For those of you interested….

I’ve made a blog just about La La, if you are interested in following her adventures, click here.
I’ve been doing well at posting over there weekly – or so – and would love to have you join us over there. I’ll try to keep this blog mostly about knitting and other life-stuff, while La La’s blog will be for those of you who don’t care about my knitting, and just want to see the baby!

Scary Season

It’s that time of year again, the scary season when the sky turns black in the middle of the day, and sun looks like a huge red ball in the sky.
The light comes through the windows and it’s all wrong, like it’s coming from the wrong direction for the time of day. Orangey-yellow cast to everything inside, and just grey outside if you are dumb enough to venture out.
And the smell. I opened the clothes dryer this morning to empty it, and found that everything in it smelled like smoke. The smell came in through the vent.
Well, I was stupid, for a bit, and discovered this outside my back door. It was swirling around in a little ashy-tornado by my back step.
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It was everywhere and it’s really scary because if the ash can come this far, could an ember? I’m all the way in Long Beach, so the fires are pretty far away, but out of the 5 years we’ve lived in this house, this is the most scary ash we’ve had here. In the past, it’s just been the grey fluffy stuff, but this was black and white and grey and everywhere, coiled up in the garden hose, all over the car and collected in little piles by the strange geography of our backyard.
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As we stepped over it, J said, “Ugh, that’s probably someone’s back porch.”

Actual Crafty Content

I got the book Luxury One-Skein Wonders on Wednesday, and by Friday, I had a new hat for La La.  Crocheted, even. 
That tells you that the instructions were well written and correct, because I can’t crochet very well, and this hat came out really well. 

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Hook: F


Yarn

Universal Yarn’s dolce merino in Strawberry Ice and Whisper White.  There was no way I was going to touch Angora, so this nice merino/microfiber blend worked for me.

Pattern: Angora Baby Bunny Cap by Renee Barnes.  Strangely, on my copy of the book, the hat is on the cover, but on Amazon, it shows a different hat on the cover.

Rating
:  Love it!  I didn’t even block it, it was so cute I just had to put it on her and take some photos.  The pattern was easy, only  slip stiches, single, double and treble crochets were used throughout.   A beginner could do it easily, like I did.   

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She seems to like it too.

Mommy’s little cupcake

I finally caught a smile “on film”. Lala has been smiling for about a week and a half whenever I talk to her, or have little conversations with her in her language.
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She’s not used to the camera yet, but I’m hoping to catch her a few times a week so she’ll smile for the camera as well as mummy.

Finished Object? Not a chance!

I know, it’s been 9 months since I last posted. I’m not even sure if anyone’s out there anymore, and that’s ok, that’s fair, since there hasn’t been anything to read.
A lot can happen in nine months, and for me, a whole lot did! In fact, on August 31, I had a daughter!
Here she is:
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Still steaming… in the hospital.


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Visiting with friends


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Contemplating her busy schedule?

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Playing peekaboo


I won’t be posting her name/etc. here for obvious reasons, but those of you that I know in real life will be getting an announcement soon enough. They just arrived today, in time for her one month birthday!
Around here she goes by an assortment of names:
Wiggles, Giggles McWiggles, Pooparella, Poopenstein and LaLa (this is my favorite, when she wants to eat, she screams La! La!) are just a few that we seem to use a lot. I’ll probably refer to her as LaLa when I post here.
So far, she’s been just wonderful. I had an easy pregnancy until the very last day, and so far she’s just awesome. I was afraid to have a girl, considering the kind of relationship I have with my own mother, but I can’t imagine any other baby and I can’t wait to see what she becomes!

