Friday, December 22, 2006


It has been a very Christmas-y/Chanukah-y week! Last Saturday we had our Cookie Party, a soon-to-be annual festivity during which many people show up at your house with plates of cookies, and you eat lots of them, get a massive sugar high, and attempt to send everyone home with a mix of what everyone else brought. Except that you are still left with 900 cookies. Not that this is a PROBLEM, mind you, it's just a test of the will. I have been giving away lots of them, but yes, I have also been eating lots of them.

In honor of Chanukah, we also made latkes for the first time, and they were not only fun to make but DELICIOUS. We used traditional latke and sweet-potato-and-parsnip latke recipes from the December 2006 issue of Sunset magazine, which worked really well. We are not Jewish, although I have huge respect for a religion whose major holidays all go along the lines of they-tried-to-kill-us-again-they-failed-let's-eat! We continued the eating on Sunday evening at Frank and Mark's annual Chanukah party. They had a giant cooler FULL of potatoes and a latke-making assembly line which was very impressive, but I have to say (at risk of sounding like a Goyish traitor) that
I think ours were better.

Wednesday night we opened presies with Spinnity and Bill, and I received some wonderful knitting-related gifts from them! From the list below I received the blocking board and blocking wires, and from Mom Wiz I received a wonderful book about how to teach children to knit, which will definitely come in handy if I attempt a repeat of this fall's knitting class.

Last night we exchanged gifts with my BF and her daughter Princess M, and triumph! The Christmas sweater fits and looks adorable.

My BF gave me some knitting goodies, including a gift certificate for CommuKnity in San Jose and a book from my list, Knitting Nature. The poor DH! It turns out he had bought me the same book. It's a very DH sort of book, since it combines scientific principles from nature (fractals, spirals, etc.) with knitting. It's stunning to look at and everything looks quite challenging and interesting to knit.

She also gave me the 10th Anniversary DVD collection of the BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series, which I have on video and watch constantly, plus a hilarious t-shirt that says "I heart Mr. Darcy." My close friends know that I have a Bridget Jones-esque obsession with Colin Firth and his dashingly understated sexiness.

Tonight we are exchanging gifts with my parents, and then we're off to Wisconsin for five days of holidaying with the DH's family.

The biggest and best gift of all is the gift the DH and I gave ourselves -- our new Toyota Prius! We got her on Sunday. We have named her Priya, and she's so much fun to drive. And the best part is that she will save us gas money AND help save the environment. Happy Solstice to Mother Earth!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Xmas Knitting... finished! More or less. It's seemed fairly pointless to post lately since everything I'm knitting is a gift, so I'll have to rely on the giftees to send photos to post in the New Year!

But last night I cast off the edging on Sis' throw blanket, and it's now boxed and ready to go to Laguna. But I'm so bad about photos, I forgot to take one, so you'll have to wait to see it until she takes one and sends it. (Hear that, Sis? Please send photos!)

The knitted gifts for Princess M and CNITU2 were done long ago. I have since started a vest for CNITU, but he's so unenthusiastic about clothes that I figured it didn't really matter when I finished. But I think it will be done before the New Year.

Which brings us to a realization I had last night -- is it possible that I could have NO UFOS by the end of 2006!? All that I would need to do would be to finish CNITU's vest and sew a lining in the birthday backpack I'm making for CNITU2.

However, this would mean that if I finish both of those projects *before* midnight on Dec. 31, I wouldn't be allowed to start anything else, which would be silly. So perhaps the goal should be to have only one WIP by the end of 2006.

Here are some reflections on the best and worst of knitting in 2006:

New skills practiced:
Sweater and Throw design with software

Favorite project:
Hands-down winner: Hourglass sweater in Cash Iroha from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I wear it constantly.
Runners-up: My knee socks, Adam's socks, Princess M's intarsia sweater, Gedifra Golden Tweed Auntie Becca purse, Kaalund Water Lilies scarf (also worn constantly)

Biggest knitting accomplishment:
My baby blanket sample selling for $350 at 9R.
Second place: Silver medal in the Knitting Olympics.

Least favorite project:
Fizz cardigan in Rowan Cotton Braid. Annoying to knit, and somehow a little fluffy on me. Not quite my style. Everyone else seems to love it, but it makes me feel like Zsa Zsa Gabor, and not in a good way. (Is there a good way?)

Best knitting book:
Knit 2 Together by Mel Clark and Tracey Ullman. I got to meet Mel at a signing a few weeks ago. She is fantastic. I haven't actually made anything from this book yet, and I still love it. The writing alone is worth the price.
Other good ones: Miss Bea Dresses Up -- beginning intarsia projects, very cute. Got it right after I started knitting, but didn't make anything from it until this year.
Scarf Style -- I've already picked out a bunch of things to make from this great book. Don't know why I turned my nose up at it for ages -- thought I was beyond scarves! But it's amazing.

