Monday, March 20, 2006

The Good, The Bad, & The Pain

The good-
The sweet and lovely Reese was visiting the Bay Area. She swung by the shop so that we could meet, and she could ogle the yarn of course. You can take it from me, Frank & Reese are just adorable in person as they are on Flickr. Also... Make sure to check out her hand dyed yarn... Gorgeous! I forgot to bring my camera, but Reese didn't. So hopefully, a photo soon to come.

The bad-
Saturday night my friend Kate, her friend Fiona, & myself were heading to get some dinner, and possibly knit later in the evening. Kate was driving, Fiona was in the front seat, I sat behind Kate. We were stopped at a red light, we heard crazy loud screeching, and then "SMACK! SMACK!" Everyone had seat belts one. I didn't realize it first, I was so high on my adrenaline. I got out of the car to see if Kate needed any help. Per the nice police officer's request, I moved Kate's ca into a nearby parking lot. That is when my neck started hurting, then my back.

The Pain-
I was in a c-spine collar, on a board in the ambulance for about an hour before we even left for the hospital. It was a super crappy night. The accident was around six thirty, and I didn't leave the hospital til after ten o'clock. After a dozen uncomfortable x-rays the doctor released me, with a stack of pain killer prescriptions. My neck, and upper back hurt so bad!!!! The worst part of the whole evening was that I had to pee really bad on the way to dinner. Then I was strapped down to a rock hard board, straps weighing on my about to burst bladder. At one point the pain from having to pee far surpassed my neck & back pain. I was crying like a baby. Much to my horror, a nurse wheeled me into a private room to "help" me pee. As humiliating, and horrifying as that experience was, DAMN if I didn't feel so much better from the waist down.

There were no major injuries to anyone involved in the accident, thank heavens. Kate's car had a small smudge on the bumper. The other two vehicles were screwed up pretty badly. Being in the backseat, I sucked up most of the impact. I actually flew forward & whipped back.
Ahhhhh, good times. Now back to my game shows & vicodin.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I am knitting once again

  • Yarn-Mmmmmalibrigo, in Dusty Olive
  • Needles-US#7/4.5mm
  • Pattern-modified lace-up fingerless gloves, from AlterKnits
  • Finished-almost there

  • Yarn-Manos #'s 36 & 68
  • Needles-Us#8/5mm
  • Pattern-Directly from AlterKnits
  • Finished-Sept 05

I LOVE my fancy lace-up mitts, but the laces make them hard to wear under coats, at work, or anything that requires me to use my hands. I really wanted a pair to wear for everyday use. I guess that I have freakishly small wrists because any glove that try one, store bought or handmade just swims around my wrists, no warmth there. So I played around with the numbers, knit the entire thing in the round. And am super dooper very happy with the results. I may make a few more of these for myself. My hands are always cold, and with all of the injuries to my upper extremities, warmer is always better.
Of course I started a whole new project, rather than finishing up one of the five that I already had going!

And now for the gratuitous yarn shots...

Malibrigo in Lime Blue
No plans, just had to have it!

Blue Sky Cotton, Cumin #605, Graphite #625, Pumpkin #622, Azul #628
It's going to be a baby blankie

Joseph Galler-Peruvian Tweed, in #113
Any ideas? It's 100% superfine alpaca, 600 yards

Louisa Harding-Kimono Angora, #5
No plans yet, it was given to me.

Prism's Kid Slique in Woodlands
This will be a fancy scarf/cravat type thingy. I have deep lust for this yarn, the colors are beyond perfect. I knit the shop sample of this yarn last year.

Plymouth Baby Alpaca #2160
This is going to my secret pal, she has a thing for alpacas.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Secret Pal... the Reveal

Check it out...

As it turns out, my secret pal hand dyes and spins yarns. She is obviously very talented! Now the pressure is on for me create something worthy of all this unique yarn.

After a long and stressful day, a package on the porch was just what I needed. It was a slightly heavy box, ooooh, even more exciting. Five skeins of handspun/dyed yarn, two Cat Bordhi books, a couple of lace cowl patterns, and candy candy candy! This was my first time participating in a secret pal exchange. It has been wonderful, & I look forward to the next round.

My three favorite skeins are pictured individually below. Debra, please feel free to share more accurate descriptions, and fiber contents of each of them here. One of the non pictured skeins is spun very tightly, resulting in a springy corkscrew, I am very curious about this one, what to do with this type of yarn. I am anxious to knit with it.

