30 December 2005
This picture was taken on I-5, right around the southern end of the LA city limits, at about 11am on a Thursday. Okay, it was the Thursday between Christmas and New Years, but still.
Note that traffic is backed up in both directions. It was backed up basically from Irvine to Valencia. Ick.
I'd like to also comment that this is not the most scenic stretch of freeway in the world, especially at 2 MPH.
28 December 2005
And I like the zoo, too.
23 December 2005
16 December 2005
08 December 2005
07 December 2005
- Once I figured out the cast-on, it was a very quick project
- It used a single skein of variegated Manos that I couldn't not buy (oh, I do love Manos), but which I had no use for
- It's felted. I love felting--it's like magic
- It's a moebius, which is just kinda cool
- I can put stuff in it
05 December 2005
I sewed these using the pattern in Stitch 'n Bitch. They're easy to make; well within the reach of my extremely limited sewing talents. The one on the right is my own, which I've been using for over a year. I just finished the one on the left as a Christmas gift for a pink-loving family member. I really like using these--they've saved me much time searching for needles, and everything stays nice and neat, no matter how chaotic the rest of my life becomes.
And the Winter Knitty is up, and it's a particularly big edition. I am positive that some Pocket Creatures are in my near knitting future; probably Marley as well. But first I need to figure out how to do Cat Bordhi's Mobius cast-on. It's not that I can't figure it out; it's just that every time I try, I end up with a different number of stitches, none of which resemble the actual number of stitches I'm supposed to have.
01 December 2005
Allison is modeling the Vegan Fox, from Knitty. Unfortunately, between the black yarn I chose and my crappy photography skills, it's impossible in these pictures to see the detail on its face. You'll just have to believe me that it's cute. At least Allison and I think so. Dennis said, "What the hell is THAT?"
There's a special irony for me with this piece, because one of my grandfathers was a furrier (and I'm not vegan, but I don't eat mammals).
Al's shirt, BTW, is from Baby Wit, which is also where we got Quinn's "I already know more than the President" shirt.
30 November 2005
I don't know whether to be disappointed that they didn't freak out, or proud that they've inherited my taste for creepy-crawly things.
29 November 2005
21 November 2005
PS--Yes, that's a pile of laundry in the background, waiting to be folded. I have my priorities straight.
13 November 2005
- Girls in low-cut jeans and tight, belly-baring t-shirts. Is there some sort of tragic fabric shortage?
- Suburban white boys in really baggy pants that are worn low and beltless.
- Girls in spandex pants with writing across the butt. Your ass is not a billboard.
- Boys in baseball caps, especially if worn backwards.
- Girls wearing pajama bottoms to class. Is this a fashion statement, or were they too damn lazy to get dressed that morning?
- Boys in dyed mohawks. I thought it was kinda cool when I was in high school a long long time ago.
- Girls with long fingernails that have fancy art on them. Because (1) these girls can barely function with such long nails and (2) they never seem to have time to study, and yet have hours to get their nails done.
06 November 2005
31 October 2005
29 October 2005
This evening we were driving home on I-580. The kids were watching a video in the backseat, and I was bored. But aha! I had the camera handy! Here are two of my favorites, taken as we went over the Altamont. The first one reminds me of hearts, and the second of musical notes.
The camera, BTW, is just a Kodak point and shoot digital. I took these shots using the night-time setting, and zoomed in to the camera's max.
28 October 2005
My beloved SUV got crunched this weekend in the grocery store parking lot. An idiot in a pickup backed right into me, even though I was honking like mad. He says he didn't hear me, and he certainly didn't see me. I strongly suspect he was talking on his cell phone, because he managed to have 2 more phone calls in the 5 minutes it took to exchange insurance information. He did $1700 worth of crunching, which my body shop won't get to until the end of November, and which will take them a week to fix. Foruntately, although the kids were in the car with me, nobody was hurt or traumatized. And there is a small silver lining: the fender he squished, which will be replaced, already had 2 largish door dings in it. So at least I'll get rid of them.
