Thursday, July 31, 2003 

Last night was the first meeting for the Stitch & Bitch I set up. I had about 17 people show interest, 16 people say they'd be there (two of those were friends being brought by one of the original 16), and 7 people showed up. Not bad, if I say so myself. We had a good mix of people, and we had a blast chatting and knitting (and crocheting) over beers and food. I can't wait for the next meeting at the end of August.

And something that happened last night got me thinking. The manager of the restaurant we were meeting at came over to check in on us. As he was leaving he said "By the way, I wear a large, and my birthday is in January" implying that we should knit him a sweater. I know he was just joking, but some people aren't. What compels people to ask someone who knits or crochets to make them something? It's as if they think that it only takes a few hours to whip something up, and that yarn is as cheap as a stick of gum. Of course, they often don't offer to pay for the cost of the materials (though some people have the presence of mind to do so), and rarely offer to pay for your time. But I hardly think this plagues just knitters. Many people seem to expect "freebies" from people they know who work in certain fields, or do certain hobbies/tasks (i.e. people who do taxes, people who work in cosmetics, or for a promotional company, artists, waiters, etc.) And of course, you always get people who you barely know that ask for these things too -- the kind of people you're least likely to do those things for. Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy making things for other people. I just hate being put in the awkward position of having someone ask me to make them something, and not offer anything in return, especially if I'm not that close to them, or I know I don't have the time. Right now I'm in a "I'm knitting for me" mood, after working like crazy for a month and a half on Jonathan's Afghan. He wants me to make him a remote control holder, but I told him he has to wait. Fortunately he understands, and told me after giving him the blanket that he didn't want me knitting anything else for him until I finish some stuff for me. Of course, I wouldn't accept compensation from him for making something because he does a lot for me as it is. But I think for other people, unless it's a gift, don't ask unless you're willing to offer up some sort of compensation.

Speaking of the remote control holder, I have a few ideas on how to make it, but I just haven't started yet. Once I finish it I may post the pattern up on my site for others to make as well. I'm thinking this should be an easy-peasy project.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003 

Without further ado, I'd like to announce this weeks Knitworthy. This week marks the unveiling of Purl Girl's Free Knitting Pattern and Project Gallery Site. I have a number of links to free patterns up already, but I plan to add a lot more, making it one of the most extensive free knitting pattern directories on the net. Also, you can check out the details and pictures of my projects through that site, including information on where I got the pattern from, what kinds of yarns I used, how long it took to make, and other comments. Be sure to let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your comments and suggestions on how to make it better.

Monday, July 28, 2003 

I can't go on even short distance trips without knitting. Yesterday Jonathan took me to the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz. I had brought along my knitting for the Tahki Ravello Shell on elann.com. But, I realized after we had already left and were on the freeway that I had forgotten to put the pattern in my bag. So, I only got a couple of rows done. Talk about being antsy afterwards...I was feeling all upset that I had all this time that I was sitting in the car doing nothing that I could have been productive. The pattern itself is different, and interesting. It's mostly done in Stockinette stitch, but there are some changes on technique here and there that keep it form getting stale. Plus, it's really quick to knit up so far.

In other news, my FCEK wrap top made its public debut Saturday at my Grandma's 80th birthday dinner. My Grandma's cousin even remarked that it looked "expensive." Yay! And my boyfriend thinks it's "sexy." Of course that has a lot to do with its "Jack-In-The-Box" effect -- pull the string and SURPRISE! Out pops you-know-what. Men are so simple to please.

Friday, July 25, 2003 

****Update****

I contacted the Denise company, and told them about my problem. Emily returned my email super quick, and was very friendly and helpful to boot. She said it sounds like I got a bad set, so she's sending me new cords in the mail. Yay! Now I'm a happy camper. *(Does a little happy dance around the room)*

 

So I was looking through my site referrals, and saw that someone had come through from a Google search. I clicked on it to see what they were looking up. Did you know that a search for "Socks and heels" (at least on the Spanish Google) brings up a bunch of porn sites, including "All Extreme Sex Stories - An Oriental Girl," "Jennifer Aniston nude lawsuit," "high end sex toys," "Foot fetish parties for real life foot worship," as well as other dirty things? Though, oddly enough I didn't see my site on that page...hmm....