Wild Barty

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I finished a pair of socks this weekend, and here is my husband modelling them for you. He and I have the same size feet, if you can believe it, and it’s hard to photograph one’s own feet, so I asked him to be the foot model.
The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in the color Wild Cherry, and they were knit on size 2.25 KnitPicks circular needles. I used one Harmony and one Nickel which was a great way of avioding the thing that I do at least once per sock, which is to pick up the wrong needle end while knitting and then end up with a silly twisted mess. I really liked using both needles .
I used the Harmony for the top textured side, and the nickel for the bottom smooth side, and that worked nicely! Well actually, I did the first sock only on the nickel needles, but after our local Stitch ‘n Bitch Xmas party, I had a collection of the tiny sizes of Harmony needles, so I wanted to use them right away and so I did, for the second sock.
The pattern comes from Cat Bordhi’s book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book one. The pattern is called Bartholemew’s Tantalizing Socks. Since my yarn was called Wild Cherry, the socks are now dubbed Wild Barty.
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Do you know who Jim Steinman is? He had at least one solo album that I know of, but is most famous for writing the lyrics to Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell albums. He’s also written a number of hits, such as Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart“, Air Supply’s “Making Love out of Nothing at All“, and Celine Dion’s “It’s all Coming Back to Me Now“. When a Jim Steinman song comes on the radio, I can spot it by the end of the first verse. If you notice what these songs have in common, you’ll catch my drift.
I have friends as far back as high school (Suzanne), college (Karlanne) and real life (Bill) who can attest to my hatred of Jim Steinman songs. They all loved Bat out of Hell, and I always hated the songs. They are just… too… wordy! He (Mr. Steinman) crams too many words into his songs.
I’m no George Orwell, I appreciate good description and good narrative, but Great Maker! He uses too many words. And I’ll bet that anyone who has an opinion about Jim Steinman songs either loves or hates them, I don’t know how anyone could be indifferent.
Anyway, the reason for this little digression is to give context to the patterns in Cat Bordhi’s new book. The woman uses too many words! Socks are not that complicated. These socks are not that different than the socks we’ve all been knitting for years.
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The increases are positioned in a different place and the rate of increase is 1/3 instead of 1/2 for most socks. But following the pattern is difficult. You have to jump back and forth between several different sections of the book just to get the whole pattern. (Kinda sucks if, like me, you like to photocopy the pages you need and leave the book at home, so if you do that, be sure to read the whole pattern before walking away from the photocopier.)
She has her own language – LaLinc and LaRinc, stories about hairdressers and necklaces. It’s just silly. It’s like a combination of a children’s story (young children) and a knitting pattern. Maybe that’s what she was going for, I don’t know. It’s not what I was looking for though. Some of the socks look interesting, I just wanted to know how to make the interesting ones.
And maybe I am just taking out my general frustration on Ms. Bordhi. I am a bit tired of the whole dumbing down of the world I see around me. I am no expert – you may recall the last pair of socks I made took me 5 socks to get the pair, but I do think that we adults just don’t need to have everything spelled out for us! We are raising a generation of bubble-wrapped children with no critical thinking skills or ability to figure things out themselves, and it seems everything around us is coming down to the same level. It’s like Harrison Bergeron.
And the thing is, the very first knitting book I bought was Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles: a Manual of Elegant Knitting Techniques and Patterns and it wasn’t as wordy and strange as this new one. I haven’t looked at any of her other patterns because I didn’t think the mobius thing was interesting, although one of my fellow S’nB women did. I’ll have to ask her if those patterns were weird.
I think going forward, I will read the whole pattern, copy the relevant information onto an index card (because it would fit on an index card, really) and leave the book for reading at home, like a novel or a bedtime story.
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The socks themselves are very comfortable, and I will likely make another pair in the same pattern “family”, called Sky. Next, I’ll try a “Fountain” sock. I’m actually thinking that 2008 will be the “Year of the Sock” for the nodster, I’ve got way too much sock yarn and this year I am going to use it. A lot of it. I had even skeined up some yarn for dyeing, but never got around to mixing up the dyes. I want to do that this year too. I guess that’s my only resolution for 2008, more socks!
Happy new year!

ETA: Link to the project on Ravelry

picking out colors

So I’ve placed all my heathered 2-ply out on the bed to try and figure out how to place the colors.
Generally I’d go for light, medium and dark colors, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out which category a color falls into.
I’d heard you can use a black and white photo to take the emotion out of the decision, to base it on the shade of the color instead of the value. My first try was pretty close:

After that, I rearranged again and came up with this:

It’s a litle disappointing that the KnitPicks yarn has only two light shades. Al the rest are more medium shades. It will be harder to make obvious fore/background combinations, but with the solids and the other colors I can fill in the blanks. Now I can get started on a swatch, or maybe a swatch of the pattern.
Meanwhile, I soaked and dried my shawl, but now I need to pin out the points and steam it to be all lovely. I’ll try and do that this week and post a photo, but it may not happen til Friday, since I have that day off from work.

