Now I just have to knit 98,454 more stitches
Friday April 14th 2023, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit,Knitting a Gift

Huh. Where had I put that other pot? But I wasn’t really paying attention to that distraction, so, whatever.

Which is why it wasn’t till this morning that I discovered the Anya apricot pot knocked clear upside down, where it had to have been for two nights and a day by then. That was the newest, fastest growing, most promising seedling, too, I lamented at myself while scooping everything back together newly out of range of raccoons–or the garden hose as I’d reached towards the amaryllises under the awning; I probably did it myself. That’s what I get for having the thing up on something (to thwart rabbits) but not up enough.

It actually looked quite good: curved but not broken. Bright green and ready for some sun time again. I debated whether it needed to be kept shaded while it readjusted–but didn’t, and that may have been a mistake.

Tonight? It might make it but when the leaf edges shrivel like that, experience says that one’s a goner. If it were older, but it’s not.

I’ve got a few seeds left and it looks like I’m going to need them. I have friends hoping for their own Anya seedlings and I’m down to two clear successes out of sixteen by this point and two maybes.

Knit stuff: I did a fair bit of swatching, washing the swatches, hairdryering, measuring, deciding, and lots of wanting to just get on with it.

The combination of variegated blues in merino over here would be a ton of fun and I had it all planned out.

But then I swatched that 64/36 cashmere/cotton. There was just nothing like that softness. Exquisite. The bit of cotton meant the shrinkage was about 10%, all vertical. And given who it’s to be for? It totally wins. Yeah, more (and more and more) plain practical white again, but happy anticipation can make up for a lot.

That is seriously nice stuff.

Saturday April 01st 2023, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

This (scroll down a bit and click to the right to keep on going) is some serious and seriously fun crocheting, and it probably even pays the bills.

Meantime, today was the first of two days of the semi-annual World Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, with two more two hour sessions to come, Sunday at 9:00 and 1:00 Pacific time.

We were surprised and thrilled to hear a dear friend’s name called out and watched him and a few others come up to the stand in their new roles. He’d mentored one of my kids back in the day and had made all the difference in the world. Such a good man.

I laughed out loud when one fellow by the last name of Bragg said that when he spoke at his first Conference, he mentioned at the beginning of that talk that he’d been asked to speak on humility.

Whereupon his son immediately received a sardonic message from a friend: Really?

Mountains on mountains
Thursday March 16th 2023, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

1. His co-worker was what? I blinked. She’s going skiing?! Did she check first? Road closures? They’re hand-shoveling out the buried chairs on the ski lifts.

2. Everybody’s trying to figure out how four goats came to be running around in traffic in San Francisco. The people who rent herds out for munching fire-prone hillsides have said nope, not theirs.

3. The silk tape cowl is finding out what size it wants to be when it dries. This is nearly the whole 150 grams’ worth: it’s big and it will likely stretch some from all the weight. Note to future self: I started with 70 stitches on size 9s and increased to 84. It was a quick knit, but also not because the yarn was a bit of a hassle.

Although, compared to some silks it was thankfully a lot less snaggy on the fingers and it offered a chance at easy retrieval at a dropped stitch if you were careful.

But what I like best about it is that it’s done. I’d been needing more of that.

First date
Friday March 03rd 2023, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Knit,Wildlife

Peregrines: today there were two. But they’re clearly not sure of each other yet. They weren’t fighting each other off the site, which is good, but neither were they best buddies–yet.

Meantime, and I hesitate to say this because it is by no means anywhere near a sure thing, there is a very small possibility that we might take a day trip to Stitches tomorrow. More likely not, so I’m trying not to get my hopes up.

If you squint
Tuesday February 28th 2023, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Garden,Knit

But isn’t that like the chick hatching out of the egg? he asked me yesterday.

I dunno but I did it anyway, but no, I think it’s fine.

The one in the lower foreground? Half an initial leaf was caught on one side of the skin of the kernel, which hadn’t quite broken open all the way down as the seed had expanded, and half was caught tight wrapped into the opposite side, and it had stayed like that for two days. It needed to get up out of that inadvertent shade into the sunlight so it could grow.

So I got my smallest sewing needle and pierced that brown covering open, taking a tiny speck of greened kernel with it while setting it free. Oops.

Within an hour you could see that tiny hint of a plant recovering, and today it’s playing catch up to its week-old sibling.

And the one in the middle. The one that had sprouted into gale-force winds, noped out and turned brown and stopped growing? I called its bluff. It was still alive. And now (click to embiggen) it’s grown leaves and is coming around, too.  To life!

Three up, five to go from that batch.

Meantime, knitting happened. Bison/silk 50/50, bought from Ron and Theresa at before they found themselves no longer a yarn dyeing company but a bison sock company.

Their best are the bison/silk ones.



