Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Debbie Bliss yarn came in a lot sooner than I expected. I think on Monday the LYS owner let me know that it was in and I could pick it up. So yesterday on my way home from work, I decided to swing out to the shop and pick it up, along with some yarn for the one and only Christmas knitting I will be doing. I unfortunately made the wrong decision and took the longest most traffic filled way, when I thought that it would actually be fastest. I took the highway that EVERYONE takes when trying to get to San Francisco (or the airport), so it was nice and backed up... at 2pm. Then I had to go through a tunnel, which wouldn't have been so bad, but a car fire was blocking one of the lanes and backed it up for about a mile. Whew! But I made it and my happy little perfectly matching ball of yarn was waiting for me.
This was the first time I was in The Yarn Boutique in about 2 years, and they had moved locations since I had been in there. It's a nice little place, and looks like they have more space than at the old location, and each inch of the store is certainly taken advantage of for housing yarn, books, and notions.
When I got home, I was excited to start knitting my sweater again, without having to worry about running out of yarn. I seamed up the sides and was knitting some of the collar when I got too excited and pulled it over my head. When I walked to Mr Kiwi, he popped up out of his chair and was sure to tell me how great and cute the sweater is and how much he likes it. (I think he's gotten really good at putting up a show about my knitting ;o) ) Because of the super chunky yarn, it is pretty heavy to hold, but once it is on, it feels so soft and warm. The pattern makes the sweater slightly loose and not fitted at all, but it looks nice and is very comfortable. I think this sweater will be in competition with the Placed Cable Aran as my favorite go to sweater. I've also noticed how similar they to are to each other with the cables running up the front and back.

To all of the American readers: Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope everyone gets massive food induced comas all day and all weekend, and still manage to do lots of knitting!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sweater Knitting

I had been working on the Simply Marilyn throughout the week, and brought it to Stitch n Bitch with me on Wednesday. Before I left, I realized that I might need one extra ball of yarn. I had just finished the sleeves, and needed to attach everything and knit the collar. About 30 minutes into SnB, I ran out of yarn. So close to finishing the sweater too! I have found an LYS that found one ball of not only the color I needed, but the same dye lot too! All I have to do is wait for it to come in, and then my sweater will be finished soon after. Hooray!

While I'm waiting on that, I figured I should do some more stash busting and knit something out of the yarn I already have. I have decided to knit the Minimalist Cardigan with Alpaca with a Twist that I got on some crazy sale while visiting Booth Bay Harbor. So far, it is going very well. Because I am using such small yarn, with all the ribbing and seed stitches, this will be a pretty long project compared to my track record. But it feels so nice, so I'm really going to be enjoying this one. The alpaca is also a smaller gauge than the yarn they require, so I am simply following the directions for a larger size in order to get the size I really want.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's Back!

After Thursday's post of not enjoying the Mustard Parallelo, I decided enough was enough. It's unfortunate that I'm not going to finish that project, but on the bright side, I now have enough yarn to knit two much more enjoyable sweaters instead of the one. I might even have a ball or two left over from one (or both!) to make a hat or scarf from. All of these are much better situations than fighting with the darned pattern that will only make me think of how frustrating the knitting was each time I wear the sweater. Not something I want to think about each time I put on one of my own projects. Instead I will have two or more that will be more exciting to knit, and more fun to wear.

Friday after getting off of work, I sat myself down to try to find a new project to work on. I decided to walk away from GGH Bel Air and Soft Kid this time, and I'll focus on frogging later. My mother in law had sent me some yarn for my birthday that I haven't done anything with yet, so I figured it would be a good idea to use that up. Plus, since it is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky, it will end up being a quick project.

..little did I know....

After a bit of searching, I found Simply Marilyn which called for the exact yarn I have, and in the exact quantity. Great! I cast on Friday evening, and now Sunday afternoon, I have finished the front and back, and am working on the sleeves. This is much more rewarding than the last sweater; it's going quickly, it's enjoyable, relaxing, and I am looking forward to when I get to wear it.
Perhaps I'll get some pictures up when Mr Kiwi is around and let's me use his camera.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Rebecca Magazine

Perhaps I got cocky. I plowed through my first two sweaters with absolutely no problems, and even modified as I went. I had too much faith in my knitting abilities. Now, I am one who rolls my eyes and mumbles "shut up!' when someone says "I am scared of [insert technique here] because it looks so haaardd and scary!" It's really annoying, and dammit, there is no reason to fear multiple circular needles, DPNs, cables, socks, etc. It's only knitting.

However, as I work on the Mustard Parallelo, with is pattern 32 from Rebecca Magazine Number 32, I find myself learning where UFO's and abandoned projects come from. These patterns have all been translated from German, and I have been having problems with it since I cast on. Nothing is described in a way that I can understand, and somethings simply don't make sense at all. Following suit with my last project (yeah, that lace scarf that no one really knows about), I feel like throwing this damn half finished sleeve in a corner and doing something else.

I know this can be a great sweater. A very comfortable sweater. But when I can't even figure out what the hell the pattern wants me to do, it makes me want to take the yarn out and make something completely different that does not come from a translated Rebecca magazine. They have very cute patterns, but dammit if I am ever going to try to knit one of them again.

Glute Rant

Okay, so what's the deal? I've been in level2 for a year and a half, and I still can't walk and squeeze my glutes at different timings. This is most basic move, the foundation of my dance, and I can't execute it. What the heck is wrong?! My butt's not working right!!

This is definitely a situation where my brain is many levels ahead of my body and it is so incredibly frustrating.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

IK Winter 2007 mini review

Wow, I have not been posting as much as I used to! Why am I posting now? Well, it's turning into winter. When does winter officially start? How about when I get my Winter 2007 of Interweave Knits! I got my copy in the mail on Friday, and at least waited until I had to distract myself on the BART before cracking in and looking at everything. I must say that this time none of the patterns really jumped out at me screaming "Make me NOW!!" as some had in previous issues. And I actually found some of the articles were very good and drew me in more than the patterns (wait.. there are actual articles and not just pictures?! ;o) ). I found the alpaca information very interesting, and seeing as how I have only made two sweaters and was never told anything about sleeves, I was very interested in the Designer Secrets on Set-in Sleeves. There was a lot of good information that will definitely have me marking this page so that I can refer to it when playing with sweater patterns (which I am apparently apt to do).
Maybe it's me, and maybe I need to get myself up out of my never ending slump before I can really appreciate the patterns in this edition. Some look good, and I am impressed with the Ivy League Vest, however I have never done colorwork and I don't really wear vests. So while I can appreciate it, it's probably not something I will see myself making.
If any knitters really do subscribe or read my blog, leave me a comment and tell me what you thought of the issue. I am interested to know!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dance Changes

I've been feeling a bit guilty about not going to my dance classes as much as I used to since July. (Does that sentence even make sense?) I decided that I would go to the one class that I have neglected since the instructors headed off on tours/expanding/self serchings. Dance movements, here I come! I was expecting Kit to be the instructor for this, but I was mistaken. It was someone who is a very experienced dancer, but not someone I recognized. The class size was pretty small; maybe 10 compared to the 20 that I had previously been used to.
The new instructor is most likely classically trained, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. More specifically, for others it may be a good thing, but for me, at age 24 with this being the first time I am trying to do any sort of jazz/ballet, it is most definitely a bad thing. The whole format of the class has changed. Where I am used to using this class to build my strength and balance, it has turned into a full on jazz and ballet class. Where I used to be able to do about 1/2 of the things with confidence and maybe 1/4 with the idea that I'm almost good enough, now I could only fumble through half of it. I flopped around in this class the way I did when I first started "the other" one, however now I have no desire to continue. I don't feel like I am getting enough time in my stretches, and that it doesn't tie in well with my goals. I don't want to learn a jazz choreography at the end of class, and I feel like the whole class is geared towards getting the students ready for the choreography. I want to build strength and balance, and if I am too busy trying to figure out what the hell the instructor just did, it's never going to happen. The classes are too expensive for me to fumble and be frustrated the whole time.
So now I get to decide what I want as my second class of the week. I can take 2 of the same bellydance classes a week, a fusion/cymbals class, or Kit's own gypsy dance class. Maybe I'll just sit in and watch some of those classes to see which I most like. I know I've been meaning to take the fusion/cymbals class for about a year. Maybe this is my change to get up and do so.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Little Bit of Self Reflection

I've been doing a lot of finding out who I am lately. In my knitting, my dancing, and my general creativeness.

