Monthly Archives: February 2007

Sparks

One of Lil’ Aaron’s slippers is done. Here’s an idea of scale:

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I didn’t intend on making ‘patriotic’ slippers, but I’ve had these yarns in my stash for a long time so I thought I’d use ’em up (sadly, no new yarn purchases). Funnily enough, the blue yarn really stained my index finger (I knit Continental).blue.jpg

Note the cutie in the background . . .

I’d write more but we’re having some major wiring done and will be closing for the rest of the day. Hope there’s a place to come back to tomorrow!

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Stitches Mill Valley

What a wonderful meeting we had yesterday! It started out with just Helen and me as everyone else had plans. As we were farting around with our knitting, I noticed a gal at the next table eyeing our goods so we invited her to join us. Her name is Jody and she’d just gone to Stitches West the day before where she bought truckloads of yummy yarn. (I was envious of her but also glad that I didn’t go. Hubbo would have flipped at all the new yarn I would have just HAD to have bought!)

Jody hadn’t brought her knitting – this was just a happy coincidence – but luckily I had brought some extra yarn and needles. I’ve been working on my ignored Jaywalker socks and was nearing the turn of the heel – no way am I gonna attempt that in a busy social setting, so I brought some other stuff to play with. She’s a new knitter and was confounded by ribbing (weren’t we all?), so I tried my best to give her a few pointers.

After she joined us, another gal sat down in her seat and commenced eyeing our goods. We struck up a conversation and turns out Susan’s a new knitter too! I was all tapped out of extra yarn but we had fun chatting (and, I’m a little ashamed to say, eavesdropping on a conversation between a woman and the former owner of Studio Knit, the local shop that shut down without warning on Valentine’s Day). She’s going to join us next week too!

Then, just when I thought this party couldn’t get much better, Sushama came up and said “Are you the knitting group?” I don’t think she really needed to ask, considering we were up to our elbows in yarn! She saw my posting on Craigslist about the group and thought she’d check it out. She said she was worried that it might be a bogus listing so we’re thrilled she took the chance!

What a day. Jody said she wasn’t have a very good morning but that meeting up with us changed the flavor of her day completely. I think that’s simply wonderful. Sort of a “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment. And all because of knitting!

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Aaron’s slippers

Our friend Aaron (different than the one I knit the burp/dishcloths for) drove down from Oregon to help with our boat Tess. To thank him, I offered to knit something. I had a feeling he wanted some slippers cuz he’d been leaving his DNA (in the form of drool) all over mine ever since he got here. Yippee! Another excuse to buy yarn that Hubbo can’t bitch about!

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Junk

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had finished an MD washcloth — the ‘advanced’ one — and was concerned about its ‘ruffliness’. Several people let me know they had the same issue but laying it flat to dry helped. Just knowing I didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ is good ‘nuf for me. And it’d better be for the recipient.

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WARNING: Only click on this pic if you want to see what a non-butt looks like! This is our good friend Aaron when he visited us while we on our boat in Sitka, Alaska. We’d gone to a natural hot springs and he was showering off. He has so little junk in his trunk that his pants never stay up! (He’s NOT pulling them down in this shot, he’s trying to keep them up.) We love him anyway.

Aaron owns a boat too, and had his cushions upholstered in red (no comment) so the rag and burpcloth are to compliment his decor. I bought the big ball of Peaches N’ Creme at Christmas but was too bogged down with the Christmas Blanket from Hell to get to it. Luckily, he has no clue I’m making them for him or he’d be bugging me constantly. “Where’s my dishcloth, LaDonna? I want my dishcloth! Gimme my dishcloth!” Sheesh.

So to get him off my back, I present to ya’ll Aaron’s Red As Your Face dishcloths!

(drumroll, please.)

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I was pleasantly surprised that the big ball of yarn yielded not only the MD cloth but enough for a decently sized burptowel.

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Too bad I was so distracted by the amazing girls on American Idol (I was distracted by the boys too, but for different reasons), that I messed up occasionally. Just adds charm – yeah, that’s it, charm.

