*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

Friday, March 31, 2006

I need a pineapple drink (or new shoes)

Quick, the sun is out- take some pictures! Oh, no, waaaaiiiit.... there it goes. Can I complain a little more about the rain? It has rained in San Francisco for 24 out of 30 days so far this month. Today will no doubt bring that total up to 25 out of 31. My deck is slowly turning a greenish hue (you think I am kidding but I'm not!) and everything is soggy. AND my photos are suffering- inside light is just not that good. I think I need to go shoe shopping. Or to a sunny beach somewhere where drinks come in pineapples with tiny umbrellas and plastic monkeys on them. Seriously, how do you people in Seattle do it? Or can you not answer my question because you are all in Mexico drinking pineapple drinks right now? Right- that's what I thought.

Anyway... So guess what my wonderful friend Betts gave me last night at knitting? Vintage 12 inch red knitting needles! Wasn't that nice of her?! I helped her out with a little graphic design something-or-other, and since she remembered that I love brightly colored vintage needles, she gave me these in return. How nice is that?

Guess what? (some of you will answer "chicken butt" to that question- you know who you are) It is new project time! My favorite time of the year (except for vacation time, but during vacation time it is usually new project time too--- so vacation time is like having the cake and eating it too, and you know how infrequent that is!)! I am making my new project with my favorite yarn of the year. Here is a hint of what it is:

Can you just guess? What is the most popular yarn on the planet, beloved by all and yet knitted by only some due to it's being really hard to find in a store? That is right- Koigu KPPPM. I will be making a snappy fitted cardigan (which I refuse to call a cardi- sorry all you cardi people out there, but I am just not a cardi person) which will be perfect for spring, and I will be knitting it really really fast so that I can wear it while it still is spring. Sort of like Olympic knitting, except for that I missed the Olympics- when are the Special Olympics?

And finally, someone called my house this morning at 10 after seven. I was asleep, in bed. So I did not answer the phone- so, they called back. My wide awake drinking coffee in the kitchen husband did not answer the phone either, rather, he rushed up the stairs, full speed, and burst into the bedroom to make sure that I knew- "the phone is ringing!" Uuuh, yeah, I got that. Perhaps answering it might remedy the situation? I mean I, with all of that sleep in my voice could not answer it (or I would be forced to endure- "were you asleep?" "no, I was awake!" "really? Because you sound like you were sleeping." "no really, I was awake..." you know how that goes), but what was his excuse? And the caller, who wanted to talk to us so badly at 7:10 in the morning that they called not once but twice, did not leave a message.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mr. Blackwell says...

"Practical, yet stylish! The perfect spring accessory. Plus it matches my whiskers!"

My Clapotis is finito... and I mean finished in the sense of I really finished it, not the more liberal interpretation where I hide it at the bottom of my knitting basket and just say I finished it (well, I would be finished with it, right?). I stayed up way too late the other night to get it done. Friday the 13th was so impressed by my Clapotis coolness that he offered to model it for me- wasn't that nice of him?

And now, on to my next project... stay tuned- I'm thinkin' Koigu!

Monday, March 27, 2006

I am crocheting an ark.

Woohoo- the rain is makin' me craaaaazzzzy! It has been raining here for ages now- I think that the other side of the earth must have no water left on it because it is all over here, sloshing around in San Francisco. It is hard to believe that in a few short months, I will be complaining endlessly about the heat instead (you can hardly wait, right?)!

Lookit my Clapotis- yep- it is almost done. And after aaaallllll of that complaining I did about it- I really like it, and I want to knit another. And another, and another. And then maybe another one after that. It is so cool, so hip, so chi chi- I feel Parisian already and I'm not even finished yet!
I need a glass of wine and some cheese, and maybe a baguette.

Gratuitous cat photo here.... Kitty was my personal assistant today. Here she is taking stenography.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Yarn Splendor! Or, I'm hungry.

WooHoo its Friday! And I have had a great week- I have two new possible clients, one of whom wants me to do some graphics for a small cable tv show that he is working on (fun fun fun!). So, in honor of my great week, and it being spring and all (and definately not because I don't really have anything better to talk about- I am just loaded with absolutely fascinating subject matter), I decided to slack off and take some photos of my stash yarn. Plus I have a new digital camera and I had to try it out! I only really got two good ones...

This is Habu Kakishibu Cotton Viscose. I only have one skein, and will probably make some decorative household item out of it one day.

This is also Habu- Tsugumi silk, and again, only one skein here!

Ok, ok, so I am hungry.... when I'm done I'll have a snack, I promise. Wouldn't want to waste away or anything (especially right before the weekend!).

And yes, I have been working on my Clap- I have got my mojo on! Look- it has gotten much bigger since the last time you saw it! You can see from the photo that I have looooaaads of yarn left, though, so I am no where near being finished. But still, progress is progress! It should only take about a million years to finish it all!