Projects already waiting in line for 2007:
Commissioned skirt to go with Autumn Sweater for Great Knit Designs.
A few scarves from Scarf Style.
Something for me -- a cashmere-blend cardie from Knit 2 Together.
More socks! Lots more socks!
Something in Fair Isle -- maybe one of the gorgeous patterns from the last Interweave Knits.

Favorite LYS:
Nine Rubies, Nine Rubies, Nine Rubies. It's down the street, they have beautiful yarn, there are always wonderful knitters hanging out there, and did I mention I can walk there?
Honorable mention goes to Fengari, where they can always find that obscure last skein that you desperately need in a box somewhere.

Watch this space in January for a complete list of 2006 FOs.

Have a wonderful holiday season, my friends and family!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Xmas List

Fun! I'm writing this in the new Blogger Beta, so I can change fonts and text colors. I like it!

The DH is always suggesting to yarn stores that they introduce on-line gift registration for clueless husbands, but this is tricky for most LYSes to manage on limited staff and budget. I'd love to create a sort of Amazon-style wish list for yarn and things, but the local yarn stores I like to patronize can't really do that.

SOOOO... I'm creating this wish list for the holidays for family members who are looking for the perfect knitter gifts. Some of these items are available at local yarn stores such as Knitting Arts, Fengari, and Nine Rubies, and I'd much rather you go there (if you live locally) than spend extra on shipping and handling. But some places, like KnitPicks, offer really great deals on some of the things I want, and are useful for those out-of-town people (Hi, MomWiz!) who are always asking the DH what I want for Xmas.

PLEASE do not feel as if I am begging for gifts. This list is certainly not meant to imply that anyone should feel obligated to give me anything for Xmas. I have a lot of yarn (and other stuff) already, and if you do want to give a gift, I am just as happy to have donations made to my pet charity, Heifer International. (If you've never been to their site before, please go now, but I suggest you grab a box of tissue first. It's powerful stuff.)

So without further ado...

Wish List 2006, Part One: Books and Tools (all these items are linked from, for the out-of-towners, but most can be found elsewhere)

  1. KnitPicks magnetic chart keeper

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I've created a monster

Actually, several monsters. They are my 4th-6th grade after-school Shakespeare students in South San Jose, and I have made them all addicts. Knitting addicts, crochet addicts, but mostly just yarn addicts.

It started a few weeks ago when wee Caitlin, who is about as big and as cute as a button, saw me knitting the Autumn Sweater. She asked me a lot of questions - "Is it hard?" "How long does it take?" "Who's it for?" - until she got to "Will you teach me?" I started doing little lessons with her during their 15-minute rehearsal break.

The other kids saw what we were doing, and every day a few more stayed inside at the break - boys as well as girls. I found more leftover yarn, and started bringing as many needles as I could collect around the house. Some of them can't quite grasp knitting, so I tried crochet. Some of them can't quite do that yet, but they are taking to finger-knitting like moths to wool.

I bring good yarn for these kids - leftover bits of Noro, Debbie Bliss, Karabella, Great Adirondack. Their attention spans are short -- so far no one's managed more than a few rows or a long chain before deciding they want to start something else. (Sound familiar, anyone?) Anna, who is quite a good crocheter, made herself a pretty necklace yesterday out of some Great Adirondack. Robert lamented loudly that knitting just didn't seem to be his thing, but he's picked up crochet with no trouble at all. Michael made a fingerknit chain from the stage into the audience.

As for Caitlin, she managed to finish a project yesterday. She calls it a "dolly scarf," and it's a four-inch long bit of Noro Cash Iroha, twisted, knotted, and looped, but an FO as far as she's concerned. As she says, "Sometimes I have a little trouble keeping the stitcheries on the needles."

Here's the problem - they are so busy knitting that they don't want to learn their lines, paint backdrops, or even rehearse anymore! I may have to start confiscating yarn! This goes against my very moral fiber, but kids, we've got a show to do. There's a time and a place...

I took some photos of them yesterday and I'll post them soon.

Bits and pieces: Ada loves the Autumn Sweater. I'm glad it's in good hands! We picked out yarn for the matching skirt (a nice tweedy reddish-brown Rowan).

Dropped off some Auntie Becca purses at Come Ci Saturday, but haven't heard anything from Valerie about them yet.

Signed up for Stitches! Bad timing this year -- I'm opening "Arcadia" at the Pear Ave. Theatre the same weekend. So no Thursday or Friday classes for me. I grabbed two Saturday classes -- Entrelac with Margaret Fisher (about time I took something from her) and Pattern Writing 101 with Edie Eckman (I always love Edie).

