Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blogtobereth the last

Boy am I going to miss this. It's been a lot of fun and a lot of work getting my blogging done every day. I've been having a blast with it, and enjoying watching my stats go up.

Also, loving all the exotic places in the world where my hits have been coming from...

Hellooooooooooooooo Australia, and New Zealand!

(although, I'm guessing most of you are coming from Tinnie Girl's blog, where we all signed up for Blogtoberfest.)

Anyway, it's been a blast. I'm looking forward to continuing to dig through the huge blogtober list and discovered new people's blogs.

Happy Halloween everybody!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Absolutely no knitting progress to report

The other day (Wednesday) I was making a delivery for my boss uptown somewheres. On my way back I was reaching for my metro card to get back on the subway, and I felt a weird snapping in my right thumb. It felt like one of my tendons had just been tweaked like a leetle rubber band.

It wasn't painful it was just weird. But ever since then I've been having some pain in my right hand when I've been knitting, and I decided to give it a rest for most of yesterday (admittedly, I did knit for about an hour in the morning).

So I read this:

(The second book in my heartbreak series)

I am, however, happy to report it was nothing like the second book in my own series. So that at least is a relief.

And now I am off to work at the ungodly hour of 6 for what looks like it is shaping up to be another completely hellish day. Sigh. At least it will be short.

Wish me luck with the Libyan ambassador (or somebody like that)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm hurting

Blah. Lack of sleep. Lack of good drugs. Extreme day-job annoyance.

Blah blah blah, whine whine whine.

Hopefully I'll have some good knitting pictures for you this evening.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ok, Fine...

The originally intended recipient of the mystery project saw it recently, and agreed that the colors were all wrong for her. So I will be sending this one to my mother for Christmas, as the colors are absolutely perfect for her, which means that I can talk about it!

(Mom doesn't read the blog)

Anyway, it's a Multnomah, by Kate Flagg. Shortly Stitches got me interested in the pattern when she made one (I'm totally following her around the web and stuff. She's cool!) so when I was at Rhinebeck and got suckered in by the beautiful Briar Rose stand, I bought some yarn specifically for this project.

Here's a picture of Kate's version:

(Photo courtesy of Ms. Flagg's Ravelry pattern page)

Anyway, it's a super easy knit, that is, if you can count and you're not a total idiot, like myself.

I love the feather and fan border, and the yarn I'm using is making the entire project super sqooshy, so it's going to be an awesome shawl.

I'll probably be done with it tomorrow evening, and I'll post blocking images.

And yes, J. I'll finally post a picture of me in my Damson so you can see how I wear it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some pictures, as promised

My makeshift swift:

The finished products:

Saying goodbye to the Liesl:

And finally, the cat with a flower in her head:

That one didn't really have anything to do with knitting, but it was cracking me up, so I decided to include it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wind it up!

I wound approximately 3,000 yards of yarn yesterday. For anybody who thinks that knitting is a sedentary activity, they should try winding yarn without a swift.

I used one of our folding footstools as a makeshift swift for the 1,000 yard hank of worsted wool, as well as for the 500 yard hank of DK weight.

It involved pulling a few yards of yarn off the footstool, winding, going back to the footstool... etc. This project also involved running interference with the toddler and the cat.

I took some photos of this process, but unfortunately they're on my camera at home, and I forgot to load the pictures this morning (because I was too busy trying to remember where the hell I'd left my big box of stitch markers so that I could continue on with my mystery project.

So I'll post those tonight.

Knitting projects

I got a few more inches of the featherweight done last night while Bruce and I were watching "Dead Like Me." That is a truly brutal show. We watched the first episode from our netflix queue. (On a side note, I just had to look up queue for spelling, and I didn't realize that queue could also mean a braid of hair. Interesting)

To lighten things up after Dead Like Me, we watched the first two episodes of 30 Rock, which is a damn fine show. Very funny. Tina Fey is a genius. And, as a plus, the first episode had a very funny reference to knitting.

The mystery project - I'm probably 60% done with it. It's really lovely. I somehow managed to get completely off-count, but I managed to get back on before I began the final section (sneakily adding stitches here and there, and ending on the wrong side). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it looks good when I'm done, although honestly, once I got going, the project has only taken me a few days. I really got started on the 22nd, and I'll probably finish it tomorrow.