In other (knitting related) news. I had a bad night last night. I was working on my tote bag with my Denise needles. Well, since working on that bag I've noticed the yarn isn't moving very smoothly over the cord. I have to stop every few stitches and push the knitting over. I've never had this problem with my other circulars. Well, last night as I was trying to push some yarn over the cord the cord snapped at the point where it meets the little piece at the end that goes into the hole at the end of the needle. I tried crazy gluing it together, but it wouldn't hold. I guess I'm going to have to replace that cord now (I kind of need that particular cord for this project). But, I'm wondering if I didn't get one of the sets with the "sticky" cords. I bought it off of Ebay, so it's quite possible it's one of the old sets from a few months ago that had bad cords. I didn't think I did because the cords don't really seem sticky to the touch. They also don't seem as smooth as the cords on my regular circulars either. So, I'm going to contact them and see what they think. Maybe it'll turn out I did have a bad batch, and I'll get them replaced. Otherwise, I'll just have to buy a new cord, and be careful what I knit on them. If that's the case I'll be really disappointed because I bought the set to keep from having to buy a million needles. If I have to go out and buy stronger, smoother needles for other sets then it's essentially become a waste of money. I'll keep you updated on what happens.

My Stitch n' Bitch is coming together nicely so far. I've got 15 people who are interested in joining at this point. If you live in the East Bay (across from San Francisco) and are interested in coming, there's always room for more. Our first meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, July 30, at 7pm. Location is TBD, but email me (click on the email me link in the top table on the left) and I'll send you more information.

Thursday, July 24, 2003 

Go figure I'd finish my FCEK wrap top, and it would be too cold in SF to wear it. That's okay. I've decided that it will make it's public debut Saturday with my cute new stretchy Gap jeans, and equally cute new Dr Scholl's platform sandals (bought at Shoe Pavillion for over 1/2 off!). I'll be spending Saturday with my honey, and my Grandma's birthday dinner is that night. That way I can show it off to my whole family! Yay!!!!

I also wanted to apologize for the horrible, horrible quality of the pictures below. Stupid webcam. My digital camera doesn't always take the greatest pictures either...it can be picky about lighting. Or maybe it's just me and they fact that me and camera's don't get along. My film camera seems to hate me, and delights in acting up when it's most important. I'm terribly unphotogenic (no, really..I am). And I just generally suck at taking pictures. My boyfriend's the photographer. But he wasn't around when I took those pictures, so you got what you got. The second picture of Cherry Twist gives you a little more detail, but detail is severely lacking for the wrap top. I'll try to get a closer up, more detailed picture of it if it's that important to anyone.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003 

As promised, pictures!

First, here are a few pics of the FCEK Katrina wrap top:





And also, here are a couple of pictures of the Cherry Twist top, pre blocking:




 

Last night I pretty much finished the FCEK Katrina wrap top. As the pattern calls for it, it's done. However, the underarms look a little raw and unfinished, so I'm going to pick up some stitches there tonight, and finish that off. Otherwise, it's done! It looks good, and fits well too. I was seaming it yesterday on BART and I had three people ooh and ahh over it on the train. I can't wait to wear it.

It was so hard deciding what to work on next. But, I had started a tote bag from Simple Knits for Sophisticated Living, but only got halfway through the bottom piece before I started something else. I couldn't work on it much yet because I didn't have the right needle, and was waiting until I got my Denise set. Now, I'm already to work on it. It looks like it shouldn't take very long to knit up. If I work on it all this week, I should be able to felt it this weekend.

This week's Knitworthy is Cleo's Plastic Knitted Bag made from those plastic grocery bags that seem to accumulate in my front closet until I can't even open the door without them threatening to bury me. Might be a fun project, and a great way to recycle those old bags! See below for a picture.

