Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rainy Days and Saturdays
I know that everyone snickers about the way Southern Californians go on (and on and on) about the weather. You would think that we actually get some. Why do you think the local stations hire comedians for the weather people? In general, our weather reports are just excuses for a bit of entertainment. We are all rather excited to get anything out of the ordinary. Measurable precipitation in September is definitely out of the ordinary. Yes, Southern California had a nice shower today. The sky is now clean and everything looks much better.

This change in the weather certainly turned on the knitting switch at Chez Engineer. I had fun trying some new yarn and working through some long-held stash.

I present the Fred Textured sweater from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms. This was a really quick knit. I used the new Bernat Organic Cotton in Cactus and some US 5 and US 6 circular needles The buttons are cute little silvertone stars. After I was nearly finished I realized that the pattern called for DK weight and the Bernat is really more of a worsted. Did I mention that I've been having a bit of trouble with gauge lately? Um, yes, well, some of that might be my own doing. In any case, the sweater appears to be in the correct proportions so it will still fit a baby, just maybe a slightly larger baby than that for which I planned. I also whipped up a quick beanie hat from the same book to make a set. And because I've definitely gone over the edge, I made two House Hats out of Woolease (yay for stash) for the brothers of the new wee one for whom I made the sweater. We wouldn't want anyone to feel left out, now would we?

Well, one person is feeling left out and he isn't too thrilled with the rain...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs!

Yes, it is that day of days, International Talk Like a Pirate Day. I'm not feeling much like a pirate today, but I did dress like one last Halloween, so maybe there is a little pirate hiding in there.

In honor of the day, I thought I would catch up and share a long-finished object. These are my Jack Sparrow Went to Canada socks. The pattern is a combination of the Jack Sparrow's Favorite Socks pattern from Katydid Knits and the Canada Socks from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush. I turned them around a bit by knitting from the cuff down. They took a bit of fiddling to get gauge. I did mention that gauge is playing tricks on me, didn't I? I may need to re-knit the foot of one because the pooling is annoying me. When I knit just a little looser than usual (maybe some rum would help), the pooling wasn't so bad. Why is there never any rum? Oh, that's why!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dusting Myself Off

Two months??? I don't know how that happened. Okay, maybe I do. Let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up. (I so love that line!) First, there was that marathon reading during July that was All Harry Potter All the Time. I did finish all seven books of the series during the month of July. It helped that I had read the first six before and two weeks of serious vacation relaxing enabled the total immersion. To commemorate the trips to Hogwarts, I even knit the Golden Snitch dishcloth. If all goes well, there may be a picture of it on some other famous blog.

Next, there were the babies. No, none for me, but two nieces and one nephew now have new babies. There wasn't time for much baby knitting, but there is always time for tie-dye.

After that I attempted socks. I am now in the decidedly strange position of having three single socks and one that was just pulled rudely from the needles. Gauge and needle selection have not been my friends recently. The Uptown boot socks were humming along nicely until I realized that the bamboo needles I switched to for plane knitting were actually quite a bit smaller than the needles I had used for the cuff and they left the sock too tight to go over my heel. Hmmm. Much ripping ensued and the socks were put on the shelf for a time. After a significant time out, they are coming along much more sensibly.

Today was a real reason for dusting off. After all, today is Coastal and Inner Coastal Cleanup Day. Mr. Engineer has a nasty bug that left him down for the count, but Young Man and I did our part in cleaning up a local creek bed. We picked up umpty-two thousand shards of glass, cigarette butts, and odd debris from humanity.

After cleaning ourselves off, I had an even bigger adventure. I drove through the wilds of Los Angeles to see our favorite knitting star, the Yarn Harlot! Yes, I saw her, heard her, and gave her a dishcloth! It was a great day. The camera stayed at home (sigh), but there were many cameras about. Considering that traffic was completely messed up by a house stuck on the 101, it was more than a little amazing that I made it at all. Yes, you read correctly. There was a HOUSE stuck on the FREEWAY. Really, I couldn't make this stuff up. And people think knitters are wacky!

Stephanie is wonderful, of course. Witty, unassuming, and fun. The masses of knitters (all 230 of us) were great. Waiting in the book signing line was made much more pleasureable by the likes of Lynda and her friends. We came, we knit, we posed, we laughed. There were hats and socks and smiles all around. Come again soon, Stephanie! Next time, stay a while and I'll take you to the best coffee around.