Not a day for warm accessories
Tuesday June 21st 2022, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

I finished clearing some old Piuma cashmere out of my stash today that was very very bright. Blocking helped lengthen it a bit as the water eased the lacework flat but that’s all there was. Fern lace. That bit of STABLE is over: I have now outlived a small portion of my stash.

While munching a couple of dried slab Blenheim apricots from Andy’s and considering how they should be even sweeter this year because we haven’t had fires clouding out the sunlight. No smoke particles.

An hour later someone posted this article.

That’s my route home from Cottage Yarns. Man. Glad I didn’t go today. Mandatory evacuations is not when you want to get in anybody’s way. But that shaded area on the map… I fired off a note to a friend whose daughter and family had finally managed to buy an old house and had done some of the remodeling themselves to really make it nice for their two little ones to grow up in.

They’re okay. Yay for firefighters who are willing to work at a fire when it’s 102F out. We cannot pay them enough.

Near a substation, looks like? Waiting for PG&E to be found at fault in 1, 2, 3…

Ecru, Brute?
Tuesday June 14th 2022, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Knit

Colourmart, which deals in mill ends, sent an email. Things were a little slow, so they cut prices in half on a few silks and cashmeres for the week. (Note that you can pay them $5 per cone at checkout to twist the finer stuff into a thicker yarn.)

Thirteen dollars for 150g, and it still did the 22% discount for buying six. Now that was a deal. They say the US postal service now basically requires a tracking fee that they can’t afford to cover, but I could deal with that.

There are those who are even allergic to cashmere, but everyone I’ve ever known has been able to tolerate silk and I’ve worked with and know that yarn so I’m pretty pleased about it.

It’s been a goodly while since I added to my stash simply to have it on hand for when it’s needed. I have a feeling it will be. Because it’s too good to let it just sit there.

They had just the right ones
Saturday June 04th 2022, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Knit

So the answer is, a week ago I wasn’t ready to go to Cottage Yarns because I hadn’t done enough yet to know what I needed. Now I do. And so I went. (Quick, before I run out of the aptly-named Whales Road colorway.)

No Brownian motion
Friday June 03rd 2022, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Knit

The hardest part of a super-ambitious project is getting it off the ground and past that initial bit of self-doubt.

But if you didn’t, how else how would you ever come to discover that–okay, how long in my life did this take me–that the way to manage all those random balls of color (since I’m not doing it Kaffe Fassett each-strand-only-as-long-as-your-arms style) is to take one of those big sturdy zipped plastic bags that blankets come in, put all the balls in it as you’re working, do the usual double-yoyos process with each pair as you switch strands along the row–

–and then when you’re done knitting for now, just flip the flap over them all, zip it up, and DON’T MOVE IT. Don’t let those roll all over in there. Don’t pick it up. Just keep it flat right there hogging half the couch with everything staying right as you left it so you can unzip and just get right to the fun part the next time. Knowing you’ll have all the more incentive to.

For the next six months. Right. Yeah, that’ll be popular. But man it was so easy to just pick up right where I left off without having to spend any, much less serious knitting time untangling first.

Begin: the rest is easy
Saturday May 28th 2022, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Knit

What was really stopping me. That was the question. Sure, it’s the diving in when I know I’ll be stuck with what I’ve done once I do it and I do not have the artistic ability to fully envision what I want before I draw it with yarn. I just don’t. I am good at critiquing how it should have been after the fact.

But I had at least sketched a preliminary overall view of the start of it yesterday, which is essential, and I really wanted to get to it (and to stop boring you all about how I haven’t.)

I debated making a trek to the yarn store that has the best Malabrigo Rios stock (oh cool she’s got a new website!) and I just wanted to say hi to Kathryn anyway. It’s been awhile and I miss her.

But after I went through my second storage bag of the stuff, all I really needed was a bright blue/green skein, and not for days’ worth of knitting yet.

The truth hit me. It was the winding. I wanted to go to Kathryn’s Cottage Yarns because she and her husband do that for you and that’s why buying new was so tempting. I could not start my first color-pattern row without attaching lots of new strands on the needle and they were still stubbornly sitting there in hanks because I’d done the previous two afghans from cones and hadn’t had to bother with that and definitely didn’t want to.

Which is a really dumb reason for not beginning colorwork you really want to knit.

Edging, ocean floor, rocks, fish (and there’s a Purple Mystery, too.)  They’re not hanks anymore.


Because of course it is
Sunday May 22nd 2022, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Knit

The first few miles of seed stitch. The partial frame to the future picture of a bed of coral and wooly fish and the waves above.

Reefer madness.


And a little chick shall lead
Friday May 20th 2022, 9:17 pm
Filed under: Knit,Wildlife

Same spot on the fence. It likes it there. The shrug–its shoulders went no higher–as it looked up at where it wanted to follow its parent to while doubting itself again and again. He tried wagging his tail like his parents, nowhere near as much but still a new thing from yesterday.

C’mon, you can do it. I’ve seen you do it. You know you can. C’mon!

Shrug. No.

Shrug. (Looking up wistfully.) No.