It's interesting, how I still feel like the same person creativity-wise as I was in highschool, however I feel like I was more whole as a 16 year old than I am now, as a 24 year old. Since then, I have gone to college and earned a bachelor's degree in two fields. I like them both, but that is more or less a different story. All the reader needs to know from this is that I am a "scientist". My job is to do research on complicated biology stuff than most people find "impressive", "interersting" or "challenging". People find out what I do for a living, and sudenly, that is what defines me. To them, above everything else, I am a nerdy scientist who wears goggles, a lab coat, and hides in a creepy place with my ethanol, DNA preps, cells, mice, and bunson burner. Second to this total geeked out image am I an artist to them. I am told "you think like a scientist", "you're analyzing", or "you think about things differently than artists do". Every time I hear these words, a part of me is beated down.
I view myself completely different. The exact opposite. To me above everything else, I am a sketch artist and painter who knits, and is trying to get a hang of this dancing thing. I am this creative person who is trying to support what I love doing by having a "real job" out in the big world. I still see myself as myself and my classmates saw me at 16; the weird, pierced theatre chick with big pants who was always drawing in the sketch pad in the middle of class.

Getting back in touch with old friends has somewhat woken me up. Every time I tell them what I am doing they seem stunned and shocked saying "Are you serious?! I never would have guessed you'd go into biology. I thought you were going to be an artist!" They find it hard to imagine me with a normal job, obeying a boss, and being restricted to "work" which does not lend itself well to creativity... unless you count goofing off at lunch coming up with experiments to see who can tell the difference between sugar-water and splenda-water "creative".

Earlier this week I brought my old sketch books into work to show a coworker. I hadn't looked through them since I was 19, but somehow managed to remember to cart them around with me where ever I moved to after college. It was strange. I remember exactly where I was when each picture was being drawn, when I drew it, and what I was thinking. They were all from 9 years ago. My coworker was impressed and didn't realize I had this side. It baffled me for a minute, thinking "But *everyone* KNOWS I can draw". But everyone doesn't. Nobody realizes I have these abilities, because I left everyone behind. I sold out on myself. I decided I didn't need to go to college for art because the one time I actually took an art class, I hated the instructor looking over my shoulder telling me that my picture needed more of this or that. (It's a story for another time, but my bratty teenaged self used my creativity and pictures to tell her to STFU.. which she did. and she never commented on my pictures after that) After taking that class, I decided that art instructors were stifling and limiting, killing my creativity, and dammit, I didn't need that; I was going to go to school to become a biologist.

I must have lost myself on my 18th birthday, because that is where it all changed. I stopped drawing. I stopped creating. I was stuck in books, homework, labs, and exams. And now? I feel lost. I feel like I abandoned myself somewhere between Florida and Pennsylvania, and I'm somewhat upset that it took me until THIS WEEK to realize that I'm lost. Where have I been for the past 6 years? And most importantly, how do I get myself back? How do I prove to everyone that I am more than a pipet and plasmids and really belong to my paper, pencils, and imagination?

That's the million dollar question.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Finding Myself

::looks around at my bare page::

Well, there certainly has been a lack of pictures going on here. And a lack of posting, especially compared to my old track record of almost every other day. As someone put it to me last week, I have a knitting hang over. I burnt myself out by pumping out the Gatsby Girl, Cashmere hat and scarf and 1/2 finished lace scarf, Placed Cables, baby sweater/hat combo (which I never mentioned here), and now another pullover (which I will mention shortly). All those since June. Less than 3 months of non-stop uber knitting. I need a break, and I've been taking it. I have been slowly chugging along on my Rebecca Mustard Parallelo. It also doesn't help much that I ahve to translate the German knitting language into English (American) knitting. Certainly makes it interesting! It's nice to slow down a little bit.

I also have not been dancing much since July. In part because of laziness, and in part because I was feeling overwealmed. It's hard to imagine that just over one year ago I was training my ass off drilling every day, and going to three classes a week so that I could be in shape enough to not collapse on the second day of my Level2 weeklong workshop. It became a kind of addiction. The endorphines were certainly pumping nostop, and kept me going even though I couldn't feel 8 of my toes for 1.5 weeks after the second day. This year's workshop is coming up towards the end of October. There is still a few spots left, I'm sure, but I have been doing the opposite of training. I have been slacking. Actually, I think that I am still at the same level I was when I walked out of the studio that Friday, dispite continuing to practice regularly since then. Maybe I'm not drilling hard enough or putting enough effort into it. Maybe my plataue is lasting longer than I thought; I almost had the interior squares layered on pas de bourres and chasses when the workshop ended. I still dan't do them.

I still feel like I am flailing around in class. While the other girls look like they are effortlessly dancing, I still feel like an awkward duck trying to figure out where the down beat is and which direction am I going again? Oh, and which foot are we on? I am definitely noticing the differences in the teaching styles that I have been exposed to. I have been studying Suhail Salimpour's format for almost exactly 2 years now. The workshop last year and the past 3 months are the only times I have studied dierctly under Suhaila herself, and the rest of the two years I have been taught by Kendra and Tiffany. All three have vastly different styles, and the longer I dance at the studio, the more I notice it. Since Suhaila has come back, I feel as though my Level2 class has turned into a Level2.5.

It's hard. Last week was rough and I came home asking myself what the heck I am doing and why the hell do I think I can be a belly dancer with no prior experience. Tonight's class was painful, but mostly in a good way. I felt like a flailing dancer (instead of a flailing duck), but I still felt like I was really dancing... or drilling and making it look somewhat good. I wasn't sharp; I was a bit wobbly, but it happens when your trying to do double time 3/4 interior hip circles on top of pas de bourres/ chasses/ a combo of both/ gapevines, or my favorite: doubletime singles walking doubletime. Perhaps this is what I need. To be beated down and struggling to keep up in order to actually make progress. If I can do it, it must be too easy and I must not be challenged enough. If I am struggling to make the movements and get it together, I know where I need to be and see the progress I can make; I see the next level that I must achieve.

I still think it will be at least another year before I allow myself to struggle through Level3, though. I can only imagine alternating undulations on top of hip squares ontop of singles ontop of some rediculous foot work. Layering like that comes way later.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lime & Violet: The Daily Chum

So I know you guys have heard of Lime & Violet, right? They have an awesome shop full of sock yarns and rovings, and have a buch of cool podcasts out there. Not to mention the Daily Chum.
Well, guess who's Etsy shop was featured today on their Etsy Shop of the Day! If you guessed it was me at Jupyter Designs, you my friend, would be correct.

I'm so thrilled and excited! :o)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Losing Interest

I have been somewhat neglecting my knitting lately. I am still working on my lace scarf with a center pattern from Victorian Lace today, and it is pretty slow going. The middle section of the scarf is just faggotting stitch, which is pretty easy and nice to run throguh. However, picking up adn doing the edging is pretty painful for some reason. I have only done about 4 repeats of the edging, but I am so ready for it to be over! I'm ready to take a huge break from this project, and that idea pains me.
What's more is that the Weekend Pullover that I am working on to keep from getting repetative stress from the fine lace is not exciting me much either. It requires a lot of thought and attention, especially since I am substituting the yarn with good stitch gauge, but not so accurate row gauge. So I can't follow the rows in the pattern perfectly, and instead have to take notes on when I do what so that I can do it on the front. Yes, this one I decided to do flat.
I keep thinking of other things I want to knit and what I want to start and get going. And instead, I look at my two projects and not even touch them.
What is wrong with me!?!?!
What's the vote? Should I start some short quick things for a little while, or should i suck it up and pump these out?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lazy Belly Dancer

I have been a tired, sad, little lazy bum for the past two or so weeks. First of all, for an entire 12 week rotation I had only been showing up to one of the two classes I take at the studio. SAD. That means my body is falling more and more out of shape (I have gained weight!!!) and when I do make it to that one class I am sluggish and.. pathetic. For the last few weeks I have been spotty on showing up to that one class I do take. Way to stay in shape, Kiwi!
Determined not to slide out of dancing completely, I decided no matter what, no excuses, I am going to class tonight. Holy crap! It was such a workout. I was soaking in sweat, and where I usually only drink half of my bottle of water in one 1hr 15 min class, I had consumed almost the entire bottle by the end of the first 45 minutes. Whew!
It's also pretty cool to walk into class and see the instructor walking on Margaret Cho's back to help loosen her up. Yeah, THAT Margaret Cho. This is not the first time I have seen her in the studio. The only other time was when I walked in at the end of a weeklong workshop that she was taking, where I was going in for my level 1 certification. I was such a belly dance "baby" that I was way too stressed out trying to do some last minute studying/freaking out before taking the test to be star struck over her. And is it funny that when she was laying face down on the floor I recognized it was her by her tattoos? heh.
She's a good dancer and blended right in to the class. And either nobody else realized who she was or they were good at keeping it to themselves since she was left alone that whole time to dance just liekt he rest of us.
I think that tops my adventures for the week.


