Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Everyday is Saturday

I'm actually taking this week off from work. Leo and I had hoped to do some camping or something this week, but the stars haven't been aligned in our favor, so I'm enjoying a much needed break from work. I'll admit to having logged on to my work email a couple of times, but I'm trying to not agonize over those things. I'm really not so indispensable that they can't get by without me.

You would think that with all that free time I'd be a blogging mad woman but Leo's been designing a new site and has been needing a lot of time on the computer, so my best bet is to get up early in the morning to blog. Who wants to do that on their vacation?

I have gotten some knitting done, though. The soy silk project is going slowly because the ladder yarn I'm using is very time consuming to knit. I can knit most yarn while doing just about anything else because I can feel the stitch with my fingers. The melody yarn is two thread like strands held together by an occasional ladder rung, so one must look carefully to ensure that both halves of the strand are caught in each stitch. The result is lovely and I don't regret picking the yarn, but it has been slow. Since I can't really show you what the final product will be, I won't show you the pieces I'm working on, but I can show you an abstraction of the progress.

I've also started something with the beautiful Koigu I bought. The picture really doesn't show what I've done because the circulars are much smaller than the circumference of the piece, but I'll try to explain it.

There are a couple things going on here. I started the piece with a provisional cast on and worked a seed stitch band for about a half inch. This is to give the look of a ribbon around the base of the hat. I worked one row of a variegated color which will be picked up later in some flowers. The hat was then worked to the crown, using paired decreases at six even intervals around the hat.

When I picked up the provisional cast on, I ran a lifeline through the stitches because I'm not sure how my experiment will turn out. My hope is to make a classic cloche type hat with a brim that is longer in front than in back. I'm achieving the effect with paired increases and short rows. I've moved the stitches onto DPNs and it appears to be working as planned, but I really won't know until I'm done. Thank god for lifelines.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Oh Brother

I just dropped my brother off at the airport. It was great having him out here and we packed a lot into a short weekend. On Thursday, we made a huge spread and ate ourselves stupid. Leo suggested we go check out some nightlife since crowds would be minimal and the likelihood of a cover charge would be slim to nil. I was dubious, but he was right. We started at the Bonaventure for a couple cocktails and then over to The Standard.

You can find tons of pictures from our night out here. I've included captions with the large version of each picture. There are pictures both from the club on the roof and the great hotel restaurant on the first floor. If you are in LA, it's a great place to get a little food late at night.

The next day we went to Ventura beach so Panda could run around.

You can see some pictures here.

What we all didn't know was that Matt had a horrible 24 hour flu that he was attempting to out will. While he stuck out the trip to the beach, he was bed ridden for the rest of the day, sick as a dog. We know it wasn't food poisoning since we didn't poison him and we all had the same food, so we had to chalk it up to an evil virus. He recovered yesterday and we all managed to go out for one more night in Burbank. We forgot our camera but we did catch a picture with Leo's camera phone of Matt doing karaoke.

He sang "Ring of Fire". We also took him to the Burbank Bar and Grill for some cheesy 80s cover music. The band was surprisingly good and we all had a fairly tame evening.

There isn’t much in the way of knitting to report. Hopefully I’ll have something for you soon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A Few New Site Additions

You know, one of the things I love about designing hats and other small accessories is that writing patterns is quick and easy. I'm glad I got them done now because while I won't have work to contend with the rest of this week, I will be entertaining my brother, so blogging won't be a top priority.

Click the images to get to the patterns. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or problems with the patterns.

I've also added one of those "100 things" lists, for reasons unknown. Does anyone care if I like peas or not? If questions like this and 99 others seem thrilling and fascinating to you, then please feel free to read about them here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

If Only I Looked This Good

Those of you who have wandered through my patterns or who have been reading my blog for a while, may recall my Frog Pond Hat. I made it as a baby shower present for a colleague. She promised she'd get me a photo of her beautiful Katrina wearing the hat, so that I could post it on my site, and boy did she deliver.

Copyright Susan Rosenkranz 2004

Copyright Susan Rosenkranz 2004

Her sister-in-law, Susan Rosenkranz, who is undoubtedly a talented woman indeed, appears to have used a vintage large format camera to great effect. It's easy to be proud of one's knitting when the model and photographer produce such a beautiful result. Let's all take a moment to collectively "awwwww" in the direction of the screen.