Monday, November 06, 2006

New blogger in the blog-o-sphere

Sis and the CNITUs are now on-line! Check out the hysterical new blog "Boys in Tow" (also linked in the sidebar) for the continuing hilarious adventures of a "stay-at-home" mom and the two little guys who WON'T GO TO SLEEP! A must-read for all parents and those who think they might like to become parents, or even those who need excuses for NOT becoming parents.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bad, bad blogger

Yes, yes, I know, it's been almost two months. I'm terrible. Shortly after that last post I went into Shakespeare overload, directing "The Comedy of Errors" by day and rehearsing for "Richard III" by night. Both shows are now open and playing at a theatre that may or may not be near you. "Richard III" runs through Nov. 18 at Project Artaud -- click here for more. "Comedy" is touring all over the state. You can book the show by going here, or just stop by the Excelsior Library in San Francisco at 3 pm on Nov. 8, the Treasure Island Boys and Girls Club at 4 pm on Nov. 15, or the Mission Bay Library at 2 pm on Nov. 18 for free public performances. "Comedy" is only 55 minutes long and great for children -- they did it for a crowd of 4-8-year-olds yesterday and they all got the serious giggles.

Self-promotion over -- on to the knitting content! I've been dragging a large lump of orange Nature Cotton with me everywhere since that first rehearsal, and yesterday I proclaimed the thing an F.O. This is the Autumn Sweater, designed using Great Knit Designs Knitware software, which I really like (and I'll like even more when they have it for the Mac). I'm very pleased with this sweater. I especially like the big bell sleeves. It's designed for a size 32 woman, a little smaller than me, so the sleeves are a bit short and the length is a bit short, but I still kinda wish I was going to get to keep it instead of watching it pose at the Knitware booth at Stitches West. There will be a brown knit skirt to match -- short and straight, I think, in a fine gauge wool, to contrast with the bulky top. Should be worn with brown opaque tights or leggings and some fun flats.

The yarn is Araucania's Patagonia Nature Cotton in color 204. No dye lots so you get a patchy effect, which doesn't bother me, but if you want more uniformity, they suggest alternating 2-4 rows from a couple of different skeins and carrying the yarn up the side. Size 9 needles, body worked in the round, sleeves flat, neckline made by picking up stitches with size 8's and casting them off on the next row (Spinnity's suggestion, and a nice one).

I've also finished off a nice little Auntie Becca purse in Gedifra Golden Tweed, with an antique pressed flower button I picked up at Stitches. It's in a great stitch pattern, seed stitch sections in a sort of wide rib, finished with the seams facing outward for that raw-edged look that's everywhere these days. I love this purse and I have enough yarn to make at least one more!

Now I've got the giant Christmas throw blanket for Sis on the needles, and it's getting too big to carry around comfortably. But I like the way the textures are working -- photo soon when it's a little more interesting to look at.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

End-of-summer productivity

I've been feeling very designer-ish lately. First off, I'm a sample knitter for Great Knit Designs, Ada's fantastic knitting software company. My assignment is a skirt and sweater set, and I just love this idea -- it's so 1960s. I've been cataloging stash yarn, trying to figure out if there's something I can use.

I went down to visit the Laguna Beach crowd (including the CNITUs), and knit CNITU2 a new hat (he's outgrown the old one.) It was fun to design while I could try it on him. I wanted sort of a party hat with a floppy tassel -- I had to rip almost the whole thing back once, but it turned out really cute!

Here it is off the model.

And on the model.

I tried to get a closer side view, but of course if I came near him he just turned to smile at me, and I ended up with a big blur. But a really cute baby smile every time, which was nice. He's the happiest little guy I know.

We visited the beach on Friday -- what a great day! CNITU and the DH made a huge hole in the sand.

CNITU2 just ate sand. He loves eating sand.

Saturday Sis and I went to the LYS, Strands and Stitches, and picked out yarn for a throw for Sis' new couch. It's beautiful, all creams and browns and blues and greens. I'm planning to use the Great Knit Designs software to design it.

Meanwhile, I've just been swatching, sketching, and planning for the holidays. Oh, and the secret project is a lovely FO, but I can't post it until Christmas!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Where did the summer go?

It always happens this way... the summer Shakespeare schedule gets crazy, and there's no time to blog. But summer camps ended Friday, and I've got a short breather between major work projects, so it's time to catch up!

Here are a few fun highlights:

In June, I started work on the Fizz cardigan from Beach Cool by Rowan, in cotton braid color #357.

My Bollywood "Taming of the Shrew" opened in Stinson Beach in early July, with wonderful weather, a wonderful cast, and fortunately wonderful reviews. Here's the set against the Marin hills.

In my production, Kate (the shrew)'s weapon of choice is a knitting needle.

CNITU turned 3 and blew out the candles on a train cake he helped to make himself.

CNITU2 got cuter, if such a thing is possible. Here we are at the birthday party.

