Monday, December 31, 2007

Year-end recap

Finished objects this year:

10 scarves
7 hats
3 shawls (Kiri, Seraphim, Clapotis)
2 baby blankets (1 crocheted, 1 knitted)
2 tank tops (1 crocheted, 1 knitted)
1 pair of socks
2 pairs fingerless gloves
1 baby sweater

Total: 28 finished objects

WIPs still on the needles that I want to finish:

3 sweaters
2 pairs of socks
1 vest
2 scarves

Things I'd like to start on right now, but am mightily striving not to do yet because of the above list of WIPs:

2 more sweaters
2 lace shawls
1 pair of socks (at least one set needs to be done by June)
1 baby blanket (baby is due in March)

Projects that I started and then abandoned because something didn't go right:

too many to list or count!

Related fiber stuff:

Got a spinning wheel (Lendrum folding wheel)
Spun 2 oz. berry & purple BFL (dyed by Lisa Souza)
Spun 1 bobbin full of unknown silvery grey fiber (maybe merino)
Spun 1/2 bobbin of Crown Mountain superwash merino

Updated yarn inventory spreadsheet
Got on Ravelry.
Started this blog (almost forgot that one!)

Hmmm, I was feeling like I hadn't done much this year, but I guess I did okay. In addition to using up some stash yarn for many of the finished object, especially the baby blankets/sweater, and the hats and scarves, I also got rid of 4 bags of yarn that I no longer loved.

There aren't any New Year resolutions. I tend to forget them so now I don't bother. I'd just like to spend lots of time working on my projects - and get more of them actually completed.

I'd like to wish all of you a happy, healthy New Year in 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Only a few more days...

...of vacation. As we were driving home a couple days ago, I had this sudden panic attack:

Small Voice of Panic:
"Oh no, I have school on Wednesday! What am I going to do with the kids?! I don't have a lesson plan yet! They're coming in 1st period; that doesn't give me enough time to come up with anything when I get in that morning! Quick, what can I do?! Help!!!

Voice of Reason:
"Yes, you do have a lesson plan, remember? You were going to introduce the research project that Mr. S is having them do."

Small Voice of Not-So-Much Panic:
"Right... Okay, I'm better now. Maybe I should concentrate on driving... Now, how much knitting time does that give me?"

Christmas was a (mostly) fun time at the House of Mom & Dad.

The good news: everyone got something that they requested.

I got to "take-over" my 6 month-old nephew all Christmas evening.

The nieces and nephews were tons of fun,
including a screaming tickle-fest between my Hubby, A (10-years), and 2-1/2 year-old N (Baby is N's little brother).

The girls (A's 7- and 3-1/2 year old sisters) and The Dork had their own tickle time going.

The bad news: Hubby would really like a new set of lungs that don't react to dust mites. His current set of lungs have gone hypersensitive to dust, and that would include every piece of upholstered furniture in both my parents' and my sister-in-law's houses. We're going to have to install hardwood floors a little earlier than originally planned, I think. That means going through and dealing with all the stuff on the floor in all the rooms.

In actual knitting news (yes, there was knitting involved, but not too much because I had an armful of Baby I), with the exception of weaving in the ends, the Natalya wristers and the Mistake Rib scarf is done (both from Cascade 220 Superwash)

and the Dashing fingerless gloves are 3/4 finished (need to do the thumb on one and I'm only a couple inches from the end of the other.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Drive-by post

Merry Yule, Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas (and a belated Happy Chanukah) to all my friends!

Even though there has been a lot of knitting during this holiday season, very little is meant to be gifted during the holidays, which took some pressure off me. I finished the Natalya wristers, except for weaving in the ends (made from Cascade 220 superwash on size 7 needles, but knit only 3 inches before the thumb gusset) and started on Dashing. Did all 3 cable rows and realized it was going to be too tight, so that was ripped and restarted in the larger size. Going to try for a scarf out of Charcoal Cascade 220 superwash soon. Oh, and I really want to get back to my Twist! Pictures soon, I promise!

This is a drive-by post because we need to leave for Orange County soon, but I think we're going to hit traffic in the LA area at this point. Typical trip down to visit the parents: straight down Hwy. 101, stopping in Santa Barbara for either Mexican or Cajun food. Quick stop at my in-laws' place in Buena Park, then another 1/2 hour to my parents in Lake Forest.

Back Wednesday!

Whoops! I actually forgot to post this before we left! Have safely arrived in Orange County after a fantastic cajun meal at The Palace Grill in Santa Barbara. Jambalaya, yum!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Busy December

It's been a pretty crazy couple of weeks around the Purple Castle. Teaching children anything between Thanksgiving and Christmas is impossible. The Hubby is sick (sinus infection), which sets off his asthma and coughing. Dork Boy is ignoring huge hints to get off the computer and go to bed...what else is new!?

We made a last minute decision to take The Dork to a Junior Olympics qualifying event up in San Francisco last weekend. I guess it helps if you check your spam email folder once in a while, because I missed an email from his coach notifying anyone who was interested. Anyway, he didn't expect to qualify, but thought it would be nice if he did (and a trip to North Carolina for JOs in Feb.). He placed 8th out of 10 epee fencers, and had some very good bouts. He almost won his 2nd direct elimination bout, except that time ran out. That one was against the young man who was seeded 2nd after the pool rounds and who ended up with the silver medal (and IS going to NC). The kid with the orange shoes on the right is mine. Some parents I talked to were very complimentary about The Dork's fencing style. We were going to go back for the foil competition, but when he woke up, he said that he was very tired and that he wouldn't do very well. No problem - there's always next year.

On the knitting front, Nathania had a baby shower on last Thursday, and I really wanted to make Baby Boo something special. Let's just say that baby stuff and I weren't getting along. I cast on 3 different projects, and none of them cooperated with me. 2 baby hats, one with extremely unattractive pooling, and one was cute until I started the patterning on it. One baby sweater - wrong size, not even close! So, Baby Boo received lots of books from me instead!

Of course I took my projects to the fencing competition, and was >thiiiis close< to binding off the back of Twist when I realized that my pattern was missing because I had left it at Purlescence. Oops. Got it back, but still haven't worked on it since then because I decided that the fencing club is so cold that the coaches and office manager need fingerless gloves (by Friday) and that my hair stylist needed a scarf. So much for "not knitting anything for Christmas!