But I really really want to
Wednesday February 22nd 2023, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life,Lupus

Maps says three hours each way. Stitches West moved to Sacramento, I haven’t been in four years thanks to the pandemic (and to having had Covid during the 2020 one–Early Adopter status, it’s a Silicon Valley thing) and I badly want to see old friends I never get to see anywhere else. Even Mel and Kris are going to be there, and they’d thought they were done with making that drive from Oregon, but no, they’re coming.

So we talked about it. I told him, you know how utterly crashed I was coming home when it was twenty minutes away, I don’t know how I’d do three hours at the wheel afterwards much less driving that twice in a day. That’s also the weekend Michelle’s supposed to move.

But: I want to see my friends. (Thinking, I could even go and almost not buy any yarn because the first day is always such an intense overload and there wouldn’t be a second day.)

He totally grokked how important that was to me. But also to our daughter.

“Let’s think about that.”

Even if there were public transportation, it would involve some time spent out in the sun and I absolutely cannot take that risk at all.

So good
Friday February 17th 2023, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Food,Friends,Knit

Four Colourmart cones got wound up on the Kromski niddy-noddy for scouring today and it felt like quite the accomplishment. That green cashmere won’t be marinating in the stash very long.

The replacement box came 24 hours after the factory sent it out into the world and it arrived in perfect condition.

Dandelion had made a set number of these sets and then had had to come back and recreate just the one just for us and I don’t know how they did it, but they did it.

And let me tell you. It is so very very good. We managed to pace ourselves and save some for the next day or two, but it was hard.

From left to right: figs stuffed with spiced ganache and covered in chocolate. Truffles. Chocolate drag’ee peanuts. Coconut chocolate crisps. And yes, the peanut version of nutella came with its own little metal spoons for two. So perfect.

Thank you, L. and A.! And thank you, Dandelion!

The before picture
Thursday February 16th 2023, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Knit

The good part about mill ends is what you can get for the price. The bad part about mill ends is that you then have to make a decision: do you scour the coating out before or after you knit it? Wind off, use the hottest soapy water you can stand, hang to dry, wind it back up–it’s a lot less work to just sit down with the cone and go. But there’s a lot less pleasure in cashmere when it feels like dried hair mousse as it runs through your hands.

Or when you’re knitting in public and explaining that no, it really is going to feel like what it is when I’m done.

If you pre-wash, you pre-shrink. You also get rid of the graying effect and get to see what the actual color underneath is.

Which is why when I knit the second half of this cone it is definitely going to be pre-washed. This one so much deserved to be. What a difference.

The cowl is drying now, soft, enticing, a truer blue, and just so perfect. As it was going to be all along.

(Translation: Hey! You guys! This IS nice stuff! In real life–now!)


With love from Chateaux du chapeau
Sunday February 05th 2023, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Knitting a Gift

I couldn’t just sneak a new one for it because it had been worn too much for me to get away with that.

At eleven, he was bicycling over to my house during Christmas break to cover and uncover the baby mango tree night and morning while we were out of town. He protested that I was paying him too much (I wasn’t) and got one of the first mangoes ever to come off that tree.

Two years ago? I think? I knit him a hat, to his great delight, in the oft-repeated Malabrigo Mecha in Teal Feather, as soft a wool as you could ask for and washable.

Two weeks ago at church his mother asked me if I could repair it.

I’m guessing he didn’t want me to think he didn’t take good care of it. But it’s okay. Things happen.

Last week I showed them a bag I’d found of all the little balls of leftover Mecha in that color: I had saved them for future hat stripes but really just in case of an emergency like this. I asked them to help me find the best match because my cataracts mess with my perception of blues.

They decided the mom could do this and took the bag home, while I was left thinking, but I wasn’t trying to put that on you!

This morning the young man himself came over, pointed to the darkest mini ball in the center of the bag, and said decisively, We think that one.

The hat was back in the bag.

I was delighted–I’d really wanted to do that for them and had been a little sorry at the misunderstanding. I knew it would be a much easier task for me than her.

Got home from church, and thought, Do not get distracted. You know they’re waiting. You know he had to wait this extra week during a cold snap to get his clearly loved hat back–do it now.

So I sat down with it.

Oh. This wasn’t just the cast-on end working loose, now that I looked closely, that yarn was torn. (Their cat maybe?) This was going to be more than I thought. Okay, that and that are the torn ends and there, in between, it no longer has its cast-on-row stitch. Hmm.

The dad is the grandson of Ukrainian refugees. I told them later, The irony is that what I did is called the Russian join: I took the new yarn (leaving a dangly end) and ran it through the interior of the broken yarn to catch it and hold it in place.

(I didn’t bother them with the detail that the full term is the Russian spit-splice–they didn’t need that visual in his clothing.)

