Saturday, June 30, 2007

61 minutes to spare

Yep . . . she is done!

And with 61 whole minutes to spare before July.


Action shots to follow later.

progress... hehehe

So yesterday I only worked part day and made good progress on my drop stitch tank... amazing progress actually.

I'm still not sure that I can finish it by the end of the month (midnight tonight) but maybe by the end of the weekend.

I'm off now to order some discount books from Amazon.


Friday, June 29, 2007

So close (ok, not really close)

The last few days I've committed myself to working on my drop stitch tank. I really wanted to finish this sweater up by the end of the month. The fitted knits KAL has this as a "deadline" for the first wave of projects and the knitting lingerie style KAL starts July 1.

The very good news, the front in finished and I'm very pleased with how it's turned out.

The not so good news, the back, while started, isn't close to done. I have determined that I am a very, very slow knitter. [laugh] I knit for hours and then it seems that very little progress has been made. Oh well, this is where my zen side reminds me that we live for the moment, the moment of enjoying the knitting itself, not for the future project that will be complete. (Of course that other evil side really wants the sweater to be done!)

Last night, having realized that I probably won't make the end of the month goal I've set, I decided to cast on for another project: the retro redux shrug.

It's funny but, until I took the photo this morning, I didn't realize I had picked a similar colored yarn for this project as pictured in the book! I bought this malabrigo months ago as an impulse buy. I didn't have any idea what I'd use it for but loved the variations in the color and the richness of the color (it's called sunset).

A couple of weeks ago Margaux posted her finished shrug on her blog and it looked great! She used blue sky cotton and so I thought, I should go out and get some of that. Time passed and one day it occurred to me that perhaps this would be a project I could use the malabrigo for. I'm looking forward to seeing how this knits up. It will be a nice change to knit up worsted weight rather than the lighter weight yarns I've been using recently.

So weekend plans... knit, knit, knit. Who knows maybe the skies will open up, a miracle will occur and I will finish the tank by the end of the weekend. We'll see!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Eyes vs. stomach

I currently have one of those "my eyes are bigger than my stomach" sort of problems going on! I want to be knitting too many things and just don't have enough time... what's a girl to do? I've tried making a list (this sometimes helps me to get things out of my head) but it doesn't seem to be helping with the start-itis I have.

Only feeding the problem, I signed up the Knitting Lingerie Style KAL today.

I've ordered the yarn for the shaped lace tee.... and I can't wait to start it!

Later in the day I took a break from work and went to check out the yarn store that I notice a couple of weeks ago, Two Old Divas.

It's in a beautiful old home in the historical district in which I live (yes a yarn store I could actually walk to!).

I had fun poking around at looking at their stock and saw some pretty nice stuff... even purchased a couple of skeins for a gift that I'm planning on whipping up (somewhere in that spare time). Check the store out if you're in the area (or a small amount of their stock can be purchased through the ebay store which you can get to from the general web page).

Getting a sense of my problem yet? My plan is to knit, knit, knit tonight and see if I can make some progress on my drop stitch tank... I still have a long way to go but am eager to be able to wear it. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's all about the knitting

Yep... all about the knitting!

Yesterday I went into LA proper for knitting demonstrations and a sock class, hosted by the fine people at The Knitter's Studio.

First up was Share Ross, author of Punk Knits. Share showed examples of many items from her book and then did a mini workshop of several ways to put holes into garmets (drop stitch -- I have plenty of practice on this one!, button holes, and yarn overs). There was a group of lively learners and we all had much fun making mistakes and trying things out.

Next up was Joan McGowan-Michael, author of Knitting Lingerie Style. Joan too brought along sample items from her book and, my oh my, are they impressive in person.

Here she is showing us the cami and boy shorts set... very cute! The yarn called for in the pattern is yarn she dyes herself (you can see some on the table in the second group photo below in a redish colorway) and is it soft!

She also had lots of other items... one of which I didn't get a photo of, but wish I had -- the silk and pearls cami. Wow! It was amazing how heavy, soft, and beautiful this garmet was in person. Just a work of art.

I did have the good sense to get photos of the three garmets she had on dressforms.

Beautiful hmm? The materials of all three of these items were just fabulous... they had great drape and clearly would look beautiful on the body.