I have an idea

I’ve been thinking of playing with the palette yarns from Knitpicks to come up with a little fair isle sweater for a baby. The heathers are really nice, although I don’t think the range is quite all there. I’ll have to mix in some of the solids, and maybe some of the other odd balls I have from J&S or Jamieson’s. I’m thinking something juvenile, like the fish and anchors motif from Alice Starmore, some trees, some mountains, and some wave peeries.


I am dying to start something new. I thought I was close to the end of my shawl and had screwed up because my count was off, but it turns out I just misunderstood now many pattern repeats I had already worked, so I now have about 36 more rows before I get to the neck edge, and have run out of prestrung beads. Ugh! I have to either break the yarn and string more beads, or string them onto the other end and slide them up to the other end.
Both ideas sound as bad as each other, but the sooner I do it, the sooner I can move on to something else. Not counting the Hello Kitty.

Do you ever get all girly?

Hello, KittyThere are a few things that get me all girly, and one of them is Hello Kitty. What is it about her? Ever since I saw her for the first time, back in middle school, I was in love.
That’s why, when I saw this book at Kinokuniya, I had to pick it up. I flipped through, and thought, “nah, it’s crochet, and I don’t do that very well”, and I put it down. I looked through some of the knitting books, and kept returning to Ms. K. Finally, I just had to make the purchase.
It doesn’t matter that I can’t read the instructions. I just dug out some cotton (Paton’s Glace, in white) and an appropriate hook (3.5mm) and started on my very own Hello Kitty crocheted…doll? I have no idea what I’ll do with it, maybe give it to my niece, but I just had to do it.
DSC_0019.pngThe other thing I just had to do was buy myself a new toy. I’ve been thinking about it for so long, even went to the Apple store twice and chickened out on the hefty price tag, but finally, last week, I bought my first Mac. It’s the super-duper MacBookPro. It’s a beautiful thing, and I am a bit lost, having been working with some form of Windows for over 20 years, but I am making my way. (The last time I used a mac, it had a black and white screen and a floppy drive.) I am having so much fun playing with iTunes and iPhoto, I haven’t even checked out any of the other iStuff.
My mimosa shawl is coming along nicely – I have one more row of beads to place, and my math is terribly off, so I am going to try and figure out what I did wrong and make adjustments. How hard can it be, it’s just a shawl?

Mimosa in progress

a n w hug.jpgAre these two not the cutest ever? This is my niece and nephew, finally able to relax after a crazy week of touring Southern California after being awakened by the reverse 911 service in San Diego County. Mr. W lives with his yiayia in Rancho Bernardo and, along with his mom, dad, and yiayia were told to evacuate last Monday morning. They headed for Ms. A’s place in Poway. Shortly after arriving, Ms. A’s home was ordered to evacuate. By 7:30 AM, the whole clan was on the road, heading for Long Beach where yiayia’s friend has a home. I was already at work, so couldn’t offer shelter, and after a while, they ended up with another relative in Thousand Oaks for a couple days.
And all this only a month after being uprooted from his home in WA and moving in with yiayia. It must have been really confusing for the two of them. Now they are back to their homes, safe and happy, thank the great maker.
mimosa-1.JPGMeanwhile, back at the ranch… I started working on Mimosa. So far, I love it. It’s made with Euroflax Linen in a rich emerald color, and I am using green beads with a silver center. I tried for a while to find just the right iridescent frosted-glass beads, but I never did, so I chose these.
mimosa-3.JPGIt’s actually the most annoying part of working this shawl. You have to string all the beads in advance, then, as you work, push them down the yarn for a few meters at a time. It gets a bit tedious.
mimosa-4.JPGHere’s one of the balls before using it. The recipe tells you how many beads you’ll need for each ball, with the caveat that you may need more or less, depending on your knitting. I just strung all the beads and tagged each ball with it’s number so I would use them in the right order.
I am really looking forward to finishing, I am on ball 4 of 5 right now, and this crazy thing has you cast on 599 stitches, so I am working towards shorter and shorter rows. I like that. I can’t wait to see it all blocked and neat, since it’s getting bigger and more squished as I shove it into my knitting bag.
I still want to play with the palette yarns I picked up from KnitPicks, following the Seattle Feral’s ideas, and I also started on a pair of socks from Cat Bordhi’s new book but I don’t like them and will be ripping so there’s nothing to show here today on that project.