The wind was blowing; not hard, but how do you trust it won’t gust. It was a whole new set of variables and the fledgling had no idea what to do with it and was clearly reluctant to test how this whole flight thing goes when the air fights back.

Suddenly, with the outburst of hungry two year olds everywhere: ME DOOZ IT! It raised its wings to the height they were meant to reach to and took off into that not-holding-still sky. Totally overshot the first limb on the tree, stumbled, but grabbed the next and held on for dear life. Phew!

See? You *can* do it.

It suddenly dawned on me: I’d been procrastinating and procrastinating and procrastinating getting going on my latest project because I couldn’t decide whether to make the coral a three-dimensional effect with waves and wisps of it growing out of the fabric or just go for a flat pictorial version so I don’t have to try to make the fish somehow 3-D too and whatever all else ends up coming in after that, and picturing small grandkids pulling at protruding bits didn’t help–but when you come right down to it, part of me had just never believed I could pull the whole thing off anyway. If I knit it one way I’d probably wish I’d done it the other, and you can always see after the fact how you could have done it better when you’re making it up on the fly. I love my ocean afghan created by googling “pretty ocean fish” but I can sure show you where the mistakes are.

I was being a baby bird. Stop it. Now just go knit.

Follow up
Wednesday May 11th 2022, 9:09 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life,Politics

So this post is a little like the fledgling finch I watched trying to land on the newest leaves of an apricot seedling today: kind of flapping its wings all over the place with its feet flailing before flitting off thataway.

Pete Buttigieg, talking sense and being reasonable on the whole Roe issue before the Court.

Last night I was going to start Gansey squares above the brim next on the requested gray hat–when all that other stuff happened. I took it to the emergency dental appointment because you just never know.

But my brain was just not doing patterns. Stockinette on auto-repeat only.

Just need to decrease at the top now.

My new Skacel olivewood needles showed up for tomorrow’s highly anticipated new start in brighter yarns and I’ve never had olive ones before. I know it’s a particularly dense wood. If you’ve tried them I’d be curious to hear what you think.

(And yesterday’s post should have been titled, Another one bites the dust. I think my brain is back.)

I took a gross picture of my face. My husband, with better lighting, took a grosser one and sent it to all the kids. Um, thanks I guess?

The new dentist called this evening to follow up to make sure things were okay. I like this guy.

The pits
Thursday May 05th 2022, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Food,Garden,Knit,Wildlife

Newborns! (Falcon video.)

Meantime, the sour cherries on the bottom of my tree are about halfway to ripeness while the top of the tree has finally come into full bloom–and the result is, I’ve really been wanting sour cherry pie again.

There was one last bag of them in the freezer.

From the last of the season, when I was so tired of pitting all. those. cherries. that I didn’t. I simply picked them, filled the largest ziplock as full as it would go and that was it for the year, knowing full well I’d wish later that I’d pitted them but also knowing that that was way better than tossing them after waiting too long to get around to it.

Today was the day. I was motivated. I found them. I covered four dinner plates with them to let them thaw fast.

For the record: pitting them from fresh is actually, probably, I think, easier.

But there is a 10″ pie in the oven from those hundreds and hundreds of small tart cherries and it smells divine.

And then, fingers dyed a bit pink, I realized what I’d done.

J’s white afghan, having needed the mill oils scoured out of its yarn so it can be its best, softest, half-cashmere self, is soapily soaking in the tub.

Daring those fingertips to come anywhere near it.

Every baby deserves something handmade just for them
Thursday April 28th 2022, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

The young couple across the street.

The husband showed up on our doorstep about a month ago with the misdelivered birthday box addressed to us of Hawaiian-grown chocolate. It was clear what was inside. We both had a good laugh as I thanked him for being willing to give it up.

A Pod storage unit showed up in their driveway two days ago.

Yesterday evening, I saw her briefly across the street in silhouette: she was!

This morning there was a truck.

I spent too long diving through stash, looking for that perfect skein in my head, sure it must be there, and finally thought, C’mon. Speed. Speed is what matters. Hurry. The undyed (and thankfully already-wound) Rios won, even though my brain was in anything-but-white mode after two months without colors on the needles, and I cast on. It’s more formal anyway, they could use it for more places and to match anything.

The truck with the Soft Air Pac writing (?) left, a different one arrived. Box trucks, both of them, big ones.

I took a break only because my hands demanded it and fed Richard the fastest microwaved lunch I could think of. (Sorry, dear.) I got back to work. It surprised me how long this was taking me. Go go go. You don’t have time to stop. Go.

1:00 pm: I DID IT! I ran the ends in, wrote a quick note of washing instructions and tucked it inside the hat, found a gift bag, and went over there and knocked on their door.

The mover guy opened it with question marks all over his face: who are you and why are you here now of all times?

But she saw me from across the room and her face lit up as she quickly took his place at the door.

Me, stammering: I saw yesterday–pregnant? Are you–? holding out the bag.

Her: Yes! Thirty weeks. It’s a girl!

Me: I didn’t know your tastes, so, y’know, frog? puppy? lace?, so I just made it plain, but I’ve been knitting like crazy since I saw you.

