Monday, August 29, 2005


I added an email link on my sidebar. In case anyone actually wants to email me directly....

This is the coolest thing ever:

The Dearest got me a laptop a few months ago so that I could stay connected anywhere in the house. It's really handy for blogging, checking emails or just plain chunking on the 'net while the kiddos are playing. But I am bad about being careful with my trusty little laptop, so I've been thinking about making some kind of computer cozy for a while now.

Then I found this at Eunny's blog. Gotta make one for me!

Look what I can do...

I spent 2 hrs last night plying and ended up with just over 410yds of this:

It's the Chocolate Cherry (20%silk/50%merino/30%alpaca) and some stash 50/50 alpaca/silk. Lovely stuff; good thing I like it so much cuz I need close to 1400 yds for the cover sweater from the Fall Vogue Knitting. Check out the lovely colors in Annemarie's version. I doubt I'm going to do the twisted floats though. I'm afraid that the extra patterning will be too much when using handspun. I think I'm going to start with just my handspun and see how it looks.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Pinwheel with edge crochet

Pinwheel with edge crochet

Ok, here's the finished edge treatment. I went with some light green DK wool I had in my stash. I just did a single crochet all around and added some little loops on the tips as I went. The loops are kinda wonky right now; maybe re-blocking will help but I think I'll just let Monkey Boy have at the blanket and do his own version of blocking (which will involve lots of drool and chewing, I'm sure).

Here's a closeup of my newbie crocheting...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Spammers must die

Ok, what *is* the deal with the spammers today? I've seen tons of spam comments on everyones' blogs and I've also been blessed with some spam of my own. Egh. Spammers and telemarketers must get together and find the most annoying ways to torture the rest of us.


I added a crocheted edging to the pinwheel blankie (pics in the morning since it's dark now), along with some little loopy things for Monkey Boy to play with. I like the way it looks and hopefully my crocheting looks ok since I've only just learned how to do it. There are some great crochet mavens at the LYS and I was hoping to take the blanket there tonight, but DH had to work late which meant no knit nite for me. In a fit of self-pity, I cast on for the Deborah Newton twisted lace shawl in the Fall Vogue. The pattern calls for an obscene amount of even more obscenely expensive cashmere yarn. I'm a cheap bastard and am substituting some of my Elizabeth Lavold Silky Wool stash. The color I'm using is curry/07.

On the subject of casting on....the other day I cast on for the DSC (Damned Silk Corset) AGAIN and have gotten 4 rows in. Suffice it to say that I am already PISSED at this pattern and really wish that I could get my mind around it. I've already figured out where I got confused the first FOUR times I started out, so hopefully I"m on the right track.

And more casting on: Must. Knit. This. Especially after seeing Kate's gorgeous version. Or how about this one. I even have the yarn for it (more EL Silky Wool in a gorgeous purple).

But first I have to finish my Little Lacey Top. I'd post a pic but it doesn't look much different from the last one. The pattern calls for 8 inches of the lacework, and I'm at inch a ways to go!

In unrelated, non knitting news....
My stepsister is getting married this weekend, which means lots of famdamily coming from out of town. Most of her family is staying at my mom and stepdad's house, so my sister and her hubby are going to stay with us. I am desperately trying to clean and declutter before they arrive this Friday. It seems to take forever to do anything, especially since Little Man always wants to 'help' (tho his helping makes everything take twice as long). Luckily my cleaning lady will arrive tomorrow to take care of the really nasty bits of our house while I attempt to make the guest quarters- AKA our family room- liveable.

Pinwheel Blanket

Pinwheel Blanket

Well here it is, my Pinwheel Blanket Redux. This one was alot faster to knit since I cast on correctly this time and had 1/2 the stitches from my last try.

I used 3.5 skeins of Koigu Kersti and size 9 needles. The blanket is about 24 inches in diameter; it stretched a lot with blocking (pre blocking diameter was 18inches).

Here's a bird's eye view:

The color in this pic is a little too light. I'm glad I went up a needle size from the previous version of this drapes a lot more nicely now. I have some green DK yarn that I'm thinking will make a good crocheted border. I think it would be cute if I put some little bobbles or loops on the points, whatcha think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My Pinwheel is done!