..or month.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Lace and Such

Lately I have been putting along working on the lace scarf that I posted about last time. I have found however that if I trying working on it for too long my hands start to cramp up and it becomes quite irritating. Thus, in order to not create some long lasting and quite damaging repetative stress syndrome in my hands, I have begun knitting a second project at the same time. This way, I can knit the lace when my hands are feeling up to it, and when I can't knit on such fine yarn, I can work on my larger project to give my hands a break.

I am learning a lot from the lace project, and even though it is a really simple pattern, it is showing me exactly where my tensions change and where I need to work on perfecting it.

The second project I am working on is the Weekend Pullover from Interweave Knits Fall 2006 (interestingly, I just noticed, the same issue in which the gatsby Girl Pullover was published). I have substituted the yarn with Karabella Breeze which I have been looking forward to using for a long time. My sweater is not going to be as thick or warm as the one in the magazine, but instead it will be a light and cool sweater. I am also going to have be editing the pattern along the way since I got my stitch gauge spot on, yet my row gauge I am off by a bit. This is also certainly a pattern that I have to pay attention to. I am sure that by the time I get to the arm holes of the back I'll have it down ..for the most part.

Maybe by the time winter comes around I'll be ready to stock up my wardrobe for the summer....

Monday, August 27, 2007

Very Knitting Weekend

This weekend was full of knitting events. Saturday I visited my dad about an hour away, adn he gave me a little bit of spending money to splurge on myself with. Usually when given gift money, in the bank it will go to later be used to pay bills or collect interest or something logical and responsible like that. I decided that this time I would instantly spend some of it on yarn for me. I visited Purlescence and Commuknity in Sunnyvale and San Jose respectively. I didn't end up getting anything in the first shop (although they did have a nice lace section....) and ended up doing all my damage in Commuknity. I bought Victorian Lace Today after flipping through it and becoming overwealmingly inspired. I also bought a skein of Claudia Handpainted silk and 2 balls of Harmony lace





On Sunday I had finished knitting the hat and scarf set that a friend sent me for my birthday. It's a Karabella pattern, and it says that it calls for 3 balls of Karabella Supercashmere, and oh my it's not kidding. At the end of every knitting project, I always have scraps left over. At least a little bit, even if I can't make anything with it. With this pattern, however I used every last little bit of yarn that I had, and had exactly enough to get them done. I was holding my breath at the end of the hat, and I wasn't able to make the little nub that sticks up on the top; I was that close on yarn.



It's very comfortable, and even in the heat yesterday I was wearing the hat around the house just because I didn't want to take it off. Being the single project knitter that I am, when I cast off the hat and had it woven in, I began knitting one of the lace patterns in Victorian Lace. I believe this is the first time I have used lace *this* fine. It is a comletely different experience, and I have to get used to the slipperiness of the needles and yarn and be careful not to let the needles fall out! I took a picture just after beginning, and it has since been ripped out in favor of making the "shawl" thinner to become a lacey scarf instead. I am currently knitting with Misti Alpaca Lace.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Placed Cable Pics

You know, I should really have better timing with when I knit sweaters, and also when I decide to attempt to photograph them. For example, yesterday was not the day at 85 degrees to decide (in my air conditioning-free apartment) that it would be the perfect time to take a picture of my Placed Cable sweater.

So here it is! Be gentle, and remember that it has not yet been blocked.






At first I was not to thrilled with the sweater, since I was expecting something a little closer to what was in the magazine; the slightly oversized, big and comfy sweater, but I think this is going to turn into one of my favorite sweaters to put over top a light shirt. The feel of the yarn was a huge plus; the RYC Cashsoft Aran is so SO soft, and feels very nice.
This sweater (as you can tell by my blog posts) was a very quick knit.

PS. This is my first post as a 24 year old. Woo hoo!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

FO: Placed Cable Aran

Woohoo! I have just finished my second sweater! I bound off the sleeves last night and just had a few minutes to stitch them on to the body. The sweater needs to be blocked before I can document it (and harrass Mr Kiwi about using his camera) and posting here.
I never thought that I would be knitting sweaters so quickly so soon after knitting my first one. They're really not too bad!
Now I have to think about my next knitting project. ;o)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Almost 1/4 Century

My birthday is in 6 days. This past weekend, I was surprised by gifts from two friends, both knitting related. One gave me the very pretty Summer Shawlette that she knit from Knitting Daily. It is so soft, and for it's size, so warm and comfy! I *think* it was knit from RYC Silk Wool, so that could explain some of the wonderful qualities, along with the hands it passed through before making its way to me.
Another friend who lives all the way on the other side of the country sent me a box with a lovely hat and scarf pattern as well as the required Karabella yarn to make the set. Just in time to get it finished for fall and winter! Mr Kiwi yelled at me for opening my box early, but I am sure he is the only one who minded. ;o) That hat and scarf is an excellent excuse for me to stop the lengthy projects, take a break, and knit up smaller quicker projects. Excellent thinking, and thank you very much!
I'd post pictures, but Mr Kiwi told me my camera is inferior and to use his for picture taking, however there are so many darned buttons and settings on his brand spanking new camera that I have no idea how to take advantage of getting the good picture quality that it offers. So *hint hint* Mr Kiwi..

It might be me growing out of my kid phase and merging into being an adult, but I think this is the first birthday that I am not looking forward to simply because it means that I will officially be one year older and the digits will change. That's an interesting feeling. Maybe I can skip work and stay in my pj's and knit all that day. ..or maybe not because my experiments need to be assayed that day. Why do we celebrate birthdays anyway? Can't we just pretend that time freezes and you really don't ever get older? Of course, when it comes time for cake, I might change my mind a little.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fun Times...

I have been working pretty hard on the Placed Cable Aran lately (for the past week) and today I got to the point where I was about to bind off the shoulders and begin the neck. Remember: thus far I am 2 for 2 in altering the pattern so that it can be knit in the round as far as possible so that there were no seams. My plan was also not to bind off around the neck where possible, so that I could just pick up the live stitches so that (again) there would be no seams from the body of the seater to the neck. I did however have to bind off 14 stitches on each side for the top of the shoulders, leaving the other 14 stitches to be picked up later for the neck. I did the three needle bind off on one shoulder and it went well. Then I did the same bind off on the other shoulder, which also went well.