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They may not be perfect but he’ll love them and use them. Hope they don’t stain his counters!

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My New Hangout

I stumbled across a yarn shop website today whilst looking for 47″ circulars to make Kat Bordhi’s Moebius Cowl. I’ve been wanting a cowl for awhile and just love the look of the Moebius so I started surfing for the humongo needles. If you’ve never been there, Little Knits, based in Seattle, has some terrific yarn and supplies at great GREAT prices. The Addi Turbos were even on sale for 20% off!

Well, heck. I mean, with those kinds of discounts, I had to poke around a little. And just lookie what I found.

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I’m drooling on my keyboard just posting the pic! Atacama Alpaca in the #515 colorway (I hate that word as much as Julie). I think they should come up with more inspiring names. This one could have been “Rhody” or “Raspberry Stain” or even “Pink, Green and Brown”. Eh, who cares?! Five skeins of this yumminess is headed my way. Not sure what to do with it yet but I’m sure I’ll find a use!

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Fallen idols

The recent hubbub about Britney Spears’ new ‘do got me remembering how, a few years back, my niece suddenly turned on Britney — she was her biggest fan one day and hated her the next. When asked why the change of heart, she said “Because she mooned someone.” Of course I nodded wisely, as if I understood completely, but inside I was laughing hysterically that a simple, silly ‘mooning’ would alter so drastically Maria’s opinion of her idol.

As I was listening to the news of Britney’s shorn head on the news yesterday, I remembered this incident and realized that I was just like her at that age. Madonna, George Michael, Elton John — they all ‘disappointed’ me for a variety of very judgemental reasons, most having to do with sex. I truly believed they were just like me — straight-laced and virginal. Rumors flew, of course, but I refused to believe that they had ‘morals’ different than mine. When I found out the rumors were fact, I was crushed. I didn’t listen to their music for ages — until I matured enough to realize that there are many ways to live your life and mine is right only for me.

The subject of expectations has been at the forefront of some discussions recently — expectations are resentments waiting to happen — so I naturally reflected on the crazy expectations I had for my idols. Entertainers are in our lives every day — on the radio, TV, movies, magazines — so we feel we know them. Of course, we only see what their publicists want us to see but we’re so desperate to connect that we’ll grasp at any straw and transfer our attributes on to them. And we’re always disappointed. Anna Nicole is a druggy? Weak! Britney has a neck tat? Pathetic! George Michael is gay? Pervert! We forget that they’re just humans, like you and me, trying to survive. Some do it with more panache than others, but they still sit on the crapper every morning.

So the lessons are to not ‘expect’ anything from anyone but yourself and to find people with whom you have real things in common. Such as a group of knitters!

I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of a new knitting group — I posted about our first meeting last week — and enjoyed another, expanded get-together today. We actually managed to monopolize the sofa and cushy chairs for the entire time and had a fabulous little knitting party. A male bicyclist went out of his way to let us know he was a knitter too. Maybe he’ll show up next week.

If you’re interested in joining us, we’ll be meeting at the Starbucks next to the Safeway in Mill Valley (Camino Alto & Miller are the cross streets) every Sunday from 10-noon. I’ve also started a Yahoo Group so we can all keep in touch — Rena came up with the great name “U-Knitty” (get it? U-Knitty / Unity? Awesome!). Instead of spending next Sunday morning catching up on all the fallen idols, come knit with us instead. We won’t expect anything from you but to have a great time!

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Dayum I’m Good

I tried the MD washcloth several months ago and totally screwed up the eyelets. Ripped it out and never looked back. Over Christmas, I bought a big ball of Peaches n’ Cream to knit up some washclothes for a friend. I finally got around to it the other night and thought I’d give that bugger of a warshcloth another try. I admit, I did have to rip twice but finally got it – while watching TV. I’d say “Dayum, I’m good” but for the frogging. On top of all that, I didn’t have circs and dpns that matched so I used two circs (ala Cat Borghi) toward the end. But tell me, is this how it’s supposed to look?