I'm partway through turning the heel on the 1st Midsummer Night sock for The Hubby. Purlescence received the Raven collection from Blue Moon, and The Dork is getting socks from the Korppi colorway.

I decided that I needed to clean off the couch of accumulated yarn, which led to stash reorganization and major purging. There are 4 large bags of yarn that are heading out to Goodwill in the morning. I'm not offering it up to any of you, because most of it is cheap acrylic that was my preferred yarn for baby blankets several years ago. However, I've found different sources for wonderful baby blanket yarn - trust me, you don't want this old stuff. 4 miles worth of old yarn -- gone! Feels good to reclaim some space in my yarn bins for stuff that I still want to use, instead of having it all over the couch.

What's next this vacation? Cleaning the bathroom so the plumber that's coming tomorrow to fix a shower leak won't think I'm a horrible housekeeper. Okay, never mind the rest of the house he has to go through to get there...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December already?!

Here's why I was confused over the the fiber content of my Tobacco Road colorway from Crown Mountain. Label = Corriedale, Jasmin said "Superwash Merino". Kathy thinks to double-check her order. Aha! It is indeed the superwash merino. "But I read the label!" I also found the Black Sun colored fiber, which definitely is the Corriedale.

In knitting news - a few days ago, I got going on the top-down cable cardigan. I'm having fun with it, getting pretty close to putting the sleeve stitches on stitch holders.

BUT, Twist has continued to call my name. After I decided that my gauge using the Classy was not sufficient, I got an email announcing Purlescence's Twist KAL, starting today. Must.Cast.On.Now! So I did. I found the Four Play that I bought at Stitches a couple years ago and I got perfect gauge on size 8s.

Can't wait for the next couple weeks to be over, then I'll be on vacation for 2-1/2 weeks from school! Knitting time!!! Maybe I'll have a new sweater by Christmas...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

When it rains, it pours....OR....A great miracle occurred there

So, after agonizing for a week about the right project for my Classy yarn, I scrapped everything and cast on for a top-down raglan cardigan with cables on the front. It came from a Paton's pamphlet Upside Downers, and is a piece 'o cake to work on.

Then, The Hubby asks about the status of a scarf that I was going to spin and knit as a donation for Winter Camp in February (in Minnesota). Ohhh, now I remember why I bought the Tobacco Road colorway from Crown Mountain. I'm not seeing the colorway any more on the site, however. It is a color (orange!) that's so far away from my usual purple, that I knew there was a reason for it, but couldn't remember. It's the Corriedale pencil roving and it practically spins itself! I just started a little before 2 PM yesterday and couldn't stop!

Then, to add to the insanity, The Dork, actually asked for...A Sweater! He Who Is Never Cold actually requested a hooded sweatshirt-style. I had bugged him about "doggy duty" outside and he said he'd get around to it when it was a little warmer. Hmmm, this is the child who a few years back was in 40 degree weather outside (Washington D.C.) and had to be threatened with detention to put a 2nd layer on. "Preferably in a dark green, Mom" he says. I dash to the stash and pull out a beautiful green/blue wool. "Oh, I like that." "Well, seeing as you were the one who asked me to buy it at Stitches years ago..." Now to find the Wonderful Wallaby pattern that I know is around somewhere!

I've gone from worrying about what to do next and now there are 3 things going (never mind that there are also socks on the needles)!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hitting my head against the wall

Okay, I am such a doofus!

Turns out I have 8 skeins of the Classy , not 6 as previously stated. More than enough for Twist. Which is good because my row gauge is also way smaller than the pattern gauge!

But in looking closer at the stash, I still spend a lot of time trying to match up patterns with existing yarn. When it doesn't work the way I want (not enough yardage, can't get gauge...) then I often buy more. No wonder the stash has grown to the proportions that it has!

California Thanksgiving:

Followed by a 2 hour nap!

Pattern search continued...

Emy said in yesterday's comments:
"Pattern: Go to the Patterns tab, and under that search box, click "try the pattern browser". On that page, you can narrow down all of the patterns within Ravelry by a couple of things, including weights and categories (blanket, pullovers, shawl/wrap, etc.). You can also click multiple items in each section - lace AND DK weight, baby AND blanket, etc.)"

Thanks - that's a partial answer to what I want, and I spent some time looking through what other people have done. I think what I'd love to find is a database where you could input the gauge you're getting from your yarn & needles AND how much yarn you have (and the size you want to make) to narrow down your choices.
Example: I have 6 hanks of the Classy (1500 yards). Ballband gauge is 4.5-5 st/in. I like the fabric at 5-5.5 st/in (size 8 & 7s, respectively) I don't like it at 4.5 (size 9)- waaay too floppy for me.

I thought that Twist would look really good in the Classy. And I have enough for what the pattern calls for in my size, 1430 yards (with collar) However, my inability to get gauge (4.75) is driving me nuts. If I make the next larger size with my slightly smaller gauge, MATH says that I ought to be in my target size. HOWEVER, it will require more yarn (1650 yards) and that I don't have!

I do know that I'll save some yarn by virtue of the fact that I'm short and have short arms, and will adjust accordingly, but will it be enough? Should I chance it only to discover I need more than a few extra yards?
Then, I contemplated my stash database, which I could sort by total yardage, and in looking over my choices that have enough yardage, I realize that only 2 are worsted weight, and neither are suitable for this pattern. I guess that's what I get for buying yarn first and trying to match it to a pattern later!

Yes, I'll be at Purlescence Yarns' Pajama jammie jam sale tomorrow, but I don't want to add too much to the stash, especially not a full sweaters' worth.

Other updates:
The Dork has new shoes, found at Nordstrom Rack, similar to these these . They're flat and flexible and he liked the fit, so I bought 2 pairs.

New dishwasher is on it's way and will be delivered tomorrow! The sales clerk at Western Appliance said that the day before a major food holiday is when they get the people with unrealistic expectations. "Could you deliver and hook up my new gas stove on Thanksgiving so I can cook?" That wasn't me!

