Monday, November 26, 2007

Lovely Landscaping

Well, here's an eyeful for you, in the shape of our new front and back yards. I've tried to put the 'before' pictures on the left and the 'after' pictures on the right.

On these two pictures of the front entry, you can test your eyesight by looking for the little speck just inside the door. That's Chloe, the cat.

I know, this next one is actually a 'during' picture. I've always wanted the groceries delivered right to our door. Besides, Esther (the car) got to go off road a little bit, in a conservative sort of way.

Front yard:

Backyard, facing west.

Backyard, facing east.

We have a fabulous view of the mountains from our backyard.

So we took advantage of it by putting in a cute little seating area. Dizzy Hubby and I have already spent a morning or two kicking back. And of course I immediately christened it by knitting there (socks, which will show up here at a later date).

Blessings to ewe.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ta Da!

The Vest really is finished.

No close-up pictures because Pa is more important than knitting. But trust me: the ribbing matches and that nasty hole at the base of the V looks much better.

Pa (his name is John, by the way) wore it all evening, even though it didn't really go with his very brown ensemble. Pretty happy guy considering he's fighting cancer, eh?

Here he is with Ma (a.k.a. Betty). Obviously, they (and the whole family, really) are in good humor and continuing to enjoy life together.

Pa starts radiation today and will be going into USC/Norris (a wonderful hospital if you have to be in one) every week day or so, for the next three weeks. The goal is to reduce the cancer mass. Your positive thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.

While I wasn't truly monogamous with this project, the vest did get knit to completion much faster than it would have otherwise. Dizzy Hubby has a vested interest (sorry) in my next project. I think I'll try the monogamous thing again with his sweater vest. Being the ever-patient man that he is, Dizzy Hubby isn't holding his breathe that his vest will be next. This is good because it has been 7ish years in the making so far.

Personally, I don't think I'll use this pattern again because the neck opening is just too big. Even for a V-neck. I'll go back to the ol' Patton's Back to Basics II. It's conservative in style, but so are the men in my life.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Finished! Not.


I knit the armholes' ribbing as K2,P2. Then I knit the ribbing for the neck as K1, P1. I can't even claim that the armholes and the neck were done on different days. Sigh.

In addition, the bottom of the V is pretty wonky. It turns out that I unknit a bit when I was trying to do something clever. I can't even remember what that clever thing was. Sigh.

I don't know what I'm going to do here. Is it possible to bind off in the middle of the section without continuing the wonkiness? I guess I'll find out.

It really isn't hard to figure out why Adam was willing to part with a rib for Eve. He probably thought he could keep her from complaining once she learned how to knit.

Here we go again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rib It, Rip It, Rib It

Pattern says... pick up 136 stitches around the armhole for ribbing.

Attempts 1-3 just aren't worth mentioning, but pulling hair was involved. Dizzy Hubby stayed way over on the other side of the sofa.

Attempt 4: picked up 151 stitches. I reached for Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book, which said to mark 2" sections with waste yarn, then do some math, then pick up the appropriate number of stitches according to the mathematical calculations, laws of physics and who knows what else.

Attempt 5: picked up 104 stitches. I knew it! Math just isn't as trustworthy as everyone seems to think. This is not a new observation for me, but I'm still trying to convince my brother, the engineer, of this, as I carve another notch-of-error on my calculator. So I call Sharon at The Yarn Deli for help. After a bit more mathematical discussion, I finally ask for a general rule of thumb. Here it is:

On straight edges, pick up every stitch.

On angled edges, pick up 3 out of every 4 stitches (skip every fourth stitch).

Attempt 6:
Beautiful! Knitting and ribbing lay side by side smoothly!
Number of stitches picked up? I don't know and I don't care.

Other armhole, attempt 1:
Knitting and ribbing lay side by side smoothly! Number of stitches picked up? I don't know and I don't care.

Thank ewe, Sharon.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Moving Right Along

Pa's 75th birthday is coming up in about a week, so of necessity his sweater vest has moved up in the list of daily priorities (yes, even higher than being the Monogamous Project). It is one of those important events-in-the-life-of-a-loved-one (= deadline, remember?)

Here is a progress picture from about a week ago. Not only does the sweater feel like it has a life of its own, but here is real, living proof that it does (at least the yarn ball) . Kinda looks like the proverbial granny, eh?

I haven't knit two separate sides of a piece on one pair of needles before - obviously time to get with the times, so to speak. The trick is to use two separate balls of yarn, one for each side. Makes sense since knitters are so clever. It always seems like it is some other knitter who is clever enough to think of these tricks. No 15 minutes of fame for me here.

The only problem with knitting both sides of the V became apparent when I was deciding how to work the second row. Did I want to turn the piece around every other row to purl? Did I want to practice knitting backwards on a real project. (Usually I try new techniques on those cute, little 'I wonder how this would look' things that never grow up into anything recognizable. Some people call them swatches.) Thinking that practice makes perfect (or close....), I decided to knit backwards instead of turning and purling every other row.

Oops. Evidently I knit backwards much more loosely than forward. Considering how tightly I usually knit, this would seem to be a boon. But no. The difference in tension does show, daggum it!