The only other news of note is that my brother is coming to visit early tomorrow morning and staying till Sunday. It'll be great having him out for the holiday. We will all be eating ourselves stupid, and then doing so again. We try to keep the spirit of the holiday alive in that way.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Invisible Productivity

Well, I was fairly productive, getting two of the four Bella P charts done. I'm hoping to have the other two finished this week and then I simply need to supplement them with some written instructions. Since you really can't see the work I've done on the charts, yet, there isn't much to show. I have been working on a couple other projects:

A simple scarf which is my "mindless knitting" to be pulled out whenever I can't be paying much attention to my hands, and I've started on a pattern for this company. I'm really not sure what their policy is on blogging my progress, so I'm going to err on the side of caution and not show anything but the swatch.

And, since Michelle asked about Panda pics:

When I came to bed last night, this is what I found. For your information, Panda is lying where I would normally be. While she is obviously surprised that I'm taking her picture, you'll note that she's not making any effort to vacate my side of the bed.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Friday Night Wildness

Such a liar, I am. Friday didn't hold a minute of party like behavior, but it did see me finishing a couple of items.

For all intents and purposes, the Tesla purse appears to be done. I may do a little more finishing on the inside and I may adorn the outside a little, but whatever I do will be a subtle change from here.

I've actually used black fusible interfacing to keep the contents of said purse, contained. It makes for a quick and easy project that even the novice knitter can feel comfortable with. Obviously, a more advanced sewer could do a professional quality lining.

A couple people left comments in my last post, so I'll answer them here.

Michelle asked if Tesla was still available from Artfibers. It definitely is. Their site is quite a bit out of date and not at all representative of their current stock. If you are interested in getting this yarn, send Artfibers an email. Everyone there is very kind and very helpful. They can also tell you about other stock they have.

Quincy mentioned thinking the Tesla looked a little too much like blood. It's funny he says that because I agree completely and it's one of the reasons I like the yarn. While white or blue might give the look of gravel or stones, red makes me think of biological illustrations. Moreover, I love the shiny silver against the deep red, the contrast is quite striking and unexpected.

In other news of FOs, I whipped this out last night.

The keen eye might notice that it is in the same yarn used for Bella P. I'm adding this to my list of items which need patterns. It's nice to have a use for that last ball of Paco.

Finally, it appears that my Nearly Gloves have suddenly become rather popular. Go figure. Jenna recently made a pair and looks quite fetching in them. While the lovely and prolific Becky of Fluffa! received a pair from her secret pal. I love it in mohair.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Remember Tesla?

Some of you might remember the Tesla yarn I had been working with.

I put the project aside a while ago because I was having trouble finding the right way to transition from biased to straight knitting on it. I was using short rows but they weren't sitting flat the way I wanted them to.

Well, I've picked the project back up and I think I've resolved that issue.

The handle looks like this:

Those thin rods along the center unscrew and come free from the purse frame which makes assemble really easy. I bought the frame here. Since the yarn is stainless and cotton, I got the silver toned handle.

At this point, I still need to knit the sides of the purse and line the whole thing. What I like about the yarn in this function is that it gives the impression of antique beading. I have a little bit of white tesla as well and may garnish the piece a bit.

I ran my weekly Stitch and Bitch at work, yesterday. It's a small but reliable group and it's become a real joy to spend time with them. I taught two of them to do cables. They both seemed surprised and pleased that they could do it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I love Crochet too

I finished up some simple crochet characters, and placed them on some items in my cafepress store. There are 4 characters and 3 sayings, plus a plain version of each.

Right now, I have up bags, in each of the crochet sections as well as ornaments, magnets, and pins in the uncaptioned area.

I can make any of the products listed on this page. Just send me a note and I'll put the item together. I'm happy to add whatever would be interesting to you guys.

Ok, enough of that.

