Monday, July 31, 2006

On the road again ...

I took a long lunch on Wednesday and headed over to AFY for some help with this screwy cable pattern. Lois was, of course, great help and figured out that the pattern was instructing me to P where I should K and K where I should P on one of the cable passes. I sat at the work table and did a few rows with her changes to make sure everything was lining up and I could have stayed there all afternoon! I certainly didn't want to leave to get back to work, but it was crazy busy on Wednesday since I knew I would be out the rest of the week, so I headed back with my corrected pattern to finish up the work day. On the plane Thursday I knitted a few more rows to complete the pattern and make sure everything was fine ... then I ripped it all out to start over. My traveling companion (Lissa's boyfriend Matt) was quite chatty, so I paid more attention to him than to the pattern and didn't get too much more done. Thursday night was the rehersal dinner and on Friday all the guys got up early to mow the meadow where the wedding was to take place (nothing like those last minute jobs!) so I sat on the back porch of our Lake Tahoe cabin in the woods and knitted for about an hour on the new, mistake-free project. I was almost disappinted when Wes called to say they were on their way back and had plans to go to the beach for the rest of the morning!
(picture below: Luke - groomsman, Matt - groom, Andrew - Matt's brother/best man, Wes - groomsman. in front: Coyt - Luke's son and the ring bearer - outside our cabin in the woods above Lake Tahoe)
But the lake was beautiful and it was nice for all the guys to hang out with Matt and help him relax before getting hitched. We had a three-hour drive from Tahoe to Oakland on Saturday, but it was too early in the morning and a little too hungover to be doing anything but looking at the road ahead, so no knitting on that leg of the journey.
(picture below: Wes and I at the A's game on Saturday)

But on Sunday I knit for a majority of our trip home. I got a couple more passes of the 12-row pattern done and it is looking great so far! I am really happy with the way it is going, and I love the cable pattern. It keeps me interested as it is more challenging than just switching back and forth between knitting and purling. I have big plans for ths pattern ...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Wes took our digital camera with him to record the bachelor party tonight (I think that is against man code? isn't it "what happens at the bachelor party, stays at the bachelor party"? anyway ...) so I can't show off my first twelve-row pattern completion of the cable project! I love love love the color yarn I am using (already have plans to embelish the finished product, but can't go into that now. Let's just say it will also involve some embroidery.) But I think the pattern might be a little off because I made the same mistake in the same place on repeat rows, so I will be running to AFY again on my lunch break to get it figured out before I hit the road tomorrow morning! No word yet on if my extra yarn has arrived, but I did bind-off my swatch for the ribbon x-back tank and used up half of the rest of that ball last night too ... just using all my resources until the shipment comes in!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dilemma solved! and more good news!

I figured out what new project to work on this weekend through all the traveling ... I decided to get started on little things I can give as Christmas presents. I guess that means it's a surprise ... what I can say is that I bought two skiens of Cascade 220 on my lunch break, and a cable needle! I am a little nervous about the cable stitches, since I have never made anything with cables before, but I am really excited to learn! I love cable-knit things. Even though it is cloudy outside it is still 80 degrees!! but I am going to knit wool cables anyway. Luckily, what I am making is small, so I won't get buried under the hotness. I think I am going to like this project though, the two skiens and new needle all together added up to be the least amount of money I have ever spent at Anacapa Fine Yarns! whoo! Wes would be happy about that. Too bad he is nearing Sacramento right about now, so I won't get any congratulatory kisses. boo. anyway ...
Lois gave me a quick cable stitching tutorial at the check-out counter, so I hope I can figure it out when I get home tonight and try it myself. If I can't, I'll have to spend tomorrow's lunch break at AFY too! Lois did say that my red ribbon yarn could arrive as early as this afternoon! So I might need to stop by tomorrow anyway. I have also decided to exchange the green tiny yarn I bought last weekend for the lacy wrap sweater and get the turquoise used in the example. There wasn't enough of that color when I went by AFY to get the yarn, so I chose another color that there was more of ... but after working on my swatch in that color, I don't like it nearly as much as I thought I would. And for something that is going to take me that much time, I better like it!! The good news is, Lois said she could probably find another ball or two of that dye lot from another local store, so I can exchange that yarn soon too! Too bad the weather is so hot, otherwise everything would be going my way for knitting tons and tons of projects.