Monday, July 21, 2003 

All right. Somebody's cheating. I've gotten a few hits from the other site I'm still working on (which will have free patterns, and my project gallery and such). It's not done yet, so hold yer horses. I've got a few changes to make before I unveil it -- perhaps later this week. Although, maybe it's good that a few people have found it, cuz it's pushing me to get it ready. You know, it's like peeking into your presents before Christmas morning (I've been guilty of that, I admit). The surprise is ruined. Oh well, for those of you who have stumbled across it, I hope you check back soon to check it out when it really is ready!

In other news, I finished the left side of the FCEK wrap top. I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it. I'm about to lose control and I think I like it. (Thank you Pointer Sisters) So, now all that's left is seaming and that stupid 52" of i-cord. I'm hoping to have it done in the next couple of days so I can wear it later this week. Yay!

Thursday, July 17, 2003 

Shame on me, buying more yarn. I took a little stroll over to Artfibers yesterday. They rearranged everything, and I was like "woah!" But it's a good change, because the reason they did it was to make room for MORE YARN! Wait, maybe that's a bad thing (for my bank account anyway). I bought two skeins of this soft purple and white yarn (I can't remember the name or the content right now....). It was on the sale rack, and I had been eyeballing it for a while now. At first I was going to use it to make the herbal neck wrap, but then I decided it would make a really nice scarf, and I haven't made a scarf yet. Mindless knitting, here I come. I also bought a large ball (575 yards) of this deep purple cotton called Maya. I'm thinking it's destined to become a tank. And I'm thinking of designing my own. I was thinking of a simple camisole, knitted in the round, with a little lace border on the bottom edge. As for the straps, I was thinking of either doing ribbons, or making it a halter top, or making 1" or 1.5" straps with little cables in them, or just doing something really basic. I don't know yet. Maybe if the pattern turns out to be really cool, I post it on my site for others to try!

In other news, I'm finally getting my butt in gear to start forming a local Stitch & Bitch. I had put an ad up on Craigslist over a month ago, and got a few replies. But, things got a little busy for me and I didn't get around to setting things up. But, I just put up another ad, and have gotten a few more replies. That brings the total number of people interested so far to 10. That should be a good number to get started with, especially when you consider that some people won't actually come. Hopefully our first meeting will be within the next two weeks. I'm excited because it will be great to hang out with some other young knitters. Most of the knitters I know (and there aren't many) are older. Plus, I think this will be a good way for me to meet some new people. Ever since graduating from college I've felt like I could use a little boost to my social circle. While at Cal, I at least had the Berkeley College Republicans to hang out with. But a lot of my friends from there went in a lot of different directions after graduating, so it made it hard to hang out with them. Now I'm stuck with my "old friends" that have been around since high school -- not that there's anything wrong with that. I think old friends are some of the best. They're tried and true, and they know you even better. But new friends are always fun, and they too can become "old friends" after time.

I've found that making friends is a lot like dating. Recently I've been trying to build a stronger base of female friends. You can't just jump into a friendship with someone you dont know. You have to feel each other out, get to know each other, find common bonds. And it's not like you can just hang out with that person like any of your other friends. Getting together with them is like going on a date. You have to find an event, or pick a place, and then ask them out, and face rejection. Just like dating, if and when you go out together, you'll be spending a lot of that time together trying to decide whether or not they're someone you want to have in your life. It usually takes a few more "dates" before deciding this is someone you'd like to spend more time with, but even then it's no guarantee of a friendship. And rejection is always a possibility. But, what's cool about "dating" friends is that you can go out on as many friend dates as you want without worrying about the others finding out and bailing on you for being a cheating slut. Plus, if things work out with multiple people you can all date together in one big friendship orgy! Okay...now I'll stop because I'm getting weird. But I think you get my point. Right?

Wednesday, July 16, 2003 

Argh! What is up with me? Last week I lost my credit card (though I was lucky that nobody used it), and now I lost my work keys. I'm not used to losing stuff. Fortunately I called around and my keys were turned in at the grocery store. Maybe they stole them to make me have to come back to buy more stuff.

