Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy New Year

The sweater is finished and delivered. It was a big hit as you can see. Now I have pulled out the "almost " completed sweater for my husband and I am diligently working to finish it. I took the pattern and combined the fronts and back on the needles and knit them together up to the arm holes and then divided and worked with three balls of yarn to complete the body. I am now up to the raglan shaping of the sleeves. After that the button bands and I am done.

The pattern is from a Sirdar leaflet #8829
and the yarn my husband selected is a mixture of tan and grey. The yarn is Sirdar Click Chunky knit on #10.5 needles so it really goes kind of quickly. I took a look at the directions for the button band and it calls for knitting it in two parts from the center back. I don't think I like that idea so I am going to use my 40" Denise cord and make the whole band at the same time. I love working with my Denise Interchangeable Needles and having the extra long cords makes it so simple.
We are off for a much needed week of rest and I will be knitting as we drive. I packed more yarn to start my next project(s) . I found a great lace shawl pattern that was free on line so I packed some hand painted yarn for that and also found the cutest bumblebee sweater and matching hat to make for the daughter of a close friend who is expecting her first child. I am going to knit that in Sirdar Snuggly DK but will probably double the yarn since that pattern calls for something a bit thicker than this yarn. I find that Sunggly is a great yarn for babies since it washes so well.

Monday, December 22, 2008

How I spent my Day ..or what to do when you are on hold

It was another perfectly dreary rainy day and boy was I excited. I have been trying to clean up my workroom and desk but life keeps getting in the way. When I woke up and it was pouring I figured it was going to be the day when I would get lots done.

Before I could get started I had a few quick things to take care of. I had some orders to pack and ship and a couple of phone calls that wouldn't take long.

First I tried to order a prescription on line. After pushing all the numbers, you know , 1- if you want English, 2 -if you don't want to be routed through India, 3- if you don't have about 3 hours to wait on hold, you know the drill , I actually got right though to a real live person and guess what. The computers were down. That was probably why I was able to get through. I was told to wait an hour and call back. I never did get back to them

My next phone call was to Apple to try to get information regarding the trouble I was having with my iPhone. That call actually did take me almost 3 hours. I got transferred from one person to another until finally, after I got to complain to about 5 people I think they were tired of me and decided that they really needed to figure out a way to get me off the phone. I was put though to customer service where they offered to replace my phone. All I had to do was go to the iPhone store where, I didn't have an appointment with one of their geniuses (that is really what they call the tech support in the store) and I would be helped. They promised me that when I got there they would have my name (at this point I am on a first name basis with many people at Apple) and I would be taken care of without waiting too long. However this meant I needed to get in the car and to go to the store. By this time my husband had arrived home from work and I convinced him (well I didn't really convince him it was more like I forced him) to come with me. I did offer to give him dinner first. I figured that was the least I could do after he had worked a full day. But hey, wasn't this the day I was staying here to clean and organize? So, with nothing that I had planned for my day accomplished, off we went.

I did get my phone replaced. But it doesn't end there because now I have to get the new phone up and running. I have to restore the phone to be recognized on my computer, update software and sync to my data. I also lost some data that will have to be re-entered manually - a job for tomorrow I guess. Naturally all this took much longer than I thought it would.

So, that was pretty my day. I did do some laundry while I was on hold but I never did get around to cleaning up the clutter.

As Scarlett said in Gone With the Wind "tomorrow is another day"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making Copies