I stopped this morning for a venti pumpkin spice Frappuccino because I needed a major caffeine and sugar boost. Right in front of Starbucks, some guy was in the process of being arrested. I have no idea what for; probably nothing important, because there was only one cop car involved. I felt kinda sorry for the guy. What a crappy way to begin your Friday.
Thing One needed to get some cavities filled yesterday. She was an extremely good girl. And for an extra $200 out of her parents' pockets, she got Twinky Star fillings, which are colored and glittery. She even got to choose her colors (pink and blue). The dental tech warned us against orange--he said it just looks like the kid's been eating Cheetos. While I certainly appreciate anything that will help a 6-year-old tolerate dental work, I wonder if it's really such a great idea to make cavities FUN!?!
Elizabeth Hickok has sculpted San Francisco in Jello. Knatolee, does this inspire you?
27 October 2005
Allison is modeling my clapotis, fini. I'm very pleased with the scarf, which ended up using about 3 1/3 skeins of yarn. Allison looks a little strange in this pic because (1) she just returned from the dentist, and her mouth is numb, (2) she's about to leave for gymnastics, hence the leotard, and (3) they're having a Halloween party at gymnastics today, hence the hot pink hair.
I should mention that Angelika's got my extra yarn to me within 3 days, and the dye lots seem to be a good match.
I am looking forward to taking my clapotis to Europe with me.
17 October 2005
Clapotis was inspired by Parisian women, and it looks like I'll actually get to wear mine in Paris. This winter, the plan is for the grandparents to come stay with the kids, so hubby and I get a grownup vacation in London and Paris. First time the two of us will have the time and the money to go to Europe together. Hooray!
01 October 2005
30 September 2005
29 September 2005
Ruthie models my newest FO, the Alpaca Crack Scarf. It's made from one of the balls of yarn I received from KnitPicks. A single ball of Suri Dreams costs just $3.99, and it's enough for a quite long scarf. The yarn itself is really light and lofty. It's like wearing whipped cream. I'm not sure if Strawberry is Ruthie's color, nor do I think she really needs a scarf when it's 90 degrees out, but doesn't she look pretty? (ignore the drool-related guck on her neck and chest, please).
23 September 2005
This week I haven't even made it to Modesto.
17 September 2005
This is my version of the Boyfriend Bag from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, with Ruthie Toothie as the model. It's made of Cascade Sierra, a cotton/wool blend, and lined with dog bone-print fabric. It took me forever to knit because I'm painfully sloooow at fair isle knitting.
08 September 2005
Have you found the Lord yet? No?? Try this! Some religious group sent a flyer home with my Thing 1 today (from public school) which stated, "Release time for religion, an important part of education, is provided for by state law and school board policy...." Parents are supposed to sign a permission form so kids could attend "Release Time Rallies." After visiting this website, I think it's time to schedule my own Release Time Rally.
Last night I skipped over to my husband to show him my KnitPicks loot. He said, "Oh. That's what crack looks like." He knows me too well.
07 September 2005
Last week, I received an email from KnitPicks about a surprise package they were sending to a few customers so we could see the new fall yarns. "How nice!" I thought. "They're sending me color cards." Well, the box arrived today, and it certainly looked too big for color cards.
Hmmm! What's inside??
I know this is very smart marketing by KnitPicks. It's reminiscent of the tactics used by drug dealers. You know, "Here kid! Just try some! It's free!"
But I don't care.
I'm sure the marketing will work and I will order some of this yarn. In the meantime, I can decide what to do with a bunch of single balls. The package did include a pattern for a 1-ball scarf. And now that I have been appropriately bribed, I can still truthfully attest that these yarns are very nice. The green one at the front right is Ambrosia, a baby alpaca-cashmere blend, and it's especially yummy.
I'm not sure why I got the free yarn. I've only ordered from KnitPicks maybe 3 times, most recently in June, and I haven't spent a fortune there. My Mon, who's also ordered from them, didn't get free yarn. Maybe I'm just lucky. Maybe I'm just obviously a sucker for their ploy. I don't care. I'm just going to gloat for a while.