While I was shopping for the dishwasher, The Hubby ran the heater and only set the alarm off once. This morning, it was 64 degrees when I got up, and I'm not wrapped in multiple layers. Thanks sweetie!

Off to make cranberry sauce and prep the other stuff for the yummy feast tonight. Happy Turkey Day to everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I'm officially on vacation for the next 5 days - woohoo! What does that really mean?

Well, clean the house so I feel reasonable about Thanksgiving dinner, even though it's just the four of us, buy a new dishwasher because the old one is not happy, get new shoes for The Dork, break down and turn on the heater, cook like a crazy woman (not really), do some grading, and figure out what to knit next!

Cleaning may mean "schlep all the yarn and patterns on the couch and throw them into the bedroom so we can sit on the couch for an evening, then move everything back". I supposed I shouldn't ignore the vacuum cleaner too much longer though. I don't have dust bunnies, but entire herds of dust buffalos. The Dog is shedding massively, getting in her winter coat, and I can't keep up with the roaming herds.

Dishwasher: out to Western Appliance and/or Sears this morning (although I doubt it can be delivered today).

Shoes: anyone got a recommendation for shoes Le Dork can use for fencing? Flattish soles, flexible and available in men's 11 wide. Fencing shoes are expensive, and they are easily destroyed, so we've been told to go find some inexpensive athletic shoes.

Heater: It was 57 degrees inside this morning at 7:45. It is now 10:15 and only 59 degrees. My fingers are cold and I can't type (liberal use of the backspace/delete key). Not everyone in the house is awake yet, so I hesitate to turn on the heater which will almost certainly set off the smoke alarms.

Cooking: Smoked turkey - in the house. Today's cooking - cranberry sauce (easy), and dessert, which I think means heading out to Marie Callenders or Bakers' Square and picking up a pie. Stuffing, green bean casserole, sauteed chard, yams - tomorrow.

Grading papers - ignore as long as possible.

Knitting - hmmm, hardest one. I'm still at a loss for what I should work on. Yes, I have 2 pairs of socks that can be worked on. The Midsummers are going just fine, thankyouverymuch, but I'm trying to save them for purse knitting. The 2differentsizedneedles socks are mostly boring stockinette, and are also purse knitting.

I'd love to make me a new cozy sweater! (The lack of heater this morning influenced me, I think). Swatched for Twist in my Dream in Color Classy, but am entirely incapable of getting 4.75 st/in.

Does anyone know of a resource by which patterns can be sorted by gauge (e.g. I only want to look at patterns that meet this gauge)?
I've spent a lot of time on Ravelry this morning, looking at other people's projects, thinking about what yarn I have in stash that might meet the stated gauge. There's so much out there, and my brain is not in a position to make decisions about what I'm capable of recalculating for my gauge with a given yarn. I suppose I could create such a sortable list, but then I wouldn't have any time for actually knitting!

Oh well, I'll keep on thinking!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm thankful everyday for my home and family, and all my friends - online and in person!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Someone stop me, please!

Okay, so I show you 3 things that I started earlier this week because of 2 FOs. Well, none of those things are still at the top of the list to get done right this minute.

"What!?" you say, "those were great projects!"
"Yes", I say, "but they weren't the RIGHT projects, right then". Either that, or I'm just another unfaithful yarnie.

Diamond Fantasy shawl - soft, enjoyed working on it, looking good in the SeaSilk. But my hands hurt, and the pattern is not quite intuitive for me yet. Christmas was an artificial deadline, and I don't think I can get 2 shawls/scarves done by then.

Juno Regina - great pattern, still hankering to work on it, but I've realized that I don't need another scarf/shawl right now. Also, I can't read Miriam's charts correctly (my fault, not hers)! When you're supposed to K on the right side and P on the wrong side, and you can't remember which side you're on, even though it's pretty obvious which side is in stockinette, it's a project that's not meant to be until you find the brain cells which have gone on vacation. Oh, and by the way, a O in the chart does mean "yarn over", not "stare stupidly at the symbols and try to figure out what it means..."

Spinning - okay, it's the one thing that is going well.

So, what to do? Start yet more projects!

Almost two years ago I bought YarnPlace's Vivace, a bamboo yarn. My plan then was to knit a scarf for my son's middle school choir director - their choir is called "Vivace". Got about 10 inches done, and it was set aside. But they've now changed directors, and I couldn't figure out which row I was on in a basic fishnet lace (pathetic, I know). Oh! My boss is having a birthday in a couple weeks, and I could make a scarf for her. Find the fishnet stitch pattern, start all over -- still can't deal with a YO, K2tog pattern! Try a couple things, rip them out...decide to get her a gift certificate instead! [And then decide to try another pattern with it...we'll see.]

Remember my pathetic sock story from a couple months ago with the socks on 2 different sized needles? Well, since I reclaimed the 2.5 mm from the Pink Dot socks, I'm just going to make the second sock match the first, with a slightly looser sole.

And, I started another pair of socks, this pair for The Hubby, using STR in Midsummer Night. We're going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival next summer and "Midsummer Night's Dream" is one of the plays. I need to make his socks, mine will be in Peaseblossom, and I'm not sure what I'll make The Dork's pair in. (not the "Little Bunny Foo-foo" in the picture!) Teenage boys are so difficult!

Stay tuned to see what actually happens!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2 FOs - and now what's next?

Have you ever started a project, only to decide that there's something else you want to also work on, and oh by the way, there's that project you need to deal with too....And then you can't decide on which you want to really devote time to, so you only spend a few minutes with each, and nothing is quite right, so you start something else entirely...

Nah, never happened to me!

I did finish the Diamond Granny square blanket, and the grandma was overjoyed. Her reaction made me feel good, even though I didn't feel like I put that much effort into it. I could have gotten it done in a week, but I got bored with the basic blanket and designed it on the fly. If the idea didn't work, it got ripped.
Diamond Granny Square Blanket (my own design - I winged it and ripped out a lot!)
Yarn: Bernat Baby Boucle in Dust of Pink, Soft Lemon, and Misty Blue
Hook size: K (6.5 mm)
Started: Nov. 2, 2007
Finished: Nov. 13, 2007

Pink Dot socks - done!
Yarn: Claudia Handpaints Fingering weight yarn, Pink Dot colorway
Needles: size 2 (2.75 mm)
Pattern: waffle stitch, toe-up
Started: Oct. 13, 2007
Finished: Nov. 15, 2007

Therefore, I can cast on for at least a couple new things, right? Okay, what would I like to work on (never mind that I'm ignoring several WIPs that are at least 75% done)? The Juno Regina shot up to the top of my list after the Knitty surprise came out last week. Guess what - I even have the called for yarn [no, I won't admit to how much Helen's Lace (Lornas Laces) I have], but I'm going to do it in Lakeview. Must knit this NOW! Just took a picture, but I'm not going to show it to you because I noticed a glaring error in my knitting!