I just finished my Pinwheel blankie tonight. No pics yet cuz it's currently pinned and blocking on the floor in my closet (the only place in the house I feel comfortable leaving pins out all night with a 3 yr old who roams). There's no way I'm taking a pic of my closet floor- it's scaaaary!

I'm debating on whether or not to crochet an edge around the blanket and maybe add some loops or something....

Well, I'll post pics in the AM and you all tell me what you think about a crocheted edge treatment.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The non-fibery Fiberfest (or, "Trekking in Santa Monica")

I'm almost embarassed to admit it, but after nearly 2 yrs of knitting and several (obsessed) months of spinning, I've never been to a fibery festival. I wanted to go to the Black Sheep Gathering with some friends, but Monkey Boy was(is) much too young and nursing too much to be left for three or four days while I gallivant around town buying yarn and rovings. I missed Stitches West for the same reason.

Someone recently told me about the Fabulous Fiberfest, which was going to be held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium this weekend. I talked to Leigh and we decided that it might be fun to take a little trip out to LA and check it out. So this morning we met locally and carpooled down the lovely 405 freeway (parking lot) to Santa Monica with Freddy navigating from the back seat.

It took us all of about 20 minutes to walk around the whole Fiberfest. I wasn't expecting much and I wasn't disappointed. I'm not sure why the organizers called it a "fiber fest", because to me that implies that yarn and roving and other fibery things might be involved. But instead, there were about 20 quilting booths, 10 or so booths selling beads (not fibery at all!), buttons (also not fibery!) and some freakish looking "pin dolls". Not sure what that was all about.

I think we ferreted out all of the booths selling fiber in the form of yarns and rovings:

There were a couple of smaller vendors selling handpainted yarns and rovings, but nothing spectacular. One booth was filled to the brim with lots of scary novelty yarn creations. Another vendor had boxes and boxes of dyed Romney wool....cuz doesn't everyone want to make a hot pink and lime green rug from handspun?

Luckily Habu had a little booth selling such interesting things as linen yarn, some very pretty laceweight silk and super soft cottons. And Carolina Homespun had a good sized booth with several wheels out. Unfortunately they didn't have any of the Kromskis I wanted to try.

But they did have some really lovely hand dyed rovings, some Crosspatch Creations batts, and lots of other fun spinning stuff. I ended up buying some #3 Brittany DPNs, a bag of the Crosspatch Triple Play batts, 6 oz. of superwash merino/tencel roving, an ounce of camel/baby alpaca roving to play with, and 3 bobbins for my wheel. I was pretty excited to finally get my hands on some new bobbins; for some reason Lendrum bobbins are hard to find. Everyone carries them online, but they're never in stock when I try to order.

After blowing our wad at Carolina Homespun, we decided to drop the bags in the car and call it quits with the not-so-fibery Fiberfest (which we decided they should have called the QuiltingFest, or Crafting Show instead). We'd already paid for parking, so we figured we'd leave the car and walk down the street for lunch.

Leigh used to hang out in Santa Monica quite a bit when she lived in Pasadena, so we thought we'd try an Indian food restaurant nearby. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed when we walked off we went down the street since there were plenty of other restaurants. A yummy smelling bakery enticed us in and we sat down....only to be confronted with the confused waiter when the lights went out. Turns out the power was out in the whole building, so they couldn't serve lunch.

(Can you see a trend here?)

We walked back toward the Indian place (still closed- must only open for dinner), and headed toward 4th street. After putting in an emergency call to Leigh's DH to bail us out ("We're at 4th and Main, how do we get to Any Open Restaurant?"), we decided to stop at the next likely food source before we passed out in the street.

Then like a mirage on the horizon, we spied Cha Cha Chicken. Coconut Fried Chicken, plantains and fresh pink lemonade never tasted so good! Finally well fed, we hiked back to the car and called it day.

I had fun, but I'm looking forward to trying out a REAL fibery show, like next year's BSG or Stitches West.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A knitted snake named Rex


I just got the book "The World of Knitted Toys" the other day. When I showed it to Little Man, he immediately asked for the snake. Since I had some 100% acrylic in my stash (bought back when I didn't know any better), I decided to use it for the snake.

It was a super fast project- only took me about 4 hours to completely finish. I put it in bed with Little Man after he fell asleep and the next morning he came into our room hugging it. "I love my snake," he said. "I call him Rex!".