I've done an unofficial tally of the comments about the Bella P pattern and it appears that more people lean towards preferring charts, or have no preference, so I think I'll do up a chart, but I would also like to add a tutorial for people who are scared of charts to explain how to read them. If anyone has any suggestions for the tutorial, please let me know. I'm happy to give you a link/credit for your contributions.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Leo and I went to see The Incredibles on Friday and it was really wonderful. Despite the fact that Leo was seated in front of what may have been the most obnoxious woman ever, constantly kicking his seat and forcing louder than necessary laughter to entice her child to laugh, nothing could distract from the fact that the movie was pure and simple pleasure to watch. So now to the dilemma. You see, I love Spongebob Squarepants. I've loved him since he was relatively unknown. For many years, I've had to work a lot of night shifts which meant I'd wake up mid-day, to start an afternoon shift. I don't care for soaps or talk shows, which leaves me with cartoons. Cartoons have been an enjoyable means of waking up, for me since kindergarten, I doubt that will change any time soon. So here's my dilemma. What if the Incredibles was so good that I don't enjoy the new Spongebob movie? The bar has been raised and I'm not sure that even my sweet, yellow, water breathing friend can compete. How quickly my affections are diverted.

While I ponder that, I've been playing around with some lace knitting. I bought Gathering of Lace several years ago and have always been smitten with what I've seen. Unfortunately, my favorite patterns aren't very useful to me. I don't have a need for a round shall, and the garments are all a little boxy for my taste, but I'm not one to let that stop me.

Click the image for a larger view

I've decided to go ahead and knit one of the patterns, anyway. I probably won't do too much more since I don't have the yarn to actually finish the piece, but it's been a good learning experience to work it this far. Theoretically, I could make a tam or a pillow, but I wouldn't use either, so I'll knit a bit more, pull it out and start something else. I don't think the photo does the lace justice, the close-up is a little better, but both make the lace look heavier than it is. I'm using my green Koigu on US #5 needles, and the subtle variations in the yarn give it the look of tarnished copper.

Friday, November 12, 2004

K-Tel and Poll

Ok, I've done up a quick tutorial for the K-Tel knitter.
You can get to it here. It's really rudimentary, but it's enough to get those of you with one of those odd looking items, off to a good start. I'll try to add more steps as time permits.

I did love the comment from the person who thought the K-Tel was some sort of personal item, not normally appropriate for the likes of a knitting blog. Little things like that make me laugh during a long work day.

I'm hoping to get through some of the Bella P pattern writing this weekend, but I wanted some feedback from those of you who would consider making her. I'm partial to charts for patterns, because I feel it's easier for me to see when I've made a mistake, but it's become clear that these are a little intimidating for some people, and may be impractical if you cannot print out a large enough version of the pattern. So, for those of you who might wish to make this pattern at some point, could you please take my poll?

Ok, I tried to use a free internet poll and it didn't work, so please just leave a comment letting me know if you prefer charts or written out patterns.

Finally, someone asked if I'd do some Crochet characters. I think that's a great idea, but I'll need a little time. Hold tight and I'll see if I can find some inspiration.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Of patterns and payments

Just as a note, to all of you out there. Many of you write very sweet comments and I don't always have the chance to get back to you. I know it's fairly meaningless to see a "thanks to everyone" kind of statement, but it's honestly sincere. So, please, if I don't write you back, or if I take a bloody eon doing so, don't think it's a reflection of my opinion of your comment, it's simply my own poor time management.

That said, thank you to all of you for making me feel like a knitting stud muffin in Bella P. Many of you mentioned being willing to buy the pattern. At this point, I don't actually plan to sell any of my patterns on my site. All my patterns will remain free. That said, a great way to show your appreciation would be to consider either purchasing some of my merchandise or making a donation. Think of it like your local NPR or PBS station, without the yearly pledge drives. Just in case you think me a hypocrite, I do, indeed, give to my local station:

I'm trying to keep the shameless commerce to a minimum, because I could imagine finding it pretty annoying, so I'll keep it short. I make about a dollar or two on each item in my shop. The shop has nearly paid for itself for 6 months and anything else will be profit in me pocket. (Is that profit in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?)

Ok, no more of that.

In knitting news, I ran my weekly S&B yesterday and one of my students is on her second scarf. Another woman is ready to start a Santa hat. A couple women brought their quilting/embroidery which was great fun to see. I'm hoping to get some pictures at some time, but I'm not sure if that would seem intimidating to them.

