She is not good…

The weather I mean.  The plan is to get to Tahoe for a few days…it’s raining…in freaking TAHOE!  In December/January!  Crazy huh?

I am also resolution free (see Claudia), so all I can do is wish all y’all a good weekend and New Year.  Me, I got an extra day off work!  Talk about starting the new year off right.  We were all supposed to come to work on Monday 1/2 and do inventory–but the owner of the business decided that since everyone and their brother was off that day, WTF–day off!  I’ve been off since the 22nd so it’s a total bonus score, no?  So inventory on 1/3 (can’t get around that) and one more day of sitting around in my jammies.

I promise to show progress on shearling sweater, I’ve begun clutching the French-English dictionary and am 7 cms into the back.  I’ve decided to do it a bit more free form since I don’t understand the directions completely.  There’s some bit about either marking the stitch for the princessline shearing stitches, but I figure I can knit the piece to the right dimensions and baste a colored thread where I want the princess seam to be and pick up and knit it there.  Charts!  Who needs stinking charts.  It’s actually much more relaxing to decide to go by the seat of your (adorable hip hugging) pants.  Check back in a couple of days to see if my ideas have panned out or just panned.  If worse comes to worse, I believe Jimmy Bean’s will come to my rescue with some diversionary project…heh heh heh.

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Christmas Socks

Trekking_socks Although I’d wanted to have these socks (for me) done by Christmas, it actually took a couple of more days.  Never mind, they’re so cute I’ll forgive them.  These are Trekking colorway 100 socks and they’re so colorfully fabulous.  I was toying with the idea of making the color repeats the same in both socks, but they don’t seem to repeat in an orderly manner.  Clearly I was being way to tightassed in my thinking, so they’ve saved me from myself.  You’ll notice they’re the Sil special socks–picot edge with short-row heels and toes.  I used size 0 needles and 56 stitches to fit me.  Please remember a size 0 in my hands is like a 2 in "normal" tensioned knitters.

Shearling_yarn Are you wondering what I’ll do now that I’ve finished those socks.  Are you worried I’ll start a crime wave (aka Knitter Bandito) or do home invasions where I’ll force people to get rid of their ugly shit?  Nah.  Claudia came through with my Christmas present and I’ve got enough Phildar Castel and Phildar Bowling to make my shearling sweater!  Now this is one complex sweater and the instructions are in French only.  I speak NO FRENCH AT ALL!  None.  Super.  I do have a French-English dictionary, but I’ll probably have to post the odd phrase here for you bilingual smarty pants to translate pour moi.  If worse comes to worse I’ll make it up and expect y’all to humor me and tell me it looks fine.  Understand!?

I am SO mature

Greencables4jpg I want to buy yarn. I really do.  Do I have a huge amount of fiber languishing in the garage yarn cellar?  Yes, thanks for asking.  Do I expect to find yarn under the Christmas tree in just a few days?  Yes, thanks for asking.  Have I actually finished anything to warrant me starting something new?  Why you gotta be so ugly.  You’re hurting the team.

Cut to the chase you say.  I want yarn for this sweater.  Why has this taken my fancy all of a frigging sudden?  No se.  Just has.  Perhaps it’s the pretty cables and chunky yarn, or maybe it’s just that Glampyre Stephanie looks like a million damn redheaded dollars in it.  I have no bulky yarn.  Nada.  Nix.  Nothing.  What I do have is a spanky new gift certificate to the beautiful Stash in Berkeley!  Oh yeah, my friends are the best.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be making a beeline to the Stash and bulk up.  Luckily, the fabulous bakery next door to Stash will make bulking up possible in mind and body.

No Roots

3_1 When my sister asked for suggestions for hat patterns for her melon, she got tons of good suggestions.  I suggested the Flore hat, and surprisingly she declined to take up my suggestion.  I guess she wanted to go a more dignified route.  Me, not so much.  I not only made this hat, I dyed the wool (leftover blue faced leicester, no less) with the most dignified of Koolaid varieties.

