Evil Twin of Stash

I wasn’t going to include this photo originally, but it’s late and I haven’t taken a new picture yet today for the 365 Project. This is the second-third of my stash closet. The third-third, the Rubbermaid bins of leftovers, is too boring to even document.

There actually is some method to my madness. The top shelf is small projects like socks and scarves. The middle shelf is bags, sweaters, and other garments. The big shelf is for roving and bags of skeins that didn’t fit in the good twin drawers. The bottom undershelves are for weaving, sewing and a few other random crafts.



Roving Unboxing

(I’m on a roll — two posts in one day!)

Kudos to Wendy of Lanas de Libelula! This amazing woman up and moved her family, dogs included of course, and business from San Diego to Yreka, fulfilling orders in the process. She made an extra special detour personal delivery to my very-near-the-freeway workplace of about 6 pounds of roving and many skeins of superwash for many pairs of socks. Some of the roving is also superwash. I can hardly wait to get to it. The fact that it arrived at work allowed me to share with my knitting buddies, who got to fondle and sniff (nice herbal satchets included!) the pre-spun wooly goodness. Since it was Valentine’s Day, the package also included a Godiva chocolate bar! Yum….

The breakdown is: 2 lbs. merino/tencel in Peacock, 2 lbs. merino superwash undyed, 2 obs. blue-faced leister (BFL) in natural, 3 skeins Louet Gems sportweight in Pewter, 3 in Eggplant, and 1 in Teal. I’m still working on my Corriedale. It’s fascinating to compare the crimp and the length of the staples of the various fibers and blends. Yet again I have learned firsthand about how easy it is to SE, even without an X (knitspeak for stash enhancement, without an excursion).

The entire box on my sofa.

The Blue-faced Leicester. Isn’t the crimp lovely?

Lovely Merino-Tencel in Peacock.

Merino superwash — I’m thinking sweater…

When Good Sweaters Go Bad

Yikes! I didn’t realize how long it’s been since my last post. Blame Canada (no! JK) the flu, the end of the semester, preoccupation with national politics. Whatever — I’ve had a little knitting time (pix of dd in new beret to come), including a super soft Cashmere Cowl from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. Actually, it’s more accurately from the Purl Soho website, the lacy ribbed variation (again, pix to come).

For your viewing pleasure (from a spinning list I’m on) is a bizarre music video from a French singer who has an unhealthy relationship with a knitted sweater. (I love YouTube!).

Happy 2008!

Welcome to the New Year! I won’t pretend to make and keep resolutions, but I will post a few knitting goals. (1) Learn to love (or at least like) seaming. I have have 4, count ’em 4!, almost complete sweaters only awaiting seaming. One is Bob, a white, cotton summer tee, body in the round with raglan sleeves. Talk about procrastination! Another is one of my very first projects when I resumed knitting about 5 years ago, a sweater whose name escapes me from Interweave Knits in my then-favorite dark dusty rose with an interesting rib pattern. I was a bit cavalier when decreasing the front and back toward the shoulders, so I may have to fudge a bit on matching those seams. (2) Have 5 or fewer projects OTN (unlimited PIAB — projects in a bag — are okay). Right now I have about 9 or 10, including some almost-completed scarves and hats, and a wrap that just needs a little cable troubleshooting. (3) Limit impulse or souvenir yarn purchases to places where I truly don’t expect to travel again for years (NOT online) and exceptional prices on luxury yarns (NOT online). (4) Limit book purchases to no more than one per quarter (can you say “library” and “good friends”?) and subscriptions to one per year. At one point I had Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knit Simple, Spin Out and the Rowan club. NOT cost-effective, especially since Ravelry is such an awesome source of pointers to patterns that I can purchase as one-offs. (5) Spin more regularly. I’m still working on a pound of lovely Corriedale from months and months and months ago.

Okay, that’s plenty to keep me busy….

Here’s an FO, Le Slouch Beret from Knit and Tonic in Mirasol, the llama yarn that begins with M. (edit: It’s called Miski.) I love it and plan to do several more for friends.

Also, here’s a WIP, some easy legwarmers for my DD from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (what a reliable book!) in Cascade 220 and Crystal Palace Kid Mohair. Isn’t the blend pretty? My monitor doesn’t do the pale green of the mohair justice, but … just use your imagination….

Happy knitting!


Cupcake Therapy

Being sick sucks. Being chronically sick sucks big time. Without going into gory detail, suffice it to say I’ve been chronically sick with bouts of acute illness for a few years now. Bottom line: a partial, hopefully mostly total, solution is an outpatient procedure that my doctor originally scheduled for the summer. But in a cryptic phone message last Thursday, her office called to say, after reviewing the situation, they want to reschedule it within TWO weeks. Slight freakout on my part until I could get home and talk to a live person on the phone. It turns out they just want to minimize the risks of waiting and I’ll just have to deal with the fact that I’m still teaching school. OK, whatever… what can I knit on that’s soft and cuddly?

The next best thing to soft, cuddly knitting or hugging the dog therapy is SPRINKLES CUPCAKES! Pictured is a Red Velvet one atop the box of 4 it came in, courtesy of my dd’s prom date. He made her promise to give me one of them so — happy, happy, joy, joy! (I would counsel her to marry this one right away cuz he’s a keeper except she’s only 18 and he’s going to the Air Force Academy in the fall.)

Also picured is a “cupcake condo” sold by Sprinkles for protected transport of one’s gourmet cupcake to locations such as work where it can be flaunted in front of envious co-workers. 🙂 I had it for breakfast on Friday.

