nothing says “encinitas” like . . .

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the sign that greets you as you enter the town. which is just one of the charming sights we saw as we arrived on saturday to meet up with knitting friends for my last day in southern california (boo-hoo!!).

we met up with jocelyn and laura at a little craft bazaar just inside town.

i’m confessing right now: i was not a good blog photographer yesterday—we spent so much time chattering and mooning over each other’s knits that i forgot to use my camera (blame it on “deer in the headlights” syndrome).

we got right down to business with eating first thing, and settled on this charming peruvian café, which turned out to be a most excellent choice

peruvian—who knew?? i don’t think i’d ever seen a restaurant devoted to that cuisine before, but wow, do they know good eats (and drinks!). i highly recommend it; everything we ordered was yummy, yummy, and yummy. and they left us lots of time to talk, talk, talk—cuz, you know we will run on.

after that we scooted back down the block to common threads yarn shop

where nancy, one of the owners, was a most gracious host. the yarn collected here is widely varied and arranged mostly by color in room after room. then way in the back there is a comfortable spot to peruse a large selection of books and patterns. or, to chat and fawn over each other’s knits (and those of other customers passing through; ummm, we might have groped one or two passersby . . . ). we took a few snaps of each other in our various laces

that’s laura on the left, kim (sadly blogless) in the middle, and jocelyn on the right. kim and laura are wearing a couple of laura’s original knitted shawls, and jocelyn is sporting her hand knitted gust scarf.

then we hiked up to the black sheep, where we found another great selection of yarns, bags, buttons, and fiber goodies.

i bought a beautiful hand button to add to my hand collection, but nothing else . . i was so good, even though i was actually wanting to buy at least one thing in each shop. but i have so much yarn already . . . .

we managed to find a chocolate shop (seriously how hard is that with four knitters on the lookout), so that i could get a tasty gift to bring home for david. at Chuao we found the perfect selection for any discerning chocolate lover,

plus samples and tables to sit and talk some more. i mean it, we really need to schedule several days for knitters summit talks next time . . .

it was a fun, fun day, and so good to meet up with friends.

after some sweet good-byes with the kids (there may have been a tear or two on my part), kim dropped me at the airport to catch my all-night flight home. i was the only passenger with a light on all night—i was awake and knitting the whole flight. i finished the body of the star shawl and started the edging, only to find that i hated it.

with a little reorganizing of the edging choice needed, i put that project away and knitted on the second spectator sock. i had about 3 inches on it when we took off, and now i’m almost done. but i’m pretty sure i’m going to run out of yarn at the toe—drat! i’ll run over to ravelry when i’m through here and see if i can scare up a few yards of someone’s leftovers to buy.

or you know, if anyone out there happens to have leftovers of medium weight STR in haida colorway, give me a shout-out!

i’ll show pictures of that stuff tomorrow . . . i’ve been sleeping since i got home at noon, and now it’s too dark to get pictures. but one thing i did attend to

there was a little box sitting on the hall steps with my name on it when i got in from the airport—a surprise gift from our friend >ronni. just take a gander at that delicious, smooshy yarn . . . is that me or what?? it’s handmaiden casbah—my first; i’ve never knit with handmaiden before, so this is bound to be a real treat. and i love the little bee candle. i don’t think i can bring myself to burn it, but maybe some night out on the porch i will . . . we can’t hang onto everything past its prime, after all . . . .

this week we will be back to our regular knitting posts, with scenes of the past week running through my head. can’t wait to show you what my garden has been up to while i was gone.

ok, time for me to go make up with my shawl and proceed to the finish with it. and, i have about a bajillion patterns to print and ship (hmm, for the sake of accuracy, maybe i’ll do that tomorrow).

oh, and here we have the back yard

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kim likes the socks i gave her. these are the first pair she’s had for herself. something tells me she might end up on my sock list.