Anywho, I finished the right side of the Katrina top last night. The length came out an absolute perfect match with the back. I was getting pretty nervous there for a bit as I neared the end. I thought for sure it would end up an inch too long. I cast on for the left side last night too, and am working away on that. I'm also beginning to get a little worried that maybe I won't have enough yarn. I'm knitting to gauge, and my row count is pretty much right on too. It said 5 balls would be needed, but I'm starting to think I may need a little bit more than 5. Not a lot more, but just enough to finish all the i-cord. If I have to I'll improvise, maybe using a pretty ribbon or something for the tie instead. Although after fearing the front piece would be too long last night, and turning out to be wrong, maybe I shouldn't worry so much.

Monday, July 14, 2003 

This week's knitworthy is a fun little object that would make a great (and fast) gift for someone. And you know, Christmas is just a hop, skip , and a jump away.

The pattern is for a warm herbal neck wrap. The pattern could easily be customized to include different stitch patterns, fair isle, intarsia, charted designs, and other fun ways to personalize it.

Some scents you may want to incorporate: lavender (relaxing), marjoram, betony, rose petals (smells good, soothing), cloves, and rosemary, peppermint (cooling, energizing), eucalyptus (relieves stress, good for sinus headaches and relieving congestion), cinnamon (anti-spasmodic), chamomile (relaxing, relieves anxiety), valerian root (calms nerves), frankincense (calms emotions), geranium (relieves PMS), rosemary (relieves headaches), basil (lifts depression).

And a couple of quick tips on herbal heating pads: There have been cases where these thins have caught on fire in the microwave. The reason is that the moisture content becomes so low from repeated use that they become highly combustible. Try putting a bowl of water in the microwave with it when you heat it. Or try spritzing it with water prior to heating. This will also help prolong the life of the heating pad.

It's definitely on my list of objects to make for Christmas. I can already think of quite a few people who'd love to find this under the tree!

 

Didn't get any knitting done this weekend. Instead I had lots and lots of fun on Friday and Saturday with my boyfriend...and then lots and lots of anything but fun on Sunday (spent 5 hours Sunday trying to repair a clogged toilet). I had planned to do some knitting Sunday, but by the time I had won the battle with the clog from hell, I was ready to lay down and die. Instead, I went swimming. And you can't knit in the pool.

So, progress on all of my projects is a little slow right now. I'm almost up to the armhole on the right side piece of the FCEK Katrina top. I probably won't get much done on that today since I forgot to grab a new ball of Katrina before leaving this morning, and I have enough for only a few more rows.

I swear I'll get some pictures posted soon. And I hope to have my new section up and running shortly. But, I think I'm going to make a few changes first. So, keep your eyes peeled! (ew, that's a gross visual)

Friday, July 11, 2003 

The other night I had come home from a meeting feeling rather down about myself. The whole way home I was convinced that not only was I a failure, but that I was also a fraud. I felt as if I was totally selling myself short and leading my life to nowhere. Nothing seemed good enough. Not my degree from a prestigious university, not my good job, not my wonderful boyfriend, not the fact that I successfully moved out on my own 6 months ago and am supporting myself very well, not my position on a non-profit's Board of Directors (and their insistence that I become Vice President), and not all of the other things I've accomplished in my life.

It was actually at that non-profit's board meeting that these feelings began to swell. The Vice President's position has been open for some time now, and I've been prodded both by the current President and a few of the other board members to fill the position. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now, but have been hesitating to jump on. I know it would be a great move for me, but I can't seem to believe that I'm capable. I sort of admitted this at the meeting when I was asked why I didn't seem interested in the position. Of course this was followed up by everyone telling me that they believed I was more than capable of doing the job, and that they thought I'd be a great candidate for future President of the board (VP's job is to be groomed for the President's position). Yet despite their compliments and faith, I just couldn't buy into it.

It's funny because it seems that there is one part of my brain that knows I'm capable of doing anything I want to. And that part of my brain can cite all the times I've accomplished amazing things that I never thought I'd be able to do. Yet there's that other part of my brain trying to tell me that I just faked my way through all of it. That in truth I really didn't know what the hell I was doing and that it was pure luck, and nothing more, that helped me get through it. Of course, in the end it's that second voice that tends to win, despite the fact that deep down I know how irrational it is.