Hmm — no knitting content so far. I have knit a Ben & Jerry’s carton cozy, but a Sprinkles cozy would be quite a different challenge. Oh, wait — I’m hoping to attend picnic today on a bluff overlooking the beach which will be a convergence of several knitting and spinning groups. Last year we enjoyed great weather, yummy food, fabulous fiber (I mostly spun), entertaining juggling, curious onlookers and wonderful fibery fellowship. (I have to see how the chronic illness/behind in work scenario plays out.)

Happy remainder of weekend!

Falling Off the Wagon

Sigh …. I was doing so well, too. I had surpassed the 21 days it takes to establish a habit of posting daily. Then — life happened. On Saturday I had to be in 19 places at the same time from basically 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., spent a total of about 65 minutes in my house between those hours, and came home exhausted. On Sunday I got up to lector at the 7:30 a.m. mass, then came home, made breakfast, and crawled into bed again for a lovely long time. Sunday night my dh and I had a lovely belated Valentine’s Day dinner (can you say diamond earrings!?!?!). On Monday I did all the stuff on my holiday off that I should have accomplished during the weekend and … here I am.

Oh, well — no blood involved…. I can’t imagine anyone else in the universe cares whether or not I post every day except me. Actually, this takes the pressure off of having to maintain a streak. I allude once again to Dale Webster, who surfed EVERY DAY for twenty-nine years. Amazing….

My photos today are of spinning! I haven’t spun in months. Last night I went to a local Monday spinning meetup at Starbuck’s in Anaheim. This is Melyssa giving a spindle lesson to Jerry with Renata spinning on the right, as well as a shot of Melyssa’s show-and-tell handspun skeins. My favorite is the autumn colored tencel blend (wish you could see the shimmer) and also the tweedy wools. She has some really fun silk in there as well. Go visit Melyssa at Woolgathering and Jerry at Twisted Knitster for more pictures! My current bobbin is of practice Corriedale. I LOVE spinning it — it’s silky and short (i.e. challenging) but feels so lovely. It also still smells vaguely of sheep and the lavender I store with it. Very soothing….

Kind Strangers (Act III) and Me

Just a few more details about my wonderful SP package. The variegated yarn is a handpainted from Amish country. I’m still waiting for inspiration to hit on the best use of this special yarn. The note pad was a nod to my love of the beach. And notice the details on the handstamped gift tags as well as the handmade stitchmarkers holding them together. Such awesome thoughtfulness.

The SP program showed me that knitters can connect through cyberspace the way they connect in person in knitting groups. A journalist recently visited one of my groups and inquired about our thoughts. If you are so inclined, please let me know YOUR answers. Below is what I wrote (why waste writing about knitting on only one audience?!?!?! ):

1. Age, name, occupation, where do you live?
I’m 49, my name is Teresa, I’m a teacher (high school and elementary) and lawyer by training, but I currently teach high school English, and I live in Irvine.


2. When/Why did you start knitting?
I started knitting in high school, having sewn and cross-stitched quite a bit. I continued briefly into college (when I also hooked rugs — there’s a boyfriend curse related to rug-hooking, too, BTW), then stopped until about 5 years ago. I resumed when I realized how many new yarns and free patterns were out there compared to years ago.


3. What do you think about younger women knitting, as it’s traditionally been viewed as a hobby for older women?
I honestly don’t think it’s all that unusual — there’s just been more media attention. After all, where do the “older women” of today come from? They were the “younger women” of yesterday. Also, blogging and the explosion of online and print publications have exposed more of the formerly underground knitting (and crafts) community.


That said, it’s true that many younger women have produced interesting avant-garde and downright risque patterns and products that would not have been publicized in prior years!


4. Does knitting relax you, comfort you, take the place of a bad habit, etc?
All of the above! Primarily it relaxes me, and I love to see something tangible and pretty from the time I spend on it. I love knitting while listening to the radio or podcasts or re-watching favorite movies. I also love to knit with friends, although only on projects that don’t require a lot of concentration. Unfortunately, I realize I often knit to procrastinate. Not a good thing… Also, except for books on tape, I don’t read as much as I used to.


5. What’s your favorite thing to knit?
That’s like trying to name who your favorite child is! Each type of project has its unique virtues. I was really into socks and gloves for a while. Now I’m focused on sweaters and cabling. I’m guessing lace will be my next obsession. The one pattern I’ve done three times now (just cast on my fourth) is Kate Gilbert’s iconic shawl, Clapotis.


6. Do you attend a lot of knitting clubs?
I’m pretty religious about UCISnB because it’s so close to my home. I love the camaraderie of two other local groups (All Things String and SnB at Suzoo’s), but haven’t attended as regularly. There is some overlap among the members of these groups. A new one is OC Pub Knitters, which meets at a pub. 🙂


7. Why go to a knitting club?
I first went to get some help. Now I go to chat and share ideas and enjoy vicariously other people’s yarn and book and gadget purchases. Knitters are such interesting, creative people! Those who attend knitting groups share a passion, but not necessarily a background or political orientation or taste in books or music or food. But the passion is more than enough to link us.


8. How much time per week do you spend knitting?
It varies. During finals week and before grades were due I was down to only a couple of hours. Made me extremely grumpy! On vacation I’d guess about 4-6 hours a day.


9. Do you always finish one piece before you start another?
I have NEVER finished one piece before starting another!


10. Any really good local knitting clubs or yarn shops everyone should know about?
To the above I would add The Sheared Sheep and the PurlSoho warehouse in Costa Mesa. Even Tall Mouse, Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s occasionally have some great buys.