It's way cute, but I have to say (again) that 100% acrylic is the Devil's Work. I've used some nice microfiberish acrylics, but knitting with this cheap "pound of love" crap is like chewing on aluminium foil.

Never again. I'd burn this junk but I don't think plastic burns!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sad mommy moment or fashion statement?

Pre-kiddos and mommyhood, I never understood it when a mom said "I'm lucky if I get to wash my hair every day." I mean, how hard can it be to take a shower and wash your hair? I'm pretty low maintenance so it usually only takes me 20 minutes to 1/2 an hour to get ready for a typical day. How can you not find 20 minutes to get showered and dressed?

Then Little Man came along, and I was blessed with a baby who not only needed to be held ALL THE TIME, but also had a lovely case of colic. He screamed pretty much 4-5 hours a day no matter what we did. Even when I held him, he was prone to screaming fits. It was No Fun At All, lemme tell ya.

I learned pretty quickly that I had to get up in the wee hours to have enough time to get into the shower. If The Dearest wasn't home, I wasn't likely to have more then 3 minutes to myself to take a pee, nevermind 20 minutes to shower and get dressed. You know that woman in the mall wearing a baby in a sling, dressed in spit -up stained jeans, an o-so fashionable nursing shirt and pushing an empty stroller? The same lady who looked like she hadn't slept more than 2 hrs straight in a year?

That was me.

Well, life has improved since then and I can usually manage to shower pretty much every day. I may not be the height of fashion, but I won't get mistaken for a homeless person. But fashion faux pas are pretty common in this household....

Yesterday I finished blow drying my hair, rounded up the boys and headed out the door for a playdate. On the way out, I saw my neighbor and stopped to talk to her about the new front door they were putting in. While we were chatting, I noticed that the contractor kept staring at me and I had to do a mental check-
Fly zipped? Check
Wearing a bra? Check
Boobs actually tucked into bra? Check

What could it be?

My neighbor's eyes kept wandering to the top of my head- what is she looking at??? Finally I realized that I was still wearing the hair scrunchy that I put in each morning to hold the hair on the crown of my head up while I blow dry the rest. In other words I looked like some what like this
So....sad mommy moment or fashion statement? You decide.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Spinning, stitch markers and a cutie

Not much spinning going on lately at Chez Shizknits- mainly because by the time I get the munchkins in bed, I don't have enough energy to sit down with Ellie.
Instead I've been going to La Petite Knittery on Saturday mornings and doing a couple of hours worth of spinning with some of the other spinners. Last weekend, I picked up some gorgeous 20%silk/50%merino/30%alpaca roving in reds, pinks and browns called Cherry Chocolate. Some seriously YUM stuff. It's so smooth that it practically spins itself.

After nearly filling a bobbin, I went looking thru my stash for something appropriate to ply it with and found some brown and white 50/50 alpaca/silk. I have 4 oz. of the Cherry Chocolate and 4 oz of the alpaca/silk, so I'm going to ply them together. Here's a swatch of the finished product, knit on size 5 needles and post-blocking. The bobbin is full of the Cherry Chocolate.

Eons ago, I was a huge beading chick. I loved making necklaces, bracelets and what not with beads. Going to the bead store involved hours of picking through hundreds of trays of beads, playing with different combinations and plenty of money being spent.

Obviously this was was pre-munchkins. (I shudder to think of my kiddos in a bead store now!) I haven't done any beading in probably 2 or 3 yrs. But I keep seeing such pretty stitch markers on everyone elses' blogs and thinking "I should make me some of those". So yesterday I dug out my old beading tools, some wire and some charms I had bought previously and made these:

I think they are pretty cute, despite my very rusty beading skills. I can see how they can become addicting and will have to make some more!

Proof that sticking your tongue out will make you look smarter and improve your crawling.

I'm working on the Little Lacey Top knit in Elizabeth Lavold's Silky Wool....

I saw this on Knit n Tonic's blog and really like the pattern. Plus I'm so damn frustrated with my Silk Corset that this top is making me feel better.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

What the heck happened to this?

OK, I'll be the first to admit that a lot of my knitting is done purely by the seat of my pants. I'm forever changing patterns, using different yarns and gauges, and adding or subtracting elements of a particular design. I'm also infamous for plain 'just not following the directions'.

Usually it works out fine. Well, it works out fine about 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time, I end up with something like this:
What the hell is it, you ask?

