*Left Coast Knits

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap. -Cynthia Heimel

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Knitting the Clap

So my sister Jenny, who also knits, told me that she wants to "knit the clap" one day. I had never heard it referred to in exactly that manner before... Anyway, I have been knitting mine. Ok, I haven't exactly been killing myself over it, but it is bigger, see? It's not like I have been just sitting around eating potato chips all day or anything (don't I wish)- I have been slaving away on my black Anthropologie sweater that I started last August when I was on vacation. I had a few interruptions while knitting it (namely that I decided to knit a throw for my Mother in law for Christmas, and it took for eeeevvvvvveeeerrrrr- but she totally loved it!) I have been trying to finish the Anthropologie sweater before this August... But anyway, the moral of the whole long story is that I have been knitting on my Clapotis, and I would like to finish that by August too so that I can take it with me on vacation.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Stitches West, or, two hours of yarn madness

Ok, everyone who knows me knows that I live about 1/2 hour from Santa Clara, the home of Stitches West. So, did I go? Well of course I went. Wild horses and all... My Mom and Dad were visiting, as well as my brother in law (who is a FedEx pilot and just happened to have a 24 hour layover during which he happened to be staying in the VERY TOWN where, unbeknownst to him, I live- my sister had to fill him in on that info) , but I managed to squeak in a 2 hour visit to the market. Remember the Ren and Stimpy where Ren gets space madness? That is what the Stitches Market is like- yarn madness.

Seeing as how I had limited time and had to maximize my yarn purchasing options, I got there early. The sales floor was not open yet, so I had to wait on line with about 250 other shoppers, all of whom were practically foaming at the mouth... just like me. Eventually (after loads of worrying that we were in the wrong line, that we would have to wait for everyone in fornt of us without tickets to buy them, and that all of the good stuff would already be gone) we got in to do our shopping. In the end, my practical side (who knew that I had a practical side?!) won over- I did not buy too much. Plus I was totally freaked out by all of the yarn and simply could not make any kind of buying decision what so ever. But here is what I did manage to make a decision on...

My first purchase- I ran all over the place looking for the Foxy Knits booth, because they have a huge selection of... Kiogu! KPPPM, nine skeins of it, to be exact- I wanted more (ok, I wanted them all, but you know how it is- if I spent all of my earnings on Koigu, what would I buy girly shoes with? Plus there is that mortgage thing...) but nine was all that they had in the colorway that I liked best. That should be enough for a cute little fitted cardigan with three quarter length sleeves- just the thing for spring- as IF I could knit that fast! You can't really tell from my not-so-mad photography skillz, but the colors are dark magenta, orange, brown and purple. For me, Koigu is the kind of yarn that is worth every penny you spend on it- it is super cool looking when it is knit up, plus it is fun to knit with because the colors keep changing. It is also worth paying extra to buy it if you can see it in person- it is dyed in small batches and each dye lot can very quite a bit, so the photo you see on the internet may represent a dye lot number, while the yarn that a retailer has in stock when you order, although it is the same dye lot- it might look pretty different. But I digress- Koigu rocks. It really really does.

My next purchase- funky retro looking ribbon printed with knitting instructional pictures. How cool is that? I have no idea what I will do with it (which means that I will hoard it for about three years, waiting patiently for the perfect use for it, and then use it to wrap some gift or something just so that I don't have it lying around anymore), but I wanted it anyway. If I had a yarn store I would want to use it to tie on to all of my shopping bags- how cute would that be?

After that I saw this- I had to have it. I happened to be buying some needles (no pic of those, sorry- you all know what Addi turbos look like!) and while I was paying I saw this woman in the booth pick up a project, stick it in a bag like this, and put it under the table. What you cannot tell about this bag from my photo (not-so-mad photo skills again) is what a fantastic shade of dark turquoise it is, and that it is made from shantung silk. So I was like "What was that? Do you sell those?!" Turns out that they were for sale, prominently displayed smooshed in a large plastic bag under a table that was covered by a table cloth... I know, you are wondering how I could have missed them originally. So anyway, I bought it, even though I had NO idea who the heck Tilli Tomas is- I loved it THAT much. And when I got home I looked up Tilli Tomas on the internet. How could I not have guessed? They make yarn, of course.