Mom Wiz came for a visit, and on July 20, we joined a lot of other knitters at AT&T Park for Stitch 'n' Pitch. Here's Spinnity and Mom Wiz:

The yarn they gave away was horrid, but we all got a pair of nice needles, and it was a fun time.

Early August, we enjoyed my BF's birthday at Teatro Zinzanni in SF -- I wore the Charlotte's Web shawl Spinnity made for me. Here we are, birthday girl in the middle.

There was a fun activity day with Princess M, including pancakes, a trip to the Exploratorium, and a ride on the train in Central Park. She really liked her pancakes:

Is it any wonder I want to knit for these children constantly? Could they be any cuter?

In knitting news, I've been hanging out at Nine Rubies regularly for Knitting Meet-up. The sample baby blanket I made for them sold for $350! Valerie at Come Ci Interiors wants to carry my kids' bags and backpacks later this fall.

I finished the Fizz cardigan in early August but have yet to take a picture. I also finished a Christmas sweater for CNITU2 -- soooo ahead of deadline! Here it is -- it's a Wendy/Peter Pan yarns pattern for Velvet Touch, color 1224. Kind of a weirdly written pattern, I made a few changes to it along the way to make it look right. But I'd definitely do it again, the results are superb and it's the softest, cuddliest thing ever, and machine washable.

I have a couple of other Christmas projects in the works, but they're secret!

Last Sunday I took a machine knitting class at Knitting Arts -- very interesting, and I definitely want to try more. Spinnity has a machine I can borrow. Here's the swatch I made, but it's curling too much to see clearly.

Overall, a pretty good summer -- work has been tough, but rewarding, and despite the 60-hour weeks, there's been some fun family time.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

For your admiration and delight...

I hereby present... the Yarn Party Poncho, from Sally Melville's Colors, modeled by the Princess M herself, at her 4th birthday party!

Yarns are GGH Samoa, Amelie, and Capri, various Great Adirondacks in colorway 124, Target's $1 ball of fuzzy fur, and a nice sparkly one from Wool in the Woods.

PM was a bit flumoxed by the poncho at first. She kept looking for somewhere for her arms to go, then slipping it down like a skirt. Finally we explained "like a cape!" and she got it.

I should also mention that she got a pair of pink slippers from Mom Wiz. Here she is putting them on:

And showing them off:

The next day, DH modeled his socks at the Memorial Day BBQ. I think they're quite fetching with his sandals, although I am not normally a socks-and-sandals fan.

Here's a close-up:

Friday, May 26, 2006


I found time to go to Full Thread Ahead yesterday. And they had the right colorway of the DH sock yarn. Wrong dyelot, but since they're both already knitted to the same spot, the two socks will still look relatively the same.

The DH tried the socks on yesterday, before I finished the first one:

Is it me, or are they kind of thick? I'm worried they won't fit in his shoes. He was between two sizes, and I went for the bigger size, so they're already a bit big. They're awfully cosy, but since the man is never cold, I wonder if he'll get much use out of them. That, of course, means that they'll last for years and years, which is always nice.

Now I have to share Alimum's genius, since I just saw this on her knitting blog:

How fantastic is that? There's a fuzzy white bikini in the same post, it's almost too fabulous to wear. Alimum is the person who knit me the purple mohair scarf before I knew anything about knitting or how much effort something like that takes to create. She is divinely talented and a very good writer, so her blogs are fun to read.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Not much to report... the knitting world, anyway. Professionally speaking, things are crazy, with two final student performances in the last week, plus preparation for my next directing gig (Taming of the Shrew). Throughout all this, I've been stuffing the DH socks into my purse. There are some issues with the DH socks at the moment:

1. I stopped just short of the toe on sock #1 because I weighed the yarn and was about halfway through it. I'm nearly to the same spot on sock #2, and it definitely looks like these will be yet another pair of contrasting-toe socks.

2. Unfortunately, this Cherry Tree Hill yarn comes in really small dye lots, and I've never seen this particular colorway anywhere but in this one beautiful skein. Solution -- blue or brown toes! Cherry Tree Hill makes a nice indigo yarn in the same weight.

3. Full Thread Ahead, the only place I know of on the Peninsula to buy Cherry Tree Hill, closes at 6 on weekdays, thus making it impossible for me to get there after work. And I'm gone over the weekend. When will I get my yarn? What if I run out of this skein before I get a chance to get over there?

Yes, you know what will happen if I run out of yarn. I will start something else. And if I start something else, the DH socks will languish, toeless, in a drawer until who knows when.

I do have a triumphant FO to boast about, but I can't say anything about it here until the end of the month, after a certain birthday. Let's just say it's very cute, and was much admired at the San Mateo meet-up on May 10.