i landed yesterday around lunchtime and snuck up on kim at the airport

you remember her, right? i just love kim, and it’s so good to be here with her family. they have the coolest house and yard, that they have been building over the last number of years. we are eating citrus fruit and juices right off the trees out back

i feel so spoiled, and david is so jealous (he’s home right now, planting our front hill with ground cover to try to stem the erosion we’re seeing there. sounds like WAY more fun than hiking near the ocean all afternoon).

and of course there are pets

this is pal and chica (guess which one is which . . .just guess. i’ll give you a hint: chica was rescued at a taco stand in mexico). there are more (and more odd) pets but i haven’t gotten their photos yet.

not to change the subject too abruptly or anything, but this is a knitting blog and i though you might like to hear a little about that too. last night while we watched pheonix get spanked by san antonio, kim and i worked on our knitting.

i was pretty exhausted and disoriented from the flight, so i cast on for my new scarf in woolen rabbit whisper lace yarn, and settled in with the easy-to-learn pattern.

on the plane i finished up the first spectator sock,

while my seat mate simmered about having to sit next to me with my “weapons” (he was a little disgruntled that i got to have weapons, but he had to leave his liquids behind. sigh)

since he was so nice and friendly, i couldn’t help but tease him by proceeding to knit for the whole 5.5-hour flight. i put a bunch of work onto the star shawl too.

ok, we are heading out to cole’s volleyball game, so i’ll be back later with more. i got some awesome pictures today at the ocean.

i’m in a different world

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the view from the plane as we landed in san diego . . . . more later.
knitting and outdoor activities are happening and i have progress and family photos (and the dogs).

sweater yarns

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david’s new red christmas fatigue sweater, knit in briar rose charity, a 100% corriedale worsted weight yarn, colorway cranberry. i based the design on the EZ seamless hybrid, and plugged in my own detailing and numbers for a custom fit.

and of course we both have chris to thank for taking the time from her busy pre-christmas schedule to custom dye this luscious stuff into just the right shade of holiday cheer.
thank you chris!

(see what i mean about the tapered body?)

i love knitting for david, and have been making sweaters for him ever since our first winter together, when i realized how much he craved and enjoyed handknits (never mind that silly boyfriend curse stuff; he will stick around if he loves you, whether you smother him with handknits or not). he seemed to ferret out whatever i had around my house that would fit, and then wear it every chance he got.

“well, the handknits are just better,” he’d say in a talkative moment. if pressed, he’d elaborate, explaining that the fit, particularly for socks, was simply not equaled by store-bought clothing.
my kinda guy, right??

i wanted to make him a sweater for our very first christmas, but only came up with the idea about 10 days ahead of time, and still needed to purchase yarn for it. at that time, there were only a few yarn shops in NYC, so i had to send away to patternworks for what i wanted. it arrived only a couple of days before christmas, and i can’t knit that fast, so i wrapped up the yarn, needles and pattern and presented the box to david on christmas day.

i can’t even describe the horror on his face as he slowly pulled back the tissue surrounding the yarn. he tried hard to hide his shock as i beamed.
i explained the time issue and that i couldn’t make a christmas deadline, but would work on it in the new year. finally, with a quiet cough and great relief, he said, “oh—i thought my “gift” was that you were going to make me learn to knit.” i knew not to force the issue . . .

those materials became the old red sweater we have been laughing about this month, for which this new sweater is something of a replacement (i knew i was kidding myself about getting him to discard that old rag when he said the other night that it is his—ready for this??—after hours sweater. heh, yeah, i knew you would appreciate that one).

the next sweater i knit him was the cream cabled one that everyone so admired in this photoshoot, though it was not knit as a christmas gift. i worked on it all through the television coverage of the giro d’italia in may, 2000 (it was hotter than hades that year, i remember).

the yarn in that piece has an interesting story though. we had been shopping at patternworks (back when they still had that giant store up in poughkeepsie, a fun day trip from NYC); david was always willing to take me for a drive up there and we did so several times a year to stock up on supplies. most of the time he’s sit in a corner and listen to music or look at patterns, happy to give me all the time i needed to shop (usually all day . . .).