Then I thought I should make The Dork's fencing coach a shawl for Christmas, because she admired my Kiri that I made last spring. Gee, darn, Purlescence got some Sea Silk last week, and some fell into my knitting bag. After swatching and trying out several patterns, the Diamond Fantasy shawl rose to the top. I'm going to see how far I can get with one skein. I absolutely love how soft this yarn is, but the silk doesn't "give" the way wool does, and it's been a bit hard on my wrists. Around row 40 on this one.

Never mind that I told myself that there wasn't going to be any Christmas knitting this year.

But, but, but...
I've also been really wanting to get back to some spinning. My poor wheel [hmmm, I should name it] has been very neglected since the spring. Cuteknitter delivered my share of some fantastic Crown Mountain fiber. But I've vowed not to spin any of it until I get some existing fiber done. I'd love to show you my spinning, but Blogger is choking on loading the picture of my 3/4 full bobbin. I'm not sure what kind of fiber it is, but Sandi thinks it's BFL. All I know is that it's very soft and spins like a dream, and a beautiful silver color. I got it when I got my wheel back in January. When I've filled this bobbin, then I can spin some of the new stuff.

Thank goodness for Thanksgiving week coming up. I'm off on Wednesday-Sunday; we're not going anywhere, and I'm going to sit and knit until I can't knit any more!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Another one of those weeks!

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my job as a school librarian! It's just the little things that get in the way THE KIDS!

Kindergarten - couldn't shut up. Now, as everyone knows, I don't shut up either. But I do expect a basic level of listening skills and respect for those who are speaking. When I'm telling a story is not the time to discuss something that the story indirectly reminds you of, as kinder kids are easily distractable. Arrgh!

3rd grade -- can't follow directions to get out of a paper bag! Picture a class of 15-18 kids with worksheets on their desks. I give directions about the first, more confusing side. 25% can't figure out which side I'm talking about and keep flipping their page over, as if a huge splash of color is going to show up and indicate "THIS ONE!" The worksheet is all about following directions and identifying different parts of a library catalog record. Okay, fine - that side is finished.

"Do not turn the page over yet." Half the kids promptly turn the page over.
"I said, 'do not turn the page over'!" (sheepish looks from the kids)
I continue with the instructions, but 2 sentences later, 3 kids are looking at it again.
"Am I speaking in English?! What part of 'Do not turn the page over yet' are you not understanding?!" [Sheesh!]
"Remember, it is not a race to finish. The ones who have been finishing the fastest are the ones who are not thinking about the questions and getting them wrong." Two kids turn the page over.

Rinse, repeat 7 times - once for each section of 3rd grade.
And other teachers are saying the same things about their students this week, too, so I know it's not me, it's them!

Looked out my kitchen window to see this cheeky bugger in my 4-1/2 foot tall persimmon tree.

Guess the rest of the persimmons were ripe!

I called cuteknitter and said I needed OUT, NOW! So we went here and had a great dinner with Anna and then to Knit Night at Purlescence. Definitely what I needed - thanks everyone!

Believe it or not, there has been movement on the fiber front!
My pink dot socks are getting closer to done. On the 2nd sock, need to start the heel...but couldn't remember how to do a shortrow heel because my instructions disappeared. One of Saturday's tasks is to clear off the couch of all yarn, the stack of patterns/books/magazines so we can actually sit there again! Maybe I'll find my missing page...or maybe I'll do the easy thing, search for the directions online (because I have the pdf in a computer file that's easier to find) and completely ignore the couch.

My other project is a baby blanket for one of our admin assistants. She's a new grandma, and our book club had a "Grandma shower" for her last week. As she will be picking up her granddaughter and babysitting every afternoon for a couple hours, she needs lots of fun stuff! The blanket I was making for her wasn't done yet, so I wrapped it and put a note with it "if this is returned to me, I'll make it big enough for you to wrap the baby in..." I arrived at the party a couple hours late, as I had to take The Dork to his fencing class (and traffic...ick!) first. As I walked in, Grandma said "where's your crochet hook and the extra yarn? This needs to get done!" This weekend should do it, but I'm making it up as I go, and have had to rip out several rows because it wasn't quite right.

FYI, cuteknitter has been a very bad enabler! (or good, from your point of view...) Fiber from here is arriving and I need to find room for it in my spinning stash. Guess I do have to clear off the couch after all...

And around 11:30 last night, Dear Hubby informed me that a plumber is now needed for issues in both bathrooms and , oh by the way, there is a roof leak in the office.

Such is life...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How good is your vocabulary?

I was sent this link today to Free Rice. It's a great vocabulary game, and you're helping the world's hungry at the same time! Warning though - it's pretty addictive; although, that's a good thing because you'll be sending more rice for each word you correctly identify.

I'm consistently around Level 43 (out of 50), and I've donated over 800 grains today. How about you?

Wild Ride

Well, sorta! And I'm not talking about the new car, either.

We had an earthquake a little bit ago. More info here. The Dork and I were in the market at the bakery counter, as Hubby wanted something a bit sweet for dessert. A sharp jolt, then a rolling motion for several seconds. Everyone looked at each other, said "wow" and then went about their business. As The Dork said, "That's Californians for you!"

Hubby had just gotten home and punched the button to close the garage. It shakes a little anyway as it's closing, but he thought the shaking was the garage door needing repair. The Dog wasn't happy inside the house, as she hadn't been let out of her kennel yet.

No knitting tonight, though. Maybe in a bit - if I can stay awake.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I'm back!

Can anyone guess the city I was in?

