Monday, October 30, 2006

Snow... in LA?

At around 5:30 tonight I left my office to go pick up dinner (I teach late on Mondays). As I walked to a neighborhood sushi place, I passed a wide swath of this white stuff (about 8 foot long, maybe 3 food wide).

What is this (I thought to myself)? Shimmery, white, crystaline... but this is LA... it's October... it was in the 70s today....

Could someone have made snow on the streets? Was there a wild winter party that I missed this afternoon?

On my way back I had to stop and actually put my fingers into it... suds. Now the real question... what were all these suds doing on the street in front of my building?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Early halloween anyone?

Spoookkkkyyyyyy hmm?

Last night we went to a 60's halloween party. S and I like to do things a little different. Rather than being the typical hippy peace-nic, we decided to show our committment to an activist cause. View the result... the end of the 60s... Kent State students assasinated in their quest for peace!

We scavenged our local goodwill to find old sweatshirts and S made a super template for the Kent State logo. A little spray paint and voila. We purchased our bullet holes from our local halloween central supply store and, add a little makeup, instant death!

Laugh... we had a great time at the party, hosted by one of my co-workers, and definitely turned a few heads. The kids were the funniest. There were a number of 5-6 year olds and they kept coming back to look at us. They just couldn't quite put it all together!

On other spooky fronts, in tune with the holiday season, one of our cactus has bloomed.

What an amazing flower! The picture pretty accurately capture the strange coloration pattern on the flower (no that's not pixelation). What's even more amazing, we have two more to come.

Mother nature does create some amazing things!

Enjoy your extra "fall back" hour today... I know I will.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursdays… smile

I am very excited about my most recent knitting project. It will be a gift and I found the perfect pattern in a book last night while browsing! I ran right home and cast on and I can tell it will be a rewarding and fun knit.

Want a preview? It has a big beautiful cable in it.

My week continues to sing along… all is well. That’s such a wonderful thing to be able to say. I actually managed to accomplish some real work yesterday and did some knitting. The best of both worlds!

And last but not least, pictures promised from yesterday.

Not a bad view of the back yard either. Yes it's great to live in LA when everything is still green in October and will be all year!

Yes the washcloths are simple, but isn’t it nice to be able to relax and not think very much once in awhile?

Addendum: I just found a new California Knitters Ring to join ... exciting.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Crossed snake eyes?

OK… perhaps my complaints were premature.

Yesterday at 9am sharp I appeared at the county courthouse along with 150 – yes 150 – other potential jurors. It was 9:45 before everyone made it through the line and everyone was checked in. We received a nice little “pep talk” from a judge and then got a break. [laugh]. Yep, a half hour break. Then we sat around for an hour. At 11:30 we got to leave early for our lunch break… a two hour lunch break. Back at 1:30pm… sit around some more. At 3:30 the friendly staff announced that the last anticipated panel wouldn’t be needed because the case was pleaded-out. Home by 3:45pm.


I still have very mixed feelings about this whole system, but luckily escaped the clutches today.

And as a bonus… knitting time.

I was a little worried when I “registered” by phone. The recorded message said I couldn’t bring any pointy objects (knitting needles… pointy objects… surely not!). I decided to hedge my bets and brought knitting along. Went right through the security screen without trouble, twice. That gave me a few quality hours with my pointy friends. As a result, my second mason dixon ball-band wash cloth….

[this is where a lovely picture would have appeared except S ran off with the camera this morning ... the horrors!]

Such a small FO… such a large sense of satisfaction.

Pictures another time. Today I enjoy the freedom of no longer being on-call for the court!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Snake eyes

Yep... I lost. I report to the Los Angeles County Court House within the hour to serve jury duty.

Anyone know the sure-fire crazy thing to say to be excused?

Well maybe I'll get off early and come home and knit.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Not weighing guilt or innocence today

Good morning friends and family,

This week I've been called to jury duty. The good news is, I didn't have to report this morning. The bad news, I might still have to report 4 other days this week. Every night it's like going to Vegas. You call the magic number to learn if you've won or lost.