And on a final note, I'm going to put together some instructions for using the k-Tel knitter

People have been asking me to send them copies of the instructions but I'm not totally sure what the copyright issues are around that. Instead of risking any problems, I'll simply do up my own instructions. I'm definitely not adept at using this thing yet, but I get the basic premise. From my experience, it's really more of a modified crochet tool, not a knitting tool. In my opinion, it seems less even and less efficient than crocheting, but it may appeal to people who have never done any knitting or crocheting and would like a simplified option. I'll let you know when the instructions are up. It'll probably be a work in progress while I try to get the different stitch patterns up.

Stop the presses!
I just came across this via Dave Barry's blog. and had to post it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Well, Bella P is still a little damp and I haven't woven in all the ends, but I decided to try her on and photograph her anyway. She's actually a convertible, offering two modes, depending on need. For day wear, we have the "up" version, shall collar like and, relatively conservative. She could be worn over a camisole to minimize the cleavage factor (or, in my case, a lack thereof). I'd like to apologize for the inconsistent color and graininess. It's still fairly dim here and I decided to get up pics faster instead of going for super quality.

For that '50s starlet, evening look, Bella P unfolds:

Sorry about the out of focus front view of starlet mode.

One more note, I wanted to suggest you all check out this site. Amy has done up some great instructional videos as well as a forum. I'm sure she would want me to mention that she's still adding videos and that the site is under construction, so don't despair if a few of the links aren't active. I've already recommended the site to people I'm teaching to knit. It's a great place to send folks when I can't be there to help them in person.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Block You Like A Hurricane

I tried to come up with the worst possible blocking pun I could. I think I succeeded, admirably.

Bella P is in the home stretches now. Wait, that's another pun! Stretch…block…funny stuff, people. Anyway, she's lying flat, with a few choice pins to keep the lace perky. It may take a couple of days to dry at this rate, since Playa Del Rey has been drizzly. Once she's dry enough I'll snap a few pics for you all to see.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Regularly Schedlued Knitting

Well, these past couple of days, quite a few of you made some very thoughtful and interesting comments. I've spoken with some of you privately as well, and appreciate all your insight and sweet sentiments. It's now official, politics trumps cute puppy pictures around here, for comments made.

That said, let's get back to knitting and puppies and other happy goodness.

Bella P is moving along. As with most projects involving days of knitting ribbing in the round, I'm starting to get a bit bored with it, so I may put it down for a couple of days and do something small and complicated to jiggle my brain a bit.

Last night, Leo and I treated ourselves to a night on the town in LA and Hollywood. Most people in LA don't even know there IS a nightlife in downtown LA. It doesn't hold a candle to what’s in the more popular areas, but there is fun to be had. We started at the Bonaventure which has a rotating cocktail lounge on the 34th floor with a view of the entire city. It's really pretty stunning. I suppose this isn't really "nightlife" per se, but it's a great way to start the evening. The food and drinks are pretty good, though pricy. If you like steak, you can order some from the LA Prime, located one floor up from the cocktail lounge.

We often go to the Standard after hitting the Bonaventure. Which is good for a laugh. Again, it's pretty pricy, but the people watching is a hoot. When we're in for something a little more low key, we sometimes go to Ciudad which has great atmosphere, tons of tequila, and live music and salsa dancing until about 11. Of course, that is the rub, most people have not even started their night at 11pm, and the band is already packing up. Kind of a shame.

Last night, though, we skipped the rest of downtown and headed into Hollywood for some fun, starting first at the 4100 Bar and another bar whose name I cannot recall. It's a teeny tiny little goth club which I found more amusing than anything. The people I talked to there were actually surprisingly sweet and friendly, which is always a surprise in LA.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Brief Political Interlude

Ok, I'm making one post about politics and then it's back to knitting. Obviously, as much as 51% of you out there will disagree with me, but since it's my blog, I can feel fine and dandy with saying my peace.

First of all, thank you to all who gave their moral support, yesterday. It's good to hear from my kindred souls. To those of you who expressed your opposition, I appreciate your candor and wholeheartedly support and respect your right to disagree.

I would like to make a couple of comments here, since at least one of you left no means of contacting you offline. Firstly, I feel it's disingenuous to try to state that Bush is somehow more able to "protect" us from terrorists than Kerry. Whether you like it or not, Kerry does have a strong military background. Let's put aside the rhetoric. Forget what one side has tried to say about the other. If you were to simply receive the resume of each, and look at his accomplishments during the Vietnam war, Kerry would appear to be the stronger candidate.