Here is a close up of the super cool drop stitch pattern- now don't you all want to knit your own Clap?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Camel haired itchiness.

Ok, so here is another FO- the handspun camel sweater. Clearly it does not have the buckles that I want it to have (yet)- I still have to find some and figure out what to do with them. But anyway, here are the stats- it is made from about a billion yards of hand spun baby camel fiber (and no, I did not have to spin more!) and I designed it myself. I like extra long sleeves, and these are just right (knuckle length)!! The front will cross over and buckle on one side once I find the coolest buckles ever. I like it without the buckles too, though, as evidenced by the photo of me wearing it... it is actually pretty handy-dandy, as the ribbing makes the front reeeeaaaallllly stretchy, so it is easy to pull it out and wrap it around yourself (like if you live in the Bay Area and have to go out and get your mail in the pouring rain for the millionth day in a row). And it's toasty too! Of course, if I wanted to wear it with, say, something that did not cover every inch of exposed flesh underneath I would end up scratching the very flesh from my bones, but I'm ok with that.

And, just to prove that it is officially spring, look who I found sitting in a tree in my yard, just waiting for me to snap a picture (note the gray "I'm going to pour any second" sky in the background)? Ok, really, we have hummingbirds all year round, but isn't he (or she- I am sure there is a way to tell, but I am clearly not that skilled when it comes to assinging gender to tiny noisy birds) uber- cute?

He invited a friend too- then they had a bit of an argument during which they flew around and tried to peck each other (or maybe they were really going in the opposite direction, if you get my drift...)and then they flew off into the sunset together (really it was only 11:00 am, but whatever).

And yes, I have been working on my dreaded Clapotis, now that I have no way to procrastinate with another project. I even got to do the drop a stitch part last night, which is excellently fun.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The sweater, finally

Ok, I promised... so here it is- the finished black sweater, complete with the original catalog photo for comparison.

(Can we talk about the Anthropologie models for just a moment? I have no problem with skinny models, but man, those women are skinny. Sometimes it is kind of creepy looking...)

On another note, I went to the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show this morning. While I was there I bought two orchids, and one of the orchid sellers gave me some spanish moss too. The moss is making one of my cats go completely bezerk- I had to put it in an enclosed conatiner to keep her from ripping it to pieces and eating it. Go figure. But anyway, the show was lovely- trees plants and flowers everywhere, and the whole place smells like jasmine (I swear they pump in perfume). There are worse ways to spend a Saturday!

Friday, March 17, 2006

What? Why would I know my password?

Well, lots of stuff has happened since my last post- mainly, my laptop hard drive failed and I lost all of my data. Which means that, when I go to post on this blog on the desktop computer at my house, I actually have to type in the username and password... which presented a problem or two. On my laptop, those fields would be filled out automatically, and while I can set the desktop to do that too, I still have to log in at least once to have it remember that info. So, ummm, what is my password? And user name, for that matter? That took a little guesswork and a few tries, but I finally got it, obviously.

Ok, so first, I finished my black sweater that I copied from the Anthropologie catalog. Thank god. I have been knitting it for ages, and am beyond glad to not have to be looking at it anymore (except in the mirror when I am wearing it!) However, it has been so dark and gloomy here in Northern California (stupid rain- will it ever stop? It has been raining here for weeks! We are all soggy!) that I cannot get a decent picture of it, so you will just have to look at the buttons that I bought for it for right now! I needed something to place at the middle of the front of the sweater where there is a clasp- I ended up using the two smaller buttons on the lower left and putting one on each side of the clasp. It was a tough decision, though, because all of the buttons that I bought are really excellent- the small ones are the most excellent though. Oh, and I promise to take a decently lit photo of the sweater itself asap, so you don't have to sit there and imagine what it might look like. AND for waiting so patiently, I will see if I can find you an original photo of it from the catalog, so you can compare and contrast.

Next, guess what I am aaalllllmost done with? You got it, the itchy scratchy baby camel hair sweater. I just have to knit about six more inches on the collar and sew up the armpits, and voila, finito! Well, except for that buckle thing- I need some cool buckles for the side to keep it closed. I saw great ones at MJ Trim, but they look like I might need some, ummm, leather-working tools to sew them on and have them look decent- which is a little more involved than I am willing to get. So I have to ponder that issue for a while.