As I drove home, I lamented over all of the reasons I'm just a big fraud who will never really accomplish anything in her life. Why I'll end up stuck as an Administrative Assistant for the rest of my life, or end up doing some job that doesn't honor the degree I supposedly earned. I told myself that everyone I know seemed like they were just going to pass me on by, and that just wasn't fair. Especially when I knew deep down that in reality I should be destined for far greater things than I seem to think I'm headed for.

When I got home I plopped down on the couch and immersed myself in knitting to distract me from my thoughts. As I watched the object grow before my eyes, one row after the other, carefully thought out and assembled, I realized that perhaps this was more than just a hobby -- it was a message. When I first began knitting I had no former skill or training. Just a will to learn, grow, and succeed. I taught myself, from a book, pushing myself further each time I hit a snag. Before I knew it I was actually accomplishing something that only an hour before I hadn't the slightest idea how to do. I remember feeling so proud after completing my first garter stitch square that I called my mother to gloat. I had done it. On my own. Without anyone's help. And it turned out really well.

And the next day I pushed myself further. And I pushed on even further the day after that, and the day after that, and so on. I just kept chugging along, occasionally getting stuck, but always managing to pull myself free and advancing ahead in the end. Sometimes those stuck moments seemed impenetrable. Occasionally I even thought for a few seconds that I couldn't do it. But I pushed along anyway until I finally figured it out.

As time has progressed so have my skills. It's amazing to me to look at how much I've accomplished and learned in such a small amount of time. When I finished Jonathan's afghan a week ago I remember standing there in my living room, the blanket lying on the floor, thinking to myself how absolutely amazing it was that I made something so beautiful with just some sticks, some string, and a lot of time and effort.

And it's precisely that way in my real life. I already have the basic tools I need to be successful, it's just a matter of pushing myself as hard as I can until I finally get it right. And just like knitting, I can rip most things back and try again. Eventually I'll get it though, and the end result will be reward enough.

The difference is that with knitting you can see the progress as you go along, and mistakes are often easily visible. With every stitch, and every row, you see progress. It's tangible and real. You know there's an end, and you know what it is -- it's just a matter of chugging along until you get there. And when you make a mistake it's often easy to see exactly where it was made, and even if you can't figure out quite what you did wrong, you can almost always go back and fix it. With life, the results are not always so visible. Some times it seems like you've made no progress, when in fact you have. There's often nothing actually there that you can look at that gives you irrefutable proof of your progress. Regardless, that progress is still there. And with continued time and effort, eventually you'll reach the end, bind off the stitches of experience and hard work, and be left with a finish object you can truly be proud of because you earned it. Those end results are also not so easily known. Unlike knitting, you don't know what all those life stitches will build. You never know quite what the end product will look like until you actually get there. But, you'll never know if you don't believe in youself enough to try.

Thursday, July 10, 2003 

Last night I finished the Cherry Twist top. Now all that's left is blocking, which I'll probably do this weekend. Adding the extra inches made a big difference. The only thing I'm not really liking is that because it's a close fitting garment the stitches are pulling a little in a few places leaving what looks like holes. This is mainly happening on the sides where the increases/decreases are, and near the top back edges of the armholes. I'm going to try to reinforce it a little bit with some extra bits of yarn. If I can just close up those holes it would look a lot better. Plus, it would probably help it last longer too since it looks like those are areas of higher stress on the fabric. Reinforcing it will keep the yarn from stretching out too much or breaking one day.

It only took me a few days to knit that up too, so I may consider reknitting it in a different color at some point using the lessons I learned from the first pattern. I might try a bit of a chunkier yarn (though not too chunky), and I'd change where the increases/decreases fall as well. And I'd be sure to knit a little tighter in some areas. We'll see how the first comes out after blocking too, and that will help me decide.