I am going to have a lot of down time this week. Work has been crazy, but is finally slowing down. Wes left this morning to drive to Tahoe (8 hours all by himself! poor guy) for Matt's bachelor party before the wedding on Friday and I have the next two nights to myself. Then, starting Thursday, the free time really kicks in. I have an hour-long shuttle ride to the airport that morning, then sitting in the airport and an hour-and-a-half plane ride. Then once I get to Tahoe, I will have time to myself while my in-the-wedding-party-husband is off doing groomsmen things (drinking heavily? I don't know what else). I won't be knitting at the wedding, of course, but Saturday morning we have a three-hour drive to Oakland (to watch the A's vs. Toronto and seeing as how the Angels are poised to take over first place from the A's this week, and Wes has two Blue Jays on his fantasy team, we will definitely be cheering for a Canadian team! that will be weird!). Sunday we have at least five or six hours in the car back to Ventura from Oakland, so there is plenty of knitting time ahead of me.
My problem is that I don't know what to knit. My x-back tank is still on hold until the shipment of yarn arrives and I am not feeling confident enough in the lace pattern to start on the body of the wrap sweater.
With all the moving around that will come from airport waiting and plane boarding and driving and everything else, I don't' want to start in on something with a lot of pattern. However, I will have a few good chunks of time where I can sit and relax with a pattern. And despite all the things I want to make for me, I have a few ideas for other people that I should start on if I want to give lots of knitted Christmas presents. I am planning to spend my lunch break at Anacapa Fine Yarns, so I have two hours to decide what to make next, plus a stack of work to finish that I am getting paid to do ...

Monday, July 24, 2006

out of yarn

I used up all my red ribbon yarn ... I'm just waiting now on a call from AFY to say that the new shipment is in. I kept grabbing bits of knitting time all weekend in between activities and eventually used up the yarn. It has been unbearably hot for a coastal city this week in Ventura. Nothing compared to last summer in the valley (blech) but at least there I had A/C. Wes and I keep opening up the windows and blowing all the fans trying to keep cool, but finally yesterday we just went and sat in the pool for a while. Nothing better!!!
The tiny yarn and needles project is still in practice mode. I think that will be something I go to sporadically in between other, easier things. I got a few more rows of pattern done and it is coming out all right. I have never counted stitches for gauge in a lace pattern ... I feel a "help me" trip to Lois coming on ... but it won't happen tonight. Tia is forcing my lazy butt to run in this heat. But after the torture, I have delicious leftover sugar steak (best thing ever) ready to eat in a big green salad. yum yum. I am hungry already!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

You stay classy, San Diego

this has been a real busy week! Wes and I drove down to San Diego on Saturday and stayed until Tuesday. I did find an extra ball of the red ribbon yarn in the bottom of my knitting bag, so I was able to make some more progress on the drive home, but not much else has been done on the x-back tank in the past week.
On Thursday I stopped by AFY on my way home from work and picked up ten balls of tiny tiny yarn and size 2 and 3 needles (I must be crazy). I cast on double the suggested stitches for my swatch to give me more practice on the lace pattern. Out of five pattern repeats, I have only done it right twice (the third and fourth times ... don't know what I was thinking about on the fifth one, I thought I had it down!). So I need to practice on the swatch a little more before I cast on for the actual sweater. I haven't even figured out my gauge yet because I haven't done the lace pattern right to figure out accurate stitch count. I think I will need to do some math for this though because the sizes given on the pattern are four inches apart and my ideal size would be right in between two sizes (two inch difference). I worked on the lace pattern swatch a little bit while in SD, but it was so hot and humid there, I didn't really want to touch yarn. The weather is not much cooler right now in Ventura, so haven't been too anxious to pick up the needles since we got back.
Anyway, San Diego was so fun that I didn't really think about knitting for four days. Saturday night we went out to the Gaslamp District and for dinner and drinks Warren suggested Yardhouse. I had (Mac+Cheese)2 and Wes had the biggest turkey pot-pie I ever saw. We also sampled some delicious beer ... my favorite was the Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale. Sunday we went to see the Padres get beat up on by the Braves - we had great seats right behind home plate in section 300 at Petco Park and the first row in the shade for most of the game! After the game we took a long walk all along the harbor ... good thing there was a trolley station at the end of our walk! We had to save our energy for Sea World on Monday!
Sea World was awesome ... neither of us had been there since we were kids! There are a couple of changes, including some new rides. It isn't just a zoo for sea animals anymore. We thought the Wild Arctic "helicopter ride" was a cool way to introduce the arctic animals (I love the Beluga Whales!), but thought that Journey to Atlantis was stupid ... especially because it broke down while we were at the top of a drop! The Shamu show was a little cheesy, but still cool to see all the tricks and how those huge 3000-pound whales interact with their trainers. And while we chose not to get drenched on Shipwreck Rapids, we did enjoy watching everyone else go under the waterfall after dinner. Tuesday we just got up and drove home ... made a quick stop at the Carlsbad Outlets for a Crate & Barrel fix and then home at last!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