There was some knitting - one Pink Dot sock is done and the 2nd is cast on. Monkey socks were cast on, then ripped out because I clearly don't understand that when you use a smaller yarn than the called-for fingering weight, you get smaller socks than you expected; then I was too tired to figure out whether adding one repeat was going to work.

Got some good ideas from the conference, but I was a little disappointed that there weren't as many people attending as I've seen in years past. Really wished I could have chosen a yarn conference to go to, but I don't think school would have paid for it!

Where the conference was located wasn't too bad smoke-wise. There was enough of a sea breeze to keep the smoke out of the area. But down near my parents' house and up by my sister's, there was more smoke in the air, and my lungs knew it. Saturday morning on her street, the fire damage wasn't really obvious. No houses damaged in the Foothill Ranch area, but it was close. The hill wasn't really blackened, even though it was clear that the fire had come through.

Back down the hill, I took this shot which showed that the fire was still going strong.

Glad to be home; glad to get back to my regular routine; glad to drive my new car!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Doin' the Happy Dance!

A little light reading:

My new toy was delivered tonight:

I'll be out of town this weekend; going to SoCal for a conference, so I won't get to drive it much, but that's okay - it's mine for a long time!

Yes, I'm taking projects. In my pink dot socks, I'm only a couple inches from finishing the cuff of the first. I may also cast on for some Monkey socks in some Opal yarn that I have (not sure yet about this). But I'm planning on only taking my purse and a large tote bag. I don't need a suitcase for just 2 nights. Couple changes of clothing and toiletries, and I'm outta here!

Cross your fingers that the fires will be out soon, and pray for those who have lost everything. Luckily, my sister's and my brother's homes were fine (Santiago fire in Orange County), but it was a little scary to see her pictures of the fire coming up over the last ridge before the homes began.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Now, where was I?

My intention was to be updating this more often than every couple weeks (okay Mari?) but life seems to have gotten in the way.

So, what has happened...
Dryer is fixed - laundry is going right now, and no squealing! [Of course, now the dishwasher is acting up...]

Foster Dog has gone to another foster home; hopefully one in which she doesn't have to bark and discipline upstart territorial dogs. Good luck Lena!

Got my Ribby Shell finished in time to wear to Purlescence's birthday party. Great pictures taken by Tony!

Had loads of fun & laughter at a Build-a-bear party with the Purl Girls. See the recap here. This is Booker T. Bear and he is going to live at school for the kids.

Jury duty (on call) is finally over. Apparently, US District Court is now asking for a 2 week commitment, not just the one week that I normally get called for. Life was made even more interesting, as my clerk at school also got called for THE SAME DATE! Actually, we got a little lucky, as neither one of us even had to go in, but I had already postponed mine. Frankly, I was a little disappointed, because I could have used the knitting time! I called the courthouse and was told "of course" to bring in my knitting. In fact, the guy who answered the phone sounded a little surprised that I would even ask.

That time could have been used on this project: started and almost finished a stockinette shrug to wear for our anniversary (17th) dinner last night at Sent Sovi (love you, sweetheart). As of 3:30 yesterday afternoon, I had just joined for the 2nd sleeve, but there was no way to finish it by a 5PM dinner date. Dream in Color's Classy yarn in the color "Good luck jade".

Spent all afternoon at a fencing tournament (foil) today at which The Dork got put in a round robin pool with some really strong fencers. He's not one of them! He and his coach have now decided that foil fencing is not his strength and he'll do better at epee fencing.

Pink dot socks are moving along. I've already turned the heel and am headed up the cuff now. I'm trying to decide if I want to go further up than my usual 3" or so. If I do, I'll have to figure out how to work increases into the waffle stitch pattern.

Started a new crocheted baby blanket for a "Grandma shower" in a couple weeks. The funny part is that the yarn originally came from the new Grandma a couple years ago in a secret pal swap at work!

Oh - and I'm getting a new car (finally)! A Mazda3 sedan should be heading my way within the next 2 weeks...can't wait! My current car has 306,000 miles and is 21 years old. It's been so long since I bought a car and there was lots of research, Internet surfing, test driving & second guessing myself. With any luck, I'll even get it in my preferred color - you guessed it: purple! A great plummy purple called "Phantom Purple Mica". For a while I was going to settle for a Toyota Corolla, which felt a little staid and boring inside, but it had the better gas mileage and trunk space. But my ideal Corolla LE doesn't exist - manual transmission, ABS brakes and side curtain airbags -- at least not in California. The Mazda3 feels more updated and I know I can get the safety features that I want in it. After all, The Dork is almost driving very, very afraid - I've seen how he steers a cart in the supermarket!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Well, the excitement (!) of yesterday evening got even more interesting after 2 AM. Dog, who was not on my good helper list last night, is more-than-ever not on my good-helper list this morning, after she barked and whined for over 2 hours. In her defense, she thought she was doing the right thing in protecting our house from the intruder German Shepherd that we put in the backyard for the night (foster dog).

Wrong thing to do. Dog was not happy with this other dog in "her space" and kept barking. Even when foster dog was taken away to another venue (thank goodness for Motel 6 that has pet rooms), Dog kept barking, thinking FD was still out there. At 3:15, I had to let her outside to see for herself that the intruder was not around - she wasn't satisfied...and kept barking!

Neighbors - I'm sorry if FD woke you up. We'll try not to let it happen again!

Needless to say, I haven't been fully awake today, even with coffee, 3-1/2 hours of sleep is not adequate. Yawn!! Thank goodness for the student who had a birthday today and gave me a doughnut to celebrate.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Is it over yet...?

[Edited to add: here are the pictures]

Okay, I'm mad at the world right now - I knew life would decide to get me....

Grading papers is the bane of my existence. Even though I'm a librarian, I have to assess my students somehow. So, I just have to deal with it. Doesn't mean I have to like it though.

I HATE THE LAUNDROMAT! Actually, normally, I'd look forward to it because it's a guaranteed couple hours of crocheting/knitting time. The Dryer is dead and has been since last week - needs a bearing, otherwise it makes a horrible, worse-than-stuck-pig, teeth-on-edge, the-neighbors-hate-me kind of squeal. Turns out the part showed up today in the mail, but can't have the repairman come for another couple days because we can't be home.