The Bed Jacket was just stunning. I have seen photos of another finished version over at Green Apples' blog, but seeing it in person is just great.

This fine little creature is definitely the next sweater item up on my list, the Shaped Lace Tee. From Joan's yahoo group I knew that a lot of people were knitting this and now I can definitely see why. Fantastic!

An then one more to add to my to do list, the Surplice Bodice Camisole. The drape, she is to die for. The bottom is definitely very lacey... probably a bit better for a night out that a day at the office, but just beautiful.

After much show and tell, we did begin the class proper and of course the book signings. The course was on how to do a toe-up sock... good to know given all the great stockings and socks in her book are toe-up (not to mention many other great designs out there).

Joan was extremely helpful in juggling all the requests to buy yarn, to sign books, and to help us fix all those little mistakes we kept putting into our socks.

I for one definitely did not have an error free sock! [laugh] While the concept of making a little pouch made perfect sense, I somehow did not get the concept that the pouch was created as we knit. Yep, I heard her say no seaming later, no grafting later, just knitting as we go. I'm still not sure how I thought my sock toe was going to pull together after I knit two separate triangles, but there you go.

As you can see above however, I am proud to report that the sock toe was successfully created and I now have my provision cast on freed up and stitches distributed across my 4 dpns. It won't be long now (until I hit the heel and slow down again... grin)!

All in all, a fabulous day. Great stuff to see, lots to learn, and great hosts! The people at Knitter's Studio were great (and as I've mentioned before I think it's a fab LYS). Now I just need to finish up my current project so I can join the Knitting Lingerie Style KAL and start a new project from the book.

And speaking of my current project, yahoo... progress is being made.

I've finished the top left and have only the top right to do on the front. The back should be smooth sailing now that I've gotten this far. I did go ahead and frog my giant "swatch" and feel ready to go on the back. I've really enjoyed this pattern and think this is going to come out a lovely top. Now if I could just find more time to knit....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hip Kitty

After a very busy week, S picked me up from the office on Friday and we went into Claremont for fondue at the Hip Kitty, a fondue and jazz club on the east end of the Packing House, a new shopping/dining development that used to be a citrus packing facility.

We had delicious food... veggies, fruits and bread (ok only S had the bread) dipped into manchego cheese with sherry and, for dessert, milk chocolate with cognac and an assortment of fruits, pound cake and snickers (yes, call it crazy but they give you snickers to coat in melted chocolate, again only S was privvy to the cake and snickers but claimed it was delicious).

I was all up for the experience but wasn't sure what the food would be like, but it was great.

Great locale...

Good company....

and definitely great food and drink. We left just before the live music but my impression is that it would have been good too.

The other perk... as we walked around after dinner, I spied a new yarn shop, Phebie's Needle Art. I'm looking forward to going back later when they are open to look around. This is quite remarkable given that last week I noticed another new yarn shop just a few blocks from our house, Two Old Divas! I've spoken to one of the divas [grin] by phone and can't wait to go there either. The world must be improving if yarn shops are springing up everywhere!

Friday, June 22, 2007

The ugly truth

I hate it when I hear the truth sometimes....

You Are An ISTJ

The Duty Fulfiller

You are responsible, reliable, and hardworking - you get the job done.
You prefer productive hobbies, like woodworking or knittings.
Quiet and serious, you are well prepared for whatever life hands you.
Conservative and down-to-earth, you hardly ever do anything crazy.

In love, you are loyal and honest. If you commit yourself to someone, then you're fully committed.
For you, love is something that happens naturally. And you don't need romantic gestures to feel loved.

At work, you remember details well and are happy to take on any responsibility.
You would make a great business executive, accountant, or lawyer.

How you see yourself: Decisive, stable, and dependable

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Boring, conservative, and egotistical

Well at least I know where I am... I can start the travels in different directions from here.

Thanks to Robin for the link to this blogthing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My sanity has escaped me

Can I tell you something? I think I've lost it! [laugh]

My life has become one big, giant, can never be accomplished, to-do list.

So how am I responding? I'm sitting at home, blogging. That's going to help me get things done hmm? Ok, probably not, but it may help me re-capture sanity, and you know you never want your sanity to be running amuk.