attempting what I always wanted

my x-back tank is out of yarn and temporarily out of commission! my decision to make the tank longer than the pattern required and my smaller-than-designed-for gauge were two factors not considered when I bought the last five balls of Deco-Ribbon at Anacapa Fine Yarns last weekend (the exact amount required for the pattern, but not for me, apparently). Lois is on vacation this week, so my tank must be put on hold until she gets back and can order more of the stuff.
I feel like this is the opportunity I have been waiting (maybe avoiding, because I am scared) for to attempt the sweater that I have wanted to knit all along. Can't link to it because it is in Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'N Bitch Nation pattern book and she doesn't have a website or post patterns online. I have been drooling over this particular sweater ever since Heather brought the Stitch 'N Bitch books into my life, close to two years ago. However, I do know myself pretty well and know that I get frustrated when things don't go right the first time. I am glad I waited to attempt this until I found an LYS with great classes and an owner/instructor who is helpful and explains things in a way I understand. After three or four scarfs, one grownup-sized shell and a baby dress am I ready to attempt lace, wrap-fronts and sleeves?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

seed stitch is a bee-yotch!

had time for knitting last night while Wes was working an OT shift and got a couple good hours in between devouring a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (some days nothing else will do). Also sat upstairs and knitted for almost an hour this afternoon on my lunch break and I am not noticing too much progress. I blame this on the fact that seed stitch takes longer than stockinette or garter stitch due to the yarn having to switch sides after each stitch (knit, pass yarn, purl, pass yarn, knit, pass yarn, purl ... etc etc etc). I also blame my slow progress on this job I have to be at for eight hours a day. While I can get away with blogging some days, I think they would notice if I busted out my needles and this bright red yarn. Notice my sad knitting bag sitting among a mess of papers and inter-office mailers on my desk ...
I wouldn't be as anxious about finishing this top, but I am trying to be good about only having one project going at a time. I know this is a little unheard of (my new favorite pattern designer has a list of items - FOUR - she currently has "on the needles" on her blog and I don't know if I could handle that many. I wouldn't know what to work on first). However, just this morning I discovered and fell in love with just about all of Wendy Bernard's patterns. (she of the aforementioned "new favorite pattern designer" with multiple projects going at once.) So now I am anxious to get knitting and knitting some more! I am hoping to find cute things to knit for Christmas presents. I know Mom likes homemade gifts ... I hope other people like them too!

Monday, July 10, 2006


after a little bit of knitting on Thursday, I didn't any knitting done this weekend - was just a tiny bit distracted on Friday and Sunday. (yes, I saw it twice! and on Friday Heather got us gold teeth caps to wear! aren't we sexy!!) Thought about bringing the knitting to the theater Sunday since we had to wait in line for a while to get good seats, but figured we wouldn't really be able to sit down and relax (I was right), so had to spend the hour talking to and kissing my darling husband (a real hardship!).
It was kind of nice to have a weekend without knitting ... after the franticness of the last week or so finishing up Taylor's jumper, I was glad to just chill out and focus on something new. I am now anxious to get back to it and finish up my cute x-back tank. Wonder if I can finish it in time to wear in San Diego this weekend? I won't be knitting in the car on Saturday ... Wes gets off at 6am that morning so if we want to leave at a decent hour and stop for lunch with Grandma in HB, I'll have to drive so he can sleep.