I have such mixed feelings about jury duty. On the one hand, I think it's obvious we need some system of justice and I know that no system will work without the participation of everyone. On the other hand, I think our current system has such problems. I have serious concerns with the prison-industrial complex, not to mention the bias against people of color and the poor.

Wish me luck after 5pm tonight.

S and I had a nice, low key weekend. His research advisor turned 50 on Friday so we went to a little soirée for that occasion. Rubbed elbows with the somewhat famous (at least within their own small academic worlds). Had some great thai food.

The rest of the weekend was rest for me and work for S! He had a project deadline; I did not. The joy!

In my state of relaxation, I continued to make some progress on swallowtail. I’ve finished the 7th repeat of the bud lace pattern. It is funny how lace just looks like a big blob as knit.

A little stretching and voila, magic!

Look at those cute little buds.

I’m definitely going to stick with it to make this shawl bigger. Carol Knits posted some fabulous photos of her swallowtail that gave me good perspective on its size. While it’s beautiful at its regular size, I think I’d like to have it a bit larger.

Of course, I'm going to take two decades to finish it if I make it larger. I don't know what happens, but I keep making mistakes. I pay attention. All seems well. I get to the end of a row and count and... What!?!... one too many stitches, one too few stitches. I've resorted to using lifelines more frequently so I have to frog less. Ahh the many uses of dental floss.

Well it's back to work (and knitting too of course). Only a billion stitches to go….

Friday, October 20, 2006

Love lost for the lifeline

Laugh... lifelines really only work well when you make sure the lifeline runs through all the stiches, you know?

Sigh... I spent 3 hours of my life Thursday night and Friday morning knitting, ripping, knitting, ripping, and finally knitting 2 rows (short ones, I'm still only in the 4th repeat of the buds) on swallowtail. I kept trying to find that one lost stich and I kept ending up with one extra. Finally... I found what I think was a dropped stich and picked it up. Whether it was dropped or not, now it is working. Yep, put that bad stich to work.

Believe you me, I've learned a lesson. I moved my lifeline (yes after only 2 rows!) and caught all my stiches this time.

I think I'll love the lifeline again!

Hope all you Rhinebecker's are having a great time!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lace, lace, and more lace

Swallowtail is successfully developing!

I spent several hours yesterday with the project. I've learned to love my lifeline (what a security blanket!) and am starting to feel a bit more confident that I will be successful in knitting this shawl.

Here's another work in progress pic.

Again, I've pinned it out so the details are a little clearer. For those of you who haven't seen the pattern, the final shawl will be a triangle, but flipped from how it's pinned now. This is the only way it can be pinned while on the needles though. I think it's going to be great.

Before I started, I thought I might do the extra repeats discussed on the KAL. When I actually began I thought I'd be lucky to finish even the small shawl. Maybe I'm crazy, but now I'm thinking I might be able to do the larger size. Of course I'm only on the third repeat of the bud pattern. I have a long way to go before I have to make that decision.

Needing a bit more mindless knitting, I also finished up my first ball band dishcloth from Mason-Dixon knitting and cast on for a second. Doing this project after lace gives you great perspective on easy versus harder knitting!

Hope everyone else is enjoying their current projects!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Swallowtail comes out of the cacoon

I’ve taken the big plunge and cast on for the swallowtail shawl!

I pinned it out a bit so I could feel like I was accomplishing something other than creating a wad of yarn. I'm only through row 10 of the pattern, but look, two lace buds are already evident! The joy!

Just starting this pattern, I have already gained A LOT of respect for those of you who have completed lace. This stuff is not easy!

I’m generally a slow knitter anyway, but it feels like I’m driving with the parking brake on now [grin]. I like the alpaca lace weight yarn, but working with it is also a new adventure.

Not only do I need a mechanic (to fix that parking brake issue) but I think I also need a microscope to see the fine detail.

Wish me luck… maybe I’ll finish the shawl within the decade!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Look what the postal person brought yesterday!


