Thursday, November 30, 2006

Meme travel...

I don't have anything knitwise to post about today, but please check out this graduate student project on the speed of meme travel. Internet meme travel fascinates me and I'm looking forward to seeing his results!

I should be able to show you the unblocked Pea Pod tomorrow, as it's GOT to be finished tonight in order to be dry in time for the shower (Sunday). Wish me luck and speedy mattress-stiching!

Since I don't have anything else interesting to post, here's a gratuitous picture of a water lily from our trip to Vancouver this past summer.

Monday, November 27, 2006

It's raining...

At last. But only 1/4 ", they tell us. Still, I'll enjoy it while it lasts — another Santa Ana (dry, clear and windy) coming on Wednesday, and in autumn that can be durned cold, sucking every last bit of moisture from your skin and chilling you, if not to the bone, at least to the tattoos.

But yesterday, pre-rain, I had some ridiculous late-November flowers.

Roses, a bit blighted, but still sweet-scented...

A couple of miniature roses...

Admittedly, this isn't a flower, but it is seasonal. Poinsettia, strangely, come from warm climates and can grow into enormous soft shrubs if given half a chance. This one was a leftover from last year's work holiday party, and it's looking fairly happy at the moment. The commercial ones used to mostly come from the San Diego area, from the Ecke nursery in North County, but Wikipedia tells me they're native to Mexico and points south.

It still seems odd to me that this subtropical became a Christmas plant. Somehow I associate Christmas with snow, which of course is, in itself, an odd association. Anyway, I'm a Jewish atheist...

In knitting news, Pea Pod the Second is ready for seaming, collar, blocking and buttons:

Pea Pod the First is now be-buttoned.

I love these little rabbits, despite their paucity of black ink. I decided they were too much of a pain for a busy mom to close more than one, though, so I am just using one at the top of each sweater.

I have "Rabbits in the Pea Patch" stuck in my head, now. Putting on Shawn Colvin to banish the demons...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Nothing like the present

I got YET ANOTHER prezzie in the mail.. more about that in one sec, but first, sheesh, guys, do I have to spell it out for you? Watch the durn movie!

{sigh} okay. SanDeE* (with a star at the end) is the creatively-capitalized name of Sarah Jessica Parker's character in LA Story. But seriously. Watch the movie. Because if you don't, you will probably never get another chance to watch Steve Martin roller-skate through the LA County Museum of Art.

Man, I want to do that. But of course I can't roller-skate worth a darn and would probably crash into a $1,000,000 statue and destroy it.

So... my poor Tea Swap pal was ill for a while, and so my gift was late. But check it out. Can you say "worth the wait and then some"?

The pretty foreign stamps were my first clue and treat, as I love stamps. Then I opened the box, from Ket, my fabulous Tea Swap Pal, and found these incredible goodies.

There's a beautiful card from Ket, explaining some of the gifts. She sent some wool yarn from her mother's sheep!

She also sent tea (of course!) — but not just any tea. Its name translates to "heavenly good" and I wish I could put smells on the Internet, because wow!!!!! It lives up to its name. I have water boiling right now.

I also got candy — little marshmallow cars. Too cute. Who told Ket I love marshmallow? And pretty knitting cards. And wool fat soap (mmm, nice for sore hands).

I tried to take a close-up picture of the little marshmallow cars, but my camera didn't cooperate. Still, they are darling and yummy!

Anyway, Ket, you rock, and I'm sorry I complained about you being late. Oh me of little faith. I'm thrilled.

Friday, November 24, 2006

One WIP less

But first, it appears that the movie LA Story may not have been quite the hit in the U.K. that it was here in California. Hmm, and I'm surprised? I'm really not sure if it's funny to anyone else, but it represents a strangely accurate picture of one aspect, anyway, of my home town. Yes, I was born in Los Angeles — in the Valley, yet — yep, that Valley of Frank and Moon Unit Z fame. Whether or not I'm qualified to assess the city itself is in question, however: we moved to Michigan when I was one and a half, and I more or less grew up in Ann Arbor. Still, the movie's pretty funny, and it's the source of SanDeE*. Check it out when you are looking for a very light evening spent shaking your head at those silly Angeleans.

And with that, a newly purchased Hem album on the stereo and some of the Boogie's Irish soda bread in me tum, here, at long last, is the Screamin' Leaves scarf.

This is, would you believe?, my first scarf. I learned to knit by making washcloths — more practical than scarves in the San Diego climate.

This lovely little number made me good friends with Father Frog, Lady Lifeline, Brother Tink and Sister Suck It Up and Do It Over. I started it in August, thinking it would help me learn to knit lace — got so frustrated with it that I stopped for a while, and ended up learning on the shawl I knit out of my Secret Pal's handspun. The specs: Fiber Trends Streaming Leaves pattern, Addi Turbo (I agree with Grumperina's assessment: Blunti Stumpos, indeed, they suck for lace) US #6, South West Trading Pure 100% Soy Silk (2 skeins, I have 10 gm left).

