Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 knitting in review

2006 has been a very good year overall. Good friends, family, work, and fun. This has been our first full year here in California and I absolutely love it here.

This year has also been a very productive one for me, at least on the knitting front. A summary of my completed projects follows.

Booga bag

Dream swatch head scarf

Braid panel, rope cable square, and horseshoe cable square of the Aran Afghan

Baby shrug and hat

Two cabled stockings

Lace skirt ruffle

Twisted drop stich scarf

Cabled scarf


A second baby shrug and hat

A couple of scarves

Fetching fingerless gloves

Calamari rug from Mason Dixon Knits


A blog

Diagonal pattern baby blanket

Knitting (and blogging) has definitely become a strong hobby!

I'm looking forward to many more projects in the new year and to meeting more of you in blogland!

Friday, December 29, 2006

A happy dog and Magritte

We've been continuing our vacation fun for the last two days. Wednesday we stayed around the house for the most part, did a bit of gardening, and gave the dog a toy (a stuffed cartoon chicken). Have you seen such joy recently? It is a sight to see.

[Don't take my chicken... don't take my chicken!]

Yesterday we decided to be more erudite and went into LA proper to the LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art). The current featured exhibit is Magritte. I'm sure you'd recognize his work even if you don't recognize his name. Here's one familiar image.

The exhibit was quite nice, but man were there alot of people. I guess there are many of us on vacation and lots of those vacationers were at the museum.

As an unexpected bonus, there was also a fashion exhibit ... very interesting. All examples of haute couture, mostly from the 50s to now. Some of those clothes... crazy! Even more crazy... they had some corsets and bussles on display. The things we women do! In the knitted world, the display did have one red knitted dress from the 1950s that was beautiful and looked like something anyone of us would want to knit and wear now.

Once we left the museum, we wandered around the grounds and wandered over to the La Brea Tar Pits (check out these two links to see some amazing pictures of what the pits looked like in the early 1900s and what they are).

See that "look here" just next to S's left hand... that's a pool of bubbling tar. Can't quite see it? How bout some close ups?

We were ridiculously facinated by this little pool of goo.

Before we left town, we also fit in a little yarn shopping. Seemed like a good opportunity to check out some of the LYSs in LA. Early in our day, we visited Knit Cafe which I thought was very warm and sweet.

Just before we drove back to the hinterlands (our part of LA, laugh), we went by the Knitter's Studio. I realllyyyy liked this shop. Elizabeth, the owner, and the other staff member were very helpful and the yarns... oh the yarns. They had a great selection which forced me to do a little splurg, some sage green 100% merino wool Koigu. I've seen discussion of this stuff online, but hadn't seen it in person. It is beautiful sport weight.

We also bought some worsted weight Monos del Uruguay kettle dyed wool in black for S. He's interested in having a new scarf and picked the yarn out himself. Have I mentioned he has good taste?

As I was leaving I also noticed a woven neck scarf on display. Elizabeth tells me it's from Teva Durham's Loop d Loop. It was knit in a worsted/chunky green cashmere and was beautiful! The image in the link above does it no justice. I ordered the book this morning and this project will have to be on my to do list eventually (although probably not in cashmere!).

This is a store I will definitely have to put on my Shop List for the future! Check it out if you're in the LA area.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


For the past two weeks or so, our neighborhood has been visited by a biggggg group of very noisy (hard to catch on camera) birds. We couldn't figure out where they had come from or what they were. This week we actually got a closer look at some of the birds when they flew low over us in traffic and behold, parrots!

Parrots, in Los Angeles?! Apparently so. There is information out there suggesting it's not uncommon.

I had read about this once before on another blog (which I can't find now unfortunately) but there are flocks of wild parrots in LA. We are talking about bigggggg flocks of very green, very noisy parrots.

We talked with one of our neighbors last night and he said that they come and they go (apparently it's been a few years since they've roosted in the neighborhood but have been here before). We have a number of tall trees in the neighborhood which are apparently attractive to them.

Ours look a bit like this photo I found on the web.

Just when you think you've seen everything....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Booga bag done

I hope everyone enjoyed their day yesterday.

We had a low key day around here... lunch around noon and then a movie late in the day.

We went to see "INLAND EMPIRE", the new David Lynch movie. S is a Lynch fan and I thought it would be fun to go to a movie named after the area we live in.

We went knowing it would be wierd (it is David Lynch after all). Oh my, wierd is an understatement! Three hours of beyond wierd. If you go, be prepared for beyond comprehension.


Yesterday I felted my now finished booga bag and set it out to dry. Through the miracle of low humidity, it's all dry and ready to use today.

Voila ...

It's a bit smaller than I expected from what I had seen online but I'm pleased with how it turned out (the colors here aren't really as vivid as the true greens and purples).