..until I realized that I bound off the inside 14 stitches of the front to the outside 14 stitches of the back, instead of the outside stitches. If you can picture it, that would make a pretty... funny looking sweater. So I had to undo the bind off, and redo it correctly. Not too traumatic, but I thought it was a very silly mistake to make.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Placed Cable Aran

I have been making some good progress on my Placed Cable Aran from the Interweave Knits fall 2007 issue. The issue just came out and I received mine shortly before finishing my cabled socks (which of course I don't have a picture of). I was very excited about a number of patterns in the issue, and I realized that I have the perfect yarn substitute for the Fiber Trends Naturally Harmony 10 ply that is called for in the Placed Cable Aran Sweater. I had to play with needle sizes and knit (and frog) quite a few gauge swatches. I finally got gauge by using US10 knitting needles with my RYC Cashsoft Aran yarn that I purchased at the Stitches West in February. Perfect!
This sweater, as with the Gatsby Girl Pullover, I have edited in order to knit it in the round for not wanting to have seams on the sides. I am also planning on not binding off the neck of the body only to pick up the stitches again, so instead I will place the stitches on holders and pick them all up together. I never thought knitting sweaters could be so easy! This is only my second top, and thus far I am 2 for 2 in not following the pattern exactly and somehow modifying it to my own desires.
This sweater is going pretty quickly (especially compared to the 2x2 ribbing in the last one!) and I am already working on shaping the sleeves on the back. I started this on Wednesday, and I think before too long I'll be trying it on.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm Knitting, I Swear!

I know it looks like not a lot of knitting has been happening around here, but there really has.. I just haven't had time to take pictures of anything yet. Just tonight I cast off a pair of cable socks I made. This was my first pair of socks made with Claudia Hand Painted Yarns. This is also the first time I have had to use almost all the yarn from both skeins. Usually, I am able to get a pair of ankle socks from one 50g ball, but it this case I really needed to use almost all of the 50g ball for each sock. This is one reason I love knitting both at once, toe up. I can tell instantly when I am going to run out of yarn, how much I need to use, and how far I can get. These ended up being "tall" socks compared to what I usually do. I'm pretty pleased so far! Of course, I haven't yet had a chance to wear them more than tying them on.
I also cast on for Placed Cable Aran tonight. I had to play around with gauge and needle size a bit on a swatch before starting since I was not using the yarn that is specified in the pattern, and I had to make up for it being slightly different is size and weight. I'm happy though! This looks liek it will be a very fun sweater, although right now I have miles and mile of stockinette stitch to knit up! Oh well, I have some nice mindless knitting to go on after having to pay so much attention to the socks and sweater before this one :o)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

SF Bay Ravelers

Today a group of knitters that met in the SF Bay Area knitting group on ravelry.com got together and met up at a yarn shop in San Francisco. Being in the East Bay, I had to take BART over and managed to get lost for about 10 minutes after setting foot out of the station before figuring out which direction was the correct direction. Our first stop was Urban Knitting Studio, and due to my lack of directional skills I showed up just as the woman in the shop was giving the tour of how the shop was organized. It was my first time being in Urban Knitting, and it was a pretty big place! I think the size fo the studio dwarfed their yarn and made it look like they had less than they really had. They actually had a fair amount of just about everything and it was nicely organized. Just before taking off, we all stood outside and took group photos. Of course I managed to forget my camera at home, but luckily most of the others had remembered theirs and made up for my lack of planning (or at least remembering).
Next we made our way to Art Fibers, where we arrived minutes before their shop opened, so we went accross the street to grab some lunch. Once we finished lunch, our small group met another two ravelers back at Art Fibers. This place was pretty cool! I had never heard of it before, but apparently they only sell their own yarns. I kept sticking my hans out to touch all the swatches that were hanging around next to their cones of yarns. I couldn't believe how cool it was! I kept flip flopping over which yarn I wanted to get. I ended up getting Bitty Bunz 70% angora, 20% extra fine merino, and 10% nylon. Once I decided on this particular yarn, I had to decide on which color to get! Lavendar ended up winning out over the Seafoam green, but they were both so pretty!
Here I also had my first group-swoon over the iPhone. One of the knitters wanted to look up some information on a pattern she wanted to knit, but didn't want to call her husband for the unpteenth time, so I enabled her habit by pulling out my phone. It took a little longer than it should have to look up the information since the moment I pulled it out all of the others bounced up out of the chairs we were all sitting in and ran over to check it out and take pictures. I was amused and it added to the fun of the day.
Next, we had planned on going to Imagiknit, but we were ending up leaving a littel too late and didn't want to be the huge group of knitters to show up 10 minutes before closing. Le sighe... we'll just have to come back another time. Instead, we headed to Noe Knit which was where we planned on hitting up after ImagiKnit, and is also conveniently just down the street. I had already been to Noe Knit, but this was only the second time. I decided against getting too involved and falling in love with yarn that I would just have to take home since I had already spent plenty at the previous shop. It seems as though everyone else had a blast in there though. The owner of the shop was there and was more than happy to have us ravelers crusing about.
I ended up having to leave at about 4:30 (can you believe all of this was crammed into such a short amount of time?!) and it prompted a few others to take off as well. Some of us made our way to the Bart station and took our separate trains back to our respective areas.
Once I got back to my station, Mr Kiwi picked me up and we instantly went to Montero's for the school's monthly dance show. A bunch of students from all over the country were in town and danced since this is the beginning of one of the week long workshops. There were two from out of town who were really incredible, and I greatly enjoyed watching. They did a more tribal and goth interpretation instead of some of the cabaret that most of the dancers at home do. I also watched one of my friends perform a complicated sword dance that she has become very good at, as well as a separate zills performance which she put together in 2 weeks.
Today was certainly a very full day of knitting and dance, and it was an excellent way to finish off the weekend. Hopefully, I'll be able to get some of those pictures from the other knitters. And we are definitely going to have to be doing this again.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What Happened to the Dance?

So after last week, I was very excited to get to take my first weekly class from Suhaila herself, after only having learned from her during a weeklong workshop. When I first took classes from the Suhaila Salimpour School of Dance, I loved my instructors, but I wished that as students at the "mothership" we would get more of our mamma bear than a simple post card from whichever tour/workshop/world domination destination she was at next. Now, a year and a half later, I have become very accustomed to my instructors, and their absence while on the most recent world tour with Suhaila showed how much I really appreciated them. Not to say I didn't appreciate the sub-instructor who had taken over while all three were gone, but I have been so used to seeing one of the two every week.
Now on a forum, someone bursted my happy little ignorant bubble and expressed how "weird" things have been at the studio and that they need to stop leaving us in the dark and to tell us what is going on already. And here I was thinking that everyone was just on world tour and things would be back to normal shortly. The new studio isn't opening, when for MONTHS it has been hyped up and everyone has been talking about how excited they are. And then there is talk about the instructors, and Suhaila herself alluded to some changes. The one thing I know for fact is that one of the instrutors I have become so used to (who recently told me we should have a celebration when I get a few more inches down into my split) is moving on career wise, and is no longer going to be an instructor at the school.This was a bit of a shock to me, but I am sure it is exciting for her; to break off and advance herself in whatever ways she needs. But then there are rumors that the other instructor will be leaving too.
I have such a mix of emotions and feelings over this. First, I am excited to be taking weekly classes from mamma bear. That is super cool to not just be a student at her school, but to take the classes directly from HER. Selfishly, I have a little bit of anxiety and sadness that the instructors I have become so accustomed to are leaving the studio without letting any of us know, with no warning and as of yet, no explaination or official anything at all. Not so selfishly, I think it is great that these very talented women are going to be making their own marks in the belly dance world. This -whatever "this" is- will be excellent in excelling them into their futures.
And tonight I go to class. Not sure if anything will be said or if people will pretend things are "normal". Perhaps there will be an explaination at Montero's or at the poluck? Eesh.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

She Teaches

I have been going to my dance class on Thursdays lately since I like the fact that it is somewhat emptier than the Tuesday night classes. The class after mine on Tuesday is the Level 3 class (which I am nowhere near yet) and the one after level 2 on Thursdays is a Choreography class. The two instructors and the founder of the school have been on a "world domination" tour for about a month, so the choreography class has taken a break until they get back. This means that the girls who would show up for a level 2 warm up before their choreo class have been skipping the level2 on that night, however some of the level3's are still going to the Tuesday night level2 class prior to their class. (Are you confused yet?) Basically I am trying to describe why lately one night has been lighter than the other. this week however, I decided it was time for me to make an appearance at my Thursday knitnight and since both class and knitting is at 7pm in very different locations, I was going to move my dance class this week to the Tuesday night instead.
I did my usual getting to class, talking to some other girls, find my spot in the studio and do some light stretching. Kit, who had been teaching in the absence of our instructors was wandering in and out of the back room just before class started. Something was different, and I could feel it. At one point I looked up into the huge mirrors at the front of the studio and I see Suhaila Salimpour smiling and walking out. Looks like they're back from their tour! This was a special treat. I have been tlaking classes at her school since the end of 2005, and only once have had the pleasure of learning from her, and that was only because I shelled out for a week long workshop taught specifically by her. Maybe half of the students in the room had never seen her and didn't realize who she was. She made a joke about how when she would show up to teach a level1 class, they would look at her and say "So who's the new teatcher?"
She wove in and out of the students during warm ups, fixing some of their positions or talking to some she was familiar with. During drilling, she challenged us. She made us do a balancing drill that I had never done, solely to get us to think about where our weight is each time we do something as simple as shifting the location of our leg. When she came to correct us, it was always positive feed back. We were getting our asses kicked, but it didn't feel like it at the time because the class went so well.
It was very refreshing to get a chance to learn from her during a normal hour long class. I wonder if I'd have gotten this chance if I showed up to class tonight instead of Tuesday...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