She laughed with so much joy in her face. So much happy anticipation: towards the next two years abroad, towards her daughter, life, everything, made all the sweeter as she looked at that hat all squished up in a ziplock. It wouldn’t take up much room.

She declared it perfect. She said Oh thank you! when I assured her it was superwash wool, so that while it would fuzz out in the laundry, it wouldn’t shrink, even in the dryer. She saw I knew and still remembered what it’s like with a new baby.

She was so glad to see me to say goodbye before they leave on that temporary assignment and the hat just topped it off.

I didn’t keep her but a minute. I knew she had a ton to do.

The moving van pulled away a half hour later.

Back to it
Wednesday April 27th 2022, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Knit

About three dozen stitches got dropped on both ends of the work when the needle tip simply fell off its cable as I neared the end of the row. See that gray metal down on the left?

Overly slick, pointy enough to draw blood and I was trying to remember the brand name on these needles because I am not a fan. This is why I don’t buy cheap ones (but I did and they were.)

I want to do 66 repeats and I’m on the 63d.

I got everything rescued on another needle and then that was enough. I went outside and gave all the fruit trees their three-minute soak (it used to be five) while spending an hour and a half yanking the meanest of the weeds out by the roots. It felt good.

I still need to go finish that 63d. The day will end right if I know that’s done. Okay, off I go.

And then the knitted redwood saplings
Sunday April 03rd 2022, 9:00 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit,Life

Just one more from the museum.

I saw it almost immediately in this rendition of the Tree of Life: the fifth figure from the left. This artist knew breast cancer.

While, here at home: the flowers on the sweet cherry have bloomed to the top now.

The afghan for my niece, the daughter of my late sister-in-law, is coming along; 49″ wide by 40″ long so far, 50/50 cashmere/cotton at a 3/6 weight (size 9s for when I check back later to use up the last of this mill-end.)

Redwoods grow as tall as they do so as to capture the nightly ocean fog on their needles, where it condenses and drips off the tips while some runs down their trunks to the roots below. Which is why they have to be shallow, and why they’re so much at risk in a drought, especially down here in the valley, and why they’re terrible to plant close to buildings.

Volunteers have been replanting redwood seedlings in the parks by the coast where the trees had burned. Will it take a few thousand years to get back to what had been? Yes, which is why they’re getting started.

My long twiggy saplings have the fog dripping down around them in the yarnover spaces.



Needleless to say
Wednesday March 16th 2022, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit

It took me a moment to grok the thing.

And then I started trying to rescue about twenty stitches: the wooden tip had come clean off the cable when my knitting needle self-destructed as I’d picked my project up.

Huh. I think the last time that happened was a good fifteen or so years ago. I looked at the tiny screw sticking out, thought, well that’s probably stripped, and simply jammed the pieces back together. And they held! For three rows so far.

Didn’t I just buy that longer size 9 needle to work on that afghan? I did. Where did I buy that. It’ll come to me. Always spring for the better-made needles (those weren’t.)

Meantime, the last Anya seedling is suddenly really getting the hang of this sunlight and green and roots thing. Even if it kind of looks from that angle like it’s being devoured by a tick.

The hat
Monday March 07th 2022, 10:59 pm
Filed under: History,Knit

It has the usual ribbing at the bottom but I tried it on like this and instantly loved it.

I’m debating whether to create a sunflower to tack onto the blue or whether just to go make another one and do it to that one.

(Yarn: Malabrigo Rios, left over from my ocean afghan.)


Where have all the flowers gone
Sunday March 06th 2022, 10:46 pm
Filed under: History,Knit

So, being curious after last night’s post, I googled Arlo Guthrie today.

Turns out the word “massacree” is actually a word, not just Arlo playing verbal Dr. Seuss.

From Vox: ‘A massacree is a series of absurd events, so the Alice’s Restaurant Movement is against absurdity and in favor of reason. It is against arresting someone for littering and in favor of ending wars.’

Meantime, I’d told my Zoom knitting group last week that I was working on a yellow and blue hat, and everybody thoroughly approved. Then I spent the week feeling like no matter how much I wanted to, I just couldn’t knit, between being glued to the news updates and the message from my sister-in-law that she was flying to California in three days to visit a childhood friend who was quite ill and could she come see us?

It wasn’t till the next Zoom meeting tonight that I got back to it. That’s right, I was up to the blue part already, oh good. Knitknitknitknitknit.

At the end, they asked if anyone wanted to show off their work.

It just needed the top decreases. I brought it out from below the camera’s view and onto my head needles and all.

The entire group gasped, it sounded like.

We have all felt like Ukrainians these past two weeks. We can make our support visible to those in our communities who are. I know there are a lot of them in this area.

I imagine there will be more hats like that made in the coming week.

I suddenly realized yesterday that I have a silicone cake pan that I’d wondered a year ago why I’d bought it (BakeDeco was the source.) I mean, it’s nice, but I hadn’t needed another pan, given how much I love my yarn-ball one from the same company.

Wait. It is.

It’s a mold in the shape of a sunflower.