Yesterday was just one of those days. My bio-diesel running car decided it was going to die last week (hence my ride on the lovely public transport vehicle last week). S and I decided to wait until this week to deal with it because we both are just too busy for life. Monday morning we had it towed to the garage. S had an early appointment and because I didn't want to go to work at 6am, I decided to ride the bus to work again.

Chortle, chortle, chortle... that was a great idea! The ride took me 1 hour and 20 minutes. As a refresher this is a 10-15 minute trip by car. Buses were late, connections missed, and I just scrambled into the office 2 minutes before my first appointment of the day.

The rest of the day was the same. Hurry, hurry, late, late. I also had back-to-back appointments all day long 10am-6:30pm.

I know I have this giant pile of things waiting to be done and it just isn't/can't happen.

So here I am this morning, getting nothing done. Trying to take a mental health break. Have I mentioned I teach 2 classes tonight from 4-10pm? I'm not really ready for class and haven't graded last week's assignments yet either.

Quiet place, quiet place, relax, take a deep breath.

Last night despite my craziness I decided I must go to my local SnB meeting. I'm really glad I did. The LYS that hosts the event once a month, Knitwitz, has moved to a new location and I love it! The space feels great and is much warmer than the last location.

I also got to see some old friends, Jenean and Beth (to the left), and meet someone new, Claudia (to the right). It was a great break and gave me a chance to knit at least a bit on my drop stitch tank. Of course, since I can't talk and knit at the same time, I made some mistakes. I'm going to have to see if I can fix things or if I'll be swimming in the frog pond.

Wish me luck with class tonight and with catching sanity the rest of the week!

Monday, June 18, 2007


Well if last weekend wasn't busy enough, S and I decided we had to turn our living space upside down and do a little home makeover.

That meant that there was little progress on this...

my drop stitch tank from Fitted Knits.

I haven't blogged much about this recently but it has been coming along. I think the last time I mentioned it, I was struggling to find gauge. I had tried several different sized needles (3s, 5s, and 7s) and just wasn't sure what to do. After very helpful advice from several women on the Fitted Knits Along, I decided to go the middle route and to try the size US5 needles.

After a bit of knitting I decided that it was going to be a bit too snug on the 5s. I might have been able to get away with it but felt sure that it would be a little too tight around the hips. The good news is that I decided the sizing wasn't good before I finished the whole sweater.

The bad news is that it took me a pretty large "swatch" to make the decision. Yes, that half sweater on the left (above) isn't the back of the sweater, it's my "swatch" on US 5s. The sweater half on the right is my new and improved sweater on US 6s. I think it will give me another 1 1/2 that will make the difference. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will keep you posted.

So about that disruption.

We live in a smallish house (less than 1000 sq foot) but we have, technically, 3 bedrooms. As you might imagine the smallest bedroom is pretty tiny. S has been using that as his home office. Two years into living in the house, we decided we weren't really using the space we have efficiently and decided to rearrange.

So now, what used to be our master bedroom is now the office...

gotta love the view from that office window. To make it more office like, we went out and purchased new bookcases and promptly filled them up (Note. No new books were purchased in the creation of this monster).

The guest bedroom (the middle sized room) then became our bedroom. After all we only sleep in the bedroom, why use up all that space?

And the smallest room (what used to be the office), well now it's the guestroom/exercise room.

All of the rooms need work still, but this one needs the most. We are going to live with it for a while but may eventually replace the bed with a sleeper sofa so it can be more of a knitting/exercise/reading room. We'll see how that goes with time.

For now, we're sorting stacks and putting stuff away into its new spaces. I think that this new arrangement will definitely give us more bang for our buck. After all, when you live in a small space, you don't want to waste a square foot with disuse!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

New things

The last couple of days have been just full of all kinds of new things.

Yesterday I rode the bus to work! Now I've ridden many buses before, but I haven't taken the bus here in LA to my job. Fun stuff!

The second new thing... a baby artichoke! First time we've grown one of these.

It's still tiny... see the purple heart right at the center of the silver plant there?

Here's the up close view. Just so cute!

And the third new thing ... well take a look at this.