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I don’t mind the ruffly look but it looks flat in the book. I have a feeling I forgot a plain row or five. Doesn’t matter, just curious about other knitters’ experience with this warshcloth.

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Next up? The MD Burpcloth-turned-handtowel.

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Mill Valley Unit

What a great knitting weekend! First of all, Hubbo came home after being gone for a whole month! But on top of that, I finished my twelfth and last Fun Fur had for Kate’s chemo kids. As good as it feels to do something good for others, I’m glad I’m done with that little project!

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It was pouring on Saturday and Rob was too tired from his trip to do anything so I played with Kool-Aid. I have a skein of Knit Picks U-dye merino and thought I’d do a little testing. I cut a length of yarn, thoroughly wetted it and put it in the bottom of a pan. Then I mixed up some dye:

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I used a 1/8 teaspoon to measure exactly. For the blue I used equal amounts of Berry Blue and Ice Blue, the green was equal Kiwi Watermelon (any green), Berry Blue and Ice Blue, the red was 2/3 Tropical Punch and 1/3 Black Cherry, and the yellow was Lemonade with a sprinkle of Orange to give it punch (HA!). I mixed each with 1/2 tsp water to make it strong, then dribbled the colors on with a spoon. Don’t use too much liquid or they’ll run together! The yellow was a little anemic so I sprinkled some on dry (again, with a touch of orange) to help it along.

We don’t have a microwave onboard so I popped the pan in the oven for about 15 minutes (somewhere in the 300 degree range) and this is what popped out:

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Here the dry version:

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And here’s what it looks like knitted up:

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I’m not in love with the green but kinda like the rest of it. Might end up too ‘primary’ though. I’ll keep you updated . . .

A few weeks ago, I tried to meet up with another local knitter but it never panned out. Last week we got in touch again and made a date to knit on Sunday. I invited a couple gals from work who have expressed interest in learning to knit and we made a little coffee party of it. Here are Annie, Rena and Helen enjoying a ‘bucks and some yarn:

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What’s great is that, while we were there, two women came up and said they wished they were knitting with us! We hope to make this a fairly regular group so we invited them for next week’s installment.

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Rena’s first ‘real’ FO are the cranberry wrist warmers. I’m scared of cables and here she is just churning them out like nobody’s business!

LD’s Embarrassing Moment of the Day
Rena suggested a name for our little group: The Mill Valley Unit. Nice, I thought. Kinda military-ish but still cute. It took me — I swear I’m not making this up — nearly 5 minutes to ‘get it’. Not “Mill Valley Unit” but “Mill Valley U-Knit”!!!! Of course I admitted this freely, which only served to embarrass me more. Ah well, the day wouldn’t be complete without a ‘DOH!’ moment or ten.

So, all that to say, if you’re in the Mill Valley area next Sunday, drop by the Starbucks on Camino Alto & Miller from 10-12 and join us ‘U-Knitters’.

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Secret Pal 10 list

Have you signed up for Secret Pal 10 yet? The deadline is the end of the month so hurry up! This Q&A is for my Secret Pal, whoever s/he may be:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I’m not particularly picky though obviously I looooooooooove quality natural fibers. Unfortunately, the budget doesn’t always allow for it. We all got Christmas Cash this year so I splurged on some toe-curlingly gorgeous yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Yummy!

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? Hubbo made me a sailcloth ‘case’ for my straits. Circs are kept in their original packages.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? On a whim, I took a knitting class at my then-LYS. Been ‘hooked’ ever since. Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I love Laurie‘s label: advanced beginner.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? No. Hubbo says I don’t have room for any more knitting books!