I was so excited I set the two loves up first thing this morning and wound my first ball of yarn!
As you know, I had been waiting for the swift and yarn winder so I could transform my hank of knitpick's laceweight alpaca into usable yarn. I plan to cast on the swallowtail shawl later today. I even signed up for the swallowtail KAL. I'm so excited!

Of course, using my new play-toys tools was almost as fun as starting the shawl. I was not the only one intrigued by the new additions to the home either.

Of course, the excitement lasted longer for some of us, as compared to others (just look at the face on that dog!).

I am pleased to report that at the end of the adventure, I had successfully created a lovely, ready-to-knit ball of yarn.

Another first ... and a success at that!

Let's hope my next first, knitting lace, will be as successful! I think I can handle the pattern. I did a trial run of the first few rows with some worsted weight wool just to make sure I understood the basics. So far so good. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Issac (and more) in a bag

Issac has decided he didn't really need that plain cardboard box... no, indeed. He has decided that the must travel in much higher style. Supporting evidence...

This weekend was a busy, nonknitting, one. S and I served as docents as part of Pomona Heritage's annual Tour of Homes. We had great fun learning about the house we were in, The Garden (which is both a residence and nursery), and thought that the other homes on the tour were great. It was also fun to meet more neighbors.

My one bit of knitting this weekend was on something new. Yep, I didn't think that knitting more cables in cream was exciting enough. So instead I cast on a washcloth from those fine Mason Dixon women.

This Mason Dixon knitting book is really quite funny. I'm enjoying the patterns and just the book itself.

On the aquiring front... it's a terrible American affliction and I'm afraid that I've become infected... I found a new knitting store this weekend! It's called Knitwitz and it's in San Dimas. Looks like a great little store and I plan to go back and loiter frequently. (They are not online, nor in the yellow pages, which is why I hadn't found them before. A trip to my car mechanic accidently put me into their path).

I did make a small "investment" in yarn this weekend as well. I have a few projects planned and couldn't pass up a sale.

Now I just need to find time to knit ....

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ah yes, the baby set too

Friday the 13th greetings!

Don't you just love Friday the 13th? I love all thirteenths. I think they are fabulously good luck.

I remembered one other finished project after I made my blog entry yesterday. So we have a complete record for posterity, here is the baby set:

Baby Shrug by Christina Skye
The Country Trunk pattern
Plymouth Yarn Heaven (100% nylon)
color 13, lot 006 (aqua blue)
US size 13 straight needles
finished September 2006

Baby hat
same material, LYS created pattern
finished September 2006

The picture is a bit of an optical illusion... the shrug really is larger than the hat... grin!

As an update from yesterday, it is confirmed. 100% nylon "yarn" will not block. The orange scaft looks fine, but bounced right back to its original shape. It is now an official FO... I'll call it a scarf-let given its diminutive size.

Otherwise on the knitting front, the horseshoe cable square of the aran afghan continues to progress. I've reached the half way point. Yeah!

I'm hoping my delivery of goodies will arrive this weekend so I can begin mad adventures in swifting and winding. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Scarves, scarves, and more scarves

You know it's funny, in the Yarn Harlot's most recent book, Knitting Rules! (an entertaining read for you knitters out there, by the way), she says that scarves are not for beginners. I wish someone had told me that several years ago. I decided today to take photos of all my previously unphotographed finished objects. Guess what, it's nothing but scarves.

I have to admit that they were easy... all just knit, knit, knit. I'm so glad I've moved into somewhat more exciting things recently though. I look at the yards of garter stich and it just makes me yawn oooOOOOO.

So at the risk of putting you to sleep, here's my gallery of finished objects (from prior to the start of my blog).

My first scaft as an adult knitter:

Oh my, the horror, looking at the tag, it's knit from Red Heart Light & Lofty -- Plum.
I suspect I finished this sometime in the fall of 2003.
More funny, I wouldn't buy this now at all. I guess I've been brainwashed by other blogging knitters regarding the values of "true" yarn (versus the inferior Red Heart).

