Photos will reappear on my blog very soon.

These photos will be of Blue Cardy, which is now seamed and being joined together by nice crochet edgings. I probably shouldn't jinx it, but it looks pretty damn cute. All my gauge issues seem to be resolving themselves, and I like the crochet. It's hard to believe that by July 9, Blue Cardy will be out of my life. I almost miss it already.

Also of White Lies Lingerie, which is blocked and ready to be seamed. Also of my new project, the cotton camisole from Vintage Knits. I bought the yarn for it about a year ago, when I first started knitting. Do you notice a camisole trend? I figured I might as well make the summer stuff in the summer. Go figure.

A year! Spinnity pointed that out to me the other day. I have been knitting for about a year. Pretty significant.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Knitting Horoscopes!

As I was coasting the web searching for Bahama, I came across this very fun website: Knitting Horoscopes! I'm a Capricorn, which of course means that I like a challenge, something no one who knows me would dispute! My horoscope recommends Artyarns, which looks a lot like Koigu. Nobleknits does carry Bahama in a lot of nifty colors. I think our bathmat is going to be periwinkle with pink and cream stripes.

I noticed that Feza also carries yarns called Barbados and Fiesta. This is party yarn!

Weekend knitting report: Finished Feesh Backpack -- all it needs is a little tag saying it was made by me. DH took lots o'photos, but all on my old analog camera, so patience is required. I was so obsessed by it that I neglected Blue Cardy completely, and made little progress on White Lies -- although I now possess a size J crochet hook from Vanessa's.

Oh! And I almost forgot! There is a book out that every knitter must own! It's called Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham. I read about it in Interweave Knits a couple of issues ago, and it's divine. Lots of very deconstructed, fascinating designs, very funky. And Teva gives Sally M. a run for her money in the Zen Knitting department. It's inspirational; I couldn't tear myself away from it Saturday afternoon. She makes me want to become a knitwear designer.

Friends' plays report: Saw B.K. in Harold Pinter's Moonlight on Saturday night. Liked her, liked some of the actors, like the play itself, but thought it was a bit overdirected. Pinter needs less direction than most directors seem to realize. (I can say this because I saw a production of The Birthday Party that the man himself directed in London, and it was more real than realism.) The DH did not care for the play, but I think he'd like it better in a different production. Last Tuesday we saw S.A. in The Black-Eyed, a new play about Palestinian women. Not bad, some bits stronger than others, but definitely had an impact. It was J.H.'s directing debut at the M.T., very nicely done!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bahama mama

My big white envelope from Yarn-of-the-Month arrived yesterday, and I instantly fell in love with Bahama, and the enclosed pattern for a big fuzzy bathmat. It's hard to describe this yarn -- it's a washable acrylic blend, very soft, that looks like a ladder: two side bars and lots of rungs in between. When knit up, it apparently forms a sort of terry-cloth or toweling-like fabric. Suggested needle sizes are 11-15, much bigger than I normally knit with, so it would go fast! I just wrote to them to find out where I can buy more. The problem -- the yarn is shown in very bright summer-y colors like red and turquoise that normally, I would love, but our bathroom in the Bungalow is retro pink and cream. It really needs something a little more pastel.

Chalazion report: Small but still red and lurking.

Pregnant Sis report: Tuesday was a very bad day. Nauseous with a cold on top of everything, she managed to get into two small fender-benders in one day. (This is a few weeks after her DH's car was hit at a stop sign and totalled -- he's fine.) Most mournful moment -- driving CNITU around for an hour to make him go to sleep (we used to call him "Speed baby;" if you stopped the car, he'd explode), then parking at a shopping center and passing out in exhaustion herself. I can just picture them both asleep in the Laguna sun, mouths open.

Knitting report: Body of White Lies lingerie finished! One cup almost finished, only took about 1/2 hour so I'm sure the second one will be done this weekend. The panty should go just as fast. Then I will really be in finishing land. This weekend, I am committed to finishing the Feesh Backpack and making some more serious progress on finishing Blue Cardy. So hard to sit and sew when there's all that yarn to knit up!

Knitting desires: More Bahama. Size J crochet hook for finishing White Lies lingerie. Lingerie elastic for same.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Good-bye, camera!

It gave up the ghost. Did not care for its salt water bath. But before it died, my DH did manage to salvage the card with photos intact. Here is my favorite girl PM with her birthday present from me:

And here she is with her bunny from Mom Wiz, and her mommy, of course:

And here I am, casting on for Camp Knitting! That's a nice ball of Prairie Silk from Brown Sheep. The circular is 12", which is too big. The pattern calls for 8" circulars, which don't exist. So I spent a lot of time pulling the plastic center cord between stitches.

And you'll have to imagine the completed fingerless gloves, as well as the almost-completed body for the White Lies lingerie camisole, since they happened after the camera's death.

Final note of the day -- props to Christine Stork, owner of Article Pract, an LYS in Oakland. (Don't you love that store name? It's a fun juxtaposition of "Practical Art.") She was cool enough to let our new TD at SF Shakes out of his work obligations there so that he could take over the TD position at short notice. Christine is hoping to replace him, so any potential yarn store employees should contact her at 510/595-7875. Please, also, if you are ever in the East Bay, go check out her store and buy something! 5010 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. If the store's anywhere near as cool as the website, you'll be thrilled to be there.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Big news!