It's *supposed* to be a Pinwheel Blankie. Except that I royally screwed up the cast on and so I ended up with WAAAAAY too many stitches. Like over 800 sts. on my 36inch circular. That took me almost 2 hours to cast off last night.

I was so excited- I laid the blanket down to block it....and suddenly realized (after all the damn casting off) that I was going for a trip to the frog pond with it. *sigh* It turns out that I had done too many stitches between the YOs in the very beginning. So instead of having only 5 quadrants to my pinwheel, I had something like TWENTY.


Well, I'm not that bummed because I think I'm going to re-knit it on slightly bigger needles to get a better drape. And if I'm only knitting on a couple of hundred stitches (instead of 800 OMG) , it should go a lot faster.

Wish me luck!

Monkey Boy is mobile

He's crawling! I guess my knitting time is going to be seriously cut for a while.

Where do these stairs go?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Quick Q&A

When people leave questions in my comments, I always wonder if I should answer them there or create a post with the answers. I've had some questions recently and figured I'd better put out an entry rather than try to reply in the comments.

spaazlicious wanted to know what camera I use for my pics. It's a Canon 300D (better known as the digital Rebel), with a 50mm 1.8 Canon lense. It's the same camera I use for work. I *heart* my 50mm lense and pretty much use it exclusively. In fact I can't remember the last time I had another lense on the camera. The 50mm gives me really sharp photos and is pretty fast for the money, which is a must when shooting children. The only drawback is that it's fixed focus, so no zoom. I joke that it's 'manual zoom', meaning I have to run back and forth myself to do the 'zooming'.
Here's a pic with the 50mm lense:

*love* that tack-sharp focus.

cmknit asked if I'd tried Addi Natura circulars: Yup, and I really like them. They are perfect for really slippery yarns and they have that great Addi cord that never kinks.

arianie wanted to know what kind of wool I used for Little Man's socks. It's pure Blue Face Leicster that I had dyed myself. BFL is so soft and easy to spin. In my limited spinning experience, I prefer it to merino wool.

stephanie wanted to know where I got my Bryspuns- they came from Suzoo's Woolworks in Costa Mesa. I actually went back and got three more pairs in sizes 5, 6, and 10.5. I found the join was a little rough when working with really fine yarns like Alpaca Cloud, and taking an idea from the Summer of Lace group, I used some Crazy Glue to smooth out the join. Now they work *really* nicely and there's no snagging at all.

On the knitting front, I've decided to put my Silk Corset aside for a while and knit something a lot less frustrating:
New project
I'm using some Silky Wool in place of the Allhemp called for in the pattern. Can I just say that I really really really like the Silky Wool? It's so nice to knit with, and the colors are to die for. I'm using "Lava", which is a deep garnet red. Yum. I'll try to post pics of the WIP soon.

Fun day

A at the fountain

Today we met some friends at the Turtle Fountain at the Spectrum. The weather was perfect- not too hot- and everyone had a lot of fun running thru the water.

Little Man got squirted but good right after I took this pic.

Monday, August 01, 2005

It's a rasta hat! It's a purse!

It's the Pinwheel Blankie! I'm finally on the home stretch with this thing- just doing the garter stitch edging and trying to decide what kind of bobbles to add on. No one seems to believe it's a blanket tho- I get a lot of comments that it must be a hat or some kind of purse.

My DH needs smaller feets

I found some worsted merino from in my stash and started a pair of socks for DH. I'm doing them toe up because I'm not sure that I'll have enough yarn to do two socks if go from the cuff down. I weighed the ball of yarn and it's about 3oz, so I figure I'll stop the 1st sock at 1.5 oz. That should leave me enough to do the second sock. Unfortunatley DH has some monster feet so he'll probably end up with a pair of anklets, poor guy.

Beach day!

Yesterday was so beautiful that DH and I took the boys to the beach. We met some of our neighbors down there, so everyone had a grand ol' time burying each other in the sand, digging holes and playing in the surf. The water was *COLD* tho. Much more so than normal; Little Man wasn't very interested in going in further than his toes.

But look what happened when he was hanging out with DH and neither of them saw a rogue wave:
He got knocked down and rolled in the sand pretty good. He had sand *everywhere*!

And here's the best way to keep all the kiddos still on the beach:
Everyone had a lot of fun, including Monkey Boy: