Knotty Purls

"Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica"

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Now I have seen it all!

I was checking out Threadbared today and I really don't know how I have lived life without these little critters... Period Pals...Yep, you read that correctly. Handknit tampon holders. I think this is the point in time when we have to realize that we have run out of things to knit. It is time to step back and find another hobby. The scary part...someone out there is really going to make these and carry them around in their purse. As if these are less embarrassing to pop out than that yellow and white wrapper. As if no one will figure out what is in them - or better yet, ASK! Oy Vey, what has our society come to?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gotta love San Antonio because....

where else can you have Margarita's at 10:00 a.m.? We went to the King William Fair this morning, and took Baby Baxter with us. He was a bigger hit than the parade! We couldn’t walk anywhere for the people wanting to know all about him. He ate it up!! At first he just liked the petting but then he realized that all these people had food! He tried to steal a little boy’s hotdog, and another’s french fries. Then there was the sausage on a stick, and the turkey legs and the cookies… Now he is just exhausted. Here are some photos of him watching the parade (he did NOT like the drums) and a crowd of little girls who were loving on him.

We were supposed to stop at the LYS, on the way home but I completely forgot. By the time I remembered I wasn’t in the mood to go back. I was hot, tired and sticky – in addition to my love of cheesecake, I also have an addiction to FUNNEL CAKE! I have tried to find these size 2 circular needles online but am not getting very far. I have found the but I don’t like them all that much. I have found the Clover straights but no one seems to have the Clover circular. I can’t get to the LYS until next week sometime. They are not open on Sunday and they are not open after 5:00 p.m. Ummmm, that eliminates about 90% of the time I can get there. I tried 2 different Michael's yesterday with no luck.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Top Chef Review

Did you catch Steven getting boot last night? Don't let the door hitcha on the way out babe! So, why did they think they would have more time to plan this reception? They have never had longer than 24 hours before - why start now! I realize that it takes a special person to be a pastry chef but out of 5 people not one has a cake recipe? Actually, using the boxed cake mix was probably one of their best ideas!

I recently subscribed to Interweave Knits and I thought my subscription would start with the next issue, since everyone I had talked to had their subscription messed up. Well, guess what showed up today...the spring 2006 issue that I have already had for a month. Oh well, better 2 issues than none I suppose. I am anxious to make the Drop-Stitch Hoodie. Elann has some great acrylic microfiber coming in May and I think it would be perfect for this pattern.

I am ready to cast on the Vintage Pink Cardigan but I still don't have the size 2 needles I need. By the time I finished cleaning the house today I just didn't feel like leaving the house. Instead, I stayed in and made treats for the dogs. Apple Cinnamon Biscuits...all natural ingredients...super crunchy. My guys love them more than the store bought kind. Even Cydney (my friend Robin's Pyr), who is the pickiest eater on earth, LOVES my treats. We have a big dog event coming in May and I plan to sell my treats as a fundraiser.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

To answer some of your comments…

1. Baxter is just fine and hopefully he is scarred enough to stay away from my curtains. It is one of my pet peeves--the dogs will lie under or on the curtains and get them all dirty. Poor Baxter is a few French fries short of a Happy Meal but we love him anyway. We call him our little Jessica Simpson.
2. Out of 20,000 yards of yarn, I do not have one single white ball in there. Ok, I lie…there is a half skein of white fluffy eyelash and one skein of a cream-colored wool. No way am I making a shrug from either. I just think I need white because it will go with everything.

I have been going over my numbers for the Vintage Pink Cardigan in a 36” based on some of the instructions Claudine gave me and I was only off by two stitches. Not bad for a neophyte who flunked Algebra! One good tip she gave me…if the numbers in the current pattern are even, mine should be too. I had a couple that didn’t match the pattern and I had to rework them (and remember how I came up with them in the first place). I’m still not getting this whole ease thing but maybe it will make sense to me once I am working on this.

In the process of doing the inventory this weekend I realized that I have a bunch of yarn that I used for baby stuff and have quite a bit left over. I think I might make up some baby stuff for me. I have already made one blanket but maybe if I move on to sweaters it will make the little critter come faster. I have some cream and gray shine & shine from Knit Picks, which would make a nice little sweater. I’m thinking a motif on the back with the gray. Definitely a cardigan. I don’t do pullovers for babies. That is one sure way to make them cry! Cotton would be perfect for any time of the year because even in the house, a baby will need a sweater as a layer but not one made for living in an igloo.