I think my next project will be the Peter Pan toddler sweater for CNITU2 -- the goal is to make it to fit next winter. Yes, I'm starting the Christmas presents now. I've been a knitter for almost 2 years now, and I'm learning a thing or two.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

TKGA review

Since most of us were still in post-Stitches yarn comas, I don't know that many people who attended TKGA (it was in July last year, when we were ready for more; this year it just came too early.) This led to smaller classes (nice for students, bad news for teachers being paid by the student), and a very relaxed, uncrowded marketplace. I did see some friends (Jocelyn, Ada, and Patt from Meet-up, plus Spinnity, Jen, and Bogie), but most of them were just at the market. My classes were primarily populated by guild members from Arizona and Oregon.

My first class was Saturday afternoon: "Celtic Cables" with Melissa Leapman. I have avoided Melissa since Stitches 2005, when she seemed much too self-promoting for my tastes. Still, I have several friends who like her a lot, and the information she gives is excellent, so I decided to give her a second chance.

I went in steeling myself to not get annoyed at the inevitable book sales, and I succeeded -- it was a full class of about 30 people, and she did the full spiel. I *was* interested to hear about her new cable books, because, after all, that's what we were there to learn. She showed some samples from the books, then got down to the meat of the class -- making those cables!

Melissa always assigns a lot of homework, which I don't mind because it means you'll really get to do some serious knitting in class. This class was no exception. One problem: too many beginners. The whole row behind me literally seemed to have started knitting last week, so Melissa had to cover a lot of basics. This was frustrating for the rest of us, who moved quickly through the exercises and were ready for more. Sadly, we never got to the design portion of the class, or to knitting the final, most difficult, swatch. Not Melissa's fault -- she was well-organized as always. I blame TKGA. Can't there be some sort of prerequisite for so-called intermediate classes -- like you have to know how to read a chart, do basic increases and decreases, etc.? I had never done cables before, but I had enough skills to pick up that part quickly based on charts and instructions.

At any rate, I love Celtic cables, and the DH saw my samples and immediately ordered a sweater in charcoal grey with a celtic motif. That's a successful class, if it can get the DH to want to wear a sweater.

Second class: Sunday morning, "Going in Circles" with Edie Eckman. Edie taught me to crochet at Stitches 2005, so I figured I'd be comfortable in a crochet class with her, especially one labeled as "beginning." It was a tiny class, about 5 people, mostly crocheters, a couple of people who do both. I was probably the second least-experienced crocheter, but with a small class I tackled what I could and ended up with some nice motifs, including a square and a triangle. It was nice to have so much individual attention.

We also stole peeks at Edie's amazing collection of Japanese crochet books. This class inspired me to go down to the market and get Edie's "Crochet Answer Book," a handy little guide for those of us who crochet rarely and need to understand the basics.

Third class: Back to Melissa for "Perfect Pleats." With my interest in design, this was the class I was most excited about. As it was Sunday afternoon, a lot of people had left, and there were only 6 of us in this class, mostly very experienced. We got through the whole lesson and had time to chat. Melissa taught us a number of different and interesting ways to make gathers and pleats and flares, in order to add couture shaping to garments. I love this stuff. Even better, because most of us had taken classes from her before, Melissa kept the sales pitch to a super-minimum, and we focused on the knitting. There was a problem with the way TKGA had posted the homework on-line, and although I had seen it after they'd corrected it, a couple of people had done the wrong thing, and one woman hadn't done it at all. She was quite behind and a little difficult, since she didn't know some basics and was a slow knitter. In a small class, this didn't affect us nearly as much as it had in the large class -- Melissa could see that she was in the minority, and moved on with the rest of us. I know that small classes are a bummer for teachers, but this one was a blast. One of my favorite classes ever! Definitely take it next time she offers it.

I guess my biggest accomplishment for TKGA was learning to like a teacher I hadn't cared for before. I can also do cables now, and read cable charts.

On the shopping front, I focused on the sock yarns -- a couple of men's colors from Village Spinning and Weaving, some Lorna's Laces (on sale, couldn't resist), and a little Koigu project. Not much at all compared to Stitches -- came in well under $100.

Knitting progress: Still on the fab DH sock! Also the birthday project.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The socks at last!

I'm too tired to write much, so I'll relate tales of our Easter weekend in LA at another time. This post is all about photos I should have posted a long time ago. First of all, here they are, the Olympic socks!

Here's also a photo Alimum has been asking for, of me in a scarf she knit for me long before I knew how much work she had put into it. It's a great lace mohair scarf, very beautiful:

Here's CNITU2 in his favorite hat, the one with the letter "L" that I knitted for him in January:

Ooo, de shnuggems! He makes me talk all silly!