So, I have laundry to be done. I know that the local laundromat is open - big sign in the windows "Last Wash 8:00 PM". I roll out of the house at 7:40, arriving there at 7:45 to find the door locked. Finally get the attention of the older man who is slowly sweeping the floor. He comes over, pulls the key out of his pocket, looks at my laundry bag, shakes his head and walks away. Now, what #@$%@#$ part of 7:45 PM means 8:00 PM?! I'm knocking on the window, making a spectacle of myself, and he ignores me....grrrr! Don't know of any others nearby... Guess which place is getting a polite but angry call tomorrow!

Last straw - come home to try and find another place semi-nearby that would be open later (no such luck) and realize that there's a skein of yarn on the floor. I pick it up to find this ... [Arrggghhh - Blogger is out to get me too - it won't load any pictures and gives me a gobbledygook error...]

Imagine if you will a blue hank of sport-weight alpaca. It no longer looks like a smooth hank, but has LOTS of ends sticking out of it - you guessed it, chewed up!

Also imagine if you will, that I posted 2 pictures of possible culprits - one is of a dog, and one is of a Dork. Somehow though, I think I can eliminate The Dork, because he is old enough and human enough to understand that you don't mess with my yarn. Besides that, he was at school!

I think I'll go climb into bed, pull the covers over my head and whimper for a while. Someone please let me know when it's safe to come out!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Birthday shenanigans

Had a wonderful birthday weekend, spent with "my people" - fiber fiends! Went to TKGA/CGOA and hung out in the marketplace with Sandi and her family. Saw some wonderful yarns and things, but was very frugal in my spending. Some people can't believe that the only yarn I bought was 2 skeins of Pacific Meadows alpaca in periwinkle (for my secret pal at school). But having done the Great Yarn Inventory of 2007, I realized how much I have and that I can't possibly make a very large dent in it before next February and Stitches West.

As my birthday present to myself, I did buy a lovely shawl pin from Gita Maria. It's not pictured on her website, but this one is called "Granite."

On Sunday, I bought myself a yummy chocolate mousse birthday cake from Bijan bakery and took it to Purlescence where I shared it with the Tea & Sympathy crowd as an advance on Nathania's birthday next week & for her Kevin's birthday a few days ago. Kinda celebrated Sandi's birthday, too, even though she wasn't there! She was at the Renaissance Faire, which I need to get back to one of these days...

Actual knitting:

After the Great Sock Fiasco of a few days ago, I chucked everything back in its bag, with the exception of the size 2 needle. That I pulled out of the old sock and started (with the other size 2 - I triple-checked!) on some Claudia Hand Paint fingering weight yarn in Pink Dot for some basic toe-up socks. So far, so good!

I've found that I'm really good at being in denial about my crafting. I'm such a process knitter and crocheter that I've found that I can ignore an issue until it has become glaringly obvious that I'm not going to be happy with the end product. For example, take the Ribby Shell that I've been working on. It was literally within an inch of the front being completed when I realized that I would not be happy with how the ribbing was lining up front & back at the shoulders. I had noticed that with the back that there weren't the same number of ribs on each side, but figured that no one would notice, so I went on with the front. The right front was done, and I wasn't happy about how poorly the ribbing was lining up with the corresponding stitches in the back, but I still ignored it. When I was close to finishing the left front, I finally had to admit to myself that it wasn't going to work there either and I was just not going to be happy with it.

The issue that I ignored was that I can't count to bind off the correct number of stitches on either side of my marked side stitches. When you are supposed to bind off 7 stitches either side of the marked stitch, and you bind off six on one side and 8 on the other, of course the subsequent ribbing that travels up the side of the armholes doesn't match at the top after all the decreases. There are no pictures of the ensuing carnage, but I did reknit the back today, with the correct number of bound off stitches!

However, I really should head to bed - work calls tomorrow!

Friday, September 28, 2007


So, I was all set to post about Jane's Show your socks contest when I realized something.

Here are my first, second and latest socks. The green pair (unknown Opal yarn) were made at least 5-6 years ago. The Dork had seen the yarn at Stitches and said "Hey Mom, that yarn would make great socks for school." (school colors being green and white, uniforms...) So I made them, and he wore them for about 2 months before outgrowing them. And, oh darn, his feet had been the same size as mine were for those 2 months...MINE!

The 2nd pair was again Opal yarn, and right now I'm too lazy to go look up which colorway it was. They were made a few months after the first pair.

The green/blue/lavender toe-up sock on 2 circs was discovered in the Great Inventory of 2007. I don't remember making it! I had even cast on the second toe right away, hoping to avoid SSS. Clearly that didn't work! Went back and looked in my Knitable program on my Palm Pilot, and it indicates that I made the first one in Feb. 2004. I need a small knitting project to keep in my purse, so I throw this in. In the last couple days, a few stitches here and there.

Tonight, at the fencing club, I'm knitting away when I accidentally grab the back needle's end, instead of the other end of the front needle, thus creating a bit of looped circular and no way to go anywhere! One needle is now completely free of the sock and drops into my lap.

As I'm laughing at myself and slipping the stitches back to where they should be, I realize that I'm fighting the stitches, which seem awfully tight. A closer examination reveals that I have 2 different size needles in this sock. One is a 2 mm and the other is a 2.5 mm needle. What!? How could I not tell that I'm using different sizes? And, horrors, I'm sure these are the same 2 that I used in the first sock, because of the cast-on stitches I found on them. More investigation - sure enough, the sole stitches on the completed sock are slightly looser than the top of the foot! AAARRGGGHHHHH!

So, what should I do?
A) Ignore everything and keep going because that way the socks would match.
B) Rip out the 2nd toe and start over with 2 needles the same size.
C) Rip out both and start over with 2 needles the same size.
D) Throw it in the corner and start new socks using needles of the same size.

After all, I need something to work on while I'm at TKGA/CGOA conference this weekend in Oakland! I'm driving up tomorrow with Sandi, and maybe again Sunday by myself... And it's my birthday tomorrow, so getting to spend it doing what I love to do is just Heaven! But I've got to find something to work on!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Where did the week go?

I know, I know where the time went! (hand waving wildly in the air) Ravelry took it! Work took it! Nagging The Dork took it!