Lastly, I apologize for not having hyperlinks on yesterday’s post. I had hyperlinks in my word version but they didn’t copy to Blogger. Then, as I was preparing to put in the links, a warning came up telling me that there would be an outage at 4:00 PST. I looked at the clock and realized it was 2 minutes away! I am contemplating moving over to Typepad but DH isn’t convinced he wants to pay for it every month. We have a free blogging system through Mac Ilife but it is very plain and well, kind of ugly. Plus, no one would ever find me--I have to remind DH that his Mac world isn’t as large as he would like to believe.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A little poem...

‘Twas the night before Monday and all through the house,
Some creature was stirring; gosh, I hope that’s not a mouse.
The puppies were all nestled snug in their beds,
While visions of a buffet danced in their heads.
And papa in his boxers and I in my cap (yeah right),
Had just settled down for a short night’s nap.
When across the room there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the lamp I flew like a flash,
Careful not to trip or else there would be another crash.
Annabelle in a corner, she shook like a leaf,
“Oh please Dear Lord, don’t make me protect them from a thief”.
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
Baxter and reindeer?
Oh, could it be that Christmas came early?
Nope, just Baxter and a curtain rod, all shiny and curly.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And he was wearing red curtains to boot.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to my bed,
For he was sure he soon would be dead.

This poem was written in honor of Baxter and my 1:00 a.m. wake up call. We have a curtain rod that is not too secure in the wall. The dogs love to lie under the curtains. Can you see where this is going? At 1:00 this morning, Baxter managed to get wrapped up in the curtains and pull them down, rod, hardware and all. It scared him so much that he headed for our bed, with the curtains and rod in tow. By the time I could yell, “what the…” Charley was untangling poor Baxter. I started looking for Annabelle and found her shaking in a corner of the room. Someone tell me again why I want kids J

I finally did an inventory of my yarn this weekend. I have 20,000 yards of yarn on hand. Probably more since I have several skeins that are missing a wrapper and I have no idea how much I started with in order to determine how much is left.

I am still indecisive on the Vintage Pink Cardigan. After talking to Claudine yesterday at Stitch n Bitch I realized that just making it in the two sizes offered to me would not work. The 34” with negative ease would be excessively tight, showing off the curves I like to hide. The 38” would be too large and not show off the curves that should show. I think I am on the right track with numbers for rewriting it to a 36” but I am just not that sure of my math and myself. I have the Ann Budd Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and in it, you design the pattern based on your gauge. I am now thinking of following their pattern for the set in sleeve, which is form fitting and then just adding the cable panel of the Vintage Pink Cardigan to the front. I just don’t understand why they made this pattern in such odd sizes. I read Grumperina’s blog about how she had to restyle the pattern to fit her and she had 13 pages of notes. She also frogged nearly the whole thing at one point.

Today I decided that I need a new shrug in white. Now I just need to find the yarn…

I am in progress on the shawl for my BF and I think I will start a curly scarf from Scarf Style this weekend. It will go to my 16-year old “niece”.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Let's Re Together

I found this over at Sue Hoo's blog today and thought it would be fun to play along. She had posted it over at Elann, which led me to her blog.

What was your inspiration to start knitting, crocheting, crafting? What was your first serious or not so serious project? What would you like to tackle next (other than your significant other ;))? And last but, not least, if you could give one peice of advice to a beginner what would it be?

So here goes... My inspiration to knit was a friend having a baby. I happened to be at Michael's and saw the yarn and patterns and thought to myself "heck, I could do that". I bought some cheap yarn, needles and a "learn how to knit" book and taught myself. At the time I didn't know there was any such thing as an LYS, Stitch & Bitch or other knitters under the age of 65. My first project was a baby blanket done in yellow TLC from a pattern in a Leisure Arts booklet. I really want to tackle the Vintage Pink Cardigan from IK Spring 2005. But, the pattern is written for a 34" or 38" and I am a 36". Plus, the yarn I want to use is a little lighter than the pattern yarn so I have to rethink this whole thing. A piece of advice-don't be afraid to ask for help. And, don't worry if you are not at the same level as everyone else and don't care to be. It is ok to just enjoy your skill level and make beautiful things there. I don't know all of the technical terms, the famous designers or own all of their books and I am ok with that! I heard about a woman who only knit; she didn't care to learn how to purl and people gave her a hard time about it. It's her skill, let her do what she wants!