Booga bag
Patons Classic Wool Merino
Black, Royal Purple, and Green (left over from the mouse-pigs)
US size 10 (6 mm) circular and dpn needles
1 full hot/cold wash cycle
approximately 8 1/2 inches tall, 8 inches wide, 3 inches deep
started December 17, 2006
knitting finished December 24, 2006
project finished December 26, 2006

Now I just have to decide what to start next... the choices, the choices!!

p.s. I'm playing with my template and want to try using WIP bars ala A Strikke

p.p.s. yeah!! WIP bars are now displaying! Thanks Kate A. for the great example!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas eve

Continuing our outdoor adventure, for Christmas eve day, S and I decided to load up the bikes and...


Our first stop was lunch at Native Foods in Costa Mesa. Then the beach...

I LOVE living in Southern California... this is an easy 30-45 minute drive from us.

This area is called Crystal Cove and is a state park. Beautiful.

We even had feathered company.

Season's greetings to everyone.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A day in the park

Yesterday, to continue our vacation fun, we decided to spend some time outside and visited the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden. This is just a few miles from where we live and a good place for a hike.

Now you might ask, a garden? In December? But yes... this is LA remember.

Just to show how true this is, this lovely spectacle greeted us just as we entered the gardens. This is the bloom off a succulent that is about a foot tall at best.

I'm a bit over 5 foot which puts this bloom at about 10 foot tall. Impressive stuff.

Later in our walk, I had to take a picture of this pine cone. Look at those curly points!

Our next stop was our favorite thing in the park... a giant coastal oak. This tree is huge! If S seems dwarfed here, it's because he was. We love to sit on the bench and just rest here.

This picture unfortunately does not really capture the beauty of this California native. It's called manzanita and the bark is a very smooth, deep red color. It's architecture is just beautiful.

As we left the park, we noticed these strange creatures as well. They were set up in their Christmas display, and although they are cacti, looked strangely like Christmas trees.

Of course, lest you fear that I have not spent any time with my needles, I did finish knitting up the body of my booga bag. I have a bit more to go on the handles and then felting will commence!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Celebrating winter solstice

With S back from his travels, we decided to celebrate winter solstice with a view of the sunset and a nice dinner. Our plans had to be modified, only slightly, when we remembered later that S had a meeting in downtown LA last night.

Not to have our joy squelched, we jumped in the car and drove down the 10 with camera in hand.

Mother Nature did not disappoint... the sunset was glorious!

We even got to see the actual flaming ball of red slip down under the horizon but unfortunately didn't catch that one digitally to share with you.

Trust me it was a fantastic sight! Pollution does at least give you beauty on a rare occasion. I also see the irony here that our sunset views were taken from behind the car windshield... the way most Los Angeles residents probably see it each day.

Downtown we had a fabulous dining experience at 626 Reserve Wine Bar. It isn't really a formal dinner place but serves fabulous wines and really great small plates (almost tapas style food).

We had a nice selection of fruits and cheeses, a fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomato salad, and smoked salmon. For dessert we also shared an orange sorbet and it was the sweetest little thing. Sorbet, clearly made from freshed squeezed valencia oranges (you could just taste the flavor!) and served in an orange rind with a bit of whipped cream. Delish!

This little place has gotten good reviews and we would add ours to those. It's got great ambiance and was a great place to sit and just spend time together.

S has met the owners on previous visits and says, as a bonus, that they are super nice.

What more could you ask for... a LWB (local wine bar)!

p.s. Wendy=SlowKnitter is trying to help her brother get a blog through a contest. I met Wendy at the taping of the Harlot's Knitty Gritty episode and suspect that if her brother is anything like her, he deserves a blog. Go vote!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holiday baking

Summer solstice... it's here!!

Now I can't wait for the day to be longer tomorrow. Summer is just around the corner everyone!

Last night, in celebration of the holiday, and for gift giving, I did a little baking.

Those would be spiced pecans... honey, butter, cayenne pepper, salt, and pecans. The honey is cooked until candied and then baked onto the pecans. YUMMY! It makes me very sad that I can't eat pecans anymore but I'm glad to know others will enjoy their goodness.

All wrapped up to make someone's day.

Now get out there and enjoy that very early sunset!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December SnB

Last night was my second Stich n B*tch meeting and good fun was had by all! We met at Knitwitz, a great little LYS in San Dimas, CA.

Here is Diana, Jennifer, Jenean, and Beth, smiling for the obligatory group photo!

And then moments later, back to reality... knit, knit, knit! I'm pleased to report that everyone was doing wonderful work including a fabulous cabled hat that Beth was knitting from Cables Untangled (I may have to get a copy of that one). The color was fab!

Jenean also brought a gift she received in a swap.

That frog my friends is a handbag and is it cute!! I'm looking forward to our next gathering.

After the snb, I visited the home of flying metal birds and retrieved S. Yeah! His visit to Oklahoma went well and I'm glad to have him back home again.

This morning to celebrate, we had a little fire.

Yes, as amazing as it may sound, it was cold enough here for a fire this morning. We actually had a freeze.. a fairly unusual occurrence in these parts.

One day to winter solstice!