Yep S went off and bought a new camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ3-A. I'll keep you posted on how it works (of all the pics here... the 2 artichokes are from the new camera).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Where has the week gone? Well to SCRA!

It is almost impossible for me to believe that it's been a whole week since my last post. Let me tell you my friends that I have been a busy girl in the past week. No, I have not knitted a stitch in that time (not even one, I'm sorry to say, despite best laid plans!).

Instead, I have been SCRAing. "What?!?" you might ask? Well, I've been helping to organize and actually put on a professional conference, the biennial meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action (it's a meeting of community psychologists). Want to see a sampling of the week's activities?

(No?... well OK you might just want to wander onto another blog now... grin).

For the rest of you, fun began on Tuesday morning when we stuffed all of these things

into the black bag you see in the middle. That lovely document on the far right represents the wall of shame that I showed you earlier this year all nice and neatly compiled together into what we officially call a "program" (rather than the tattered semblance of my sanity).

For those of you who just can't get enough of this drivel, you can see all 144 pages, as well as the front and back covers, by downloading the pdf from this page. I especially like the ad for our graduate programs which is the inside front cover (I didn't make it, but worked with the woman who developed it).

The blue sheet behind the program represents the addendum that reflects the changes that conference presenters continued to ask for up through tuesday morning (yes the conference started on thursday) but does not include the shattered semblance of my sanity changes that came in on Wednesday (I told them sorry).

By lunch time Tuesday, we had, with the efficiency of giant assembly line, created a room full of this.

All of which was loaded into cars and transported to a hotel in Pasadena for our meeting.

And then there was the meeting itself. I spent quite a bit of time with these very, very fine (they should win a million dollars or at least spend eternity in a very wonderful place) people in just this location (the information table).

Hey... look ... knitting content... that's my picovoli under my black suit!

The two men to my left and the woman on the far right were 3 of the 4 graduate students who help to coordinate all the activities at the conference. Let me tell you they did a lion's share of work. Never have I seen such well organized, happy, hard working people. Between us (and with the help of two others) we problem solved every little issue and allowed a lot of these

(big addresses) and these

(poster sessions where people presented printed versions of their recent work) to happen.

I am pleased to say that, in no small part due to their hard work, the conference went off extremely well!

Thursday night we even had entertainment at our opening reception.

These three gentlemen (Trio Los Compadres) were absolutely fabulous!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there was alot more of this and Saturday night one of my colleagues even received one of these

(a nice big award from the organization).

Sunday afternoon we picked up all our things, loaded the cars back up with the left overs, and headed home.

Now that I'm here, I feel like those kids who says, "My mom and dad went to XXX, and all I got was this lousy tshirt."

Of course that's the very, very short version of the weekend. It for example completely leaves out the details about how one of our conference participants died during a session (very sad), all the great talks I got to hear, the ideas I had talking to colleagues (over 500 people attended the conference and while I'm sure I didn't meet every one of them, I sure met alot), the silly black bags and how they started to fall apart by the second day of the conference (ordering bags not my responsibility!), the crisis intervening I had to do after a colleage created a pretty messy situation that upset lots of people, and the utter, total fatigue that I felt on Sunday after multiple days being up, talking, and "happy" at 7am as we opened up the registration and information booths. Have I ever mentioned that I am not a morning person?

Conferences are exhausting!

After S's experience coordinating his conference a few weeks ago and my experience this weekend we have promised each other no other conference planning for at least 5 years!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Drop stitch craziness continues

Although Saturday was spent at the office, Sunday provided a nice day of rest around here and time to work a bit on my drop stitch lace tank.

The very good news is that this is a very enjoyable knit. I look forward to more time with it. This is especially good since I'm probably going to rip this all out and start again. I'm not sure why I can't figure out the sizing with this, but it looks like the top will be too small if I keep on with the current size. I probably need to go back to the needle size originally called for by the pattern (which is US 7; this is made with US 5s).

On other fronts, lest you think that only broccoli grows in our garden, view the bounty that the earth is starting to provide.

Green beans (there are bunches ready to harvest... see that guy hanging down at the bottom right of the photo).

The zucchini are flowering.

And baby japanese eggplant (this may be harder to see, just under the bottom ring of the cage, a little purple fruit).

Hopefully these little guys will help us improve the quality of our diet.