25 June 2008

Signs along the way

Since I've taken up the Reader crossword challenge, a walk to Little Italy is officially part of the weekend routine for Saturday or Sunday.

I did a minor detour along Kettner and caught this unexpected sign along the way.

It's one of those someone's got a sens-o-humour signage manipulation that always appeals to me.

Speaking of which, the Dracula fangs at 6th and Upas have been appearing and disappearing from time to time.

24 June 2008

Entrelac 102 -- the left side triangle

The base triangles are the foundation/set up round part of the piece.

Once you finish your last base triangle, you're done, you're so over them.

The next step is the left side triangle. This triangle provides the transition to the right leaning rectangles that are part three of the essential guide to entrelac.

You work this triangle, not shockingly, when you reach the far left side of your work . Since that's only time you work the triangle, don't be shocked if you have to check your notes when you come to this module later in your project.

This triangle adds increases and decreases into the mix of techniques that combine to produce entrelac.

You are still short rowing (or more correctly long rowing) as you will be working less than the full number of live stitches remaining on your last base triangle.

The P2tog constrains the fabric to the right and, over time, consumes each of the live stitches from your base triangle.

So work from the diagram and get ready for your first set of rectangles.

23 June 2008

Cape Cod Cluttered no more

Saturday I was supposed to pop 'round to Sanfilippo's for Sandy's farewell get together.

It won't come as a huge shock to hear that I didn't go. I intended to but I'm not really good at good byes.

The whole thing had a bit of wake feel to it and the prospect of those of us who have been connected through Sandy making noises about keeping in touch only to have those good intentions dissolve just put me in a let's just cut to the chase and go our separate ways jaded mood.

Sandy is Sandy of Cape Cod Clutter she and her store have been a constant in my life and that of many others for many many years.

But things change, and Sandy finally reached what I call San Diego burn out (something I sometimes struggle with). The timing of the burn out hit about same time as a rent increase, property management change and other minor life annoyances combined to create a personal tipping point.

After three decades, Cape Cod Clutter closed its doors on the 20th and will reinvent itself in the Sierras.

Ray Bradbury will no doubt be disappointed to find Sandy gone if he does one of his
Sanfilippo's dinners after Comic Con this year.

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19 June 2008

North Park Nestle man & crosswords

In another flashback moment, on the same day I snapped the picture of the Tripble load washers, I happened upon this little guy on University near North Park's Bermuda Triangle.

Although his original purpose was to promote ice cream, he's been perverted into promoting cheque cashing services.

His University Heights near relative was documented on this blog back in August of 2006.

Although I have no photographic evidence, I have it on good authority that there's a Southern sibling hanging 'round the food court at Otay Ranch Shopping Centre in Chula Vista.

I've been annoying people for some time by my tendency to do the San Diego Reader crossword puzzle in ink.

My father was worse as when he really wanted to annoy my mother, he actually did crosswords in the typewriter. I suppose that if I actually still had a typewriter I might try it just to be a wise-ass.

Anyhow, last week they started doing this thing where they'll not only award the "coveted" Reader T-shirt to
randomly selected correct entries, they'll list your name, a short message and keep track of how many weeks you've entered a correct entry.

With the option of dropping the entry into their mail slot down in Little Italy, I figure it's a no-brainer that forces/encourages me to not only save a stamp but get off my butt and move. So I'm up for the challenge. Somewhere 'round here, I already have a Reader T-shirt but I got it from a name this place puzzle not the crossword.

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17 June 2008

Entrelac 101 -- Base Triangles

Some years back I big time scored a copy of Handpaint Country in a used bookstore. It was a big time score because the knitting craze hadn't quite filtered down to where shops automatically inflate the price of knitting books and because the book was still in print and widely available for list price.

At that point I'd never done entrelac but something about the entrelac jacket designed by Kathleen Power Johnson (who I always think of as Kathie PJ) really caught my eye as the perfect project for some of the gorgeous Blue Heron yarn I bought in an unsuccessful quest to match a now long since frogged project.

As I started playing around with this mysterious entrelac technique I came to the conclusion that it was really not much more than short rows. When I emailed Kathie with that suggestion, she quite rightly objected nothing that there is a bit more to entrelac than short rows.

BTW, if you ever get a chance to take a class from Kathie, jump at it. Newer knitters may recognize her as the designer of Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole from Scarf Style

Years on, I have to agree but short rows, increases and decreases to constrain the fabric are still big part of what makes entrelac work. For some people you have to add knitting backward to the mix to make it a real tech-no-challenge.

Entrelac can. btw, sometimes be the answer to the musical question what on earth can I do with this gorgeous yarn that doesn't seem to want to work up in any other technique -- trust me I know from that problem especially when it comes to hand dipped yarns.