I reworked a few more stitches on the wrong side to try to really tack down those random fibers, and then I ran the two ends up the edges of the purls in the ribbing. I could do it pulled tight so that it looked good–tried it, went nope–or looser so it felt good. Definitely looser. As you can see, but won’t when he wears it with the brim down.

The kicker is that where the yarn had broken was in one of the lightest spots because the dye hadn’t fully penetrated the yarn. But I think, yes I do think, it came out quite okay.

I emailed the parents to ask when I should bring the hat by and my doorbell rang so fast before I even got around to looking up their phone numbers. Mom, dad, son: they all wanted to be there to see it come back to life.

I said to Eli as they leaving, Thank you: that hat is clearly well loved and worn and I never know if people actually use them. You made me so happy. Thank you!

It made his day and he walked down my walkway after his parents with the biggest smile on his face.

That, I tell you, is a young college-bound man who is knit-worthy. His parents raised him well.

Also, pie
Wednesday February 01st 2023, 11:03 pm
Filed under: Food,Knit

(Sunflower rolling pin here. I much prefer their big size.)

There was some blue cashmere that has been in my stash with the start of some forgotten thing for several years now and today somehow finally felt was its day: I went to see what there was of it.

Not much. The cast on, enough stitches to connect the ends–and a merciless tangle of yarn and dropped stitches.

Nuts to that. I started over.

By the end of the new cast on I knew why the thing had never gotten anywhere: the raspy needle and that grabby yarn were the worst enemies. I didn’t want to knit even the first row till I’d found a different pair.

I found a very slick circular. Size 6.


That was the one I’d finally finished yesterday’s project on, where the needle was too slippery for the very slippery yarn and so it had taken me forever to make myself get it done.

All I’d needed to do the whole time was swap the two out.

Switch, swatch, I was making a botch


(Note to self: next time you fill ten pounds of flour into the container, don’t drop it. And if you do drop it, don’t aim it upwards at your cashmere sweater. And if you do, just hope the neighbors’ security camera didn’t record the pouffy cloud you shook off outside the front door. Also if anyone knows the best way to carefully clean the rest of the flour out without making glue please reassure me that I do, in fact, know how to hand wash sweaters.)

Freeze watch again tonight
Tuesday January 31st 2023, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit

Man, it’s been cold. And so this finally got finished.

Camelspin yarn, 54 leftover grams from stash and done. Gorgeous to eyes and hands (when they’re not dropping slippery stitches.) It’s ~15″.

And how did I celebrate? By checking that Colourmart still had that 66/34 dk cashmere/cotton and ordering a discounted kilogram towards future baby blankets.

Because the long longed-for baby of friends of my daughter that I used up most of my cash/cotton for was announced today. It’s a girl. Name to be announced.

They finally got to have their daughter!

The Piuma did it
Tuesday January 24th 2023, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

It’s my yarn swap necklace, I grinned at him when it arrived.

Your what?

There’s someone who’d knitted a cashmere sweater for someone else, loved the pattern and wanted to make one for herself now, bought more of the yarn–and didn’t start it because she became sure she didn’t have enough. Since it was a mill end from Colourmart there was no more to be had.

Except I found out about it. I had an exact match and there was no point in having it sit in my stash when someone else actually needed it, and I mailed it off to her. This was about a year ago.

Now, I get it about queues and about knitting for yourself last except those times when you really need to recharge the inner batteries and how complicated the timing of any one project can get. So when I found out I had yet another cone that had somehow been separated from the others, I asked her just in case if she’d had enough to knit her sweater–and when it turned out she hadn’t made it yet, told her I had just found this other cone if it would help her be sure she had enough.

It would very much, thanks.

(I flashed back to childhood memories of Mom making Dad a complicated Aran sweater over quite a few months and coming up short right at the end: that is the reason I always overbuy before starting a project. Always.)

It was around Christmas and I tried to tell her it was on me but she was having none of that and insisted on paying for it.

Okay. So I turned right around and spent it in Ukraine to help them pay for backup power after the bombings because they needed that help and they needed it now.

I got an artist’s project made for me (with progress pictures! Cool!), that woman gets to feel that her country’s anguish matters to the world, the other knitter gets to be the artist making the project she’d wanted to do, everybody wins.

Finally almost finished
Friday January 20th 2023, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life,Lupus

(Runs and looks it up.) Camelspin: 328 yards to the 100g.

This has been my carry-around project for awhile. I love the yarn, 70/30 mulberry silk and baby camel, the shimmer, the softness, and it marinated in my stash for a number of years looking for just the right thing till one day in November I grabbed one of the two skeins and thought oh just go.

It’s slippery and a bit of a challenge to hands that have a tendency to drop things.

I cast on more stitches than I should have and silk stretches, so I really had to keep going to have the length/width proportions work out right. I’ll get another four-row repeat out of it and then probably another and I think it’ll be just right.