The Liesl Heartbreak

I frogged the entire sweater yesterday and rewound the yarn. I'll be starting over again soon, because I really want this sweater, damnit. But again, it didn't take me all that long to knit up in the first place, so it shouldn't be too bad to re-knit.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Nesting Continues

Yesterday's cooking experiment was a success. The roasted parsnip bread pudding was fabulous. My husband (the brilliant chef in his own right - far better than I) said that it was perfectly seasoned, and only had a couple of tweaks that I agreed with. Georgia tried a couple of bites of the bread, but wasn't really that into it. She didn't like the batatoes (the parsnips).

The trip to Michael's was a little long. It was raining the entire day, and when it rains in NYC, well... one gets very very wet.

We went to the cathedral of Saint John the Divine en-route to Michaels.

(photo from zagatbuzz @ flickr)

The last time I'd been there, Georgia was very tiny, and most of the nave was blocked off due to a huge fire. Yesterday the entire nave was open and the interior is just beautiful. Georgia really loved it, although she said it was a little scary. She really didn't like going into the chapels off to the side of the nave, although the baptismal chapel won her over (due to the gorgeous stained glass in the ceiling).

Of course, I didn't bring the camera.

Got totally lost between St. John's and Michaels. For some reason I thought it was four blocks further west than it was. I had to stop under an awning during a particularly brutal part of the rainstorm and call Bruce to figure out where the hell it was. I couldn't find Whole Foods either, and by the time I called Bruce, Georgia was just crying and yelling "I WANNA GET OUT OF THE RAIN!"

So I was stomping around muttering "God-damnit, we will go to the craft store if it kills us!"

Poor kid.

Anyway, it turns out that Whole Foods and Michaels are in the same shopping center (duh) so I found them both. Wunnerful.

Georgia and I got some felt and glitter glue to make some pumpkins. I'm not sure if we're going to make three-dimensional ones, or cut them flat and make little pumpkin bags or what. But either way, it should be fun.

I should be able to get some photos of that.

The knitting

The knitting continued extraordinarily quickly last night. Bruce, Georgia and I watched Nancy Drew and I knitted.

I can't figure out whether or not to post pictures of this project, so I guess I'll hold off for the time being.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I'm going through some crazy nesting right now. I actually (gasp!) picked up a copy of Martha Stewart Living yesterday and (double gasp!) enjoyed it!

Although, I have to say that there is nothing that has gotten me glared at more than being the only white person on any given subway car in the Bronx reading the Martha Stewart magazine. Heh.

Anyway, I've been reading that, and Real Simple, and wanting to cook and clean and make crafts and all kinds of fun stuff.

Recipies! I want to make the parsnip bread pudding from Martha's mag... Of course the recipe hasn't been listed on the website yet. Sigh.

Anyway, today Georgia and I are are heading to the new Michaels in Manhattan, and to Whole Foods to buy some yummy dinner ingredients.

Oh, and I'm blowing through my mystery project. Which is cool because then I'll finish up the Featherweight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Museum of Art and Design

It was a total blast to take the docent tour last night as my first step. I love the stuff in that museum so much, and I think whomever is curating it is a total genius.

I cannot WAIT to take Bruce and Georgia back to see a bunch of the exhibits.

I'm still feeling a little exhausted (I got home late last night, I had some dental work done before I went to the museum, and the garbage men decided to back their trucks (with the accompanying loud beeping) down the street until midnight, and then brilliantly started it up again at 4am. yay)

Will write more later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Since I didn't have any knitting photos today...

Here's a few from my city. (actual knitting blogging going on below)
Afternoon sunlight at St. James Park in the Bronx:
Sunrise from my subway platform (in the Bronx) yesterday morning:
The view from Astor Place looking north at noon yesterday (Manhattan):
Doesn't the light on this photo make it look almost fake? It's crazy. The light yesterday afternoon in the city was absolutely perfect.
All three of these shots were from my camera phone. I'm LOVING the autumn light in the city this year.

Things I suck at (in knitting)

If I didn't qualify it, the list would be way too long for one blog post.

Ok. Things that I really really suck at:
1. Finishing. (including blocking and weaving in ends)

2. Counting.

I'm sure there are quite a few others. But those are the ones that bug me the most.

I really don't know what my problem is with the weaving in, but it's been nearly a year and I still can't do it worth a damn. I've researched on the internet, read, watched videos. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong.

And blocking. Oy. Don't even get me started. I think my main problem with blocking is patience. So I'm not quite sure how to change that particular aspect of my personality.

If anybody out there has any suggestions on books, or ways to improve those skills, I'd be much appreciative.

Featherweight Cardigan

This project is coming along nicely. I don't really have any more photos for you that could possibly be interesting to anyone, so I'll skip for today. I'm really enjoying the raglan shaping on the shoulders. The increases look awesome and are very pretty.