Flower_hat_3Well after a week of desultory knitting, the koolaid fruity pebbles flower hat is born.  Personally, I think this is one of the funniest hats I’ve ever made.  It’s also warm and soft and smells very faintly of fruit.  Yum.  The pattern isn’t very difficult, just kind of fiddly in the joining up.  After sewing and blocking, I thought it needed to be a bit smaller so I dunked it in water and threw it in the dryer for about 7 minutes.  It became a tad smaller and the stitches less defined, which is what I wanted.  I may repeat the process again after it’s fully dried.

You know, I’ve got enough yarn left over for another sister sized hat!  Maybe I’ll use the leftovers for some funky fair isle?  Hmmmm…the possibilities are endless.

**Added later:  My poor sister’s mature hat pattern is not working out for her.  Let’s all click over there to encourage her in some less serious hat making!

Also, my hat is made from blue faced leicester purchased at Maryland Sheep and Wool from the sheep farmer.  It is rather hard to find commercially, but is the softest yarn ever.  For the enquiring minds who want to know if the hat is warm, it is indeed.  Those petals are layered upon eachother so there are two layers on my head for the majority of this hat.**

Crazy Talk

Flore_tulip_234The other day my sister asked for hat suggestions for her newly discovered tiny head.  I’m sure she’s got scads of wonderful ideas from the blogosphere and beyond, but my suggestion was summarily dismissed!  Shwa?!  My suggestion was the Flore hat.  Yes, it is sized for infants and children, but people, it’s got the adult size right there at the end!  I adore this whimsical hat.  Just because your head’s cold, doesn’t mean you have White_ballto wear some fugly hippy-esque chapeau.  Voila!  Flore enters stage right.

Okay, five different colors of yarn are needed for this one.  Let’s see, I’ve got, uh, white.  Super.  It is the right gauge and it’s super duper soft blue faced leicester, left over from a year or so ago.  KoolaidWhat’s a girl to do?

Who guessed Kool-Aid?  Yes indeed, 10 for $1.  Just my price, though I did get a snarky comment from the supermarket gal as I had more than 10 items in the quick lane–uh, there’s no one behind me and 10 of my items are Kool-Aid.  If she wanted to discuss something, we could have talked about her unfortunate makeup–more is not better fyi.  Colored_ballsAnywho, I microwave dyed the yarn with Kool-Aid and a glug of white vinegar for about 7  minutes (starting with cold water) in a pyrex bowl.  The house did smell oddly fruity, though I think the pink lemonade smell was the nicest.  I rinsed and spun it out in the washer and look at what I got.  Fruity Pebbles blue faced leicester!

Now Claudia is truly going to think I’m nuts.  She thought I was kidnapped by aliens before because I bought the cute Scrubby book in Japantown, now she’s got evidence.  Fruity Pebble Kool-Aid evidence, but admissable in most jurisdictions.

Scarf it up

Mare_scarf

I’ve been soooo loving the Trekking 100 sock yarn, that I’ve been neglecting the Christmas knitting!  That Trekking is like the crack of sock yarn.

Well, I kicked that monkey off my back long enough to finish this gift.  My friend asked for a short scarf the went up the neck and scrunched and was made from the yarn with bits (aka tweed).  Luckily she made this request in the middle of Stash in Berkeley AND picked up a ball of yarn to illustrate the color she wanted.  That’s just about the easiest present around, no?

This scarf is what I came up with.  It’s made from Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed and is nice and soft.  I used the potpourri color (117) and liked it very much.  I cast on 32 stitches (I used tubular cast on), first and last stitch are selvage stitches, started the keyhole 4" from the cast on edge and made it about 3 1/4" long.  Kept on knitting until the scarf was 33" long and used a tubular bind off.  It’s finished dimensions are 5" (unstretched) by 33" long.  I used about one and a half balls of the yarn and size 6 needles (if you have "normal" tension use about size 8).

After taking this triumphant shot, I dunked it in water to wet block and it’s even softer now.  I may have to make one for myself next.

Not abducted by aliens, thank you.

