*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

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A 38 year old white woman eating an apple and going to the mall

At our house, we have a Subaru WRX sporty sport wagon to tool around in. For all of those exciting things that we do- you know, buy groceries, pick up takeout- whatever. Coincedentally, the WRX is one of the choice cars for those who like to tart up their cars- namely, teenagers. So this leads to some interesting misunderstandings. Yesterday afternoon, I was driving to the mall - and this very loud tarted up speedy white car pulls up next to me. The driver revs the engine repeatedly, so I look to see what the deal is. At that very moment, the teenage boy driver looks over to see who is driving my car- imagine his dissapointment when he saw me- a 38 year old white woman eating an apple and going to the mall to see what's on sale at Banana Republic. As uncool as it gets. He sped off in a huff.

My Koigu sweater is almost done- I just need to have a seaming session to sew up the sides and arms, add the button bands, and the buttons of course. Oh, and there is that blocking thing, which I decided to hold off on until the button bands and collar are added, thus avoiding any funkiness between the clashing blocked vs. unblocked parts. So far it fits well, but the true test will, of course, come after it is really sewn together- not just held together with bits of lavander yarn.

And now, a random shot of my yarn- Koigu bits and pieces that I bought last weekend.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

No, I am not in jail.

You all thought I was dead (or in jail!), didn't you? No such luck- I have been working. Hard. Very very hard. But now, finally, I have a day to breathe- woohoo! SO what's been going on? Loads of stuff!

First, last Thursday night, two excellent knitting pals and I (DillyDallyKnitter and Ceallach) went to the Knitting Guild of America show pre-show market. It was the perfect time to go- we got first pick on the Koigu at FoxyKnits. We got some great goodies at the show, and Ceallach won a door prize (lucky dog!) and made the rest of us feel like the loosers that we were. My haul: some Koigu (how'd ya guess?) some bargain Henry's attic black alpaca yarn (enough for a sweater) some bargain Filatura Di Crosura Pavone (which, like you no doubt, I had never heard of, but it is really pretty) and my uber bargain of the night (possibly of my life)- a 2 lb cone of Loro Piana cashmere (yum!) in a wonderful cocoa color for $20. The funny thing about the cashmere is that when I saw it, another woman had just pulled it out of a big cardboard box of random odds and ends, but she must not have liked the color because she put it back- I don't think she knew that it was cashmere. I loved the color (and you all know of my undying love of cone yarn) so I asked the woman (I was paying for my other bargains at the time) what it was, and she whispered caaaashmere! to me. So I had a quickie look, saw that it was $20, figured it was junk cashmere that would pill all over the place after I knit it, and bought it anyway. It was only later that I actually looked at the tag pasted inside of the cone and saw that it is Loro Piana, which is really good Italian cashmere. Excellent karma, huh?

I went back to the TKGA show on Saturday to take a color knitting class (which was great!) and on my way home, who should walk over and plop down on the bench next to me as I was waiting for my train, but 12 Galaxies Man, complete with sign. So I spent the next 12 minutes while I waited for my train desperately trying to figure out how, how in heavens name, could I get a picture of him? Without asking him, of course. I never quite figured it out, so I went my way (to steal someone elses picture of him) and he went off (probably to Union Square) to educate the greater public about the evils of the 12 galaxies. I have had excellent luck all week since then, and I just know it is because he sat next to me.

Finally, my pink Koigu sweater is just about done- the pieces are all finished being knitted and it just needs to be assembled and have the collar and button band added. Although I am sorely tempted to bore you with a picture of the pile of pieces, I won't- instead I will bore you with a picture of my craaaaazy new knitting bag! How cute is that?

And I have been knitting my curtains!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Tardy Easter!