Mystery Project

It's a little frustrating because the REALLY interesting project that I'm doing right now, I can't really talk about in too much detail due to the recipient being a blog-reader.

But I will say that unlike the Featherweight, where I'm just sailing through with no problems what-so-ever, the mystery project is not quite going as well. I cast on and ripped out about 50 times because I couldn't figure out where the stitch markers went. Then I cast on, placed the markers correctly and ripped out because despite the fact that I was getting gauge with a size 2 needle, the fabric that I produced was crappy. It was just way to small of a gauge for that yarn. So I ripped everything back out and cast back on with a size 4, which makes me about an inch over gauge, so I had to do some fancy math to compensate.

On the plus side, I'm getting a lot better at the knitting maths.

Museum of Art and Design

Tonight (after a dental appointment, ugh) I'm going to be going to my first docent tour at the Museum of Art and Design. You have to go to somebody else's docent tour first, and then you have to go through a multi-person interview, and THEN you have to give a presentation, and THEN you have to take a test or something (those are all the steps I know about right now) before you become a docent there. Oh wait, I forgot about the motorcycle jumping through rings of fire and the acquisition of the golden fleece...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Old Friends

My lovely friend Sara Jane was in town from Peoria, IL this past week, and I had the great joy of hanging out with her today for lunch, and then this evening with my family.

Yes, folks, she braved the Bronx, and came out a better woman for it.

It was so good to meet her and to hang out. What a beautiful person. Now if only I can convince her to move here, damnit.

Here we are:

Fanny, I just want you to know, that I've given Sara Jane a gift that is for you, with the full intention that she'll hold on to it for two years before giving it to you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Few Photos

Here's me and my beautiful daughter and husband trying to stay warm on Sunday. The heat hadn't been turned on yet, and it was cold cold cold. Also, note the competing patterns on my child. She informed us, quite vociferously, that she matched because both the shirt and the pants had flowers on them, and they both had dark pink.

Here's some of the gorgeous Briar Rose yarn I picked up in Rhinebeck. Winding this yarn was a friggen disaster. It took Bruce and I a ridiculous amount of time to untangle it (I think five hours or so). Although, can I say just how blessed I am to have a husband who is willing to help me untangle 400 yards of yarn?

The yarn in a lovely little cake! YAY! And that's the last you'll see of this stuff, because it is about to become a Christmas present for somebody.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rhinebeck 2009 - New York Sheep and Wool

We had a total blast on Saturday. We saw a lot of the festival, but didn't get to all of it.

Georgia and I watched some sheep herding, and got up close and personal with some sheep dogs. They were rather awesome. Very friendly and sweet. Of course, I don't have any photos of that.

Then we got stuck in a bunch of really enormous crowds pretty much everywhere. I didn't take any pictures of that, as I couldn't even get my hand to my pocket for my phone (forgot the actual camera, go me!)

In one of the rooms, Georgia and I saw some weavers, and they let Georgia do some weaving. My child was totally obsessed with both the weaving and the spinning. I told her I would be completely thrilled if she wants to start spinning yarn for me. :)

She wants a full on spinning wheel. I told her we'd start with a spindle.

Here's Georgia weaving (She did all the green areas):

I also really wanted to meet Ysolda Teague (who I think I've mentioned multiple times on this blog). However, she was in disguise as "Bob" the Ravelry mascot. Here are Georgia and I with Ysoda/Bob

Here is a picture of my favorite sheep. He was very cranky:

Georgia was entranced with the llamas (or alpaca? I don't know which one this is) and got to pet a few of the very friendly ones:

And I bought a whole LOT of beautiful yarn from Briar Rose. Of course, I had to stand in line for 40 minutes to get it, but I think it was worth it. I'm starting my first project (a mystery project) with it tonight. YAY! Their stuff is soooooooooooo beautiful, and inexpensive. The people who owned the place were supernice too. I am more than happy to give them as much of my business as I can. I'll post some pics of the yarn soon. (oh, and it was all SUPER soft. And it wasn't all merino. I bought some of my first blue-faced leicester wool. Sweet!)

All in all it was a great experience. It was very overwhelming and there were tons of people there. I don't really deal well with crowds, and neither did my friend Brady, who graciously drove us up there. But we had a good time, and I'm very glad we kept our time there short, because I would have either strangled somebody, or spent way too much money, or both.

HAPPY day. Now I wanna go home and roll around in all my new yarn.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rhinebeck, the preview...