Pc060013_edited My sister thinks I’ve been abducted by aliens because I bought the cute scrubbie book in Japantown.  Did she even see the cute little fishy scrubbies?  I think she’s been spending way too much time in maximum security prisons (just visiting thanks) and it’s made her jaded.  To prove to her I’m still sane (without showing her my my new suede boots-calf size jealousy is so ugly) I will share my latest sock yarn purchase.  Yes, I finally bought a hank of Trekking 100 for ME.  I even bought it at the new yarn store in town, so really it was a community support thing, not a gratuitous yarn purchase.  No, not gifting it.  Me me me me me me me me.  It’s so Christmasy around here isn’t it?

Book Worm

Books

I love Japantown in San Francisco–I always have.  Why?  I don’t know, but they have the coolest stores (like the gallery that sells handmade ikebana vases that are too beautiful to use) and restaraunts and of course the Kinokuniya bookstore. I stopped by the other day and spent way to too long in the bookstore.  They play the most fabulous Japanese Christmas music–you know–all cute and happy and in English since it must be a relatively recent phenomena in Japan, no?

MultisweaterLest you think I understand even one word of Japanese, let me dispel that notion.  Nada chica.  Why do I own quite a few Japanese craft books?  Because they rock!  You can kind of figure out what’s going on from all the diagrams and arrows, plus if you have a brain in your head you don’t NEED every little thing spelled out for you.  Crikey, use it or lose it.  I digress.  I bought a fabulous knitting book, it also has crochet (don’t know how) and a few knit and crochet fusion sweaters.  See what I mean about that outside the box thinking.  Plus, check out that cool use of variegated yarn in the asymmetical sweater.  I love that.

FishiesOn the cute side, I bought a scrubby book!  Why, you ask?  Who doesn’t want to know how to make scrubbies shaped like fishies, or kitties or flowers?  Who I ask you!?

The third book is a gift for someone who doesn’t read my blog, so we’re pretty safe.  It’s all about wrapping in the Japanese style.  It’s amazing.  There are wraps for food and presents and chop sticks…everything.  All too beautiful to open.  No hacking off a piece of wrapping paper here and using a roll of tape.  Heck no.  I wonder how I’ll wrap it?  Any lame wrapping attempt will be that much more awful by the examples in the book.  Conundrum…

Purple Balls

Purple_balls

The holiday knitting, she begins…I’ve never really been much for the holiday knitting presents, perhaps because I don’t really knit for other people.  Most folks don’t understand/appreciate/wantP30_311 the effort of such a gift.  There are a few that do, which brings us to today’s purple ball entry.  One of my dear friends is always cold (like me) and asked for a small keyhole scarf (see picture to know what the hell I’m talking about) made of tweedy fiber.  Okay.  Then we happened to be in Stash in Berkeley, who cleverly situated themselves to an incredible bakery (forgot the name–good shit though), and plucked a ball of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed (color 117 potpourri) from the shelf to explain to me what kind of fiber she meant by "the kind with bits in it".  Noted.

Of course I couldn’t buy the fiber right there in front of her, that would ruin ANY element of surprise.  When I looked in my TWO (yeah we’ve got two now) local knit shops, I couldn’t find the yarn I wanted.  I did eventually order two skeins from Fuzzy Mabel who seemed to have it at my house in about ten minutes.  Love them.  (Nordstrom.com needs to learn a thing or two from them–I don’t like waiting a week and a half for my boots in my tiny little footbinding size dammit).

Pc020007Despite having one hundred and twelve knitting projects started as of now, I immediately swatched up.  Practically stepped on the sweet potato sweater in order to get to the needles.  Pretty.  I swatched, calculated, caston on (tubular man), ripped, re-cast on and got this far in just a couple of hours.  This is just an ideal present–it won’t take an age to knit and finish.  The recipient practically put the yarn in my handbag and the pattern is cast on 30 stitches…It will be compulsory to post a picture of yourself using the scarf as a one eyed Lone Ranger mask though.  Rules, must have them y’all.