Happy tardy Easter everyone! Please excuse my tardiness- I was away for Easter weekend and now I am being overrun with client work. I did have a lovely holiday, though, spent in San Luis Obispo, Ca. SLO is the home of CalPoly, and as a result there is a ton of great stuff to eat, drink, and buy. AND (get this!) if you drive back up the coast a little from SLO, you get to Cambria, home of Ball & Skein & More (and lots more great shopping), which rocks. But, if you keep going... you get to Hearst Castle. And the thing about Hearst Castle (aside from the fact that it is absolutely overrun with the most unbelievably fabulous antiques from all over the world, including walls, doors, and fancy-schmancy ceilings) is that there are real live zebras that live there. How cool is that? So sometimes, when you drive up the highway, they are right there next to the road munching away on the grass. Neat huh? And I guess that they go well with the elephant seals that live across the street!

So when I left last Friday, knitting bag on my arm, I was absolutely convinced that I would finish the last piece of my koigu cardigan before I walked back through my front door on Sunday. But noooo- I got almost no knitting done at all. It's not like I didn't have the time- a 3 hour car ride and in-laws who go to bed at 9:30 make for lots of knitting time. But I didn't knit. Maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the salt air (maybe it was the zebras!)... I just didn't do it. Don't you hate when that happens?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Speak no evil!!!

I am supposed to be working, but instead I have been looking for buttons for my cardigan. I have a button box (who doesn't?) that is chock full of options, but I wanted certain ones. Ones that I knew I had somewhere- apparently that somewhere was not the button box (after all, why keep buttons in your button box? That would take all of the challenge out of finishing your hand knitted garment.). So I got to looking. I found the buttons that I wanted in my stash cabinet... they were the wrong size. Oh well- an excuse to go button shopping. But while I was rooting around in there, I found all of this other cool stuff! Stuff that I had blocked from my mind. Stuff purchased with a plan... a plan that was probably abandoned before the postman actually got here with the stuff.

Please excuse my very bad photos- yes, it is still raining here. No outdoor light to be found.

Item number one: tiny gold monkey charms. Ooooh aaaaah. They are so tiny! And so gold! In a bag of, like, 50. These are the speak no evil monkeys (no swearing!)- they were listed on eBay as "giggling monkeys" but any halfwit could see that someone was just trying to make the best of a bad situation where hear no evil and see no evil got lost. These were purchased (along with some lovely red suede!) during my "handmade suede knitting bags" phase. I did, incedentally, make one bag, but not from the lovely red suede.

Item number two: red plastic cherry charms. Purchased for the afore-mentioned handmade suede knitting bags. Also in a bag of, like, 50. Am I the only one who is eerily reminded of a male body part?

Item number three: uber-cool pin up girl buttons! How cool are these? Not like you would wear them on a sweater or anything, but they are still the coolest.

Item number four: Slightly less cool than the pin up girls, but still cool anyway buttons. And these you can wear in public, as long as you have a sweater that requires three buttons or less (and you don't mind mixing and matching).

And for all those of you who have been wondering what Kitty has been up to lately, she has been catching up on her TV watching.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Everybody out of the pool!

When you are knitting a sweater sleeve with two different balls of Koigu, what are the chances that the colors will pool? Apparently much higher than you would think, because I had to knit the same 20 rows or so no fewer than four times to outwit the yarn and it's burning desire to pool. Attempt number one- involved only one ball of yarn. Pooled. Attempt number two- use the same ball of yarn, but work from both ends. Pooled. Attempt number three (see photo!)- get a new ball of yarn involved this time. Really pooled! Attempt number four- go back to two ends of the same ball, adjusting yarn part way through to prevent pooling. Finally! Sheesh.

That is the thing about designing your own stuff- you have to be completely willing to rip out and re-knit a lot. Because there is no one to check your pattern but you. And sometimes, that is just not enough. Especially if you are me. Last night, I knit and knit and knit to finish sweater sleeve number one. I majestically arrived at the last row (thinking how I am going to cast on the next sleeve and get an inch or two done on that one before I go to bed), and think "gee, that looks really wide..." Umm, yeah, that is because it is 40 stitches wide instead of 30, like it is supposed to be. Poor. Math. Skills. (PMS). If you start with 76 stitches, and you need to end with 30 stitches, and you have 50 rows to accomplish that, how many decreases do you need to do, and how often? Sounds simple, huh? Eventually, I did get the sleeve done. At, like, one in the morning.