Here's my second FO:

This was knit in Lion Brand Jiffy Thick & Quick -- Berkshires.
I probably finished this in winter (Nov?) of 2003.
I still like the colors of this scarf and it did knit up fast ... not an undesirable feature.

Here's the third:

I knit this one for S. It's Lion Brand Homespun -- Williamsburg & Edwardian.
A perfectly functional boy scarf, also completed late in 2003.

Next to last,

some fun yarn I bought in a LYS in Seattle, WA, during a visit there over the new year's in january of 2004. It's Plassard Neptune, couleur 001, bain 22. I suspect this was finished in early 2004, maybe March or April.

I must have had a big knitting lull after that. S and I did start interviewing for jobs, sell a house, buy a house, and move to California during the 2004-2005 school year, but surely I must have done some knitting during that time? Maybe I was in a fugue state.

Nevertheless, some time later I (foolishly) purchased "yarn" (and I put that in quotes purposely) from the $1 section at Target. Now what was I thinking? It's really string with some fluff attached. It is a bear to knit. I started knitting a scarf on this long, long ago (but sometime within the last year). Then I threw it in the closet disgusted. Today, after reading much about lace in the past weeks, it occurred to me that I might be able to treat this scarf I've been knitting like lace and block it. So I finished up the ball of yarn that was in use and went to work.

Here it is after knitting one ball of "yarn."

Here it is soaking.

Here it is pinned out. No I don't have blocking wires, but I improvised with weed-wacker wire (after all this is a scaft that I despise and we're seeing if we can salvage it.

Amazingly, the weed-wacking stuff seems to be working quite well. It was knit on size 10 needles so the holes were plenty large to thread the wire through. Depending on what it's like when it dries, maybe I won't discard it after all. I suspect though that once I unpin it, it will just spring back into a narrow little scarf and not retain its shape. Its 100% nylon so I'm not sure how it will behave. Even stretched it's only about 30" long; I'm not sure I'll have the energy to knit another half even if this works. Learn a lesson, don't buy $1 yarn from Target.

So anyway, I'm not sure I want to put this in the FO category yet; but maybe it should be. I'll know tomorrow probably.

That, then, leads to the final scarf:

This I finished in early September as a gift for a friend.
The dreaded Lion Brand Fancy Fur -- Stained Glass.
Fancy Fur I don't have a big desire to work with again.

That my friends is a history of scarves. Are you still awake?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Stashing accoutrement

Good morning everyone.

Yesterday was certainly a fun day, sending goodies off to my friends who are parents-to-be.
Issac enjoyed the experience as well. I was a little worried for a while that he might want to go visit the baby without me.

I did eventually persuade him not to adopt the mailing box as his new home though. I may have to find another box to bring into the house for him. Cats and boxes... what is up with that?

I didn't mention that I did more than just shower gifts on others yesterday (guilty look). For the last few weeks I've been thinking that I need some way to organize my stash (yes, even though I am a beginner I have managed to acquire a small stash). When I was in the french boutique yesterday, I spotted this:

A Sterlite 3 drawer cart (14 1/2" x 12 5/8" x 25 5/8")... just the right size to hold my current stash and fit into my closet (and conveniently, I could buy a second to stack on top if my hoard grows!). I feel more organized already (and oh so much more able to knit!).

As long as I'm being honest, I should admit that I think I am developing quite an addiction. I've been pretty good about not buying extra yarn. That's primarily because I'm much better at buying things for a pattern. I worry too much that if I first buy yarn, and only later find a pattern, I won't have enough yarn to finish (you've noticed before my tendency to buy a bit more than I really think I need, haven't you?). Nevertheless, my accoutrements are expanding.

Case in point, I've decided that I want to experiment with lace. Everyone seems to be doing it. It doesn't sound easy, but what's life without a bit of a challenge? So I picked out the swallowtail shawl (from the fall 2006 issue of Interweave Knits magazine) as my first project. I've been inspired by the swallowtail KAL blog, and especially by KesSa's blog pictures... she is amazing and has set the goal to knit one swallowtail a week!