Friday, April 21, 2006

An interesting Meme

Kat has an interesting Meme on her blog. Name 5 places you have knit other than your house or LYS. Hmmm, I really had to think about this one. But, here goes...

1. The beach! Last summer I worked on a felted bag while sitting on the beach. I figured it would be washed so I didn't care about the sand and sunscreen.
2. The Volvo dealership while waiting for a recalled part to be replaced.
3. The tire store while waiting for them to figure out why I had a flat tire. They didn't charge me so it was a very good day!
4. Airplane/Airport. The guy stuck in the middle seat was mesmerized and asked how long it would take me to make a shawl.
5. Sitting in radiology while waiting for x-rays of my back.
That was fun and made me think of my knitting experiences.

Today was a great day! I got my hair colored - my hairdresser makes me laugh a lot. She is so sweet and goofy. Then, I headed off to Ann Taylor Loft to use my coupon. If you have their credit card they send you wonderful coupons (same with Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works). I actually found some jeans that fit and they don't make me look like a plumber. I also got two pairs of pants that are very cute and actually fit! Then it was off to the gym with a stop on the way home to pick up a milkshake at Mickey D's. MMMMMMM I love their shakes.

Tomorrow Baxter and I will go to Austin for an adoption day at the Petco on Brodie Lane. We usually have about 10 Pyrs there so we are quite the spectacle. But, these gentle giants are better behaved than all of the other dogs. Baxter loves to go because he gets tons of attention. He is usually the smallest one there but he is so sweet, fluffy and white that everyone wants to pet him. He really loves to see the other dogs. It's a bit of a drive but worth the sacrifice if we can talk to people about the breed. Last time we had 2 adoptions.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Is it chicken or fish?

Well, slap a scarlet S on my head and call me Jessica because I am just that stupid. Last night I realized that I had absolutely nothing on the needles. WHAT? How can this be? Well, after completing 4 projects (nope, still not in the mail) I made up the project sheets for each, organized my patterns, project sheets, receipts and Elann Newsletters. This still left me with time and nothing to do. I weighed my options and chose casting on the Shetland Triangle Shawl from Wrap Style in Diwa vs. cleaning up the dinner dishes. After spending nearly 30 minutes ripping out the first 6 rows (don’t panic, they only had 2 stitches) because I just couldn’t get my head around picking up from the provisional cast on, I made my way to the first chart. Here is where I became a cotton headed ninny muggins. First I should mention that charts and I just don’t mesh – the concept of reading right to left baffles me completely (HELLO, Kindergarten taught us LEFT TO RIGHT!); second, I enjoy a good picture book as much as the next person but making an entire garment from pictures…

So, here is a photo of my chart and legend…

Do you see lines 1 and 2? This is the part that had me perplexed. How can the square with the little dot say, “purl on the right side” when line 2 of the chart has a square with a little dot and that is the wrong side? This can’t be. I checked IK for errata and found none…I checked blogs for errata and found none…How can millions of people read this pattern and not one have found this pattern to be wrong? Did they just do their own thing and say, “screw the wrong pattern”? I had just started an email to my Elannites to see if any of them could help me understand this when the fog lifted and I went “Ah Hah!” (out loud too!). The legend is used for ALLLLLLL of the charts in this pattern and there is quite possibly a RS row just waiting for a purl. Sadly, this is not the first time this has happened. At that point, I decided that I should not be doing anything that required reading skills and pointy objects and headed off to bed.

Before I cast on this little gem, I started to cast on the Vintage Pink Cardigan from IK Spring 2005. I realized that in order to get their gauge I would have to cast on with a size 2 needle, which I do not have and was not going to go traipsing to the Michaels at 8:00 p.m. in hopes that they had one. It is a good thing I didn’t cast on because I realized that the sweater is made for either a 34” or 38” finished chest. I am neither. I would in fact be a 36”. So, the question became, do I knit the 34” with a larger needle to get a bigger size or knit the 38” with a smaller needle. No. 2 was out because I was not going with anything smaller than the 4 and 2 called for! Then there is option numero tres…I could redesign the whole thing. I have time, it is knit in wool and I ain’t wearin no wool now! So, I sat down today with my trusty Excel and a calculator and a pad of paper and I did me some math. I am now at the point of figuring the numbers for the left front. Keep in mind that I flunked Algebra once. I have to do some of the numbers a couple of times to be sure I am correct and occasionally I divide wrong but unlike 15 years ago, I now know when the number is wrong and I go back. After all, if the other sizes only cast on 100 I should not be casting on 200. I don’t see myself designing from scratch anytime soon but I think I can do this as long as I have numbers on either side of my goal to act as a guideline, and a calculator. And, yes, I did this all while at work today. I did it between taking dictation for the boss and trying to find his oven repair people from 2 years ago who may or may not be on the corner of Broadway and 410. I did this in between phone calls and playing with glue (I said playing, not sniffing!) and writing out my grocery list.