My current fave book source for entrelac is Debbie Bliss's How to Knit which is also a very good general knitting primer.

The major place where short rows play a role in entrelac is in creating the base triangles that everything else builds on. So that's where we start.

The how to is simple, cast on very loosely a multiple of how ever many stitches you want your entrelac modules to be.

It isn't a bad idea to place markers to delimit each of the modules.

It also isn't a bad idea to work each base triangle on a separate dp so you can see what's happening and not have a funky lumpy thing happening on your needle.

The funky lumpy thing isn't wrong, it's just not a big confidence builder.

Work a row of base triangles as shown in the diagram. slipping the first stitch on every knit segment. When you've consumed all the stitches for the first base triangle you'll be in position to start the next. When all you base triangles are done, you'll have something that looks like the photo and you'll be ready for the second essential segment of entrelac.

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16 June 2008

A flock of flamingos and some entrelac for Bloomsday

There were no fewer than three, count 'em three knitting get togethers this past weekend. My intention was to attend at least one. I managed none.

Since every day is a knit in public day for me, I'm not that wigged about not making it to the knit together in the park on Saturday.

But missing Whistlestop is always a sign of either a seriously foul mood or a day gone completely sideways. Mostly it was a sideways weekend but I've also been worrying a decision and if you're part of my circle you know how much I've been worrying it -- I know, I know, it's too much drama.

On a brighter note, I finally just stopped dithering about estimating yardage for one of the projects in progress and sent my yarn request in. I don't know why I've been so intent on getting the yardage estimate dead on for this project but it has become damned near obsessive and I finally had to face the fact that the only way to know for sure was to actually knit the project twice and that's so not going to happen.

People have been nagging me to self-publish some of my patterns for years now. Recently my excuses for not doing it are starting to disappear.

If I just offer PDF downloads, under California law, the transaction is not subject to sales and use tax so I don't have to have a resale license, collect taxes and keep those records.

That's a promising turn of events and even my "I don't have time" excuse is melting away as Ravelry's distribution plan would handle delivery and give me free code to hook into the web site and/or blog.

This is all a good thing since I have a lot of proven and tested designs that, unfortunately, since they have appeared on my web page and/or blog, are not considered publishable by most mags. Never mind that I had the designs and the web page up before many of those mags had reached the exalted successes they have become.

Since all the recent knitting is still on stuff that I can't write about and/or put up on the web, here's a snap of some of my forays into entrelac. If Blogger believed that PDFs were valid images, I'd also put up my basic guide to entrelac. As things stand, I'll just have to save it off as a JPG and put it and a tutorial on the list of things to blog about.

04 June 2008

Laurel Street Hill some signs along the way

I have no idea what the grade is on Laurel Street hill.

For some reason or another, the city of San Diego thinks that it is important to note that my little one block long stretch of street have a sign showing the slope/incline grade of the hill but most of the "way more vertical" streets don't get the signage.

Everyone seems to agree that the Laurel Street hill is steep. There are steeper streets but Laurel is the standard that most people know.

Laurel Street runs from Harbor Drive up to Balboa Park. Once the street crosses 6th it becomes El Prado. The photo was taken at the corner of Columbia and Laurel.

I walk Laurel Street a lot. It's a normal part of my route into downtown via Little Italy or a Hillcrest - Balboa Park - Mission Hills - Hillcrest loop.

Back in March when I took these shots, I was detouring into Little Italy and decided to take document some of the more amusing signs I came upon along the way.

The top of the hill offers some great views that are available for free but if you like you can rent one. Okay, so maybe it's more a pitch for the apartment in an effort to justify the likely high rental price and the flight path location.

I'm sure the actual business is a serious and good thing but I've always found the name and sign amusing. I've resisted the impulse to Photoshop it to read PsychDiego even though that's how I always think of it.

01 June 2008


Yes Virginia, there will be blog postings in June. Kicking it off on a Whistlestop-age knitting weekend, that finds me up against it for getting good photos for one of the secret squirrel sports knitting projects.

I have been trying, for some time now, asking any and all who might happen to have spare sporting goods and/or sports minded spawn who could be pressed into modeling duty. But, as is often the case in such circumstances there was a lot more agreement in principle than follow through -- pish.

So in the 11th hour it was Ted and Erin at the Whistlestop and as glorious as Erin is, the photos still may not be all I'd like for tomorrow's deadline -- double pish.

So since I can't share photos of the elegant Erin or the secret squirrel knitting I'll go with a silly South Park shot.

There's a Laundromat at 30th & Redwood with an interesting window sign. My best guess is that originally the special was double load washers and when that just wasn't enough they went to triple load. Where I think they may have gone wrong was to only have one side repainted in a cost cutting effort that has either gone largely unnoticed or become part of the charm.