Right about here ---

Pretty quickly I decided the tension difference wasn't worth ripping out. It did take me a few rows to decide what to do (duh). Because this lovely yarn shows everything, I finally decided that purling was the way to go - Pa doesn't really need a bumpy chest. We'll leave that to Ma.

I usually take the bloggy pictures on the nice, neutral concrete walkway that approaches the front door. When we started the front yard landscaping project, it didn't occur to me at all that the photo site was in danger of extinction. But... walkway.

I'll keep you in suspense as to the new walkway.
Chloe the Cat (little tiny speck inside the door) thinks the lack of a walkway is quite interesting. Big, giant litterbox.

No concrete walkway, so the camera moved indoors to the kitchen table.

I finished the body of the vest this evening and knit the shoulder seams together (right sides together, pretty cool). Next comes the ribbing around the neck and arm holes. Oh, goody. Picking up stitches at an angle is my favorite thing to do (not!).

Eve and I: onto the ribbing...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Yarn Harlot in L.A.

The Yarn Harlot came to LA. How about that for a strange mix of cultures? I mean that as a compliment, Ms. Harlot.

Three of us took the trains to the LA Public Library. Janel was brave and drove seperately. Here we are with our projects du jour: Janel on the left with hand-dyed gifts to entice Ms. Harlot (to do what, I do not know). Theresa was working on a beautiful sock, but I can't remember the pattern (sorry). And Nancy is working on one of her fabulous stole wraps.

The crowd was small, but friendly, as knitters are wont to be (friendly, that is).

Being the monogamous knitter that I am, I worked on my dad's sweater vest. Honest. Here's some proof for those of you who dare to doubt.

My apologies to Ms. Harlot for the fuzzy picture, but her smile is nice, eh? Maybe she was just so happy about getting yarn that she shivered with excitement. Yeah, that's why the picture is weird, yeah.

You know you're a good knitter when:
1. you knit while you answer questions,
2. you knit on double-pointed needles (yech - too octopussy for me),
3. you do all of this while standing in front of a crowd,
4. you don't look at The Great Green Sock even once while doing all of the above, at the same time!

I'm really glad I won't be tested by the Knitting Police any time soon (ever, I hope).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The One Night Stand

The Los Angeles Fiber Guild did an outreach thing by demonstrating spinning at the Los Angeles County Fair. Here are Karen, Cathy and Una going round and round while sitting in one place (only spinners can defy the laws of physics in this way, you see).

Spinning is lovely. Spinning is spiffy. I love spinning. ...but, now is Not the Time For Spinning.

I knew this would happen when I signed on for Project Monogamy. Did I not tell you about the fiberish dilemmas that would occurr? And sure enough, while I'm knitting Pa's sweater vest, the time came to spin. That's right, spinning when I should be knitting. What to do?

I thought, a) the Fair is an outreach opportunity for spinners to show young and old that our craft is still alive and well (not to mention getting to watch their faces while they try to figure out what the heck we're doing), and b) I took-on a commission to spin 2 ounces of Himalayan cat fur. I told Butterball's owner that I would spin her gorgeous kitty hair by the end of the month so it could be used in a piece of art. An honest-to-goodness deadline.

I thought some more. Yes, it would be cheating on Pa's sweater, but it was only for one day. It was for a good cause (not voyeuristic at all...). It was only a little bit - a mere 2 ounces. And it would never happen again, I promise!

I thought...
I wavered...
I caved.

Oh, the infidelity of it all!

So meet Butterball, the Himalayan. She came to me in soft wads (only 2 ounces!).

And here is Butterball getting wispy and ready for spinning (it was only one day!).

Here is Butterball on the wheel. I was surprised to discover that the fur was a bit greasy, but nothing different that petting my own kitties, I suppose. Butterball was fun and interesting to spin, actually. I really love the soft, fuzzy halo (I mean like... I love Pa's sweater vest).

So now that my fling with Butterball is over, I'll not lament, but return to my true (current) companion that is my father's sweater vest. We have reconciled and are continuing our journey together. Ahh.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ready, Set, Monogamy!

Okay, the Monogamous Project has begun (about a week ago, actually). I couldn't decide what to make for Pa, so I bounced ideas off the Dizzy Hubby: socks - no, full-on sweater (hoping this would make Pa live longer as it would take longer to make) - no because he never gets that cold, blankie for his naps - no, scarf - no. Obviously, I was just getting vetoes here so I finally got smart and went to the paternal source. He said, "Sweater vest, although I'm not sure that's the best use of your time."


Evidently the pater doesn't understand that spinning and knitting
aren't merely a 'use of one's time,' but a necessity! If I'm making a Monogamous Project, it might as well be for him. It's not like I can just not knit. I guess this logic is just a bit beyond those of the non-fiber world.