FO: Gatsby Girl Pullover

The Gatsby Girl Pullover is officially now an FO. It is 100% complete, and I don't need to thread/stitch/weave in/touch anything. Hooray! Now it can sit and wait for 4 months for it to get cold enough for me to wear it. Well, that part really sucks... But it being finished is really cool!! And since I have blabbed on enough about it in previous posts, I'll show some pictures.







So.... now what does this one project wonder knit next? Suggestions?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gatsby Girl: Done!

The Gatsby Girl Pullover is soooo close to being finished! Right now it is laying out, slightly damp, and pinned to blocking mats. The ends on the sleeves are all woven in, and the picot edging on the neck is sewn over, and the shoulders are seamed together. The only things I have left to do is to sew over the picot edging on the bottom of the body and the bottoms of the sleeves, as well as making the loops for the buttons on the left shoulder as well as attaching them. It's just finishing that I have to do! I am so excited. This is my first sweater, and it is almost complete! Hooray! And you know that the minute it is finished I will be posting pictures of it. I am even thinking about wearing it to work the first day it is done. How can I justify this? It's always cold in the lab and I have a sweater that lives there anyway...

Cats + Yarn = Argg!!!

Sometimes my cats drive me absolutely crazy. Thus far I have been able to keep them from attacking any of my yarn that I am using for the Gatsby Girl Pullover. Until today. I got home excited to work further on my second sleeve, which is sooo close to being finished. I open the door to see my sleeve on the floor next to half of the ball, and strings stretched half across the living room next to the other half of the ball. So instead of getting to relax and instantly start working on my sleeve, I had to spend an hour untangling the mass of yarn. Damn you, cats!!! ::shakes fist::

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Vacation Pictures!!

While on vacation in Boston, Mr Kiwi's mom and I went to a knitting shop by her house, where we spent a long time looking at everything. That shop had been there for years, and she never knew it! She ended up buying me 2 skeins of Claudia Hand Painted. Mr Kiwi and I had also taken a 2 day trip to drive to Maine, where let me tell you, even the smallest town had at least 5 yarn shops (can I move to maine now?). I really wasn't expecting to go to so many yarn stores and farms, but it just sort of happened. I hadn't planned on getting more yarn than I could pack and take home with me, it just sort of... happened. So what does one do when they end up with not enough space to pack the things they accumulate on vacation? Why, you pack boxes and have the in-laws ship them once you're home, of course! Seeing as how Mr Kiwi wanted to take some things of his home from his old room, it's not like we were just shipping all yarn. On top of that, his sister bought us clothes at a rediculously marked down price since she works at the clothing store and gets discounts. (Can we talk about the awesome leather biker jacket she bought me?!)
I digress. The boxes showed up today! Mr Kiwi unpacked his things, and handed me two of my alapca skeins I bought. First thing I did was smoosh them to my cheeks, grin, and sigh. He wasn't quite fast enough with the camera to get it. Instead, he settled for throwing more skiens of yarn my way in attempts to get me to do it again. Of course, I did.

As I promised a long time ago (and never actually followed through) hrre are the pictures of the wonderful yarn that I bought on vacation.
I bought this baby alpaca in Booth Bay Harobor. Unfortunately, the shop was closing, but that meant that it was on sale for me. :o) The pictures shows it slightly grayer than it really is; it has a slightly richer purple to it.


I have two of these; one in the blue, and one in green. They have futures as hats.


This is the Claudia that Mom in law purchaed for me.


This lovely alpaca was purchased directly at the alpaca farm. So nice! I am still not quite sure what I am going to make with this.


Finally, this is from the Romney farm that we found only by the sign that called out "YARN" on the side of the road on the way to Booth Bay. Support your local farmers and spinners! That means all you people in the Maine area!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Dance After Vacation

I knew when I went to my bellydance class last night that it was going to be pretty rough. I was expecting it. I had slowed down with my dance movements classes right before going on vacation, and then hadn't danced at all the entire vacation. No dancing in almost 2 weeks. Eek! Warm up was a little rough, since I wasn't stretching either, and it showed. My left leg was especially weak and would shake like mad screaming "what are you DOING to me?!?" We were working on hip locks this week. They weren't bad, although I think mine kept going to the sides when I walked. I felt pretty good about it, until she started us doing SuzyQ's. I have only fumbled around SuzyQ's (what is with the sudden fixation? It's been a boom of them lately) while standing in the middle of the room. I surprised myself. I decided to go ahead and try them around the room, and I could actually do it. I was giggling alot, so I'm sure I looked like such a great dancer. I could only do them however if I was actually looking at my feet; the second I looked up or tried adding the hiplocks, my feet screwed up. So I was content to be proud of my SuzyQ's. Then I suddenly realized when we turned to lead left that I could only do them to the right. My feet did not want to cooperate.

I was feeling really good about the class and how I was doing considering not having done anything useful for a while. And then it was the "routine" part of class. It encompases the last 5 minutes or so. I sucked. I couldn't do anything further than foot work, and was shoddy at that too. It's frustrating sometimes that I know what everything is supposed to looke like, and what I am supposed to do when, but then my body doesn't respond. So instead of looking like a gracceful and controlled dancer, I look like a flailing idiot. Eck. Oh well, I guess that is what practicing is for.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pictures!!

Okay! I decided to try on the Gatsby Girl Pullover to see how it fit, it its completely unfinished state. I used stitch markers to close the parts of the shoulders that need to be seamed, and slid it on. I am SO excited. This is my first sweater/top thing, and I am overjoyed with how it fits.



Please excuse the bright undergarnments shining through the lace. That will be fixed before wearing the top out in public, I swear.


I am into the beginning of sleeve one, and I sure hope it fits and works out as well as the rest of the sweater. Funny though, how cute it looks without the sleeves. I'm sure it would look better if it were actually finished properly, though.

Woo!!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Knitting Vacation

Whew! I am finally back from my vacation (and of course I came back with a cold...) and can finally sit down and write.

First of all, I would like to say THANK YOU to my secret pal Melissa for sppoiling me in Secret Pal 10. Over the course of the exchange, she gave me an entrelac washcloth, knitting note cards, jewelry for Tibet (!!!), and the last "package" sent was gift card to kpixie (which since I *just* got home I have not had a chance to take advantage of). Thank you so much!