It is one of the great ironies in the world that in order to attend a festival that involves a great deal of knitting, absolutely no knitting can be done on the festival day.

Also, I saw absolutely NO ONE knitting. Nobody, none, nada.

That said, it was a blast. And one of the coolest things I saw was the parade of people wearing amazingly beautiful hand-knits. It warmed the very cockles of my heart.

I'll post some pics and write a better recap later today when I'm feeling a little bit more alive. Although it might have to wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Something to think about...

While I'm off petting sheep today at the New York Sheep & Wool thingy.

Dennis Dutton, a professor of philosophy of art in New Zealand has written a lovely op-ed in the New York Times about whether or not conceptual art is dead. (click his name for the link to the article)

In it, he talks about how much people love beautifully crafted items, and suggests that maybe the art world is returning to a (gasp) craft-based mode of high art.

Now isn't that interesting (she writes on her knitting blog)?

Discuss amongst yaselves... (with a Linda Richmond emphasis)

Friday, October 16, 2009

I am so boring today

Sorry. Exhaustion got the best of me last night.

I promise to post a few pics of me wearing the Damson soon. (I have it on today. It is faaaaaaaaaaabulous. Totally worth all the grief I gave myself over it)

And here's an incredibly uninteresting shot of the Featherweight in progress:

Woo! Try not to get too excited over that one.

Who's rockin the free world now, baby?

A couple of funny stories

For some reason our local Dominican grocery store was carrying 51oz bottles of Russian beer (Baltica Grade 9, to be exact). I have no idea why. The price was right ($2.25 for a bottle) so we picked up a couple, and we decided that my coworker Joe should have one, as he's a big beer drinker.

The next morning, I pack up the gigantic bottle of beer to take it into work for Joe, and set off down the street towards the subway. The bag I was carrying the beer in broke, so I find myself walking down the street at 7:30am carrying this enormous bottle of beer. People kept passing me going "YEAH BABY! Starting early today!"


Anyway, Joe was very pleased with the gift. I haven't heard yet whether or not he's had any.

And now it's time for the quotable Georgia:

Two days ago she had to wear her uniform pants to daycare rather than her uniform dress because all of her dresses were dirty. Georgia complained heartily about it that morning, but by the time I picked her up that afternoon she seemed perfectly happy with wearing them.

Later that evening, Bruce, Ella, Georgia and myself were all hanging out in the living room, and out of the blue, Georgia pipes up with "I hate these fricken pants and I'm not wearing them any more!"

BAHAHAHAHA... We were desperately trying not to laugh while telling her that she shouldn't say "fricken."


Yesterday morning, after a long night of being woken up randomly by stuff, Georgia walks into our bedroom first thing in the morning and declares, "I HAVE NIPPLES!"

ok. She goes on to inform us that "Daddy has nipples. Auntie Ella has nipples, and Mommy has boobs and whatnot."

Snort. I've been trying to figure out what constitutes "whatnot" but she won't say.

I am so tired

I think I'm about to fall over. This has been day five of not sleeping very well. Last night was due to a jackass whose car alarm is too sensitive parked right outside our apartment building. And then a jackass kept driving by with his stereo on so loudly that he was setting off all the car alarms in the neighborhood.

And then Georgia woke us up at 4am.

So no fun posts or pictures for you.

However, Saturday is RHINEBECK!!!!!!!!!! YAY! SHEEP! WOOL! YARN!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

Or, the Emperor's New Clothes, Architectural Edition
(caution. I may be swearing in this post)

Columbia University commissioned some architect or another to make a master plan for their campus' extension a few years ago now. I don't know how long ago, or which firm it was, but I'm sure it was a pretty big job. Columbia is in the middle of a large city, in a very diverse neighborhood, surrounded by some truly amazing architectural heritage (including the original campus itself). Creating a master plan for expansion of the campus had to have been somewhat of a nightmare.

Recently (in architectural terms), probably sometime in the past three years or so, Columbia hired Jose Rafael Moneo to design their new "multidisciplinary science tower" an addition on the west side of the campus. Moneo is a Pritzker Prize winner and he admittedly has designed some truly beautiful buildings in the past. My favorite is this one:

It's the Murcia Town Hall (according to Wikipedia).

It's not the most innovative design ever, but I like the use of matierals, I think the facade design really helps set off the gorgeous building to the left, and the color is rather nice.

About the new building on the Columbia campus, the former chair of the art history department at Columbia said: “This had to be great architecture in itself,” he said, designed both to “revitalize that area of the campus” and “integrate with the surrounding communities.”