This one has "locks" of bright green, one of my favorites.

This one reminds me of colorful cocoons, like mini cones of cotton candy.

This one has puffs of hot shiny pink randomly spun into it.

Rosco checks the box to make sure that I didn't forget anything. He is so darn helpful.

The End

Rosco's end that is.

Stay tuned in...Tomorrow I will share photos of what I have been working on the last few days, my first knitting in almost a month. Also... New yarn porn.

Monday, March 13, 2006

How I Learned to Knit...

Beak Knits! has asked her readers to share their "learning to knit" stories. This is a timely topic for me to reflect upon, as my one year knit-iversary is quickly approaching, April first.
Last year I decided that I was finally going to learn how to knit. I wasn't sure how to approach it, none of my friends knit. My buff's mom has knit forever, but I didn't want to go there, I guess I was too intimidated to ask a master knottier for help. Of course this was before I knew that anyone who knits LOVES to teach others to knit. And BTW, buff's mom has been one of my biggest fans. She goes on about how perfect my stitches are. Thanks Mary, xoxo.
Being a sew-and-sew long before I had that yarn twinkle in my eye, I decided to sign up for a beginning knitting class at my favorite fabric shop. They offer tons of great classes on all kinds of crafty things, the fabric shop has a small but decent selection of yarn. I had never been into a real yarn shop, so I really had nothing to compare it to.

My first scarf
in lion brand woolease

Armed with my supplies list, I chose cascade 220 in a dreamy heathery robins egg blue #9452, and some #7 clovers. On the drive home I kept looking at my new yarn, the class was 2 weeks away, was I really supposed to just stare at it for TWO WEEKS? On the way home I swung by the local book store. I saw "Stitch n' Bitch", and I knew it was for me. I flipped through it, yep, definitely for me. I went home and scoured that book, page by page. Somehow I slept that night, but only to awake at 6 a.m. & attempt to wind that yarn. Using my knees, I eventually managed to wind a pathetic ball of yarn. Then I took it step by step by step, casting on, knit stitch for a dozen rows, then purl a dozen, then bind off. My stitches were super tight at first, and a little wonky. There were unintentional yarnovers, and my bind off was ridiculously tight that the edge was about two inches narrower than the rest of the piece, which wasn't very uniform in width to begin with. I decided that I needed a bit more help, but couldn't wait until the class. I went online. I found lots of great knitting blogs. People were so creative and very generous with their knowledge. I ended up at I wish that I could remember now which blog I was visiting when I discovered it. So to every blogger who has ever mentioned, I eternally thank all of you!

My first hat, first cables, and first attempt at knitting in the round

also lion brand woolease

I spent the next couple of weeks practicing everyday. I was knitting, and it was getting better every hour of each passing day. Fast forward two weeks, I get to class, & after 1/2 an hour, the instructor told me that I really didn't need the class. I had exhausted half of the cascade, ripping it out and re-knitting it a dozen times or more. I decided to practice on something less special to me. So I got a bunch of woolease, went home, and knit, and knit, and then knit some more.Although it was used for all of my first projects, I now use woolease strictly for practicing new stitches/techniques.

My second, or third scarf
lion brand chunky woolease
Incidentally, I still have that half ball of cascade 220. It is safely stashed away in the special golden stash hall of fame. I like the idea of treasuring my first ball of yarn.
I have kept all of my first projects, in a storage bin, I look at them once in awhile, makes me giggle. I began working in a yarn shop last September. Depending on how slow or busy it is, we spend a portion of the day answering quick questions ("I cannot remember how to pick up stitches") to lengthier tutorials with newbies ("How come I cast on 20, but after a few rows I have 26?"). I have taught two people to knit, my guy, and my friend Stephanie. They both picked it up in one day, and continue to enjoy it. I have several other folks who have asked me to teach them, and I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

A Weekend With Leigh Radford

Look, It's Me & Leigh!!

It was a grand weekend. Leigh was at The Shop Saturday and Sunday. Saturday she held a workshop on shibori, followed up by a book signing. That evening the entire staff & Leigh went out to dinner. We dined at an amazing restaurant, Le Cheval. I was lucky to sit next to Leigh, and just soak up the wealth of her creativity. We had so much wonderful food, but my fave by far was the famous broiled green mussels, on the half shell with lemongrass sauce, peanuts, & grilled onions. Lucky for us that most everyone else at the table was either allerigc to shellfish, or just didn't like mussels, the platter wound up between Leigh and myself, my god they were delicious!