As for the vacation, I visited Mr Kiwi's parents in Boston (as well as attended two of his friends' wedding) and we took a few side trips. Mr Kiwi's mom and I went to a near by yarn shop where we got into trouble and had fun. I spent some time teaching her how to knit toe-up socks, which she seemed to be getting quite a kcik out of. Mr Kiwi and I took some time for ourselves and drove up to Booth Bay Harbor, Maine, coincidentally on their annual Windjammers Days. We did some train things that he enjoys, and planned on making a stop to one yarn store at the Harbor for fun for me. We ended up seriously lucking out on that end. The shop we went to was closing because the owners wanted to retire. I got so much loot on sale! Lots of interesting yarn companies that I had never heard of before. I'll have to post pictures of *everything* when I am slightly more sane.
While we were sitting on the grass waiting to watch the parade just for us, I found an ad for Winters Gone Farm; an alpaca farm nearby. Jackpot! It was the coolest farm ever. There were alpacas everywhere, and two babies; so cute! There was also a store where we could buy alapca goods; clothes, girsts, random crap, and YARN. I felt it would be.. cheap buying a premade or random manufactured item instead of yarn, so I bought 2 skeins of yarn from one of the alapcas that lived on the farm.
But is that all? Absolutely not. Driving on the way to Maine, we saw a random sign on the highway that said "YARNS". I made Mr Kiwi follow the signs up to a private home, which of course had some sheep and a small farm. On the way up, it was closed, but on the way home we were sure to try again. It turned out to be the Romney Ridge Farm, and the woman who greeted us was very nice and friendly. She had so many yarns crammed into such a teeny little hutch that she was selling from, and they were all so incredible. If you're ever driving near Woolwich Maine, be sure to stop by the Romney Farm! While we were there we picked up a map of all the yarn shops in Maine, and holy jeeze!! Even the teeniest town would have 5! I think I found my new favorite state ;o)

Finally, my Gatsby Girl Pullover is going fantastically. I only have the sleeves left to do, blocking and then minimal seaming. Of course, those pictures will come when I am more settled.

Happy Knitting, and for those in the states, a preemptive Happy 4th of July!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pictureless Update

Has it really been a week since I last posted? What have I been doing? Well, too much. Friday night Mr Kiwi and I took a red eye out to his hometown on the opposite coast. The plane left at 1:30am (which was 30 minutes later than scheduled) and the doors to our connecting flight were closing as we ran off of our plane. So we got to wait 1.5 hours for the next flight. I didn't sleep too much on either flight, so there was a mix of watching Apollo13 on the laptop and knitting. It must have been amusing to see the two of us sharing ear buds watching a movie and swapping out batteries when we thought one was dead.

I have been knitting a heck of a lot as flights (especially long ones) will do that. I am still chugging away at the Gatsby Girl Pullover... would you expect anything less? As of last night, I am done with the main body and am working on the lace pattern. This is where things are going to start getting interesting, since I haven't exactly figured out where, when, and how I am going to break my knitting in the round so I can leave space for the arm holes. I'll get it figured out though. I never knew sweaters could go so fast! Almost 2 weeks of knitting this, and I feel like I have done so much!

Mr Kiwi's mom also knits, and it has been a blast talking about knitting with her. She wanted to learn how to knit socks, so before I left I bought and balled some sock yarn for her. Today we are going to a new yarn shop to get her some small needles and on we will go! Last night Mr Kiwi took pictures of the two of us sitting on the couch knitting our sweaters.

Of course since I am not at home I don't have everything I need to be able to post pictures. I have the camera, but no way to move the pictures onto the computer. There will be a picture ridden post when I get back though!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gatsby Love

After frogging the Gatsby Girl Pullover on Tuesday, I cast on for it again on Wednesday night. I convinced myself that attempt #1 was practice, and for the real thing I would change the pattern to knit in the round. The front and back peices are exactly the same, so why not? The only thing I have to do is remember that even rounds are what they call "wrong side" and pay attention when it comes to the arm holes. I spent a heck of a time knitting this weekend, and have gotten pretty far. I am using RYC Cashsoft DK, and it is incredible. This yarn even makes my hands feel soft! No need for mosturizer, I just knit a while and my hands feel silky smooth. I am leaving for vacation Friday night and am trying to calculate how many balls of yarn I should bring. I was thinking 3, but since in one weekend I plowed through an entire ball of the yarn, I may have to bring a few more.

I've also been in organization heaven. Maybe a week or two ago I received my ravelry invite, and I cannot express how cool this site is. I can post my pictures, list everything about what it is I am making, add the books I have, list my to-do projects. It's fabulous!! Not nearly everything is up yet, but I'm having fun organizing and making notes for the time being. I'm gypsyknitter on ravelry.com, if you find me, say hi!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ribbit

Last night I was beginning to wonder if the Gatsby Girl Pullover was really going to fit properly. Even after making a gauge swatch it seemed as though the top might end up being a bit too small. A few hours ago I ripped it all out (after being one row short of finishing the waist shaping) and decided to take a different approach. The pattern is written so that the back and front are knit in sections and seamed later. I am not so much a fan of seaming, so I decided to convert the pattern to the round. So far so good. Let's hope that's the only time I have to rip it out. :o) Also making the top in the round gives me a perfect opportunity to use a bunch of the stitch markers I made for myself. ;o)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lots of Finishing and a Start

I have finally gotten around to taking pictures of my lastest finished objects. Here we have two hats, both made out of RY Classic Yarns, Silk Wool DK.




They were very nice to knit with, and super soft. The second hat I finished on Sunday in the middle of my Knit in Public stint. Of course I planned poorly and didn't think that it would be done and also had not thought of or brought a back up project. Being a one project gal, when I came home, I still had to take a moment to think... what now?

Remember these?




Yeah, that was a long time ago. I am happy to say that they are now finially finished, and what a relief! The unfinishedness of these Mitts haunted me. It had been so long since I touched them that when I first looked at them I had no idea where I was. This helped in the procrastination of actually getting them going again. However, once I figured out where I was it was pretty quick to just pick up and go. Since they are made for someone with smaller arms than mine, I had to have Mr Kiwi model them for me. He had just woken up from a nap and was not too thrilled with how I wanted him to model. He also complained of dirty hands and kept trying to hide them.

Last night I cast on for the Gatsby Girl Pullover from Interweave Knits Fall 2006. I have been waiting to knit this since it came out, but have just gotten around to setting it as a goal. Mr Kiwi also had a hand in it saying "You need to knit something that takes up more yarn out fo your stash!" Apparently using only one skein at a time to make a bunch of quick hats doesn't count as "stash busting". ;o)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Finishing!

Since finishing the socks last week I have made a lot of progress. Or at least it feels like it. In less than aweek, I started and finished a nice little hat that took only one ball of yarn. I also picked up and finished the Mt Tam mitts from forever ago! I looked at them and the pattern and thought "I have no clue where I am!" I had previously left the pegs in my counter board to remind myself where I was with each mitt, but when it travelled with me over the how many months, the pegs would fall out and eventually I just gave up. After figuring out where I was, it wasn't too long before I finished them last night; weaving ends adn everything.
I'll be posting pictures later today perhaps. With all this getting things done, I now have nothing on the needles. There are these moments right after finishing something whene I am forced to sit and think "...now what?" So here I am. With a knit group tonight that I really want to go to, wondering what I could and should quickly cast on to bring with me to StitchnBitch.....

Saturday, June 02, 2007

SP and FO

I have a couple of things I need to write about here. First of all, I have to thank my Secret Pal for the package I received on Thursday after work. I had a nice little package with a card stuck inside along with 3 amazing peices of jewelry. There are two bracelets and a pair of turquois earrings. So cool!

Thank you pal! I am sure these will quickly make it into not only my regular wear, but also into dance costume peices. They're perfect! :o)

Thursday evening I also finished Mr Kiwi's socks. They were promptly washed and left to dry over night. The next morning they were not quite dry so he did not get a chance to wear them. This morning he asked if he could wear them, but I had not yet taken pictures. We just arrived home from a few activities and I let him put the socks on and model them. I don't think he is going to take them off for a while.


Instead of staring yet another pair of socks, I have cast on for a quick hat. I need some fast knits before delving into a huge project. Plus, it breaks down my stash, which is a major goal for the moment.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gypsies!

I am changing the url of my blog, so very shortly old links won't work. My title will remain the same, so you can always search for that, but the url will be slightly different :o)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day weekend

I love 3 day weekends. Especially 3 day weekends that come when I absolutely need them the most. Up until this weekend, I was approaching my breaking point. Work was incredibly stressful, and I more than needed time to get away and not have to think about how it was just around the corner waiting for me to come back. Funny, how one extra day can give you that feeling of relief. Usually, at about 5pm on Sundays, Mr Kiwi and I realize "the weekend is over!!!", however yesterday at 5pm our celebrations were just starting. Really. We were at that moment on our way to a BBQ at a friends house, where later we got to spend some time under the stars in a hot tub, looking out from a hillside over the entire Silicon Valley. It was awesome.

