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.