Sooo... once I had determined I would knit swallowtail, I had to order the magazine to get the pattern. I also realized that I needed the appropriate needles. More research needed here to determine which needles are best for laceweight. Ordered needles. Now we need yarn... ordered yarn.

All good so far, yes? Well after I got the yarn, I realized I've never had a hank of yarn before. What does one do with a hank? Can you knit right from a hank? Perusal of the web indicates that the yarn must be wound into a ball first. Hmm... how does one do such a thing? More research conducted. Turns out most people find turning laceweight into a ball quite a difficult thing (a tangling issue apparently). More research uncovers tools to help with the job. Swifts and ball winders. Sales at JoAnn's. Must have tools. So yes, I've ordered these two tools to add to my toolbox (both at a nice discounted price currently).

It's bad, yes, it's bad. Soon, I'll have too much knitting stuff. Can one have too much knitting stuff? It's a question to ponder.

I hope everyone is enjoying their own stashes today.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Not twins... it's a boy!

Well big excitement for me today. Two of my best friends are expected a baby boy ... yesterday!

They have been waiting to adopt for quite some time and got a call about two weeks ago indicating they had been selected by a mom for adoption. The baby was to be born the first week of November. Fast, but that gave them about a month to plan and purchase supplies.

This morning we got messages saying the baby came early and they will likely take the baby home today or tomorrow! Wow! Talk about instant family!

Well now that Joshua has arrived, it doesn’t leave all that planned time for creating new baby gifts. Fortunately I have been stashing things away in anticipation of the big event and had at least two gifts to send.

A "knit on the diagonal" baby blankie.

Pattern: Lion Brand's Diagonal Pattern Baby Blanket
knit on Lion Brand Jiffy (100% acrylic)
color 157 Pastel Yellow, dyelot 28280
US size 11 (8 mm) circular needles
size, approximately 36" square
finished sometime earlier this year, approx Feb, 2006

And second, a cut little baby hat.

Pattern guesstimated by the owner of my LYS
knit on Plymouth Yarn Heaven (100% nylon)
color 12 (Yellow), dyelot 005
US size 11 (8 mm) straight bamboo needles
size, approximately 6" high
finished sometime last year, approx July, 2005

After receiving messages this morning, I was off to the store to supplement these two items with a batch of things all new parents might need (no not valium, baby supplies!). I'm happy to say a big box of goodness is now on flight to the new parents. Hope they enjoy the loot!

So you might wonder about me and Mr. LizKnits and how the baby game fits in our plan. Below you'll see the newest additions to our family. A bonsai for us to monitor carefully each day.

And a lovely orchid that does not need its diapers changed.

These two lovelies along with the Ster, Dylan, and Issac (see all about me in the sidebar for pics) are probably all we can handle!

So that's the low-down on the excitement around here. Of course you might wonder about the new knitting. Well truth be told, the knitting was scarce this weekend. Yesterday I did cast on the third square of my aran afghan. Do you really want to see another sad picture of that though? What, you do want pictures of anything? Well ok....

Be forewarned, no more cast on pictures. Given I'll have to cast on at least 6 (maybe 12) more times, I'll just keep referring you back to this photo. I promise it will look the same every time.

Hope you are knitting more than me! Best,

Monday, October 09, 2006

Oct 9th is overshoot day

"Humanity is living off its ecological credit card and can only do this by 
liquidating the planet's ecological assets," said Dr. Mathis Wackernagel,
Director of Global Footprint Network, "While this can be done
for a short while,
overshoot ultimately leads to the depletion of
resources, such as the forests,
oceans and agricultural land upon which
our economy depends."

For more about this concept and to look at how many resources you
are using,
check out this month's newsletter from the
Ecological Footprint group.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Mr. & Ms. LizKnits are proud to announce the arrival of twins!

Yes, Fetching is done, the delivery has occurred.
just over 50 g, 10pm Friday evening.