Finally, here's me starting the DH's socks on the way to LA. I loooove this Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. It's glorious. And the DH has decided it's not too girly, so there's some hope he'll wear the socks even though they aren't black.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Early April FO's

The Oat Couture windowpane baby blanket in Zara is now in the window of Nine Rubies! I finished it up last Tuesday and took it to Social Knitting. Saloni and Sudha were quite pleased with it. I rewarded myself by buying a skein of Tilli Thomas beaded silk. DE-CA-DENT! Here's the blanket on the sofa before I said good-bye to it:

Lest I submit to post-partum depression, on Friday I finished the Hourglass sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I looooove this sweater. It fits just right, it's amazingly soft and warm, and the color is perfect. Yes, it's the same color as my sofa. I like green, okay?

I steam-blocked it Saturday morning and put it on while it was still wet for a mini-yarn crawl and pedicures with Spinnity. We went to the two yarn stores in downtown Los Altos, Uncommon Threads and Full Thread Ahead. At the first, I got a copy of "One Skein," from Interweave Press. I got it just for the knitted cupcakes. It's pretty cute, though, some nice baby things and other little projects.

At the second, I got some Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn, "Sensational Knitted Socks," an adorable new purse from Lantern Moon (it's sort of a knitting bag, but I think I'll mostly use it as a purse!), and a little bottle of Eucalan. I'm going to make socks for the DH. I really like the sock knitting book; Spinnity and the Knitist both recommend it and it seems really easy to use. I can't wait to start the next pair of socks!

Now I'm in the midst of a top-secret birthday project... I'll show photos in the fullness of time.

Monday, March 27, 2006

So out of touch!

Part of my out-of-touchness is due to opening a show on Friday, and part of it is due to continuing guilt about my failure to take photos of my completed socks.

The show is Tales of the Lost Formicans, and you can see it at The Pear Ave. Theatre in Mountain View. It's a funky little play; so far a lot of people like it and some other people are confused by it. But you won't be bored, I promise.

Now that I am no longer working 14 hours a day and knitting one row before crashing into bed, I am making some progress on both the green Hourglass sweater (yes, the one in Cash Iroha, it's not done yet, but only about 10 rows to go!) and on the more pressing project, the Windowpane baby blanket I'm knitting as a sample for Nine Rubies. This thing is frickin' huge, and it's supposed to be done by Friday. Probably not gonna happen, as I'm not even halfway done, and with 170 stitches/row I'm hard pressed to do more than 20 rows a day. I think I calculated that the whole thing is about 250 rows long. Nice yarn, though, you should go right over to Nine Rubies and buy some. It's called Zara, from Filatura di Crosa. Not cheap, but it's 100% wool, completely washable, and soft as a kitten's tummy.

By the way, a lovely lady named Kathy from Tennessee commented on my blog a while ago -- she wants to make the Cashmerino onesie that I made for CNITU2. However, she can't find the darn Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino book! If you see it somewhere, would you let me know so I can email her? It's the first one, not the one that just came out.

Finally, I have a new favorite blog, which I have added to the sidebar along with some other new links. It's called Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog. Go there now, especially if you were an English major. Don't let the spelling throw you, trust me, it's hysterical.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Quick check-in

First of all, thanks to everyone I tagged. It was fun and entertaining to read about you! I am delighted that we all share such good taste in movies and television.

Secondly, I would like to report that I finished the Olympic socks, thanks to being home sick last Thursday and Friday with the flu. Convenient, that flu, if annoying. I wore them to Spinnity's spinning party on Saturday, where they were much admired, though I completely forgot to take pictures. As soon as I remember, I'll post those.

I am now slogging away on the Hourglass sweater, which is going very slowly since I'm working 12 hours a day at the moment. I can't wait to wear it, though, it's looking fantastic. The sleeves are on the same circular as the body now, and I'm working the raglan decreases.

The next thing I must do is the baby blanket for Nine Rubies -- my deadline is the end of the month, and I don't want to shirk! Plus, I get paid, always nice. Should offset my $500 Stitches spending spree.

Finally, I would like to wish my DH a happy anniversary! We were married one year ago this Sunday. I'd do it again in a second. The traditional 1-year anniversary gift is paper, and the modern is clocks. The DH cleverly combined the two into new Palm PDAs for both of us! This is very useful, since my rather obselete Visor has been by my side for four years now.

I love you, cute boy!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Tagged by the Remarkable Cow

Been tagged. Gotta talk about myself. Here goes:

Four jobs in your life:
1. Current job -- Eduction, Outreach, and Casting Director for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.
2. Part-time Associate at Balzac Communications and Marketing in Napa (wrote PR copy and came up with the Bug Spot Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter campaign for Napa, Marin, and Solano counties.)
3. Janitor at U.C. Davis while at grad school. Vaccuumed a lot of meeting rooms and set up a lot of chairs.
4. Part-time Sales Associate at Accessory to a Wedding Bridal shop in Chicago. Learned that most brides are really horrible to deal with, and their mothers are worse.

Four movies you could watch over and over:
1. The Princess Bride (my first date ever)
2. Pride & Prejudice, which is technically a mini-series (the Colin Firth one, not the Keira Knightley)
3. To Kill a Mockingbird. Love me some Gregory Peck.
4. Vertigo. The ultimate San Francisco movie.