Friday, July 07, 2006

flashback to first knitted object

Mom and Dad are traveling in Colorado right now and sent this picture. I made the scarf as a birthday gift for mom in 2004. A scarf is a good gift for a December birthday, but I'm not sure how comforatable she was wearing it in July! Thanks for the picture for my record though, Mom! :)It is a garter stitch scarf (that's why you can see the lines on the backside from adding in the white ... I hadn't learned to purl yet) made out fo Lion's Brand Yarn, the boucle in rose and cream. This was also made before I discovered that yarn is sold not just at Michael's.
Prior to making this scarf, my only venture into knitting was in fourth grade when we read a story in class about knitting and our teacher organized a lunchtime knitting group. Grandma came in to help, along with other moms and grandmas. I made a little garter stitch square and didn't pick up needles again for 15 years.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

on to the next project!

Friday night before I settled in for the marathon baby jumper, I did finish off the roll collar on the pink sweater, so technically, I have TWO first ever project finished at the same time. How exiting! Mom decided she wants beads, so I have to go by the bead store still ... then I'll send it off to where ever they are (currently Colorado) and have her send in a picture. Until then, the big head will have to do!

With my two projects finished and nothing on the needles, I felt a little lost. Luckily, I had prepared for this and after a long run with Tia on Saturday morning (felt real great since I went to bed after 3am ...) I stopped by Anacapa Fine Yarns with a new pattern in hand to pick out yarn. I decided after making things for other people, it was about time to make something for myself. Something totally impractical that I could never wear to work, but something that will knit up fast and look cute. This sweater is knit out of ribbon yarn on huge needles. It is also knit in the round which means that from the bottom up to the arm and neck shaping, I can just knit and knit without really paying much attention, as I did on Sunday night. Between the movies and Wes watching World Cup, I got a lot of the thing done this weekend! (I have blisters on two of my fingers from the weekend of knitting.) Funny, because we were quite social and went to the beach a lot this weekend too. I guess I need a four-day weekend every week! (I wish.) Anyway, I chose this bright red/pink Deco-Ribbon from Crystal Palace and so far I am really pleased with it. I love the way seed stitch looks with this yarn, and it won't be too hot to wear for the rest of the summer. I am planning to make the body of this top a little longer than the pattern calls for, mostly because my torso is longer than the XS girl who designed this pattern, and also because longer tops are in style now (mom wonders why this wasn't the case when I was 16 ...) so I have about seven inches done and need to add at least that many before I start the shaping. Unfortunately I can't keep going at my previous pace (have this annoying thing called a job), but I should still get this finished in a week or so ... especially because Wes is working all weekend and we can't go see Pirates until Sunday, I will be drowning my sorrows in my new cute x-back tank top.

Taylor's jumper: FINISHED! :)

Friday was a long night of knitting and I half-watched the Dodger game, actually watched one movie, and other than noticing that young Diane Lane looks a lot like Julia Stiles, I didn't really watch the second movie because I was so close to being done! I finally stitched my last stich (attaching the pockets to the front) at 2:30 Saturday morning and collapsed into bed after feeling just a little sorry for myself that no one was awake for me to call and celebrate with! (Wes was busy handling a DUI/crash scene and getting bit by the K9 at the time). But now, after a weekend of celebrating (our country, not just my knitting accomplishment!) here are some pictures of my first official FINISHED project other than a scarf. Hurray!

a closer look at some details ...

The right shoulder has a button to close so you don't have to pull the dress over baby's head. also, you can't see them in the picture, but I put two buttons on each side on the back so that as Taylor grows, the jumper will get a little bigger too. The woman who designed this original pattern suggested this can go from a dress/jumper to a tunic to wear over pants as well as baby gets bigger. I think it will be cute either way and hope Kristina will send pictures for me to post!