Sunday was The Alterknits workshop with Leigh. I urged my friend Nomi to take the class, and she had a blast, read about it on her blog. I was working in the front of the shop, & they were giggling, & laughing throughout the entire class. I was so jealous that I had to work both days, & miss both of the workshops. BUT- Leigh signed both of her books for me, & she was more than happy to honor my uber knitting geek request to have my photo taken with her. Also, I was stunned that she totally remembered me from when I first emailed her back in September about an error in the lace up fingerless gloves pattern. Besides being such a brilliant, & open minded artist, she is truly one of the warmest, nicest people that I have had the privilege of sharing Broiled Green Mussels with.

In other news, slightly Leigh related... I have Been looking for wool/mohair/angora, i.e feltable sweaters at thrift stores since I first started knitting/felting. Then the AlterKnits trunk show came & I loved that blanket way more than I thought I would. I always liked it in the book, great colors, composition, etc. But in person, WOWIE! I was out in San Leandro buying cat food, (I refuse to give money to petco, petsmart, or any of those mega crappy pet stores!) & there is a huge Salvation Army a few blocks from Mike's Feed & Pet. This SA occupies what was once a large grocery store, i.e HUGE. I found a couple of dozen wool blend sweaters, angora, mohair, even one charcoal grey heathered 100% cashmere sweater, all for $ 3.20 a piece. Note: probably won't felt the cashmere, it just feels wrong. Besides, it's in brand new condition & fits Chris. I narrowed my selection down to 12.

After laying them all out, I realized that I won't be using them all together in one blankie. Some of them just don't go together. The oddballs will become purses.

And here is my sassy new haircut. I was so long overdue for a new do. I had forgotten how dang curly my tresses are.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

AlterKnits Has Landed!!

Remember me? Yes. I am still around. My arms were acting up for a quite awhile. Then they were on the mend, & feeling better. THEN I slipped off of the folding step stool while hanging up items from the AlterKnits trunk show. Using a long pole with a hook on the end, we hang the garments up almost ceiling high. As the stool collapsed while I was standing on it I began to fall back, so I grabbed the handle of the stool, it kept falling, bending my wrist backwards. Were talking the back of my hand flat to my arm. ummmm, OUCH! Within the hour my wrist and elbow was swollen. So I continue knitting not very much at all. I am "typing" this post via voice activated software.
But most importantly... Leigh Radford will be at the shop on Saturday & Sunday. She is teaching two different workshops, one on Shibori, & the other is called AlterKnits workshop. She is also signing books for a period of time. Our Staff will be taking her out to dinner while she is here.
I have about a dozen of the lanterns finished. We strung them in our front window, where more of the AlterKnits show is located. I am going to try to get a couple done per day to add onto the display. I promise a photo once the display is complete. I cannot wait to make a set for my house. I think I want to make a couple of large sized lanterns to fit over standard sized lightbulbs. OOOH, also we have advanced copies of Leigh's new book "One Skein", it's a great book. You can call & order it from our shop

In other news, my dear friend and coworker, Kate shares my constant need to obtain more & more containers that just might be the ultimate organizational system for knitting supplies. She gifted me this cool GREEN fishing tackle box thingy. It has two sides that open.

So I transferred all of my stitch markers into one side. And some of my point protectors, & cable needles into the flipside. Then I have my cool aqua colored travel pill container that I keep in my knitting bag.

The problem is, my stitch counters are too wide/tall to fit. So I left them in the "old" box, the clear one.

Is everyone thoroughly bored hearing all about my obsession with organization? I promise to talk more about the actual knitting, once I am able to actually knit. : )

Some of you have already seen this silly photo of me from my corset fitting. I am a bridesmaid in a wedding. One of my oldest friends, since freshman year of college, who is a hard core Goth chick, wants her bridesmaids to wear custom fitted corsets, in red silk duchess. Not my style, but it's her wedding & I would wear a potato sack if she asked. I will go ahead and answer the question that everyone else has asked. It was shockingly comfortable to wear, even while seated. And it pretty much forces you to have perfect posture. The woman fitting me said "WOW, you have a very compressible body!" wtf does THAT mean?! She went to say that basically I have a good body for corseting. Again, wtf?! I choose to take it as a positive thing.

It turned out that a friend of mine owns this book. She loaned it to me. I read the first few pages of the introduction & I was hooked. I highly reccomend this book. And Yahaira... If you are knitting harem pants for Amy, I want a pair too. he he ; )