I also managed to get a heck of a lot of knitting done, and made some progress on Mr Kiwi's monkey foot sized socks. They are coming along very well, and I am knitting the ribbing along the leg. I expect that before too long these socks will also be finished, and I will be on my way to another project.
I hope everyone in the US had as great a holiday weekend as I did, and a Happy Birthday weekend to a certain someone - hope you had a very excellent weekend ;o)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jazz Shoes

I bought my first ever pair of jazz shoes in highschool. I was in theatre at that time, and my extracurriculars were consumed with rehearsals for one show or another. Since you can't (at least the ladies in the show) wear sneakers or regular shoes for dancing in the musicals, we were required to buy one pair of jazz shoes and one pair of character shoes (fancy heels that were specific for dancing). Black of course so that no matter what we were wearing the shoes would automatically match. Since I had never taken a dance class before, when I bought those shoes I had no idea what I was doing. I walked into the dance shop, looked around for something with the label "jazz shoes", tried on some random black pair and walked out with my new shoes. They were the kind with split soles and laces.
I have been wearing those same shoes since highschool for all of my dance related activities. I have been wearing them to my current dance classes, and continued to wear them even after one of the damn cats chewed half of one of the laces off.. which made tying them tricky. They were broken in, comfy, and finally molded to the sizes and shapes of my feet. Last week in the middle of my dance movements class, I looked down and noticed this nice slice right above my big toe on my right foot. Damn. I realized that I was wearing out my first pair of jazz shoes. Time to get new ones. The problem is that I am not 100% symmetrical. It usually doesn't bother me, but my right foot is 1/2 size bigger than my left. In normal sneakers or sandals this isn't a problem, but in shoes that are supposed to be nice and snug around the shape of the foot, it causes quite a bit of discomfort. So before class yesterday I bought new split sole slip ons (no laces to chew, cats!!) and wore my mismatching sized shoes to class. They are quite comfy this way, and it works out well.

And yet, I can't quite bear to take my worn out shoes out of the passenger seat of my car.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Finished Items!

After some persistent knitting, I managed to finish not just one but two items before the weekend began. Friday evening I finished the socks I was working on and got them blocking. Here they are right before I took them off the blockers.

Needing to start something new, I decided to get a start on the baby items I needed to knit. I started on the Vine Lace Baby Hat from Interweave's Knitting Daily. It went surprisingly fast, despite my working them on DPNs (I have learned through this that I am not a DPN gal, and will stick to my circs). By Saturday morning I was trying to figure out how in the heck I was going to block it, seeing as how I didn't have anything resembling a baby head near by. I stuffed two wash cloths in a plastic bag and vigorously molded it into as round and head shaped as I could, as stretched the little hat on top.


Knitting things for babies rock! They go so fast and look great also. And this hat took slightly less than half a ball. I can make another one! :o)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

SP10 Contest: Flash Your Stash!

This week's SP10 contest is to flash our stash. I am sure a number of people I knit with are interested to see how I keep my yarn and how much I actually have. I believe I do have a decent sized stash, but it is organized and tightly packed into its "home" that from the outside it may look like I have nothing at all.

Here is the unit where I keep all of my yarn. Anything that does not fit into the drawers is either piled ontop of or in front of said unit.


Here are the yarns that are piled in front. There is some Sidar, Cashsoft, Cashmerino, and the blue is a kit for the Milinda Pullover from White Lies Designs.


The drawers in the unit are somewhat organized, by what exactly, I haven't yet figured out. But they are organized! The pictures are starting from the bottom drawer and working up to the top drawer. The bottom drawer is filled with all the crap that will fit in it that I have no idea what to do with. I have some Sugar n Cream cotton that was for hacky sacks and dishcloths. There are some samples and freebies that I have obtained from Stitches West last year and never got around to dealing with, along with the miscelaneous yarn ends left over from past projects. The purple in the lower corner is some yummy yummy hand spun that I bought when I first started knitting that I have no idea what to do with. It'll come to me.. sometime. Same goes for the ornage in the lower right and the curly purple right above it. There is also a large skein of blue hand spun 100% baby alpaca waiting to be knit up.


Second drawer from the bottom has light sweater/top yarns along with a skein of blue bamboo and hand spun green cotton.


All of the yarn in the middle dreawer is destined to be sweaters or tops, all which have the patterns already picked out. It's just jumping in and doing them that is holding it up. The exception to this is the orange alpaca that will be made for Mr Kiwi. Not sure what I am making with it, but it's for him (if you have met him, you know why this is more logical that me keeping it).


Second drawer from the top has yarn that will be made into sweaters and tops, and the yellow and blue yarns will be made into blankets (too many people having babies!)


And here is the top drawer! It has mostly sock yarns and lace weights for making shawls. It also has the famed Karabella Breeze that won me the last SP10 contest.


Finally, there is the top of the unit. There is some Cascade220 that is left over from the Frog Purse I knit my mom last year, as well as some Misti Alpaca (one of which was a winning.. thank you Robin!!). Here you will also find my one and only WIP, although not by choice. I ran out of yarn at the very end of those fingerless mitts and was waiting for the recipient to send me more yarn so I could finish them. I just obtained the yarn (see the gray yarn in the first picture) and very soon it will be off the needles and off the unit.


Whew! There it is; my very first Flash Your Stash post. Now... what project to start working on next...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Knitting Meme!

This is a knitting survey that has been going around lately. I figured I see where I land in this. Feel free to take it upon yourself to do it too!

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.


Afghan/Blanket (baby)

I-cord
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Shawl
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Hat
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Sweater
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Cardigan
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Slippers
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Scarf
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit (Can I just say how sexist this question is and how much I dislike it? Just because someone is male doesn't mean they are automatically knitting challenged!!)
Bobbles
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Steeks
Knitting art
Fulling/felting
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Purses/bags
Knitting with beads
Swatching
Long Tail CO
Entrelac
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Darning
Jewelry
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Gloves
Intarsia
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Pillows
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Rug
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Shrug/bolero/poncho
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Knitting Weekend!

This weekend was accidentally filled with yarn and knitting. Without meaning to, both Saturday and Sunday Mr Kiwi and I visited a few yarn stores we had never been to. Saturday we had made our way to Western Railway Museum in Solano County. It was very much in the middle of nowhere, and it was quite windy. It was really neat, and I got to knit on one of the trolly cars as it ran on the tracks. On the way, however, we stopped in Benicia at the Benicia Knitting Circle. The store was pretty small, but it was stacked to the ceiling with yarns. Giovanna was the woman who was there at the time we showed up, and was very helpful with a few questions I had. I ended up grabbing a few skeins of yarn that I am going to be using to make some baby hats for a coworker's future baby. The ultrasounds said girl, so let's hope so! One skein is Baby Star merino wool, and the other two are Plymouth Yarns Dream Baby DK.


Today we drove in to San Francisco and went to two knitting shops that I have been dying to see. The first one was ImagiKnit. It was so overwealming! I have never seen a place so big and so full of yarn! Interestingly enough, before I even got past the door and the sock yarns, I heard some one call Mr Kiwi's name and say hello to us. It was Romy who had hosted the WWKIP get together next to the Berkeley Rose Garden last year. I can't believe it had been a year since we saw her and of all places, we run into each other at a yarn store that I almost didn't go to. This shop had two very large rooms filled with yarns. They had a huge variety of just about everything; lots of silks, novelties, sock yarns, and wools. It was an incredible store, and when I asked one of the staff some questions, they were quick to help. I was impressed, but didn't buy anything since I was waiting to see what the next yarn shop had to offer.

Very near by was Noe Knit. While it was not nearly as large a shop, it was very nice. After touching almost every since skein in the place, I ended up buying a few. Four were Debbie Bliss Rialto (two in admiral blue and two in blue) and one skein of Regal Silk by Art Yarns in color 123 (descriptive, huh?)

The Debbie Bliss is so soft! I bought two skeins for myself, and thought a certain pal of mine would appreciate the other two. I am keeping the "blue" ones, and they have a future as a pair of fingerless mitts. Also, although I can't keep from touching silk, it is also going to go to my pal. I hope she doesn't see this before it gets to her. It's some awesome stuff, and I hope she can knit a cool scarf with it. I'll have to touch it a few more times before sending it off.