05 September 2005
I have a (totally unrealistic) fantasy of owning my own LYS. As the new academic year begins, and I begin the thankless and unrewarding job of department chair, it's particularly tempting to lapse into this fantasy. So yesterday, as the family was driving home from a visit to the Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento (which entailed no yarn shopping), I gave my patient husband an oral dissertation on the Perfect Yarn Store. Here are some of the Perfect Yarn Store's characteristics.
- Naturally, it has an excellent selection of yarn. It is particularly strong on high-end basics, and it carries a wide selection of some of my frequent standbys, such as Lamb's Pride, Manos, and Noro. It also carries some novelty yarn, but it's stronger in basics.
- The staff is friendly and helpful, and yet allows people to shop without hovering over them. I like to feel like I can browse forever, unmolested, but also that assistance will be at my beck and call if needed.
- The store is sufficiently well-staffed that it's easy to find someone to help you, and you don't have to wait long to pay.
- The yarn is displayed in such a way that it's easy to find something specific. I prefer stores that organize by fiber weight and type, not by color or brand.
- Like Lint (in Portland, Oregon), yarn bins have tags that are color-coded by yarn weight. This makes it easy to find, for example, all the worsted yarns.
- The store is attractive and it is clear that the owners have given thought to its design.
- There are places to sit and browse patterns or, perhaps, just sit and knit.
- There's enough room in the store that it doesn't feel crowded, even when there are lots of shoppers inside.
- The lighting is good.
- There is an excellent and well-organized selection of patterns and notions.
- Each yarn is clearly tagged with price.
- Each yarn has at least a small swatch displayed nearby, so you can see what it looks like knitted up.
- There are lots of knitted up garments on display, each clearly marked as to pattern source and yarn tpe, amount, and cost.
- It's easy to reach the yarns (I'm 5 feet tall).
- It's kid friendly. Really, I prefer to shop unburdened by my offspring, but that's just not always possible. I love yarn stores that have a box of toys to occupy the kids. I also prefer if the staff does not give the evil eye to my generally well-behaved girls the moment we enter.
- There's a cafe in the yarn store (which also makes a good place to occupy children and spouses).
- It's easy to find the store, and parking or public transportation is convenient.
- The store also carries a nice selection of buttons, and maybe even other goodies like jewelry.
- There are other interesting shops and restaurants nearby. I often make a day's outing out of a yarn store trip, especially since many stores are located 2 hours or more from my house.
- The store is open long hours. I have a full-time job and two young kids; I can often only manage to shop on weekends or evenings.
- The store has a website with information about hours of operation, directions, and a list of yarns carried. News on upcoming events would be nice, too
- The store sponsors not just classes (which I have never taken) but also fun events. For example, I've seen shops that have book club/knitting nights, special knitting nights for moms, and knitting trips and camps. At one store, I recently saw a poster advertising a Knitting at the Movies night: a local theater would be showing March of the Penguins with the theater lights only part-way dimmed, so that people could knit and watch the movie.
I'm sure I can think of other things as well, but this is a good start! Of course, no single store can meet every one of these criteria, and some of the criteria are more important than others. If anyone thinks they've found the Perfect Yarn Store, I'd love to hear about it. In my next post, I'll list the closest contenders I've found so far, at least in Northern California and Oregon.
25 August 2005
A sweater for Thing 2. It's Isabel's Sweater, from "Knitter's Stash." I made it in grape-colored Katia Himalaya, with yellow Berroco Pronto for the trim. It was slightly traumatic, because I ended up just a few dozen yards short on the Himalaya, and my original source, Elann, no longer has this color. Fortunately, I found it elsewhere online (Perfect Touch Yarns, to be precise), and thanks to Priority Mail, I had it in hand in 3 days. And there's no discernible line from unmatching dye lots.
I think this will look cuter on, but there's no way I'm going to make Cutie Pie model a heavy sweater when it's 95 degrees out. So instead, I have posed it in its natural element, among the detritus of an evening's playing. Tonight, the girls were playing Veterinarian, Pirates, Taking Care of Babies, and Putting Things in Bags.