We had to take the cat in for her thyroid test today, so I as a (ha ha) reward for being so good, I let her model the scarf, too.

She was remarkably compliant, considering.

And on a foody note, we had a lovely Thanksgiving up in LA with my grandmother. As some of you know, my other grandma, with whom I was very close (the crafty one, who taught me to crochet and helped me learn to knit), passed away a couple months back. Today we found we still had some of her lovely meat pasteles in the freezer. I figured we should eat some in her honor, as we always used to have Thanksgiving at her apartment, so we did, and they were fabulous. Perhaps I'll post the recipe over the next couple of days. The other thing Grandma taught me was how to cook Sephardic food. I had a lot of cooking lessons, and hours on the phone when I was having trouble, and I am very grateful for them. Nothing like cooking your own soul food. Mmm.

By the way, I have no @#$*@#(*$ idea what I'm going to do with this light-weight, soft, useless scarf. If you want it for Christmas, let me know!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ooh ooh lookie what I got!

If you haven't read Alyson's blog, you really should. Because she's funny as hell, her blog is called "terribleknitknit," and she posts hilarious pictures of her boyfriend, for one thing. Well, I guess that's two things. Er, three. Having a little trouble counting today.

But she also has great taste in movies, and I found this out when I won her little contest to guess why she named her new spinning wheel SanDeE*. (And no, that's not an indication of a footnote, so don't bother looking.) The way fab prize? 50 gm of her gorgeous sockweight. Check this out, merino and firestar. There is no way this picture can do justice to her great spinning, so check out the other pictures on her blog.

This picture sucks, but the yarn, and the comic card that cracked me up, do not. I am thrilled with the prize. THANK YOU ALYSON!

Happy Thanksgiving to the Yankees amongst ya. I'm off to Los Angeles tomorrow, where my aunt and mom are creating a Thanksgiving around my grandmother, which is cool. Just there for the day, then back here. If I'm really lucky, Rob will drive and I can knit some more on the way up :-)

Whether you're a damn Yankee or no, have a lovely Thursday.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I didn't knit ALL weekend.

Here's what I managed to accomplish this weekend:

Can't even see the seams, can you?

Wait, no, that's the Sallis' cat, Grace. And graceful she is, indeed. Shaped like a football, with a rather dear tendency to roll off of chairs in ecstasy when being combed.

We went to the Wildlife World Zoo — or possibly the World Wildlife Zoo, no one was entirely sure — which was great fun and had darling penguins.

We chatted, ate massive amounts of delicious food and went to a party.

And I did a little knitting, though mostly on the drive out and back. I am nearly done with Screamin' Leaves. Just about 14 rows to go and I can feel that lovely sense of accomplishment (and be slightly less embarrassed by how much I have on the needles right now).

I am making inroads into the second Pea Pod (which kind of sounds like I'm eating it, doesn't it?):

And I've gotten over Second Sock Syndrome and have a start on the second Hedera:

But I also went to a Mediterranean grocery and came home with too much junk food. Oh well, win some, lose some.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

By the time I get to Phoenix, I'll be knitting...

I'm off to Phoenix for a four-day weekend tomorrow, driving east over the Chocolate Mountains into Arizona. Mm, chocolate. We'll be visiting our good friends Jim and Karyn Sallis and Patrick Millikin. (If you ever need a mystery novel and you find yourself in Phoenix area, stop by the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale and ask Patrick what would be good. He is the consummate bookseller and has an amazing ability to pick out a book that you will absolutely love.)

Anyway, I will be totally without Internet access there, so I thought, having shown you my second completed adult sweater earlier this week, I'd finally reveal my first, which was the result of Secret Yarnination.

This sweater was finished in August and was knit to test a pattern by Melissa Wehrle of NeoKnits for Sundara of Sundara Yarn. You can now see the Tatami Kimono sweater on Sundara's site, and I wasn't allowed to post these photos of my finished sweater — which were actually taken back in early September — until the pattern was posted there.

I can definitely recommend this pattern as an easy, pretty knit. And SO soft in Sundara's superwash sportweight!

I am not sure it looks superfantastic (as Manolo would say) on me, but it feels really good, and Rob likes it, so I am likely to wear it a reasonable amount. And the COLOR (as with all of Sundara's work) is spectacular :-)

Thanks, by the way, for all your nice comments about Leland! I can't always figure out the e-mail addresses of my commenters, but I appreciate every one.

Well, have fun and be good while I'm gone. :-)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm in love with Leland!

The sweater, not the goat. Though I've no doubt I'd be in love with the goat, too, if I met him!

Here he is, blocked:

I particularly love the buttons. I know they don't quite match, but the thing is, they look kind of 1950s, and the yarn I used kind of reminds me of 1950s' dads' sweaters. (Yes, I do think that apostrophe is in the right place. I thought long and hard about it.)