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. Deadwood
2. Battlestar Galactica
3. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
4. The Daily Show

Four places you have lived:
1. San Francisco, CA
2. Chicago, IL
3. Napa, CA
4. London, England

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. New Zealand
2. Fiji
3. Belize
4. Switzerland

Four websites you visit daily:
1. Google
2. Yarn Harlot (not quite daily, but almost)
3. SF Gate
4. Spinnity

Four of your favorite foods:
1. Anything Indian -- Palak Paneer, Aloo Gobhi, it's all good
2. Fish and chips
3. Dark chocolate
4. Really good San Francisco sourdough bread

Four places you'd rather be right now:
1. Our honeymoon jungle hotel in Belize
2. Just about any yarn shop
3. In my cozy bed on a Saturday morning
4. In a theatre, watching a really good play

Four favorite types of yarn:
1. Karabella Aurora 8
2. Noro Cash Iroha
3. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
4. GGH Samoa

Four bloggers I'm tagging:
1. Alimum
2. MKMonahan
3. Jeff
4. Jo Knits

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Feelin' a little like Sasha Cohen

I said I'd reward myself the silver if I made it halfway through the second sock, so there it is. With absolutely no time to knit on Days 11, 12, and 13 (having gone into rehearsal for my next show), I only just managed to cast on and knit about six rows. Friday night, I sat down and accomplished this:

Saturday morning, I got a lot done -- about 30 rows. With rehearsal Saturday afternoon and dinner and a show on Saturday night, I added just about 5 more after we returned. Today, I woke up and did 30 rows before heading out in the afternoon, but when I returned my hands were pretty cramped. I decided not to push it. Here's where things stand tonight, as I watch the closing ceremonies:

Not bad -- very nearly done with the leg, and the foot is much easier without all that lace. I should finish this week, and that's the true reward -- gold medal or not, at the end of the day I'll have a nice pair of socks.

I wish we knitters got to have a big closing ceremony, with us all waving our FOs and not-quite-FOs in the air as we march triumphantly into Stadio Olimpico, no doubt to the tune of some terrible pop song.

Congrats to all the participants! And good night!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Week One = One sock

I haven't been blogging. I've been knitting. Oh, yeah, and somewhere in there was Stitches West -- four classes in three days, three large bags of yarn and other sundries purchased.

But at the end of it all, I have a sock! And it's beautiful and it fits. I'm going to reward myself the bronze medal right now just for getting one sock done. I may have to kill myself to get the second sock done, but even if it doesn't happen, I feel pretty good about accomplishing one.

Here's the quick wrap-up of the last few days:

Days 4 & 5:

So little accomplished on the sock that these days hardly count! We did have a lovely Valentine's dinner at 231 Ellsworth on Monday, and saw "Brokeback Mountain" on Tuesday. No way could I knit complicated lace patterns in the dark.

Loved the movie, but the idiots at the Century Theatres in downtown San Mateo had WASHED THE SEATS that afternoon. By this, I mean that they had sprayed the seats with water so that the aroma of human sweat and spilled sugary soda pervaded the theatre. We also had to SIT on these seats. By the end of the movie, half the theatre looked as if we had wet our pants. To their credit, they did refund our money, but their short-sightedness was amazing to me. They said they thought it would be a slow night at the theatre. Valentine's Day? A major date night? Not to mention the fact that this is the most critically acclaimed romance of the year? Hellooooo, people.

Day 6:

I headed over to Nine Rubies, our lovely new San Mateo LYS, for social knitting, but unfortunately I finished up ball #1 quickly and ball #2 was at home. So I sat in front of the TV and watched some skiing while plugging away at the leg of the sock. And then, like Lindsey Kildow during training, distaster struck! I missed a couple of yarn-overs and didn't notice, blithely knitting on until, about five rows later, I realized I didn't have the right number of stitches to decrease properly! I tried to drop a few stitches back and add in the decreases, but I knit pretty tightly and it just wasn't possible. I frogged the whole thing back and then had quite a time trying to get the teensy little stitches back on the teensy little needles. The DH needs special kudos for bearing with me during the 45 minutes of frustrating wasted time this all entailed.

Day 7:

After work, it was off to a friend's 40th birthday dinner at Buca di Beppo. Stuffed to the gills with eggplant parmigiano and fried shrimp, I managed a few rows after we got back. (Fortunately, I stayed away from the Chianti, or we might have had a repeat of yesterday.)

Day 8:

I was supposed to work at home in the morning, but my webmail account was down, so after I'd made a few phone calls, I had nothing to do but knit! At this point, I crept toward the end of the long leg section, then headed down to Stitches for my first class of the weekend, "Two Hands, Two Colors" with Sally Melville, my absolute favorite knitting teacher.