I'll try to post a picture of it in the next couple of days. Maybe I'll get my boyfriend to take a few shots of me posing all sexy-like in my new top. Plus, I'll try to add some picture updates on my other projects.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003 

Though Bonne Marie from ChicKnits beat me to it, I've been planning on posting the following as this weeks Knitworthy since the 2nd of July. That being said, this weeks Knitworthy is a sexy little summer number from Lana Grossa called the Pettinato Top.

Monday, July 07, 2003 

I can't believe how fast progress is going on Cherry Twist. I'm already down to the hip shaping. However, there a couple of errors in the pattern that I've had to wrestle with. Some of the stitch counts don't match up in reality with what's in the pattern. So, I've improvised a little, and I'm hoping it will turn out okay. Also, I've found one or two stitches that have come out weird...maybe they're twisted? I don't know. I'm thinking of just leaving them because I don't want to frog back. Maybe I can find a way of fixing it without frogging? Probably not, but maybe I'll just be creative. The only real problem with it is that it leaves what looks like a little hole where the knit stitch should be.

In other news, I tried to be productive this weekend. I finally made my headboard this weekend. Though it's not knitting related, it is craft related. I used a 48" x 60" piece of wood, and wrapped some batting around it, using a staple gun to secure the ends of the batting to the back. Then I took a fitted sheet that I had gotten as part of a set and staple gunned that onto the headboard over the batting. It turned out really great. Now I'm just trying to decide if I should leave it plain or decorate it up a bit. I'm leaning towards putting some upholstery tacks in a few spots to give it a tufted look. But, I need to find some really cool upholstery tack buttons first. I'm thinking of trying to find some silver ones.

As for the rest of the sheets, what I did was I bought two lavender twin size sheet sets from Ross. I took the two flat sheets and made curtains for my bedroom with them. Then I put the two pillow cases on my bed. I used one of the fitted sheets for the headboard, and the other will be cut up to make smaller curtains for the little window in my bedroom. And since I'll still have some material left over, I was thinking I could use the rest to make a lampshade, or something else that I have yet to dream up. I'll try to post some pictures of everything so you can see what it looks like.

Saturday, July 05, 2003 

I'm done! I stayed up until 1 in the morning Thursday night finishing Jonathan's blanket. And yesterday I gave it to him. It was so cute how he was holding it like a little kid hugging his favorite teddy. The weather's too warm right now to really use it, but when the weather cools it should be a nice, soft, warm blanket for him to use.

Now this frees up a lot of time to work on all the other projects I've been wanting to do for myself, including the three tops I've already started on. I'm working away on the front right piece of the FCEK top, and I hope to have that top done within the next week or so (depending on how much time I put into it). I'm also working on the v-neck sleeveless shell using the green Artfibers yarn. And then I started work on Cherry Twist from the Spring Knitty. I'm using Kitten Mohair and Galway Irish Wool, both in ivory shades.

And I also bought the Denise needle kit on Ebay. It arrived in three days, just as described. Although I'm already starting to think that I should buy some more cords and adapters and stoppers and such, just in case. I have two projects that need to use 24" size 11 circulars for knitting in the round. One is the Cherry Twist, the other is a tote bag. For now I'll have to try to finish Cherry Twist ASAP so I can start on the bag. Well, technically I have started on it. I started the bottom of the bag, which is being knitted flat so I figured I could get away with doing that on straights. But for the bag part itself I'm going to need to use circulars. Hopefully Cherry Twist will be quick to knit up. It looks like it will, especially since it's being knitted in the round, so I don't have to do two separate pieces for the front and back. Once I've reached the bottom I'm done.

Thursday, July 03, 2003 

I've finished the back of my FCEK Katrina top. I only have the two front pieces and the 52 inches of icord left to go. Here's a picture for your viewing pleasure.



I also only have about 6 or 7 more inches left to do on Jonathan's afghan and then I'm done. I expect completion this weekend. Once that's out of my hair I'll have a lot more time freed up to work on more projects. Hopefully getting that out of the way will speed up productivity. Currently the only time I spend working on my other projects is when I'm commuting to and from work, and that's only about an hour a twenty minutes total.

About me

  • I'm Dani
  • From San Francisco
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