Well, it is off to watch a little crime drama and work on the shawl. It is going to be very pretty when finished! It is a gift for my child's Godmother. It has been a tough year - they moved, both lost their jobs and now the middle child and only boy is going off to college - a very expensive college mind you. I think a shawl will make her happy!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Nothing to do!

Can you believe it, no WIP! When I finished the last one last night I felt sort of lonely and lost. I looked at Charley and said “now what do I do”? So, tonight I will start on a sweater for me in Barkarole and start…wait for it…CHRISTMAS GIFTS! Yes kids, I am starting Christmas in April. I should start now that way I have time to get sidetracked by other projects.

Susan has now posted the photos from our little yarn swap on Saturday—go check them out! I have not laughed that hard in a very long time. The blonde chick stuffing her face with cheesecake would be Moi. And check out the kicky little shrug I am sporting.

Speaking of Le Shrug…I wore it to work today and got several unsolicited compliments from non-knitters. To me, this means my get up doesn’t look “handmade”. I told one woman that I made it myself and it turns out that she is a knitter. Well, she is a lapsed knitter and hasn’t done it since the 80’s. She didn’t even know that you could get supplies online or that needles came in something other than metal. I didn’t invite her to SnB because, well…I work with her…and…she gets on my nerves a little.

Finally, photos of the finished objects. Here we have:

Blanket for Baby Sos due in May. Yarn: Shine & Shine Twist from Knitpicks. Color: Grass. Needles: Size 8. Pattern: from a Leisure Arts book purchased at Michael’s when I didn’t know there was anywhere else to go. Review: The yarn is great to work with! It is soft and smooth. However, I found quite a few kinks in the skeins and had to rewind most of them. The pattern is super easy and I pretty much had it memorized by the end. The pattern called for 10 skeins but I ended up using only 8 because it knit up larger than gauge.

Shrug for ME. Yarn: Endless Summer Collection Luna from Elann, Karabella Roses for the trim. Color: Pink. Needles: Size 4 and 3. Pattern: A Debbie Bliss from Interweave Knits Summer 2005. Review: This yarn is a pain in the ass! It split like crazy and had no give. It was so slippery that I had to use bamboo just to keep it on the needles. Worth it in the end on a small project. I would never use it for a blanket or scarf! The pattern was super easy considering Debbie Bliss is known for being evasive in the instructions. I fully intend to make this pattern again. I used 5 skeins even though the pattern yarn called for 7.

Clapotis for my niece. Yarn: Filatura Di Crosa Diwa from Elann. Color: Light Blue. Needles: Size 6. Pattern: The famous Clappy from Knitty. Review: This yarn was not as soft as I had hoped but also not rough. It didn’t hurt my hands or anything like that. I ended up doing 20 repeats of the straight rows but I think that may have been a few too many. It is a little long but it will wrap nicely. I used a little over 700 yards.

Sweater for another baby. Yarn: Schachenmayr Only Stretch from Elann. Colors: White, Purple, Blue, Orange and Green. Needles: Size 9 and 7. Pattern: Garter Stitch Sweater from Knitting for Babies by Melanie Falick (can’t keep from laughing here). Review: This yarn is a dream to work with! It was soft, pliable and makes you look like a professional knitter. It is a little too heavy for carrying in the stripes but I did it anyway. I have quite a bit left. Hmmm, what should I make with it? The pattern is standard baby sweater and not hard to work at all.

Today I was a little bored at work so I designed a database for my yarn. I want to make sure I have everything recorded before we move. I should have saved the project for tomorrow since the boss announced he would be out tomorrow. If I don't look busy I will get stuck doing my own work and that is just a giant PITA.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A cool Meme

Today was a great knitting day. We had a yarn swap at Valletta Kafe. I came home with more Luna from Elann (the stuff I used for my shrug) and some Cherry Tree mohair boucle. Susan should be posting pictures soon. Thank goodness she brought her camera because the rest of us forgot ours. I guess she is the real blogger in the group.