So yesterday I went to a yarn swap and knitting party at my friend Charlotte's house. The plan was to bring yarn that you had and did not want, and swap it (hopefully) for someone else's really excellent yarn that they had and did not want. And the leftovers go to charity. What did I bring? Doceur et Soie (itchy- 8 skeins!), Elann Peruvian baby Cashmere (leftovers- 9 skeins!) and some other random stuff. What did I get? Mmmm-nice... two skeins of Artfibers "Scrimshaw"- one in pinks (in the picture!) and one in blues. It is hand dyed bulky cotton- who knows what I will do with it.

Finally, guess what I won yesterday on eBay? Knitting needles! Ooooooh aaaaaahhhhh..... not just any needles, but two-colored button top needles. How cool am I? They are coming from Australia- why is it that all of the super cool knitting needles live in Australia? Go figure.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Beep beep beep New Project Alert

New project alert: it’s curtains for you, baby! One of my bathrooms has a small window with very bad curtains (very bad everything, actually, except for the flooring, which is not fab, but not too alarming either). So I am knitting new ones. Not really curtains- curtain. Or a window panel, to be exact. I had this giant cone of lace weight raw silk that I thought would do the trick, so I dyed a bunch of it really dark chocolaty brown. I did consider leaving it the natural raw silk color (which is really very nice) but I wanted it to show up when the light is shining through the window. Plus dying stuff is fun.

I am going to knit it on larger needles than it would normally require so that it is "open" and see through, and then put a sheer curtain behind it so it will look all cool and hip and zen like.


Coolness will require that I remove the wallpaper and paint the bathroom too- it is hard to be cool when you have cheesy late 90’s wallpaper all stuck to you.

See what I got in the mail today? That's right- a big cone of yarn. And not just any yarn- it's a big cone of cashmere. MMmmmmmmmmmmm........ cashmere. (I am a cone yarn fan, can you tell? If you knit from a gaint cone, you have hardly any ends to weave in!) There is a story behind this cashmere- about three weeks ago, I took the train to San Francisco to go to my internship, but when I got there, I had no computer to work on. For about the fourth time. So, back to the stupid train. $4.50 and 1 hour later, I arrive back at home, only to realize that I have left my beloved black cashmere wrap on the wretched train. Now, this was no chi chi wrap- but I loved it. Looooooved it. Wore it everywhere. Scarf, blanket, swim trunks, pup tent, this wrap had it going on! I called the rotten train station, called the lost and found, went to the rotten train station, lit prayer candles (ok, not really on that one), and complained for an entire afternoon- but still no wrap. So anyway, I decided to make myself a new one, hence the yarn. And if I see any of you wearing the one that I left on the train, I am going to get you.

Monday, April 03, 2006

oh, the humanity of it all.

I have been knitting my butt off! I finished the right front side of my sweater, and am 1/3 of the way through the left side. Aaaaand, the piece that I finished only took one skein of yarn- woohoo! I am a chronic yarn over-buyer... that is to say that if I see some yarn that I like and I know I would like to make a sweater out of it in the future, I will buy like 20 skeins of it, just in case. I mean, you wouldn't want me to run out, right? And what if I decide that I want to knit something really big like pants? Ok, maybe not pants, but you know what I am saying. (I know that knitted pants are bad- I have some!) For this yarn, though, the store that I bought it from only had nine skeins. Oh the humanity of it all... And you know how it is with Koigu- there just is no more. What you have is it. So I was a little nervous. I planned my project accordingly (petite girly cardigan- that's the pattern over there!), but still..... it was a nail biter! Now I can take a deep breath, relax, and keep knitting, secure in the knowlege that I will not have to knit that last sleeve in purple because I ran out of pink. Which is good because I pretty much hate purple.

I did not flash my stash on April 1. My stash is not that cool, plus I was working all day. If you are really sad about that (which I seriously doubt) you should have a look see at Wendy's stash! There now, don't you feel better?

Finally, here is a picture of flowers on my tiny crab-apple tree- aren't they lovely?