And since it is picture time, I started these socks last Sunday.

These are craptastic pictures, which is odd since I used the same camera settings as the other pictures and they were taken moments appart. The yarn is Tofutsies, and it is the warm colors. I think the oranges and pinks are making the pictures look kinda bright. These socks are going to be a gift for another friend. Who doesn't know it yet. Ha ha. It's also hard to tell, but at this point, I am in the middle of making the heel gussett, so they are near half way finished. I'm really enjoying this pair, and I can see progress after I knit for an hour!! ..Unlike the lace that became huge and it was hard to see how much I done in one sitting. Speaking of which, those pictures will be up before too long. The shawl needs some blocking before pictures can be taken.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A break from crafts to preach some pet health

Usually I am not very verbal about endorsing products. Maybe I am to friends, but only if it is already brought into a conversation. However I can't help but talk about my cats and their food. Before the whole food contamination thing, I was feeding them the generic pet food. Purina indoor formula or something. Because it sounded "healthy". Then I decided to try feeding them "organic" cat food, or what I thought was organic. Again, because I thought it was "healthy" for them. Then there was the cat food contamination. There was no food that was safe, and it even reached the Nutro food that I thought was safe. It got so bad and so many brands were getting hit that I went as far as researching what cats need in their diet and how hard it would be to feed them a diet of people food and supplements to makes ure they had everything they needed. It's not as easy a feat as I thought, adn I knew going into it it would be though.

One of the problems with the cat food and the ingredients being imported from China is that the labeling laws are different between ouir countries, and not just in pet foods; in human foods too. If there is less than a certain percentage of an ingredient, they are not required to put it on the label. That and they cut corners and don;t see anything ethically wrong because it saves them a buck. For instance, cats needs a certain amount of protein in their diet, and if you look on the package, you will see their breakdown of how much protein, iron, fat, etc is in the food by percentage. The food companies purposefully added the melamine to the wheat and rice gluten to give the illusion of higher protein concentrations in the food. When run through tests, the chemical looks similar to protein, so they add that instead of the full amount of protein in order to save a little bit of money and seem to have no problem with the fact that it is killing pets.

Because I cannot sit back and accept that I will have to feed my cats food that can potentially kill them, nor can I dedicate the time and research I need to figure out what "people food" in what percentages is safe and most healthy for the cats, I decided to change the food I feed them. I found out from a friend that she feeds her pets human-grade food. Basically, there is nothing in these bags of animal food that would not be the same grade that would be safe for human consumption. If it's not good enough for people, it's not good enough for pets.
These are three of the pet foods I know that have human quality ingredients:
Wellness Pet Food
Flint River Pet Food
Innova Pet Food

My cats have been eating Flint River food for senior cats (even though they are not old kitties) because it has a lower fat content that is suitable for indoor cats who do not get quite enough excersize running aorund in a yard. And here comes the "sales pitch"... I can't believe how their behavior has changed since I started feeding them this food. Previously, they were lethargic, didn't play as much as I wanted, and were chubby and lazy. Since I have been feeing them this food for about a month, they are still a little chubby (hopefully that'll change) but the energy they suddenly have! They chase each other around the house, they play with everything, and they actually wear themselves out from being so active instead of simply being lazy and laying aorund all the time. Think about the engery difference we would have if we ate veggies, fruits, and hummus for a week versus a snickers bar for every meal for a week. Can we say lethargic much?

Never will I go back to the other crap food. And I really urge everyone to consider what you are giving your pets and if you would yourselves put in your own bodies what you are feeing the animals that don't have a choice other than to eat what you put on the floor for them.

Done preaching!! :o) Just wanted to share.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Jury + knitting

I had jury duty today. I had a feeling that it would take forever for anything to happen, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring my knitting with me to feel rpductive while I waited to fulfill my civic duty. I show up to the courthouse, place my bag through the scanner that looks remarkably like the ones you'd find in airport security, and begin to walk through the metal detector. The woman looking at the bags looks at me and asks "Do you have knitting needles in your bag" My heart sinks. I say yes. "You're going to need to put those back in your car. Dammit. So I go back out, put them in the car, and come back to a sudden long line whith some rather moody people (trying to stick their paper lunch bag in the Xray machine and being angry when the security woman kept trying to hand it back and give her proper instructions...). I do get through and then have to wait in the juror room along with the others as they file in.

8:45am and we finally get our questionairres to fill out and turn in. I get mine done, stare at the floor, stare at the ceiling, stare at my shoes, the people near me, the people on the other side of the room, and the pictures of past and present judges on the wall. And thought about my knitting. We finally get "orientation" as in "don't lie on your surveys, and by the way if you are employed by the state/county/etc you won't get your $15/day juror pay (wtf?!?! I make MORE than that in an hour!)" before watchng a video on how cool it really is to be a juror, and how you can learn so much, and hey! these jurors kept in touch after the trail! Be a juror; meet new friends! I smell a new dating service in the making. The moment the viedo started playing I wanted to burst out laughing. However, even at 9am I was smart enough to NOT start making fun of the video, seeing as how I was in the courthouse and all. Thank you, you wonderfully strong 2 cups of coffee that I drank at 6am, for making me think before ending up on the other side of the juror's bench. I laughed very hard on the inside.

After the quite amusing video we got a "20 minute break". I bought a muffin (after being informed that we could be there as late as 5pm; thanks for letting us know BEFORE HAND...I could have packed my own paper bag lunch and tried to force it through the Xray machine) and ate it back in the juror waiting room thing. 20 minutes turned into 30. 30 turned into 50. After that, I kinda lost count. At about minute 18 I was thinking "you know... I could be KNITTING right now. I could be zoning out while my fingers ran circles around needles and yarn, but Nooooooo. Knitting needles are too much of a weapon." So I did the staring at everyone, my shoes, the ceiling/floor/pictures thing again. Until I found a tennis magazine. I was 2 pages away from the end when I hear a shreik "ALL RISE!!!" At that point the judge came in and told us that all the trials set for today had reached "deals" (or agreements or whatever it was he used) and that we would not be needed. And I didn't get any knitting done.

The bright side of this whole thing? I am exempt from being called to a jury again for at least 12 months. Sweet! And I had a half day of work. And I still expect my $15 if only to pay for the damn #@%$T expensive ass gas that it took to get there and NOT knit. ;o)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Knit Quick?

As I sit here at the very beginning of what looks like miles and miles of picot edging that I must complete in order for my ShoalWater Shawl to be officially complete and bound off, I realize that it may take an entire day to get this darned thing bound off. I so desperately want to start something new, because I am anxious and eager, and dammit! I have finally become bored of this and need a quick easy project that doesn't take .. 5 weeks? How long have I been working on this? And then I look at a number of other knitters and the speed at which they finish their items. I know some people who claim to be "the world's slowest knitter" or a "quicki knitter" or what have you. But I honestly have no idea where I fit in to this. At knit night, the ladies come in with the same project, something different, always changing. I can't keep track of what's done and what's not, especially since there are a number of UFO's floating around places. Then I look at some blogs where there is post after post of "look what I just started" then BAM! "look what I just finished!" Sweaters, blankets, tops, whatever pumped out in no time. Are we living in different speeds of time? I didn't consider myself to be a slow knitter... I actually have no idea how I compare. I knit an awful lot while I am home... I hate to admit but I spend more time knitting than I do practicing my dance. So why does it take me so long to finish things, while it seems to take so much less time for others? Maybe I need to drop the size 5 needles and below for a minute and make a sweater than takes a good size 8!

And back to those picots I go. Maybe this will teach me that there are some things in knitting that no; just because it is there it doesn't mean I have to know or do it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Kiwi Creations

I have never been good with secrets and surprises. I am the one who buys a Christmas gift for someone in October and am squirming until December 25 because I can hardly keep it quiet. Thus, it should surprise no one that I so quickly announce what I have been wokring on with my stitch markers. In addition to my Etsy shop, I now also have Kiwi Creates, a blog dedicated to all of my hand made items. As quickly as I can get pictures taken of the markers, they will be updated and put up on the site. :o)