Category Archives: U-Knitty

Loooooong (don’t say you weren’t warned)

When Hubbo’s son Ian asked when he and his girlfriend should come for a visit, Hubbo said the week of June 18-23 would be perfect. Um . . . hello? Maybe ask the gal who has a nasty deadline to deal with? Of course that is the absolute worst week they could have chosen, as I was completely bogged down with a particularly intense workload. I did my best to make time for a couple breakfasts and dinners but missed out on all the fun stuff they did — like playing tourist in The City.

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Hubbo, Stephanie and Ian had all the fun while I slaved away . . . sniff.

So after deadline, Hubbo insisted we hop a ferry to The City to see all the stuff I missed. After you board, you wait in line to buy your tickets, which you then turn in on the other end. We knew the fare was $6.75 and assumed they took ATM cards, especially since we didn’t see any ‘Cash Only’ signs. Until the ferry left the dock, that is. As we moved forward in the ticket line, we spied aone taped to a wall.

Hubbo had forgotten his cash (!?) so I started scrounging. Unfortunately, I’m just too well-organized. I brought only my ID, ATM card and what bills I’d had in my wallet, instead of my entire purse. Travel light, ya know? As in no change. Our fare came to $13.50 and this is what I had.

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Fifty cents short!

I was red-faced when I told the lady, especially when she rolled her eyes and told me I’d have to “talk to the supervisor” upon arrival. Gads! Would we be sent back to Sausalito? Arrested? Caned? The ride over was fraught with anxiety. So fraught, in fact, that I only got a few rows of this charity baby hat done.

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So precious! Yeah, the kid’s cute too.

Turns out the lady was really nice and took us to the ticket booth to buy our round trip tix. Phwew!

Our first stop was the famous Art Fibers on Sutter St. It was really close to Chinatown (our ultimate destination) so we just had to stop in. It was “my” day, after all. I’d never been and all I can say is “Wow!” I guess I didn’t fully understand that all their yarn is made for them — no Malabrigo, Cascade or Rowan here. And they have just about anything you could dream up. Best of all, every single yarn has a test swatch so you can really see how it knits up.

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Kira, a talented designer, clipped several strands of ‘test’ yarn that I could take home to see if it coordinated with some stash yarn. Sadly, it didn’t.

Hubbo just sat peacefully in the ‘yarn tasting’ area while I ooh’d and aah’d and stroked and touched. “I can’t decide between these two,” I moaned at one point. “Buy ’em both!” Wah?! “Who are you and what have you done with Hubbo?” So I did and we were off to gorge on cannoli in Little Italy and browse in Chinatown.

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My favorite photo of the day. Mmm . . . squiiiiiiid . . .

Later in the week, we decided to drive up to Tomales Bay. Hubbo was thinking of taking Tess up there and we wanted to check it out. Golly gee, honey, there just happens to be a yarn/handknit clothing co-op shop in Point Reyes Station called Black Mountain Artisans. What’s a gal to do? Shop, of course! Hubbo was just as patient there, though he stayed in the car. Good thing too because there might not have been enough room to turn around in there if he’d come in. Seriously, it’s just a nook of a shop but it packs a wallop in terms of lovely handspun yarn and gorgeous handknit items. I highly recommend stopping (and buying) if you’re anywhere nearby.

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The adorable Joanna figured out how to spin curly boucle-type yarn with the natural curls of mohair.

(WILD TANGENT: I was telling the gals at Uknitty about it on Sunday and when I got to the “it’s full of handspun” part they all said “oooooh” in unison. The dude typing away on his laptop next to us cracked up.)

Just take a gander at the scrumptiousness:

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The salmon is from Bo-Rage Yarns. It was so lovely, I didn’t even wince at the $21 price tag. Next to it is a $24 skein of wool and cat hair from Feline Fibers. The label actually “guarentees” (sic) cat hair is blended with the wool. It goes on to explain that “Ann spins with cats on her lap, so there is always some cat hair included.” Fred did seem to take an interest in it. What I’m gonna do with these two lonely (and pricey) skeins, I dunno but I love them and don’t regret it one bit.

Yesterday, after a stunning weekend with warm weather, light wind and tons of boat-type stuff going on, I finally made it to the post office to pick up a couple packages. In the first was my crazy-awesome “interchangable needle case” (note I did NOT say “Options Needle Case”, which it is NOT) made by Zonda. I, of course, immediately switched out from my evil Options case and LUVLUVLUV it.

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It’s almost as if it was made for Options needles. But it was NOT. (I hope that satisfies any lawyerly-types as a sufficient disclaimer.)

Space is limited when you live on a boat and the bulkiness of the Options case drove me to distraction. While slightly large in ‘diameter’, Zonda’s case is half the thickness — a big deal when you want to carry it around with you.

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Freddy likes Zonda’s case better too.