Summer 2006 pattern
Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran (55% merino wool, 33% mircrofibre, 12% cashmere)
color 300610, dyelot 901
just over 1 ball
US size 6 (4 mm) metal double pointed needles
started October 3, 2006
finished October 6, 2006

The happy parents are pleased to report that after labor began with the first child on the 3rd,

the first fetching was delivered on Oct. 4. Delivery of the second child began shortly thereafter, the afternoon of Oct 5th.

The delivery was slow and steady. First the cuff became evident.

More progress was made by early evening, but trouble became evident and those in attendance began to doubt that enough supplies would be available for a successful completion of the second birth.

The mother continued to persevere with growing certainty that additional supplies would be necessary (beyond those called for by the experts).

By late in the evening the child's thumb appeared and then late in the evening, the second child was delivered, with the assistance of a second ball of bliss (cleverly purchased by the mother days before because she never believes she'll have enough yarn).

The mother is pleased to report that the twins are nearly identical (with only reversed cabling so the cables twist "fetchingly" towards the thumbs... isn't that clever... to distinguish the two).

The children are now reported to be playing well with each other and with mom.

Mr. and Ms. LizKnits report plans to have additional children in the future. Some of these may be placed with adoptive parents.

LizKnits strongly recommends to others that they consider starting children like these as well.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fetching half done

One glove down, one to go!

Fetching is definitely an easy knit. The cashmerino aran yarn is also quite yummy. I'm looking forward to knitting the second glove and may knit more pairs of gloves later too.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A fetching language

Buenos dias!

Como estas tu?
Yo estoy muy bien.

Como te llamas tu?
Yo me llamo LizKnits.

De donde eres tu?
Yo soy de Pomona.

Hasta luego!

That, my dear friends, is a recap of what I’ve learned in Spanish class thus far (ok, that’s a minimization… I’ve actually learned quite a bit more than that… but somehow my poor, feeble brain doesn’t seem to retain much of the vocabulary).

Yesterday just flew by! Work (yes I’m still doing some of that), a brief bit of knitting, and then Spanish class.

In my quality knitting time, I cast on Fetching.

Are you having déjà vu? No, you aren’t crazy. I did initially cast on in a green wool yarn. This weekend, though, I visited my LYS and purchased some Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran, the yarn called for by the pattern. It feels so much nicer than the wool. I’ve started the cable part of the glove and think this will be a relatively easy knit. We’ll see.

With little other exciting news, I’ll leave you with a quote:

The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions. -James Russell Lowell, poet, editor, and diplomat (1819-1891)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The regal music plays

Taaa dahhh (the trumpets sound)...

the calamari rug is done! I had just enough yarn (just a bit left over) and think that all and all it came out well. I decided to weave the three sections together using a crochet hook and some extra tshirt material and that seems to have gone well. The joints are now all flush. The only other fiddly part was that each section wasn't perfectly even (in part because each shirt was a slightly different thickness so knitting the same number of rows did not result in the same length panel). I just eased things along as I put the sections together and voila!

Something else to put in the finished object category.
Enjoy your tuesday.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The end of the weekend

Ah the end of the weekend... such a sad thing. Fortunately the next weekend is only 5 days away!

Sunday was a nice, quiet day for us. The morning did start off with excitement though. Our neighborhood was featured in the LA Times! Every week the paper picks one neighborhood to discuss and this week it was us (not a bad feat given the size of metro LA).

Of course the realtors took advantage of the free press and there were almost 20 open houses yesterday. S and I did take the opportunity to go visit a couple houses and met one really nice realtor, Arthur Ramos, who lives in the area and is selling a very cute bungalow with some great original built-ins. If your looking for a new home, you should check it out.

Other than the daily sunday activities, I did only a little knitting. I did cut lots of tshirts for calamari.

I think I (may) now have enough "yarn" to finish up the rug. We have a large second ball of yarn ready to go (it's about 8" tall to give you some perspective, those are US 35 needles).

The knitting is a bit over 2/3rd finished at this point. I'm getting less sure about how I'll piece the three panels together when I'm done, but I'm sure something will work out.

Other than the rug, my only other creative enterprise yesterday was a bit of baking. Nothing like the smell of fresh bread in the house!

Hope everyone's week starts off well.