Value and Stash

This morning my daughter quoted a newspaper article that UCLA had the highest number of undergraduate applications in the universe, or some such. Obviously this means more people applied there than Harvard or Stanford (yay!) or even UC Berkeley. It made me muse on the notion of “value.” UCLA is a great school (I went there for grad school) AND it’s got low tuition for state residents AND it’s got weather second only to UC San Diego AND it’s in an amazingly diverse and vibrant geographic community. If you want to sun, surf (yay!), snowboard, attend movie premieres, be in movies, eat weird food, hobnob with rich people, hobnob with social justice people, visit theme parks, travel to Mexico or Hawaii, this is a fabulous location and UCLA is a fabulous school.


It all depends on what you value. UCLA is one of my daughter’s top college choices for all of the above, not the least of which is bang for your buck. If we could afford it, we would “value” one of the elite private universities more, even if she had to travel back east. But we have other priorities for that money. If we valued social and business connections more, we’d send her to USC in a heartbeat because of the contacts we/she already have and the potential career help she’d get in the future. But we prefer living in the moment and allowing her to make choices about what will matter to her in her future.


Getting long-winded here … my point is just that I’m weighing what I value more carefully and intentionally these days because money, time, and quality of life are precious commodities. What does this have to do with knitting?!?!?!?! Stash. I wasted so much time this weekend looking for my one ball of cashmere because my stash is out of control. I realized that half of it is castoffs from someone else’s stash! WHY am I hanging onto novelty yarn in colors I don’t even like that much? Because it was free. But how much “value” does free stuff really have if it’s costing me time and storage space and ease of mind?


OK — note to self, all the novelty yarn is already mostly in one bin. When I have time (yeah, that’ll happen!), I will ruthlessly cull out yarn that I cannot imagine enjoying knitting with or wearing or even giving away to strangers in a knit-for-charity item.


Whew! I love how knitting contains all the deep metaphors of life. No one blends the two better in my mind than Brenda Dayne in her podcast Cast On. I want to be Brenda when I grow up, at least the insightful-writer-living-in-picturesque-Wales Brenda. She can be found in iTunes and her website is (Gotta learn how to do those tags, links, HTML thingies!)


My FO for this post, in honor of our unseasonably cold weather, my fingerless gloves, Cigar from in Koigu KPPPM, a washable 100% merino (great for socks!). I had another pair in Misti Alpaca Baby Alpaca, a lovely eggplant color, but I lost them!


May you only experience what you value in your life….



Koigu Cigar on

Snowballs and FO Clapotis(es?)

Greetings to pheangeance, my first commenter on my first day! I haven’t even told my family about this blog yet, much less my knitting buddies. I’m amazed you found me….

“Snowballs” refers to effect I expected once I actually started a blog. No dipping in the pinky-toe with this stuff — once you dive in, ya gotta more-than-dog-paddle to keep afloat. I’m immersing myself in this new language and etiquette and, I must admit, it’s daunting! Fun, but … I don’t want to mess up. I keep telling myself, “No worries! No blood involved!” Yet the perfectionist in me still obsesses…. Plus it takes so much time!

My FOs pictured below are my three Clapotis, the iconic pattern by Kate Gilbert published at Does one say “Clapotises”? In French the singular and plural would look the same, but … I dunno…. The first was done according to the pattern in Knit Picks Shimmer, doubled, in Grape Hyacinth. I didn’t like the speckled effect until I kept the colors of the strands together and it pooled in a pretty way. I think the presence/absence of flash altered the colors in these photos. I gave this Clapotis to my wonderful saint of a mother-in-law.

Mom’s ClapotisWearing Mom’s Clapotis

The second in the purply colorway is my own from Mango Moon recycled sari silk. It, too, is to pattern, but the yarn is much wider, heavier, stickier. It was a PAIN to drop, but otherwise I absolutely loved the process of making it. When I wear it, I think, of all places, of Costa Rica because I knit a large chunk of it on the beach at Santa Teresa. As I knitted, I imagined all the women before me whose hands had worked the silk, woven it, sewn it into a sari, wore the sari, unwove it, washed and spun it back into yarn, then finally marketed and sold it to me. I hope it turns into a treasure to be handed down in the generations of my family. This

is a link to a photo of my Clap from Squeeze OC, an online magazine that covered a wonderful performance art event last year where we stitched and bitched and watched knitting on 8 foot needles and toured an art gallery, all in the same evening.

Mango Moon Clapotis

The latest, finished just last week, is in Caron’s Simply Soft for an old friend of my husband’s who is chronically ill. To be perfectly honest, I think I’m trying to atone for bad karma years ago when I considered her competition for my husband’s affections (he was soft of with her when we met). Is a soft (machine-washable!) and warm, handmade Clapotis enough to cancel out the bad vibes I sent into the universe? Anyway, I hope she likes it….Caron Simply Soft Clapotis

Rogue Tess

Caron Simply Soft Clapotis purl detail

Twisted Float Cardigan FO

One of the main reasons I felt compelled to start a blog now is my ever-increasing pile of FOs (finished objects) that I want to photograph, show off, then send to their intended recipients. Below is a detail of my Twisted Float Cardigan, designed by Annie Modesitt in Vogue Knitting, in Lorna’s Laces worsted. I did the smallest size, which is just a little snug, but I think I would have been swimming in the next size up. I can’t figure out how to resize the silly photo — maybe in a future edit.

Another inspiration for my blog is the desire to share my quirky finds: trivia, podcasts, yarn resources, whatever. My latest favorite is the Daily Giz Wiz with Dick DeBartolo and Leo Laporte, who discuss a new gadget each podcast with lively and witty conversation. They are available to subscribe on iTunes or at

Rogue Tess

Twisted Float Cardigan Vogue Fall 2005

FO Twisted Float Cardigan Detail

This Cosmic Date

Hi, all — welcome to the first post of my blog. I’ve wanted to start one for a while, but I wanted its first date to have cosmic significance. I missed 6.06.06, and 6.07.06, and 8.07.06, and 12.06.06 (my 20th wedding anniversary!). I can’t wait for 7.07.07. (Apparently, the latter is the most requested wedding date in history because of the lucky superstitions around the number 7.) So….. 1.23.07 will just have to do! 🙂

A little background: the shorthand of my blog is “ssk” which is a knitting abbreviation for “slip slip knit,” a technique that creates a decrease that leans to the left. Hence — my subhead “Musings of a slightly left-leaning suburban mom.” It’s also shorthand for my three most fanatical avocations: I LOVE music, especially singing. Last year I achieved one of my dreams — singing at Carnegie Hall (with my school’s vocal group). I also LOVE surfing and everything about surf culture. I have an 8’4″ Becker Supermodel, sort of a girly funboard. Unfortunately, I’m spoiled with the warm water of Hawaii and Costa Rica, so I don’t surf much at home in Southern California except in the summer. Finally, I LOVE KNITTING!!!!!!! Most of this blog will be about my trials and tribulations and progress and production relating to knitting.

That’s plenty for now. I’m posting my first picture, my favorite view from my family’s property in Costa Rica (it’s my screensaver and my inspiration).  Double-click it to see it full size!


Favorite View