5. What’s your favorite scent? I can’t wear perfume because it gives me a headache. Scented candles are nice – favorites are cucumber, pear and apple pie. I also love real lavender – sachets, etc.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? There are two categories most people fit it: 1) Chocolate or Vanilla and 2) Sweet or salty. I’m a Salty Vanilla gal. I don’t care for hard candy or dark chocolate. Chocolate is no big thing for me, but if I have it, it has to be Milk. I don’t even like semi-sweet for chocolate chip cookies. Favorite candy: Reeses, hands down. Throw in a Dr. Pepper and I’m a happy girl!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? My interests shift. I was really into watercolors for awhile, then papermaking, then (fill in the blank). I’m really into knitting right now and it fits our tight space restrictions. So, no, I don’t spin.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I like all sorts of music but if I’m totally honest, I really dig 70s and 80s pop music. The only music I really don’t care for is Top 40 Country type stuff. And, yes, I can listen to MP3s.

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand? My current fav is deep red. Not as dark as maroon, not as bright as fire engine red. A nice solid red. There probably isn’t any color I really hate. Teal, maybe? Sooooo early 90s!

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? Hubbo and I live with our cat Fred on a 36-ft sailboat. Our space is VERY limited so decorative items (cutesy figurines, baskets, nautical knicknacks, floor lamps) don’t work well as gifts for us. ‘Disappearing’ things (foodstuffs, yarn, the odd candle) are great!

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Scarves: more than occasionally; Hats: occasionally; Mittens: much less than occasionally; Ponchos: you’ve got to be kidding.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I’ve enjoyed knitting hats but after the recent glut of them (see the next answer), I’m a little bored. I’m looking forward to a little sockage.

13. What are you knitting right now? Fun fur hats for cancer kids in Boston – 10 down, 2 to go!

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? What the heck! As long as they’re small.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I have a bunch of bamboo needles and some I made from doweling. I’ve not been able to justify the expense of Addi Turbos but would like to see what the fuss is about. As far as straight or circ, I’m bi-needle.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Both

17. How old is your oldest UFO? Six months (the pair of socks mentioned below).

18. What is your favorite holiday? My birthday! If we’re talking about an ‘official’ holiday, then I’d have to go with Christmas.

19. Is there anything that you collect? I don’t have room to collect anything.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Like I said before, Addi Turbos sound cool. Some really nice yarns – I have Debbie Bliss taste on a Brown Sheep budget. I don’t have any mag subs but enjoy looking at all the gorgeous Interweave Knit patterns. Rebecca also is intriguing.

21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn? Ooh, so many. Intarsia? Fair Isle? Colorwork? I guess those are all pretty much the same thing. I love color but it frightens me.

22. Are you a sock knitter? I aspire to be a sock knitter. I knit a pair for Hubbo and started a pair for myself (on two circulars) but they’re on the back burner. What are your foot measurements? 9 1/2″ long x 3 3/4″ wide (that translates into size 8.5).

23. When is your birthday? May 6, 1969

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Karma

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. The rat that died in a wall in our office did not, in fact, die in a wall. Yesterday the stench was really getting bad so I investigated more thoroughly. I finally realized it was centralized around my desk, not any wall. I frantically pulled out every drawer, looked behind bookcases, under junk – all to no avail. I finally grabbed a flashlight, laid flat on the floor and scanned the ratty horizon. There he was, crammed into my … gulp … heater. This is so gross, it’s hard to even write about but apparently the monster (and he WAS a monster) did indeed receive a mortal blow from the snap trap but lived long enough to pull himself free and drag his broken body into the nearest small space before dying. (I made the photo a thumbnail so as not to gross anyone out too much – just know I have a much grosser shot of him!)

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I sit with this heater very close to my feet – like INCHES – because I work in a basement. It’s chilly down here. After finding and disposing of Elvis (and the heater), I left early and did four loads of laundry. Anything that could possibly have touched me during the last two weeks is now clean.

I sprayed about 1/2 a can of Lysol where the heater was and sprayed the rest of the can this morning. It smells comparitively good in here now but I can definitely detect a faint Eau du Rat.

So how’s that for karma? I buy rat traps, kill a rat and end up with it rotting in my lap. Next time I’ll leave the killing for somebody else.

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