11 August 2005
09 August 2005
19 July 2005
Tie One On from Knitty, in Karabella Lace Mohair. The picture really doesn't do it justice. I'll be wearing this next month at my sister's wedding, over a silk tank dress that's blue and white. I know, it's an August wedding, but it's in Oregon, so the weather might do anything!
And speaking of Knitty, the summer issue is up. It's the Man Issue. I doubt I'll find anything there that I must knit--hubby never, ever wears sweaters. The only hats and gloves he wears are while skiing, and he prefers acrylic and nylon. Ah, but I do have a scarf planned for him in some scrumptious chocolate-colored alpaca. Right now, though, I can't even think about scarves. It's been above 100 degrees every day for over a week.
06 July 2005
Allison's on vacation, so this was yesterday's project, in her choice of colors: pink lemonade, lemon-lime, black cherry, and grape. We did manage to spill a bunch of the dye all over the table, the floor, and Allison's leg (narrowly missed the dog, who would look pretty in black cherry), but it did clean up okay. Allison, at least, got to jump in the pool to wash up.
29 June 2005
21 June 2005
Were were quite pleased with the results. Now I just have to decide what to do with it!
17 May 2005
Ringer Tee in Rowan Calmer
The pattern is Nothin' but a T shirt, from Magknits. I don't know why this took me so long. It's actually pretty mindless knitting, just a little shaping. And the yarn is wonderful to touch. I guess it didn't help that I made it a size too large. And then work gets in the way.... Anyway, I like it, and I'll wear it even if it's too big.
12 May 2005
A colleague and I are doing a study on how having been labeled a slut when they were in high school has affected women's lives. We could use more participants! If you are a former slut, or your classmates thought you were, click here to fill out our questionnaire online.
04 May 2005
Second, there are the basic yarns. I don't mean basic in quality or price, because many of the yarns in this category are very nice and very expensive. Basic yarns are yarns you could knit a sweater with. Lamb's Pride is a major player in this category, but there are many, many others. Some of my favorites are Manos, Noro, Blue Sky, and Elsabeth Lavold.
Third, there are novelty or frou-frou yarns. These are the eyelash yarns, the fake furs, the odd glittery things, the railroad ribbons, and so forth. Crystal Palace and Berroco are two companies that manufacture a lot of yarns in this category. They have their uses, and I do buy them sometimes. But you're not going to knit a sweater out of them. Unfortunately, I think a lot of yarn stores concentrate too heavily on this category of yarn. They may be more glamourous on the shelf, but one can knit only so many frilly scarves. I think maybe these yarns especially appeal to new knitters who do make mainly scarves or ponchos.
All three types of yarn have value, but when I look at my stash, I find that nearly all of it consists of the second type. And my favorite yarns stores are those that carry mostly basics as well. When I'm going to spend many hours on a project, I want it to be something that will continue to look beautiful several years from now, and not dated.
27 April 2005
20 April 2005
The ever-stylish Allison models my newest FO, a boa made from one skein of Artful Yarn's Limerick. It only took a couple hours to knit, and what fun! The tie-dyed shirt is her own creation.
Artful Yarns, incidentally, gets my vote for the most creative and least descriptive color names. In the yarn called circus, the colorways include Scary Clown and Old Elephant; Museum has Dinosaur Bones and Gift Shop; and Graffiti includes Make Love Not War, Kilroy Was Here, and For a Good Time Call. They also have a yarn called Virtue, the color ways of which are Hope, Justice, Fortitude, etc. Handworks Gallery seems to carry their whole line.
18 April 2005
15 April 2005
Allison models her new sweater. She picked out the pattern herself, from Vogue Knitting on the Go Kids Knits. She chose the colors, too, in Blue Sky Cotton. It's a wonderfully soft yarn. I'm now working on the matching purse, which of course she has to have. And of course, tomorrow it will be 79 degrees out. She may have to wait a while to wear this sweater!