Monday - Back to School Night. I got to talk with all the 4th grade parents who came about Information Literacy and why it's important that students learn how to quickly find relevant, accurate info in this age of information overload. I mean, think about it in fiber terms - how are we as adults deciding which patterns we'd like to make, what clothing option might actually suit the person it's made for, what yarn to use, whether the pattern is accurate or not, how to modify or fix the pattern to suit what you want to make, and then decide whether or not we did the right thing? (Couldn't knit, though. Out of the house from 7 AM to 9:30 PM)

Side trip: the Big6 research method in action:

1) Task definition - What questions do I need to answer? What is my end product supposed to be?
In other words: what's my next project? I need to make a sweater for my roommate. Parameters - Hopefully one that fits her! Needs to be made in something washable, soft is good, and she's a plus-sized woman whose size is not reflected in the standard knitted pattern measurements.

2)Information seeking strategies: What are all the sources I can look at for info on this question? Which are the best ones for me to start with? Internet, subscription databases, books, interview....
In other words: Ask her what she wants, search through my sweater books for something that might have elements she'd like. After all, I don't need to bother with the sock books for this question! Other places I should use are the Ample Knitter's site, Big Girl Knits, ask at my LYS for help, talk with knitters who have made plus-sized sweaters about what how they've modified existing patterns to fit.

3) Location and access: How do I get to all these resources?
In other words: Online is not a problem because that's available to me and I know how to search effectively. Getting to the yarn shop - maybe I should wait until they open...darn it, that's not until after I have to be at work. I guess that'll have to wait until later. Oh no, I now have to wait for a copy of Big Girl Knits because everyone is out of it and the library's copy is checked out.

4) Use of information: Once you've found some information, you need to understand it and take notes. If it isn't quite right, go to the next source. Constantly be thinking of the Task in mind to make sure you're doing the right thing.
In other words: measure and write it down so you don't have to do it again! Look at the different options for the sweater, stitch pattern, find something that's close to the defined sweater, choose the right yarn and color (in this case, Encore worsted in a sage green), make a gauge swatch so you can play with the numbers... scribble various numbers in the margins of some possible patterns. Decide that recalculating existing patterns is too much work. Decide that you need to draft the pattern on your own when you find a link to tutorial on fitted sweaters.

5) Synthesis: put all your notes & information together in the final product.
In other words: Knit it! OF COURSE, you are constantly evaluating whether or not the end product is going to suitably answer the Task Definition. Take your gauge numbers, plug them into your pattern formula and actually do it!

6) Evaluation: did I do the right project? Did I do all the things I was supposed to do on it - did it match my Task Definition? How did I feel about it?
In other words: does it fit and does she like it? What have I learned from this project? Would I do another one? Why and why not?

Where am I in the process? Only at #4, but almost ready for #5. Can I get this one done for Christmas, seeing as I started this process around this time last year...?

Okay, back to the week:
Tuesday & Wednesday - besides the regular day school librarian thing, I also work for a public library. Usually only Wednesday evenings for 3 hours, but got asked to fill in on Tuesday night too. Out of the house from 7 AM until 9:45 PM.

Thursday - After we arrived home about 6 PM, thought about going out again to Knit Night at Purlescence, but then decided I was too tired to do any more driving. Loaded projects into Ravelry.

Friday - School all day, get The Dork to his fencing class by 6:30, have to pick him up around 9:30. What to do in between? Why, go to Late Night Knits/Movie night at Purlescence! Pirates of the Caribbean, comfort food, friends, yarn...what more do you need? Out of the house from 7 AM until 11 PM.

Saturday - Out of the house by 9:30 to get The Dork up to the fencing club to help coach the younger kids and then his lesson and class. Should pick him up around 3:30. Although, he needed to learn to wire his new epee blade, so he called and said pick up around 4:30 because the wiring should take between 15-30 minutes after his coach finished private lessons. Well, we didn't leave the club until 6 PM, after they'd worked on it for 2 hours and something wasn't quite right. [That's okay, lots more knitting time!]

On the real knitting/crocheting front, I'm finally blocking the Pretty-in-Purple tank top.

and I've divided my Ribby Shell into front and back, and might actually have another finished product soon!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Time suck!

OMG, OMG, OMG -- I got my Ravelry invite in the mail this morning! Didn't think I would get it so soon, because there were about 1700 people ahead of me about a week ago. They're moving faster in getting the invites out, so hopefully you'll get there sooner than you think you will! Look me up, if you're on; my name is KathyinSanJose. "QueenofPurpleYarn" was too long, and "Purple Yarn" was already taken by someone in Ohio.

More later!

Edited to add: The title of this posting said it all. It's 2:30 AM; my alarm is going to go off at 6 AM, and I'm trying to extricate myself from Ravelry. Loaded up some stash photos onto my new Flickr page, got a few projects and stash yarns into Ravelry -- my eyes are getting blurry, but I need to add just one more bit of info, and then another... Somebody stop me quick!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Catching up!

All right, so it took me longer than "tomorrow" to get pictures taken of my recent projects. In my defense, this "school has started, you have to work full-time" thing has taken all the daylight hours where I'm actually coherent. When I get home, even if it's still daylight, I haven't had enough brain cells to do more than eat, stare blankly at my blog feeds and fall over asleep.

Anyway, here's the info on the Kiri shawl:


Pattern: Kiri shawl from
All Tangled Up
(love this shawl, Polly!)
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr (wool/silk)
Needles: size 5 (3.25 mm)
Started: 4/2/07
Finished: 6/21/07

Here's another view of Kiri, with Katja-the-goofy-dog and one of her favorite toys: In a perfect dog's world, balls would grow on trees. Our neighbor has a lemon tree and an apple tree which overhang into our backyard. We have permission to pick any fruit we can reach. But sometimes, lemons or apples fall off. Katja loves to carry them around, roll them at us using her nose, and eat them. There's not much that's funnier than watching her thought process..."I found a ball!" "hmmm, it tastes funny when I bite down on it" (Looks quizzically at it with her head tilted and the eyebrows raised) "but it's a ball!" Pounce...repeat.