Personally, to me, it's even more heartening, that Kerry served his duty in Vietnam, could see the atrocities, and come home and report them. Please note that our soldiers are now taking the fall for the Abu Gharib abuses because none of them came forward and reported what was happening. Our military has a policy that soldiers are not permitted to commit crimes, even when commanded to do so. It is up to the Commander in Chief to make orders clear and provide sufficient training so that it is clear what is right and wrong. At that point, you can hold men and women responsible for their judgment. It is apparent that soldiers were not clearly guided in this way and given orders to do what was necessary to get information out of prisoners.

Regarding Saddam, once again, I think it is disingenuous to talk about how much better his country is now. Kim Jong Il has posed a more imminent threat, he has weapons of mass destruction, and is easily as cruel to his people and neighbors. Of course, Iraqis deserve freedom and the world had been working in that direction. But, attacking their country, unilaterally, using intelligence sources that were known to be flawed (the one they used, had the nickname "curveball"), gives the impression of an ulterior motive at our soldiers expense.

Our Commander in Chief did not properly plan for this war, thinking it'd be easy and over quickly. Now, we are losing our men and women and we have not made ourselves any safer. We wouldn't have the resources, now, if we did need to fight a war elsewhere, and our allies continue to pull their support. We are safest when the world's powers try to work together and have a goal for peace, not war. Call me a hippy. Call me a liberal. I'm fine with both.

Feel free to comment as you see fit. I'm going to try to make this the last political post, but that doesn't mean that comments can't be political.

Oh, and since it is a knitting blog:

I've knit a few inches of the bottom of Bella P.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


I had such high hopes for my fellow Americans. I'm too depressed to blog.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

You know what to do

If you are a citizen of the US and you are eligible to vote, please do your duty today and cast your ballot. If you aren't sure where to go, you can get all the information you need from DemocracyNet. You can find your polling information by entering your state or zip code above the US map.

Speaking of civic duties, I was released from jury duty. The defense (in this case, a big corporation being sued for wrongful termination) used his "peremptory challenge" to dismiss me. You can find out a little about this process here. So, it's back to the salt mines for me. To be honest, I wouldn't have minded serving but there was one woman there who seemed unable to grasp the fact that if I am rapidly reading a lace pattern and knitting at the same time, it's exceedingly hard for me to also hold a conversation. At one point, I had ripped out and restarted a bit of the neckline lace three times in the course of a short conversation. Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable, but even when I'd try to read a magazine, she'd insist on talking to me. I'm not sure I could have handled 8 days of her and still remain pleasant. When the six of us were waiting for our dismissal papers, we got to see the new potential jurors awaiting their turn. This guy was there, looking none too pleased.

I did get some knitting done, though:

This next stretch will be a long slow one, as I work 2x2 ribbing with shaping in the round. I did try it on before beginning the lower section and I'm quite pleased, but until it's complete I won't know if I love it or not.

I want to answer a couple of comment questions. Firstly, I will be keeping the banner since all who chimed in said good things, and no voice dissented. Thanks for all your sweetness. Second, I will most likely offer a pattern for Bella P, though some of the math will take me a while to work out. Hopefully, I can have my size up in short order and get to the other sizes later. If any of you have specific sizing request, leave me a comment and I'll try to accommodate.

Ok, and now for the most important part of the post, more Panda news. I feel a motherly need to boast for a bit. We brought Panda to Venice Beach this weekend, fully expecting that it'd be a horrible ordeal for her and that we'd have to leave right away. Well, in fact, she did wonderfully.

After a couple minutes of being a little overwhelmed, she was trotting down the boardwalk, tail out, sniffing crazy folks and tourists. Mostly, I think she was set on trying to get to the water but we were proud nonetheless. This is a dog who used to cower in fear in the most benign of public places, a year ago. For whatever folks think of medicating dogs, the anti-anxiety meds she's on are really improving her quality of life. I couldn't be happier.

As a reward for her super improvement, we brought her to a beach in Ventura county where dogs are permitted, and let her run around in the water.

A sweet chocolate lab was trying to win Panda's heart, but she wouldn't have any of it. C'est la vie.


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