I really like it. It was worth the wait. And it comes with fond memories of kindness from the folks at Handmaiden: fourteen years ago I showed them a picture of my mother of the groom dress and they surprised me and specially dyed some Camelspin to match for my shawl for the wedding. Wonderful, wonderful people.

So far it’s for me, but we know how that goes. And I do have that shawl already. In Ultraviolet. Which given my lupus’s sun sensitivity is a colorway name that always made me laugh–like it somehow let me get the better of that particular limitation.

Wow back, sir
Tuesday January 17th 2023, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

So the other thing about the Vegas airport.

Southwest uses more than one terminal there and it was a long haul across the both of them. I found myself exclaiming, How big is this airport? Is it trying to be Atlanta? (The biggest in the world.)

I got an older wheelchair guy, the manager of the service with white hair to match my own, taking it briskly and cheerfully and at one point he said encouragingly, We’re about a quarter of the way there.

Me: Wow.

We didn’t tell him that my husband had taken a hard spill the day before, but he was in pain and moving slowly.

As we came around a corner, the guy spotted a woman waiting for her flight who was by a clearly-needed wheelchair but not in it just then. It was a different type from the one I was in, and just what he’d been looking for, though we had no idea.

He stopped. Excuse me, ma’am? Is that your wheelchair? Mind if I swap you? (There was a second one nearby like mine, left behind at someone else’s boarding.)

She looked confused but raised no objection as he helpfully moved it over by her and took hers. Apparently it was easier to manage for what he had in mind.

There you go: have a seat, he told Richard to our surprise, and proceeded to push the both of us at a brisk pace across the rest of the way.

My 6’8″ husband is not small.

We were a wide load and people were being oblivious and I did not want the man to lose and have to regain the slightest bit of momentum nor did I want to plow anybody down, so I proceeded to call out Beep Beep! and an occasional loud EXCUSE ME! as needed to get people to dodge us.

We thought at first we were on the brink of missing our flight but he knew better; we’d changed time zones. (Duh.) Besides, he told us, they’re not leaving without my passengers. Still, he took it at a good speed because he could.

He at one point bemoaned young people who collect money not to work, they don’t want to work, he said, they get paid to sit around at home, and I thought quietly, okay I know what channel you watch. They’re looking for better paying jobs and going back to school to qualify for them, but what I was actually hearing from him was, I can’t find enough people to do all I need done for all the people who need it at the amount I’m allowed to offer them.

But he was quite cheerful about getting to help us, as if simply meeting us had made his day.

He got us to our gate, I tipped him a good one, but before he could leave I said, A question, sir: are you allergic to wool?

That was so unexpected that it entirely threw him. Am I what??

I was unzipping my jacket pocket. Do you like green?

None of this was making the least bit of sense to him and he suddenly had no idea what to make of me.

Above and beyond, I marveled at him, not for the first time. You are amazing. THANK you! as I put a Malabrigo Teal Feather hat in his hands. I knit that on the way here, I told him; it’s brand new.

He was speechless.

And then as if suddenly remembering his manners he asked if I needed to use the restroom? I did, actually, and he wheeled me over thataway. On the way, I explained, That’s what I do. I knit things and then go find out who they were meant to be for.

You take good care of her, he said with great warmth to my husband back at the gate while patting my right shoulder and at a loss for how else to say how he felt.

A hat. Knit by hand. For him. For pushing a wheelchair.

What he didn’t know he also got was my fervent prayers for his back to be okay after all that work.

Next! Something bright, anything bright
Thursday January 12th 2023, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Knit

Turns out sixteen wasn’t the magic number either.

But as that seventeenth repeat was coming along, I laid the afghan out on the floor to see.

At long last, yes. Proportionately width to height, that was it, just right. And it’s about as tall as I am, also just right.

And went to bed without those last four rows and the cast off because there are only so many hours in the day.

I like lavender. The mill oils that are about to be washed out gray this one for now but I know how it will look. The yarn will brighten and bloom and fill out and look more solid. I know the recipient’s going to love it, I know the last recipient I used that yarn for nearly burst into tears when she saw the finished work in her hands. The two of them are cousins and they can think of each other with their matching afghans (different patterns).

Today was a busy and happily preoccupied day and I could have kept going with all that but after dinner it hit me: You are not coming back in that front door again without that afghan being finished. Over with. Out of your hair and away from your procrastination. You are not. Sit your posterior down on that couch Right Now. Do it. NOW.

Sometimes a good talking-to is just the thing.

I just put the size 9s away, the afghan in the tote, finally got the camera to be honest about the mill oils, and zipped the bag up.

It will look so good after the hot wash to come.

Someone yell at me to run that final end in, though, will ya? Never mind, I’ll do it myself.