Janna posted this on her blog so I thought I would do the same. You look up your birthdate on Wikipedia; not the year, just the month and day. You then list 3 events, 3 people born and 3 deaths. It is hard to limit it to just 3 though.

1989 - The iron curtain opens between the communist Hungary and Austria. From Hungary thousands of East Germans throng to Austria and West Germany.

1998 - Independent counsel Kenneth Starr sends a report to the U.S. Congress accusing President Bill Clinton of 11 possible impeachable offenses.

1999 - Tennis: Serena Williams, 2 weeks short of her 18th birthday, wins her first Grand Slam tournament when she became US Open champion, becoming the first African American woman to win a Grand Slam tournament since Althea Gibson in 1958.
2001 - The September 11 attacks destroy the World Trade Center in New York City, part of The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and crash a passenger airliner in Pennsylvania. In total, almost 3,000 are killed.

2005 - The State of Israel officially declares an end to military rule in the Gaza Strip after 38 years of occupation.

1917 - Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Philippines (d. 1989)
1924 - Tom Landry, American football coach (d. 2000)
1967 - Harry Connick, Jr., American singer

1971 - Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, Soviet politician and leader (b. 1894)
1994 - Jessica Tandy, American actress (b. 1909)
2002 - Johnny Unitas, American football player (b. 1933)
2003 - John Ritter, American actor (b. 1948)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I can't shrug it off

I am sooo close to being finished with my shrug-I can't think of doing anything else. I should be doing laundry and going to the gym but I really want to finish the shrug. I think I might spend today working on it so that I can wear it to our yarn swap at Betsy's Kafe on Saturday. I doubt many people will show up (see paragraph below) but that's ok. It will be fun to have coffee, knit, visit with friends, see a new town and give Betsy a little business.

The drive to Pleasanton is about an hour but I don't care! Some people won't drive 20 minutes but complain they have "nothing to do". I look at it as some time to be quiet and think. It is also a time to crank up the radio and sing my heart out!

Now I need to go throw some clothes in the wash and finish binding off the collar of the shrug. Time's a wastin

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ever Bathe a Polar Bear?

This is baby Baxter after his little shower yesterday. After spending time with his new girlfriends, Tally and Cydney, he had a strong smell of sweaty dog. He wasn't too fond of his bath and has ruled the hose Satan. He did enjoy the scrubbing since he is quite the affection whore. He was so after that he spent the whole day sleeping in the driveway, enjoying the sunny day. The other two were in the backyard helping me plant flowers. When Calvin was a puppy he would stand over me as I planted and then would quietly place his mouth over the flower, pluck it out of the ground and run around the backyard, waiting for me to chase him. He is a sneaky little devil.

Knitting stuff...well, I am on round 17 of the Clapotis and it still isn't long enough. I think I will be going for 20. I am almost finished with the Bolero and I am going to seam up the baby sweater this week. I think I will make some booties to go with this sweater. The baby blanket is done and just needs to go in the mail. One of these days I will get around to more pictures!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Top Chef Review

I am really hooked on this show! I am so glad that Miguel wasn't kicked off just because he was partnered with Andrea. I feel for anyone who is stuck with the person who cooks to "move your bowels". That's exactly why I eat ;-) I don't think she should have been brought back. I think they should have just scrapped the challenge after Cynthia left. Every episode I spend most of the time laughing at Stephen. He is such a moron who just so happens to have a big vocabulary. Unfortunately, no one told him to use discretion as to when to use his big words. I still think Lee Ann is going to take the prize - bets anyone?

We just spent a few days in Dallas watching the opening day of the Red Sox vs. Rangers. Two really good games with some beautiful weather. I think baseball is one of the few sports that attracts a variety of people. On one side we had the biker dude with his WAY too young girlfriend, and on the other a group of techie geeks who spent more time with their Blackberries than watching the game. You wouldn't find that variety at a NASCAR race! The games were not the same without Johnny Damon but the new guy, Coco Crisp is likely to be chocolatey delicious. I didn't do any knitting while gone because I was taken with my new book, Gone by Jonathan Kellerman. I didn't even get to a yarn shop. Does that make me a bad knitter?

I have been asked to make an editorial note to last week's post. Little Baxter is actually 70 pounds of snuggly fun. He is called Baby Baxter because he is the youngest and smallest of our group. While we were gone, he went to my friend Robin's house. He had so much fun! He spent his whole time running around with Tally, a special needs Pyr. He is so tired now that he has been sleeping since last night and has been running in his sleep. And, he needs a serious hosing down.