Okay everyone, time to tell me about all your favorite baby sweater, bootie, blanket, and hat patterns -- CNITU is going to have a sibling! S/he is due about a week after my birthday, in early January. So the little Capricorn will be spoiled rotten by Auntie Becca.

Sis is feeling crappy, fat, and sick, but that phase will be over fairly soon. Meanwhile please enjoy the photos of CNITU, future genius architect, and his cousin James from Manchester making a sand castle in Laguna Beach.

Unfortunately it's sideways, but here's the little dude all tuckered out from a day making sand castles. Posted by Hello

And here's the completed sand castle! (with sun-burned James) Posted by Hello

My cousin James visited from England last week -- here he is building a sand castle in Laguna with CNITU. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's Baaaaack! (Chalazion II -- the terrifying sequel)

I have just returned from a WONDERFUL five days of backpacking the Lost Coast in Humboldt County, and woke up this morning to find that my eyelid hurts again. I think the chalazion is coming back. Time for the wet washcloth and eye drops! The doctor warned that this might happen. Argh!

Camp knitting: finished the adorable pair of fingerless gloves! Bound off the last stitch just as the sun was setting last night on the car trip home. The yarn is gorgeous, they're warm and cozy, and I can't wait to make another pair.

I will take a photo just as soon as I know if our camera is okay -- it took an unfortunate dip in the ocean when my DH decided to jump into the waves fully clothed, and forgot it was in his pocket. You have to know my DH to truly appreciate this story -- he gets a little crazy in the great outdoors!

Finally, I received this lovely note from Princess M's mommy: "She was so proud of her purse that Auntie Becca made for her. She took it to school for sharing on Thursday and proudly told anyone who would listen that you had made it for her. She even showed it off to people in the church office with my mom after school that day."

I have a fan! One day when she's a famous movie star, I can be her personal knitwear designer.

Looking forward to my first meet-up in ages tomorrow night -- hooray!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Props to Mel and Camp Knitting

Please, everybody, if you haven't already, go visit Mel's blog and give her props for finishing the Monkey Bag from Knitty. It looks great, but apparently was a huge pain in the butt. Her descriptions made me NEVER want to knit with hemp.

I have definitely decided on the wrist warmers (or fingerless gloves, if you prefer) for my camp knitting project. This is a pattern from Joelle Hoverson's book "Last Minute Knitted Gifts" -- a book I like more and more every time I pick it up. Joelle goes over all the basics, including color selection, and has gorgeous, detailed photos as well as clear instructions. And as someone who likes to make people presents, I love it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Knitting Frenzy!

Chalazion report: Smallish red blemish on lower eyelid. Not very puffy. Hopefully will continue to fade in color and not leave a permanent scar.

Head injury report: In what can only be described as a bizarre gardening accident, my former roommate M, who is not a knitter but a jewelry designer, stepped on the end of a rake just like people do in bad sitcoms. The handle bounced up and hit her, and she ended up with a sizeable bruise on her upper eyelid. Be careful out there, people. The star in charge of eye-related injuries is clearly up to something.

Knitting report: My show opened Friday, and after two weeks without a day off and four days without touching knitting needles, I spent Saturday in what can only be described as a knitting frenzy.

Blue Cardy progress: here it is! The completed dark blue half with a partially completed light blue half. Buttons aren't sewn on yet, but aren't they cute?

Princess M's bag now has a cotton lining AND a label indicating who made it for her. She will receive this tomorrow night at her 3rd birthday dinner:

CNITU's "feesh" backpack is now in a state of almost-done-ness. (Note the super-cute lining fabric.)

I cast on the White Lies Nicole lingerie! The yarn is a super-soft wool and silk blend, so nice on the fingers! I'm enjoying it thoroughly. This is how it looked Sunday evening, but it's progressed another few inches since then:

And finally, I made it over to my San Mateo LYS, Vanessa's Needlepoint and Knitting Shoppe, on Saturday afternoon. Despite the annoying extra "p" and "e," this is a nice big store with tons of yarn! I was a bit overwhelmed, but noted some favorite brands including Prism, Great Adirondack, Debbie Bliss, Muench, and Trendsetter, but sadly, no Rowan. GREAT 50% off sale baskets on the floor, and instead of just random balls of weird novelty yarns, they had multiples of the same color in interesting solid color yarns. Here's my on-sale stash from this shopping trip:

Fabulous Modigliani and Muench yarns, also note the free pen and tape measure you get for signing up for Vanessa's frequent shopping card. Vanessa herself is very sweet and was dressed in a gorgeous, drapy black-and-white poncho.

(You'll have noticed I'm posting more photos than usual, this is thanks to my new laptop and my DH's homepage. I have severed my ties with the Microsoft moster that is Hello!)

For my final photo of the day, I'd like to share MomWiz's terrific bunny for PM's birthday -- she made one for us for the wedding, and now the Princess herself will possess her very own girly version.

Outdoor Knitting report: The DH and I and some friends are off to the Lost Coast in Humboldt this weekend for a backpacking trip. A long car drive and plenty of relaxation time in the big outdoors means one thing: knitting! I will take Nicole along for the drive, but she's just too pale and delicate for camp knitting. I swatched a set of fingerless gloves last night in a nice burgundy wool for my camp knitting project. Might bring along a baby hat as well -- I have a great new pattern from the Yarn of the Month club to knit in Rowan Tweed 4-ply.