Finally, my last purchase of the day- some socks that rock yarn. I have been hearing about socks that rock for a while, so when I saw the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth, I stopped for a look! They had loads of fantastic colors, thereby creating a "decision making issue," but I finally managed to suck it up and pick a colorway. Guess what it is going to be? Yep, another Clapotis. And I swear, I have been knitting on the one that I already started- I will post pictures tomorrow to prove it!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wild Stripiness

Look what a very nice woman named Angela sent me- a photo of her beautiful new baby boy all snuggled up in a Wild Stripes blanket knit from my pattern on Knitty. I feel like a proud parent! As you can see, Angela substituted a printed flannel for the gingham lining, making the blanket super cozy for the wintertime!
Thanks Angela!

Monday, February 13, 2006


Ok, so the blogger template was making me completely crrrraaaazy... so I changed it. I need to make my own, in my free time- HAH! Just kidding- I don't have free time. But I still need to make my own template.

Yo yo yo, all you phat knitters out there, are you down with it?

Yo yo, check it- it's
Gangsta Knitter! You down with it? Gangsta Knitter Knit for ME!

The Gangsta Knitters are THE coolest- I only wish I were half as cool as them, and that they would let me join their knitting gang (my gangsta knitter name would be Special-K)! Learn more about them on this week's The Tom and Doug Podcast Episode 5 which features an interview with Knit-Master SSK, and a description of the origins of "Gangsta Knitter."

This phat video was made by the very funny Debbie (KnitMaster SSK), ThomasP and DougDoug at Pisa Designs. Debbie has some really lovely designs (she is deifnitely down with knitting!)- so you should check it!

I have joked with Kelley in the past that our spinning guild should be a gang, and the next spinning guild over in Oakland could be a gang too, and then we could have a turf war that would end with a big rumble and maybe a dance-off. Now I am thinking that maybe the Gangsta Knitters would want to rumble with my spinning guild too... of course, if I got to join the Gangsta Knitters thene there would be this whole conflict of interest thing going on, but I am sure that I could figure something out.

Friday, February 10, 2006

If yer' lookin' fer the sidebar, scroll down- waaaay down.

What is with my sidebar? Why is is all of the way at the bottom of the page? Clearly my mad blogging skillz are lacking. If anyone knows how to fix it, feel free to share!

The olympics start tonight, and Kelley (all hail the queen of hellacious sock knitting) asked me to join YarnHarlot's Knitting Olympics with her- but I chickened out. The pressure... it got to me! I would have to go all out of order on my projects, which I hate (and I hate it because it is inherently wrong). However, mainly because I felt totally left out, I have decided join the Knitting Olympics pep squad (I am one of those cowbell ringing people on the side of the ski races), and make myself finish seaming my black sweater that I copied from Anthropologie (what? You have never shopped Anthropologie? Surely you jest! Go there right now- or don't- maybe your wallet (like mine!) won't survive the damage. Oh go on, be daring, go! But maybe you should put your credit cards in the freezer first.). I was going to show you all a picture of the sweater, but I started it soooooo long ago (as in, um, August) that it has been removed from their site, no doubt because it has been deemed passe... So anyway, I hereby swear on the Olympic Torch and all that that I, Left Coast Knitter, will sew together my black sweater by the time that the Olympics have ended. And I mean these olympics, not the ones that will happen in two years.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Seasons versus sweaters- who will win?