And if you’re worried about losing the little keys for tightening the needles, you might do what I did: slip them on to a safety pin and attach it to the front — I did have to use pliers to squeeze the keys’ loops closed first.

The second package was the final one from my Secret Pal. She sent a couple T-shirts for Hubbo and me, some cool gadgets, a whole Kool-Aid dying tutorial (complete with KnitPicks Bare in worsted and Kool-Aid) and some very thoughtful cards featuring photos from my Tess blog.

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Man, this broad is sooo cool! She totally spoiled me. I can’t imagine a better Secret Pal. And no wonder. She’s Bobbi, aka Krafty1 — as in SP10 hostess Bobbi! She said the hostesses get to choose their ‘spoilees’ and she chose me! Do I feel special, or what? I’m going to miss her packages but I’m definitely going to enjoy getting to know her through her blog. BTW, Secret Pal 11 registration is going on now, so if you’ve been on the fence, DO IT! It’s a great experience that you won’t regret.

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Ambient temperature is directly proportional to the length of a cat. Check out other little known feline laws of physics.

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Throw Me A Lifeline

About a half a round after starting ball 2 of 4 of Latoya, I came across this.

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Unfortunately, it was right in the middle of a stockinette section so it would be quite ugly to have this big ol’ knot popping out. Note my fuzzy lapwarmer.

Yesterday, I was really whipping out the acreage at Uknitty when I realized I goofed on one of the ribs on the front – I was off by one stitch. Luckily, it was only for a few rows but it was definitely noticeable enough to frog. I don’t frog easily so you have to know this looked bad, even though I failed in my bloggerly duties and forgot to take a pic.

With all the talk and visiting, I just put Latoya away and waited till I could really concentrate on running a lifeline.

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I’ve never had to frog quite so much with such a ‘complicated’ pattern. I was a little nervous but it worked out perfectly! I’ve already made up the lost ground, even with some fuzzy help.

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Creepazoids

I just got back from our weekly SnB at a local Starbucks. What a horrible start to the day! We meet every Sunday from 10-12 and it’s usually fairly quiet during that time. After the morning rush, before the lunch rush. There are several tables and one couch w/ a couple soft chairs available, which we never get because they’re usually full. Today, there was one guy finishing up his paper – his Grande whatever was already finished – and only two of us at the time so we sat down there. In the meantime, another gal showed up and we sat there quietly chatting. We weren’t loud but we weren’t whispering either – normal coffee house volume, perhaps even quieter.

Suddenly, the guy jumps up, throws down the paper and says with all the venom he could muster “I’d like you to know the only way I can read is if I do it aloud” as he stomped away! We all sat there stunned! So, Little Miss Smartmouth (me) said “This isn’t a library.” He said “Ok, fine,” sat back down and began to read out loud. So we ignored this fool making a total ass out of himself and continued chatting about Laura’s felted entrelac bag (maybe THIS is what set him off – it certainly blows MY mind!). He finally realized that he’s not bothering us at all and stomped out. We were totally flabbergasted!

But it’s not over. After Guy #1 stomped out, Guy #2 stomps up and told us, also in a particularly venomous voice, that we were totally rude for “hogging” the couch area and that we should stick to a table. Little Miss Smartmouth says “Thanks for sharing. We value your opinion.”

Of course this was the topic of conversation for quite awhile. Guy #1 could have just as easily told us nicely that we were being too loud or bothering him but he chose to be an a-hole. #2 was clearly just irritated that he didn’t get there before us. We certainly don’t want to alienate anyone there because, for most of us, that’s our daily Starbucks.

Is it just us? I talked to a couple other people about it and they too felt that we had just as much right to sit in the comfy chairs as anyone else. We buy the coffee and food, usually more than once. Plus, if we’re at a table in the center of the room, we’re closer to more people (thus ‘disturbing’ more people) than over in the couch area.

I want to know what those guys would have done if a family of three had come in and sat down and chatted. Nothin. But chicks with sticks come in and ‘hog’ the couch? How dare they?! Don’t they know that I – a MAN – gets priority over a bunch of hens?! Sorry to sound so bitter, but that’s really how it seemed.

After all the hubbub died down, we got back to the good stuff – knitting! A couple more gals joined us and the horrible beginning faded a bit (though not entirely). Just look what Laura finished!
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Toe up, two at a time on a magic loop. (In the background you can see her to-be-felted entrelac bag on the needles.) Just take a gander at this heel!

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We marvel that she and Sushama are such prolific sock knitters. I can barely get the gumption to finish mine that have been a WIP since September.

In a polar switch from the two assholes at the beginning of our meeting, these three munchkins were fascinated with our knitting. The boy in the middle knows how! The one on the left asked some very intelligent questions and was particularly interested in my felted bag. Susan did a wonderful job explaining everything.

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I don’t know where we’ll sit next week but I’ve told the story and asked opinions on two separate knitting boards. If you want to see what others have said click here and here.

In the meantime, I’m going to get me some kitty-love!

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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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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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