By the end of the afternoon, I could do Fair Isle! Gotta love it. I can't wait to do my first Fair Isle project, and I spent much of the class blessing Nancie Wiseman for successfully teaching me Continental in TKGA last April. I love holding a color in each hand, far superior (in my opinion) to any other way of doing it.

At random moments in the class, I picked up my sock for a row or two, thinking that I wouldn't have much more time to knit that day, since I had to drive up to Berkeley for callbacks that evening. Fate had other things in mind, however -- I ended up stuck in terrible traffic with no way of getting to my destination by 7, let alone 6, my planned arrival time. I abandoned hope of joining the director and choreographer, called in to let them know I was stuck, and made a left turn across the bridge to home and a cozy evening with my sock. Leg finished, heel begun.

Day 8:

Officially halfway through the Olympics, and the first sock ain't done. And not much chance to knit today! First there's Nancie Wiseman's "Intarsia Basics," and by lunchtime I can add Intarsia to my list of new color knitting skills. Lunch with Spinnity, a quick dash through the marketplace, where I purchase a little more alpaca for the DH hat/scarf at Yarn Barn. In the afternoon, it's back to Sally for "Creativity," a fun, mind-opening class that's mostly lecture, so I knit away at my little sock and turn the heel, which is no big deal as far as I can tell -- not sure why it's supposed to be so challenging.

Then I dash back to the marketplace and make some more purchases, yarn at Webs, buttons at the Button Lady, and Nicky Epstein's new book signed by the lady herself. So far very little financial damage done. Then we had a birthday dinner to run to, and a play to run to after that, and then I crawled into bed and only knit a couple of rows. One more day gone, and still lots of sock to do.

Day 9:

I wisely did NOT sign up for a class Sunday morning, so after sleeping in a bit I headed out for a calm stroll through the marketplace. Fewer people, much more mellow, which put a bit of a strain on my pocketbook resolve. Particularly when I came across the must-own kits from Drops yarns, sold at a knitting store in Washington state. I got a cute bolero kit on green alpaca and mohair with a bit of sparkle. Then I bought some yarn at Hand Jive Knits from Sacramento. Then I bought some more buttons, from Buttons! in Calistoga.

I was starting to get a bit reckless, you know that "I've already gone over budget, what does it matter now" feeling. I got some Debbie Bliss cashmerino Astrakhan on sale, and some sparkly colorful Wool in the Woods for a certain birthday project. Luckily a call from Spinnity saved me from more spending, and I went to sit with a bunch of Santa Clara and San Mateo Meet-up friends in the stage area, to eat lunch, knit, and wait for the grand prize drawing of $750. Lo and behold, it went to Bogie! We all gave her a standing ovation, she was totally overwhelmed. If anyone deserves it, she does, my dear Fairy Godknitter who helped make the extra Shawlapalooza for my wedding!

My afternoon class was "Keeping Trim," my first ever with Lily Chin, and I have to say, believe the hype. She is funny and creative and clever, and she taught us a number of useful trims for the bottom of sweaters that won't curl or cling or make you look pregnant, and showed us a lot of great new stitch patterns and techniques to use just about anywhere. She's very high energy and New York-y, but she didn't flog her books or spend half the time self-promoting, which is what I was afraid of. I prefer Sally's laid-back hippie Canadian charm, but I would certainly put Lily on my good-teachers list.

By the end of the class, I was exhausted, and ready to curl up with my sock. The DH and I met up at Spinnity and Bill's for dinner and yarn-sharing. The foot of my sock was growing, and a new problem presented itself -- there was no way I was going to finish this sock without running out of yarn. Sure, I had two more balls at home, but those are for the other sock! What to do!

Day 10:

I made an emergency run to Nine Rubies for more sock yarn. Unfortunately, they don't carry Rowan 4-ply Yorkshire tweed. Choices -- order on-line, wait, risk missing Knitting Olympics deadline, not to mention a totally different dye lot. Or do the toes in a different color. The second option started to appeal to me; after all, then my socks would be truly unique! Nine Rubies yielded plenty of gorgeous colors of 4-ply Scottish tweed, which is a little loftier than Yorkshire but claims to have the same gauge. I got a nice contrasting burgundy. I actually really like how it's turned out. My lack of patience has resulted in something truly lovely.

The sock was finished about 11:30 last night with the painstakingly grafted toe (thanks again to Sally M for last year's Good Grafting class notes). I will never like grafting, but it did work and the sock is done, except for weaving in ends and adding the cute ribbon bow trim (which will be burgundy to match the toes, of course).

So I'm 10 days in, only 6 to go including today. Can I do another sock, especially now that I have rehearsals every night? Solani and Sudha at Nine Rubies cheered me on yesterday, making me think that just maybe, if I give up a certain amount of sleep and sanity, I could do it. Time to give it that old Olympic try.