after we got home, he mentioned that he always wanted a fisherman-wool sweater, and i said, “oh too bad—when we were at patternworks i saw a 2-pound bundle of that wool in the sale bins; it would have been perfect, and it was the right amount too. oh, darn.”
and then i promptly put the thought out of my mind, assuming it would be gone by then.

a few days later he came home with the very bundle in his messenger bag. he’d called the store, asked them to locate the yarn in question, purchased it, and had it mailed to him at work.
ni-i-ice.
i agreed to marry him shortly after—i mean a non-knitting man who can hunt and forage yarn??
you don’t let that go.

since then i have made him a sweater for nearly every christmas. in 2001 there was a moss-green cardigan knit from cashmere we bought in florence, italy while we were on a biking trip there in 1998. i had a plan to felt the sweater slightly when it was finished and i almost didn’t do it, but it wouldn’t have fit (the felting step would make it wider and shorter, and i had calculated the finished size accordingly). that idea was inspired by some DKNY felted cashmere pieces i saw in loehmann’s; why i was inspired by that craziness, i have no idea.
so, i took a deep breath and ran it through the wash. all was well . . . it fit perfectly afterward.
(i don’t think i’d try that one again though—too stressful a decision in the end).

then in 2002 there was a plum crewneck in a beautiful herringbone stitch that was a real challenge to incorporate the shaping into, but it turned out well and he loves it.

so much so that i’m afraid this one will soon go the way of the old donegal tweed sweater.

in 2003 he got a fairly plain gray crewneck . . . in a very subtle stitch pattern chosen by himself. it was a real yawn to knit, but he obviously gets a lot of use from it.

the yarn choice may have been unfortunate, being a tad too delicate for the job of housing a man that Works in his sweaters.
he inherited another sweater from me that year that i’d knit for myself in a rib which looked too small on the needles, and which i made bigger, only to find that, indeed much as i’d like to be, i am no arnold schwartzenegger, and i do not need a sweater that size either.

in the fall of 2004, he started leaving pictures ripped from jaeger yarn ads about the place for a certain zip-front cardigan with jeans jacket detailing. no elaboration on his part—just the photo. at first, i didn’t get the connection, so i tossed the picture back in the trash, but when they re-appeared, this time right at my spot on the coffee table, i got the hint. by then i’d learned to spin so i bought the book and used some chestnut alpaca/romney handspun to knit it up, completely in secret. he was totally taken aback when he opened it. in fact, he wore it last evening at our dinner party.

next time i make a zip-front, i will order a color-matched zipper from one of the wonderful internet sources that now exist, and which i know about thanks to the online knitting community i now belong to.

that was actually a big year for sweater knitting around here—i didn’t have a blog yet, i was out of work for 4 months in the winter, and i’d learnt to spin. YOU do the math.
here’s another one that materialized very quickly in the space of a week or so—nothing special in design but the yarn was landscapey and wonderfully variegated with all our favorite natural colors.

two years ago i made a real quickie after i’d finished all my christmas knitting with about six days to spare. i hadn’t planned on knitting david a sweater, but since i had time . . .

i’d seen this one in the rowan vintage knits book and though the yarn i had would not make gauge, i was able to adjust the ribbing to the gauge i was able to get, and from there it went very quickly.

shamefully, there was no christmas sweater last year . . . there was lace and a new pattern business, and actually neither of us got a new sweater all year.
i vowed that this year would be different, no matter how much lace there was to knit.

david does SO much to make sure i always have time for knitspot. he takes up slack all over the place and soothes the havoc that having an extra business wreaks on our “free time”.
i wanted so badly for this one gift to say how much i appreciate and love his thoughtful, generous, nurturing and encouragement of my work.

what better way than to say it with handknits? thank you david!

(ps: that makes eleven FOs for those who are counting; the zig zag mitts are also done so that makes TWELVE.)

today, i am spending the whole day talking to my family, writing, listening to a book (bridge of sighs by richard russo), and knitting something for me.

oh yes, and i believe there are a few things under the tree that need my attention . . .

(he’s not big on gift tags, but i get the message)