Some Current WIPs:

The Pretty-in-pink sweater, crocheted in purple (of course!). This is the second try at this. The first was ripped out due to a delusional belief that it would be long enough. My gauge is different enough from the stated pattern gauge that I had to recalculate a bit. Because it's crocheted on the diagonal, with the bottom border integrated, it was a little deceptive about the length when I held it up to myself. I kept thinking that "it'll lengthen when I block it"... Who was I kidding? Myself, obviously. When I finished enough repeats and pinned it on myself to check, the border fell right across the middle of my stomach. NOT a good look, at all! So this is being redone, adding 3 inches to the length, which will work out just right (I hope).

Gemini Vest (from LaLana Wools). I love working with this silk! Soft, smooth, great color. According to the pattern, if I do this in silk, I have to go one pattern size down. But I'm adding a little extra length to it. Hope I have enough yarn to make it through, otherwise, I'll have to rip it for the 2nd time...

Ribby Cardi -- I need to redo the sleeve caps on this one, because my upper arms are not that slim. I really should get that done, then I'd have a new fall sweater. Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK...This was started (eek) almost 3 years ago...

Sweater for A., our housemate. Really should get cracking on this one, as I'd like to have it done for Christmas. But she's a large-size gal, and I'm going to have to redo all the maths on the sweater style she chose. Sage-green Encore, mostly stockinette.

Oh, and I'm coordinating an afghan project for Chloe, AKA one of the Purl Girls. She's had a rough time of it lately, and I really want to send her hugs from everyone. If you can, make an 8x8" square with any yarn you have, in any pattern, knit/crochet/felted - doesn't matter, as long as it includes some red). Drop them off at Purlescence Yarns, or give them to me when you see me. I'm hoping to give it to her by early October, so any squares I can get before the end of September will be very welcome!

Lastly, here are 2 pictures of The Dork.
Here, he's dressed for the first day of 10th grade, which included Matriculation ("I promise to be a good student and citizen and to be nice to the new freshmen, even though I really hate having to wear formal clothes...").

The fencing dork at practice. "Mom, don't take my picture or I'll use my epee on your camera!"


Sunday, August 19, 2007


Summer is officially over for me...sigh! Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that school was out? What do you mean I have to return to full-time work tomorrow?!

What I did on my summer vacation:


1. Finished my Kiri shawl. Hmmm. can't find a good picture of it - maybe tomorrow...

2. I was gone this weekend to visit my family because of this new nephew addition (and his big brother and cousins, as well as Mom & Dad). Ian was the one I made the Ribbon blanket for in July.

3. Made a Diversity scarf (scroll down to the Nov. 13 entry)
Pattern: Diversity scarf (pattern available from Purlescence)
Yarn: Bazic wool
Needles: US size 9 (5.5 mm)
Begun: July 23, 2007
Finished: August 9, 2007

4. Made a Clapotis for my friend L. who loves it!

Pattern: Clapotis
Yarn: Ritratto color #64
Needles: US size 8 (5.0 mm)
Begun: June 24, 2007
Finished: August 13, 2007

5. Started this Gemini vest in Bombyx silk (pics later).

6. And the Pretty-in-Pink tank top from "Simply Creative Crochet" (2003). Of course, mine is in purple! (pics later, too)

Other stuff:

Went to Ashland, OR to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Hung out a lot at Purlescence Yarns.

Worked a lot at the public library.

Read all the Harry Potter books (started and finished #7 yesterday).

Drove my son to fencing lessons 3 days/week.

Hmmm, I guess I was busier than I thought. Just think of how much I'd get done without the kids at school! Oh - there is this little thing called a paycheck...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wish me luck!

I've taken most of the day to work on my yarn inventory. Honey (Hubby) and The Dork (son) are gone for a few more days at camp, so I could pull all the bins out and see what I really have. I don't dare do it while they're home because I've now taken over the entire bed, and half the living room. No, I'm not showing you those pictures!

I'd like to blame the blogging bug for this project, because I thought I should find all my purple yarn! I did, and piled it all on the patio table. Hmmm, over 85 different purple yarns (I only grabbed one skein of each, so don't ask how many total purple skeins I have...) I wanted to put it up as the picture in my header, but Blogger wouldn't load the pic correctly. So, it'll be here, for the moment.

Then, I realized that a lot of the yarn had migrated to various places and tote bags, and started to get it back together. Then, I thought as long as it was out, I should take some photographic evidence. Which evolved into updating the Excel spreadsheet, and maybe will eventually get me to admit that I have a yarn habit! Eventually, the pics will go into a Flickr account, and eventually into Ravelry. I'm only behind about 5,000 more people!

Time to get back to photographing and updating!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Amy Singer rocks!

Last weekend I was lucky enough to spend both days knitting at one of my favorite places with Amy Singer! Her book is a wealth of information about non-animal fibers, as well as some beautiful patterns.

Saturday was the No Sheep for You discussion and some swatching of hemp yarn and Calmer to see the different characteristics. I really have to get some Calmer now -- not that I need any more yarn! {Edited to add: Thanks Emy for the correction: we swatched hemp and Rowan Bamboo Tape. We talked a lot about the Calmer, though!}

I took the Tuscany class on Sunday, and started by using a ribbon yarn that I bought at Stitches a few years ago. Really like the look...really did not like the feel of the fabric! Too stiff for a shawl. I think this yarn would be be a great summer top. However, I had an inspiration and realized that I have some gorgeous handpainted Tencel laceweight Almaza. I love how it's working up - and by using the Addi Turbo lace needles, I'm actually able to to the k3tog pretty easily. Isn't it purty!

Of course, I need to put it down and work on the 3/4-done Clapotis - I think that's finally long enough and I need to start decreasing! I spent the rest of the day just hanging out and laughing and talking and knitting!

THEN, yesterday, I left work on the dot of 12:30 PM. Those of you who know me know that I NEVER leave right on time. There's always one last little thing to finish or another kid who comes up with a question. But, I needed to get up to Artfibers. If you have never been there, you HAVE to go! Met up with the ladies from Purlescence who were showing Amy a great time in SF. Nathania has a great account of the day (and she got better pictures than I did)! Or take a look at Amy's SF picture set here. I was really good and only bought 1 cone of Liana which should be plenty to make Cookie A's Katrina Rib sweater. Not that I have any time...

Need to get back to the needles!