I learned the hard way never to carry my original pattern around with me. Forget that it gets messy, the real problem is that since I carry my knitting everywhere I have on occasion lost my book. Don't you just hate when that happens. Very often the pattern that I am knitting is older and no longer available.I collect knitting patterns. It may be at the compulsive level. I collect patterns for everything and anything that I think I might ever one day knit, should I all of a sudden find that I have lots of free time, ha! ha! The advantage of my habit of collecting and saving is that I often "discover" just the perfect project when I browse through my pattern collection. Some of the vintage books that belonged to my mother have the best pattens. I keep all my knitting magazines too. I actually thought about that this winter when there were fires in California and on the news the people were loading their cars in case they had to evacuate. I know that if I was in that situation I would have to pack some of my knitting books and yarn into my getaway car.Anyway my solution is making a photocopy (or several) of the pattern I am working on and never carry the original. When I travel I pack a spare copy in my suitcase. Once I left my pattern on a plane and recently a friend left her pattern at the hospital whenshe went in for surgery and took her knitting with her. When she returned home with her unfinished project and the pattern gone, I hated to say I told you so but I did. I am a real preacher on this subject. For me loosing my knitting pattern if I don't have a spare with me equates to me being really unhappy. I can't be without knitting. So back to the copies. I buy those plastic sleeves in a stationery supply store and then make the copies and tuck each one into it's own sleeve. I then can write on my copied pattern and will always have the original nice and neat. I circle the numbers for the size I am knitting and make notes in the margins for increases in length and write down what yarn and needles size I am knitting and my gauge. I find this helpful because I often knit the same sweater, especially for my grandchildren. When I am finished I put the copy with my notes together with the original pattern as a reference incase I do knit the same pattern again. The next thing that I do I really find helpful is that when I put my knitting down for the day (which often turns into months) I make a note where I stopped, like 4th increase in the pattern. I write this in the margin and if I am really good I put down the date. This is fun to see especially when days turn into months (or longer!).

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Well it finally stopped raining but it is still cold. After going to school to see the first grade Christmas program I got back to my project. I sewed the buttons on the sweater and then got out the pad that I thought I would use for blocking but it turned out to be too small. Instead I opened up my big ironing board and pinned the sweater all the way around making sure all the button band and bottoms and everything matched up.

All the little dots that you see are the pins. I carefully shaped the collar as well. Then I got out my big steamer. You can see my work room. Bins of yarn and everything we sell on the website fills the room.

The ironing board is at the end of the work table where we pack orders. I can't show you the rest of the table because if I let you in on our secrets........well you know the drill. Anyway. I steamed the sweater and left it to dry. I then went out with friends for a holiday dinner and glass of wine.

I am going to leave it over night and tomorrow I will show you the final picture of the blocked sweater. Nice to have one gift finished. I am not about to admit to how many UFO's (unfinished objects) I still have. Do you think my husband will notice that his sweater has no sleeves?

One Sweater Down .......Many more to go!

It has been raining hard all day and man is it cold outside. I think it was about 45 degrees mid day and it actually snowed in Malibu today. That is just too weird. I guess the cold helps to make California get into the holiday spirit but I kind of like having a nice sunny warm day for Christmas since I grew up on the east coast. To me sun and warm in December still seems wonderful to me.

With all the rain and cold I had more knitting time and I finally finished the sweater I have been working on. This is the second time I knit this sweater.The first time I made the version with a plan V neck. This time I added the collar which is knit using the short row method and turned out really nice. I knit very loose so i made this in Sirdar Snugly DK
but I went down a needle size to knit the sweater tighter. I also knit the size 1-2 and then made it much longer because the little boy who I made this for is tall but thin.
Although I have been knitting for a long time I have never been a blocker. However, recently I have been reading about how much more professional knitted garments look after they are blocked so I am going to block this one and really get it into shape. I have a blocking square. It is really a cushioned pad that I bought for quilting and just found in the closet not opened and still in it's plastic wrap. It will work just fine. After doing some research on ways to block I have decided to use the steam method. I have one of those big professional steamers. I decided to go with that rather than wetting the sweater and waiting for it to dry. This will be quicker and I heard Lilly Chen talk on a TV show that i watch and this is her preferred method so who am I to argue.
I found some great buttons, perfect for the sweater that just came in with an order today. They are hand made and washable. Just perfect for a sweater for a 4 year old boy. This is a new company for us and I was excited to see how nice they are. Check out the buttons

Time to go wrap a few presents. For me that is the worst part of the holiday.