Last, for my final project update (boy is this going to be a short one!)- there it is, my Clapotis. In the bottom of my project basket. Unloved and un-worked-on. The thing is that the only project that I have that I can use to avoid working on the Clap is almost done (ok, I admit it, there is a hat too, but hats can only go so far in terms of sucking up project time!), so veeeery soon it will be my only project. And then I will have to knit it. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a bad project- it is just one of those projects that is a little repetative (ok, in my case a lot repetative because I used lace weight yarn and had to add a billion extra repeats to compensate), and if I don't pay attention all of the time I am hosed. None the less, shortly I will be banished to the land of Clapotis, and not be released until I am done. Maybe I should bring some tequila.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Handspun Hell

Since I put a progress meter up for my hand spun camel sweater, I thought I should at least give you the lowdown on what the heck it is. This is the first (and possibly the last) hand spun yarn that I ever made a significant quantity of. When I bought the fiber, I really reeeaaaallly wanted to make sure that I would have enough for a sweater, so I bought two (count em'- 2!) pounds of it. Two pounds of camel hair fiber takes, like, a billion years to spin, in case you were wondering. I did not spin all of it- I stopped when I became so ragingly tired of looking at camel colored fluff that I wanted to pluck my eyes out and throw them at my spinning wheel. So now, two years later (now that I have finally gotten off of my butt to knit the sweater), I am hoping, praying, that I have enough to actually knit the sweater with. If I don't, I will have to spin more of it. Which I don't want to do.

Anyway... I digress. Obviously they yarn is camel, and, well, I would not say that it is of the highest quality... my hand spinning skills at the time were, ummm, still "under development." What that means is that the yarn is lumpy, bumpy, itchy and scratchy. None the less, it was spun, by hand, by yours truly- and dammit, I'm makin' a sweater out of it. You see my cool fashion sketch of my sweater- (and yes, I know that you are all guessing that I am the model in the picture- it's true! I am! That is just what I look like, and those are Dolce & Gabbanna boots that I am wearing too!) the reality is slightly less appealing. I am sure that when it is blocked, though, it will look exactly like my sketch....

I knit both the body and the arms of the sweater from the bottom up, and will be joining them together to knit the shoulders and collar all in one piece. I have no idea how that will work out (or if it will work out!), but what the heck, I'm a brave gal (I am woman hear me roar) and I'm not afraid to rip out. I'll let ya know how it goes!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The World's oldest intern

Two days a week, I go to San Francisco to be an intern at an uber-cool company that specializes in all aspects of film and video post-production including creative editing and motion graphic design, visual effects, and online editing. (can you tell that I took that direcly from their web site? Not the uber-cool part, though- I added that myself because it really is uber-cool. Uber-uber cool, even.) Yes, I am the world's oldest intern. That is ok, though- I love it there and I get a lot out of it, plus they don't make me do any actual intern stuff like getting coffee, which is cool. So anyway, on my way there today I stopped at Starbucks to get a gimungous non-fat latte, just like I always do, and who was there to greet me but my special friend...

This bird can work it. It scoots in the door when someone walks in, and then starts to work the tables. It scopes out which person has a baked good, and then up it hops, right onto the table top. First it jiggs it's little bird butt up and down for a while, cheeping away the whole time. Then it just sits on your table and looks at you hopefully- if you don't feed it, you have about two minutes (to take it's picture with your phone!) before it moves on to the next table. I do not feed it, but I really really want to. I am just too afraid that the Starbucks people will get mad at me, and then I would have to go to the Starbucks two blocks over to get my gimungous latte.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Blue knitting needles.

See what my sister emailed me? She drew it herself. One of her hobbies is colored pencil illustration, and she is clearly fantastic at it (mad skillz!)!!! I told her that maybe she might wanna consider, you know, getting paid to do it? Because obviously, she could.

So, about my black sweater... assembling it went fine and all, but now that I am down to the finer aspects of finishing it, it is from hell. I have had to knit the neckband twice, sew the neckband on twice, and now that I have basted on the trim it is funky so I am going to have to do that twice too. Maybe my sweater will be twice as good in the end? Either that or it will just have been twice as big of a pain in my butt.

I did knit something nice, though- a lovely, albeit slightly felted (in a good way, though!) hat that is a gift for my mother in law. It did not start out felted (I know, you are thinking that nothing does, right?)- it is just that the yarn, which was looooooovely (Artfibers "Sherlock") turned everything within 100 paces of it blue. My hands, my knitting needles, and, I was afraid, my mother in law's head. Which would be bad. So I had to wash (and wash and wash) it to get the extra blue out, and yes- it felted a little. The excellent thing about "Sherlock," though, is that it is mostly wonderfully soft merino- but, it has a little bit of silk in it. So when (and if) you felt it, the silk pops out just a little bit causing a shiny silky sheen that makes your husband (or mine, at least) say "wow, that is a really nice hat!" Which was rapidly followed by "can you take that knot thingy off the top?" Whatever.
He is probably just jealous because I have stylish dyed blue knitting needles now.

And just so ya know, kitty approved of the "knot thingy" on the top of the hat. Kitty rocks.