With thoughts of spinning gorgeousness in my mind and knowing tha
t Pa is a blue-and-brown kinda guy, I dug into the stash and came up with "Denim" Merino top, of which Dizzy Hubby approved:

I started spinning, imagining true perfection. Unfortunately, I also decided to practice my long-draw spinning... from combed top... not so good. As it turned out, long-draw isn't saving a bit of time like I thought it would (duh). Nor does Pa have that lumpy aura of style about him. It's nice enough yarn, just not (at all!) perfect for this project.
So, back to the drawing board. Knowing how long it would take me to spin the truly perfect yarn for this project (I'm capable of coming close, but Dizzy Hubby is still waiting for that 7-year sweater vest), I decided that knitting commercial yarn was the way to go this time. It's not that Pa doesn't deserve a fully hand-spun and hand-knit garment. He does. But he also deserves to wear the thing sometime this winter!

Not taking any chances, I go to The Yarn Deli with Dizzy Hubby in tow. We find a beautiful Merino Superwash from Reynolds, called Revue:

Is it luscious? Yes. Is it soft and bouncy? Yes. Is it eye-candy? Sorta. Cable thoughts begin to circle over my head, only to be shot down by my beloved males. Oh well. I did need a "new" technique, though, so I'm trying the knitting-on-one-circular-needle thing. It is now coming along quite nicely, but oh, the stories to come...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fiber Discipline

In faith-building and spiritual formation, folks often speak of spiritual disciplines. These disciplines, or intentional practices, include regular prayer, readings that support and challenge one's beliefs, sabbath, being in a community such as church, and oh, so much more.

Thanks to the Yarn Harlot, (Aug. 10 blog) there is yet another discipline to be added to my list of important priorities. This demanding practice is called Project Monogamy. That's right - sticking to one project from start to finish.

You see, my usual modus operandi is to start a new project whenever I:
  1. see a new and lovely yarn or fiber that Speaks to me,
  2. feel stressed, bored, restless, or competitive,
  3. see an inspiring thing of beauty that someone actually finished (!)
  4. guild projects and challenges, and, of course
  5. wanting to gift special someones whose important dates (read deadlines) are altogether too soon (Hubby's 7-year sweater vest is the obvious example, but that's another lengthy blog for another time).
This concept of Project Monogamy is sooo foreign to my nature that I just have to give it a try. It brings on a strange mix of feelings that I can only describe as horrified curiosity. So, yes, I am going to challenge myself to make a project from start to finish, sans the infidelity of working on other projects for the duration. This brings on its own set of fiberish moral dilemnas (what to do while riding in the car during the spinning stage, for example). Dizzy Hubby is a bit sceptical, I do believe.

But here is the real rub: with so many UnFinished Objects, how does one determine the one project to which one will be monogamous? Do I go back to the beginning and work in chronological order? Do I gaze lovingly at the shelves of UFO's and pick the one that catches my eye at the moment? Do I ask Helga (Schacht Matchless wheel) want she wants to play with next? Oh, no. Obviously the answer is to...

start a new project!!

Of course! Why go through the anguish of choosing from the shelves when I could spend the time in that delirious state of mind called design mode? Oh, the potential and possibilities! (Hmm, could this be the reason behind such a plethora of UFO's ? I'll think about that later).

Since I've never made anything for Pa (yeah, his cancer is back), he is the obvious recipient of choice. Now onto the blissful beginnings of project development and design...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Moving Ahead

Thanks to ewe all for your prayers and good thoughts - Dad's cancer is in remission. He has another scan in a few weeks to see if the little cancer suckers stay the same or even die off some more (hope upon hope, even though it sounds a bit bloodthirsty). So the Dizzy Ewe is back in the saddle (don't kids ride sheep?) again.

The Dizzy Ewe will be at the Oregon Flock & Fiber Fest in September. This is a wonderful show - do come along!


Friday, April 6, 2007

Family Matters

(I finally got the Sheep Game link up and running, so now ewe can try it).

My dad's cancer has come back in full force and he is now undergoing a more traditional/heavy duty chemo. routine (prayers requested). I will be staying closer to home this next year or so (hopefully longer) to be familyish.
The Dizzy Ewe's merchandise will still be available through the gallery, as usual. Variety Packs will be at some shows, care of The Soap Plantation.
In June, The Dizzy Ewe will be at the Griffin Dye Works Retreat in Castaic (only a couple hours away). This is always a fun-filled weekend with all sorts of tradition/ancient crafts (natural dye pots going almost 24/7, leather stamping, spinning, using lucets and so much more). Check it out! It is well worth the money.

Monday, March 5, 2007


Ewe... yes, ewe can be an urban shepherd!
I had so much fun playing Sheep Game that I laughed so much that my hubby wanted to know what was going on. Chloe, the cat, also enjoyed trying to herd the sheep on the screen with her paw. It may just be my first-grade teacher humor coming out, but this is really fun.

We could even start a Dizzy Flock league!

Yes, I really do have other things to do, but waiting for a shipment of fiber always feels more important and like it takes forever.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Shown here: Peach Fuzz and Blue Skies. Each pack contains 1 oz. each of five different Merino and Merino blend fibers from Ashland Bay. $20 each including shipping and handling. Visit The Dizzy Ewe's fuzzy fiber gallery to see more.

About Me

I am a spinner and knitter in Southern California. I live with a very patient husband and two cats in a house full of wool and cat toys (with the occasional musical instrument to keep the hubby happy).