It is spring here in the San Francisco Bay area. Well, actually, here I think that spring starts December 26- we get no snow for Christmas, so once the day has passed we are ready to move on... but whatever. So I sat on my deck for a while in the lovely 65 degree temperatures and knit my Clapotis. Mmmmmm. But while I was out there enjoying myself, I got to thinking about my other projects- the ones that were still inside the house- the ones that I was not working on- the ones that are winter sweaters. Seriously, why do I bother? Winter here is about a week long, and on it's coldest, darkest, most sinister frozen days, the temperature only goes down to about 45 degrees (at which point, just so you know, we all act like we live in the frozen tundra and complain a lot). Yet I persist. Currently I have two winter sweaters going on- one is ready to assemble, and one is on the needles. If I were to spend today assembling the ready to assemble one, I might get to wear it twice (it is light weight!) before it hits 70; the one on the needles is knit from hand spun camel hair and will probably not see the light of day until next December. Honestly, what am I thinking?

On another springy note, all of the daffodils in my yard are in bloom. Aren't they lovely? Now for the reality of the situation...

I dug them up a month ago to plant a tree, and then it started to rain, so I left them there, languishing on the deck. We have not had time to plant the tree yet, so there they sit to this day. They don't seem to care at all- ignorance is bliss, huh?

Last, I will update you on my Clapotis progress:

So there I was happily knitting on the train to San Francisco yesterday morning, and I went to pull some more yarn out of my center pull ball, and urp- it stopped dead. Ok, so I may have wound the ball a little tightly... you know how that goes, right? That big globby mess of yarn lurking in middle of your center pull ball, which is trying to look innocent the whole time? So, last night I spent five and a half harrowing hours (between 9:00p.m. and 2:30 a.m) flogging it into submission. But I did it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

this is wrong on so many levels.

Ok, so I went to get my mail today, and there, inside my mail box, lay a shiny new knitting magazine! "Yay," I thought, "the new Cast On!" But then I opened it, and turned to page 58 (look for the square with 58 in it!)... all my hopes were crushed in one terrifying instant. There it was- the knitted bicycle seat cover-with doilies on it. Oh, the humanity of it all.

How many times can I say Clapotis?

Ok, so, all of these people have been asking me lately if I have a blog. And then I have to confess to them that yes, I do, but I have never posted anything on it, even though it has been up for over a year- yes, I am a loser. So anyway, for those of you who know me, you already know what I do, so you can skip this part. For those who don't know me, I am a freelance graphic designer based in the San Francisco bay area. In my abundant free time (hah!) I like to design knitting patterns, which can be found at knitty here and here and here. Yes, some day I will make a pattern that comes in different sizes.

So I know that you are dying to know- "Left Coast Knitter," you are saying, "What is it that you are knitting right now? What scrumpdillyiciuos yarn is on your needles?" Well ok, since you are dying to know and all, I'll tell ya what I'm knitting- It's a
Clapotis. Yes, Virginia, there is actually a knitter left who has yet to knit a Clapotis- but not for long. I have actually been pining to knit this- it is so cool, so hip, so chi chi, so Clapotis-y... but I just never got around to it. So, this weekend, when I went to my friend Rachel's knitting store (and may I say that Rachel had the nerve not to be there, even though I did not tell her that I was coming so she had absolutely NO reason at all to avoid the store that morning) The Knitting Basket, and when I got there I was struck dumb by the selection (it was so fab!) and thus unable to come to any decision what so ever as to what to buy. But then, lo, there it was, in a basket between the cash register and some books- a skein of Lorna's Laces Helen's lace in "denim" that just had Clapotis written all over it. So I bought it and got to Clapotising. Here's the damage so far:

Since the yarn is lace weight I have to add like a million extra repeats of the increase rows (ok, maybe only three) and another million rows to the body (or a few inches or so), but I can tell already that the scarf is going to be bee-you-tiful. And did I mention that the yarn rocks? It is wool and silk, and although it pretty much kept to itself until I started to knit with it, once it really got going it got that "I'm going to be a Clapotis" shine going on. Woohoo!