This --> is my favorite picture of the mess I took this morning. It's really hard to take pictures of yourself. I set the camera up on a tissue box on the sink, pointing out the back sliding door, and propped up slightly on a broken twig of wicker I found lying around (because the end of the camera has a rubber bit on it that makes it not lie flat). It got really confused (the camera, not the wicker) by the lighting outside and took this picture with flash, which washed it out, but took the others without, which was mysterious. And too dark. Also this picture is better because it has a kitty in it.

<-- This picture is probably the most accurate, but it doesn't have a kitty in it.

Overall, I'm thrilled. Because of my gauge sloppiness and the extra 4", it doesn't have the neat, trim fit I (and the designer) intended, but I think it looks perfectly fine.

If I made it again, I'd 1) knit to gauge, 2) make the arms shorter — I have shrimpy arms, and 3) increase the waist shaping.

But I do love it, very very much. And it's warm and cozy. And it only used $10' worth of wool.

Oh, I am so very happy today.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I need to be more tense.

My gauge always seems to loosen, anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 spi (a lot!), when I knit a garment vs knitting a swatch, even a large swatch. This is probably partly because I tend to knit while walking (and then the weight of the knitted material hangs down, but I think partly I'm just too loose. I often use two sizes down from the needle specified, and still —

Well, so I finished Leland, but he's 48" rather than 44". Here he is pre-blocking and pre-buttons:

It's still wearable, but it isn't the tailored office sweater I'd imagined.

Blocking this was interesting. I washed it, because, as noted previously, there was kind of waxy coating on the yarn that made it stiff and scratchy. Is this spinning oil? Does anyone know? Because sometimes Webs sells cones "still in spinning oil". It felt more like wax than oil, but what do I know? All I can tell you is I did five, FIVE washes in Eucalan, and the first three turned the water an absolutely opaque brown.
(The last two were just kind of tea-colored.)

Anyway, it's softer now, but not quite dry (I finished the sweater on Saturday), so you'll get more pictures tomorrow or Weds. Pattern: Sienna from IK, US #7 Boye circs, Brora Softspun in color #9079 (closeout from Webs).

Thanks to April's inspiration, I went back to my Streaming Leaves scarf after I finished Leland. I figured out where I had been stuck (just thought I was on line 44 when I was actually on line 42 — not a huge deal in the end!), and finished another 1.5 repeats of the pattern. 2 to go!

Hmm. Notice my gauge has loosened up as I restarted? Argh! MUST GET MORE TENSE!!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Go check out Elinoire's awesome basket, too!

Not exactly knitting, but...

I have been doing some crafty stuff besides (again) having a stitch pop out of my lace.

For those who've asked, each of these 'pops' is basically a dropped stitch that got hidden, tucked into but not part of a k2tog, which makes a lovely taut little noise when it emerges. I did manage to fix this one too.

But! Saturday, before my party, I took an all-day Torrey Pine basket-weaving class. I realize this sounds like a joke, but we really did learn cool techniques and I completed a basket!

Here she is in all her raffiatic glory:

It's far from perfect, but I am pretty excited about it anyway.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Silence descends..

Not really. But I haven't been able to get blogger to cooperate by letting me post anything for a bit.

I wanted to show you a picture of the really nasty thing that happened to the lace I'm working on. I was stretching it out, to show Rob. To show him Just How Awesome it was. And suddenly there was a little pop, and a hole opened. In the middle. UNDER, ya know, like BEFORE, the lifeline.


But even the photo I took didn't come out. However, the hole did! I managed to carefully cut the lifeline, drop down a single stitch, and take care of the mucked-up sl1-k2tog-psso (I had apparently only k1tog), then work back up, adding yos, knitting the yos, and then finally decreasing them again, until I reached my current row.

Whew. And wow. The knitting goddess was definitely with me on Sunday (when I did the fix), even if she had abandoned me on Friday. Perhaps she realized that I should not have been messing around with knitting, but instead, getting ready for the party.

Ah... the party. We had about 45 attendees, more than I'd anticipated, and it was great fun. I took many lousy pictures. Since I don't have any pictures of my messed-up lace, here are a couple of party photos:

Rob's punch, here on the right. It has lots of alcohol, fruit, fruit juice, ginger ale, and, of course, dry ice in it :-) (I made ice-cream punch too, for the non-drinkers, but it wasn't nearly as photogenic.)

The theme was "you must wear one piece, and only one piece, of a Hallowe'en costume." Over the course of the evening, people swapped items, removed and added items, and, in this case, decided to wear items in whole new ways:

Laila enjoyed the party, too. Here she is trying to prevent any guests from leaving, by blocking the front door.

Hope you all had a good weekend too!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


We had between 150 and 200 kids. Went through ten bags of candy and had to ransack my own Pop Rocks stash to finish up!

I tried to do some knitting, but we had so many visitors, with all the interruptions, I'll have to rip it all out. Somewhere in there I added a stitch. Oops.

It was worth it, though. I had a great time!