13 April 2005
At least while I work, I can often listen to music. I just ordered a bunch of CDs from CD Baby. They have a great selection of CDs from independent labels and a fun website, they ship really quickly, and, once you've orderd from them once, all future orders will receive a free surprise CD.
I've also recently added several items to my yarn store reviews page. The link is always on the left side of this page.
Wouldn't it be great if time was like money, and you could save it for later or borrow from the future? Of course, I'd probably exceed my credit limit.
20 March 2005
Allison at Dodge Ridge. Okay, well she is actually one of my WIPs, isn't she? And this picture, which my hubby took before they went skiing today, was just too cute not to post. My Mom knitted the hat, by the way, in Allison's favorite colors. Plus, those colors make it easy to spot Allison in the snow.
07 March 2005
Joey will no longer be in danger of becoming chilly. I used the jacket pattern posted on the Stitch 'n Bitch Nation blog, except that pattern called for Fonty Serpentine. I couldn't find that yarn easily, and, besides, I figured Berroco Suede was an obvious choice for a "leather" jacket. The jacket's actually a little shorter than I would've liked, but I only had one ball of Suede.
04 March 2005
Trio bag. The pattern for this one is free at Crystal Palace's website. This was a quick project, although it did not use the humongous (size 35) needles pictured. It makes a great tote bag for yarn.
I'm also happy with the other items in the picture. The sheet is new, from The Company Store. It's on the futon in our living room, and I really like the way it looks. And I made the pillows a few years ago. A store on 4th Street in Berkeley was selling dupioni silk skirts for $5. They were size XS--not likely to fit me, at least in this lifetime. So I bought 2 and cut them up to make pillow covers. I even used the shell buttons from the skirts as decorative closures on the square pillows.
24 February 2005
21 February 2005
Two little finished projects.
I've been in the mood for quick projects lately. On the right, a market bag from Folk Bags, in Euroflax linen. On the left is my knitting journal. It's just a spiral-bound thing with a plain brown cover. I covered the cover with some Noro Kureyon I had left over.
08 February 2005
The Optimism Scarf.
It's my own design, and very soon I will post the (easy-easy) pattern.
Stuff I don't need but want: a great t-shirt for dogs, which doesn't come in a size big enough for Ruthie. More knitting patterns. More yarn. All 115 items on my Amazon wishlist, and the 42 books on my Powell's wishlist.
24 January 2005
The latest FO: scarf in Schaefer Yarns Little Danya, a handpainted mohair. I fell in love with the colorway (called Margaret Sanger--they're all named after famous women). About halfway through the scarf, though, I realized the colorway might have been inspired by that whole red hat/purple dress thing, which (a) I find obnoxious, and (b) I'm too young for. But I refuse to let them co-opt my favorite colors!
22 January 2005
We're all Ramones fans around here. Here's Quinn posing with Joey. Don't they look like good pals? The pillows were knitted from Manos del Uruguay yarn and then felted, incidentally.
Debbie Stoller, the author of Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, has posted a pattern for Joey's jacket. I'll probably try it one of these days. It's too bad there's no picture up of the completed jacket, though.
16 January 2005
Allison's modeling my newest FO, a Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf in Noro Transitions colorway 6. Two skeins of this yummy yarn were enough for one long scarf with fringe (it's wrapped twice around Allison's neck). Quinn's wearing her Lazy Sunday Afternoon Outfit.
Wanna knit something for your pup? Check out this free calendar. Of course, Ruthie doesn't really need a sweater, but August's pattern is a little tempting. Lucky for Ruthie I don't crochet!
13 January 2005
This is Joey Ramone from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation, hanging out with a couple of friends. I'm pretty pleased with how he turned out. He needs a jacket, though. The book mentions something about an optional jacket, but doesn't give a pattern for one anywhere. I emailed the author to ask her about it, but got no response (I'm sure she gets a zillion emails). I could just wing it, I'm sure, and I probably will one of these days. The Joey Ramone pattern has got me thinking about other dolls I could make--I have a couple of ideas lined up for future projects.