Right. Great architecture. Click here for a photo of the building. (I can't post it because I don't want to get sued by the New York Times.) And here is a link to the original article in the Times.

I'm sorry peoples, but, this isn't great architecture. It is a GLASS BOX. And integrate with the surrounding communities? BULLSHIT! It's a glass box plunked down in the middle of a bunch of really beautiful beaux-arts buildings from the last century. How the hell does that integrate?

Did I mention that it's a glass box?

Did everybody in the architecture world drink the same Kool-Aid? I'm a bit at a loss. I can't tell you the number of glass boxes I've seen in the past few years that have been lauded as "revolutionary" and "brilliant."

WTF, mate? I just don't bloody well get it. (Can you tell I'm reading a lot of Aussie blogs lately?) I e-mailed my favorite architectural reviewer (Nicholas Ouroussoff in the New York Times, if you must know) and asked him to do a review. I'm hoping that he either savages the damned thing, or at least writes some compelling defense of it, so that even if I don't agree with him one little bit (because I don't think this stupid glass box is defensible), he'll at least make me think.

In actual knitting news

The Damson is now blocking. Here is a photo of that:

A few things about the Damson as it is now:

1. BOY did it ever grow when I washed it. Hoo hah! It got huge.

2. I'm sorry I completely forgot to take a pre-blocking photo of it. Duh.

3. I am a craptacular blocker. Need to work on those skills.

4. It is going to take FOREVER to dry. I really really really want to wear it tomorrow, but that will not be happening.

5. I got to use my blocking wires (hence the two actual straight edges), as they came just in time. I ordered them from Knit Picks back in August, and the stupid things only arrived on Tuesday. Stupid post office. The poor Knit Picks customer service people have been going crazy trying to figure out why I haven't received my wires.

6. Now that I have the blocking wires, I'm going to re-block a whole bunch of other stuff that I blocked and looks crappy because I didn't have nifty blocking wires to make actual straight edges.

Also, got a few more inches done on the Featherweight. But the photos of that will still be amazingly dull. I am, however, very much enjoying the way the increases look on this piece. They are coming together so satisfyingly.

I think I completely drained myself rushing to finish off the Damson the other night. I spent the last 20 rows FREAKING OUT that I was going to run out of yarn. That didn't happen, thankfully. Then I spent what felt like, oh, FOREVER doing the loopy edging on the thing. And while I was doing that, I was FREAKING OUT that I wasn't going to finish. Ever. Obviously I did.

And now that it's blocking (can you believe that it took me nearly two hours to block the stupid thing. And I STILL did a shittay job), I'm FREAKING OUT that it's not going to dry in time. OY.

Anyway, the Featherweight is a little more low maintenance. Instead of knitting like a madwoman today at lunch (seriously, I felt like the Damson was another full-time job. Why do I put pressure on myself like this), I actually took a walk. With a coworker friend. It was nice. She provided some good therapy for me, as I am currently being really effing cranky, and somewhat insane. I think I'm going to have to knit her something.

I also (gasp) didn't knit at home this evening. I blocked the Damson instead.

In other other other news...

Ella cleaned the entire apartment today and it is sparkly and clean and smells nice and wonderful and I can't find anything but I don't care because THE APARTMENT IS CLEAN and I didn't have to do it myself. WOO! Somebody remind me of this the next time I want to strangle her.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I will be wearing it to Rhinebeck! SWEET!

Pix to follow...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The damnable Damson is still getting in my way. I honestly do not know what in the hell is wrong with me. Two right side rows ago, I was was stitch under the count that I needed to be at, and on the last right side row, I was one stitch over. Damn(son)it. ARGH.

Anyway, I'm only about 10 rows from the end, so I just worked on making my stitch count correct through, um... cheating (adding and subtracting where I needed to) and will plow through the stupid thing so that maybe I can wear it to Rhinebeck this weekend. Where, as it just so happens, Ysolda Teague, the designer of the damnable Damson, will be. And then I can act like a totally slavish fangirl to one of my favorite designers. Heh.

That's pretty much it. I haven't had much time to knit on anything else as I'm desperately trying to finish up the Damnson.

I'll be diving into the Featherweight next. Woo! Less counting!

In other news

Completely non-knitting related, my sister-in-law, Ella, had Georgia at home today (as it is Columbus Day in the US) and they went to the Guggenheim where they sat in front of various Kandinsky paintings and drew. Georgia wasn't too fond of Kandinsky at first. She said it was "messy." Ella says that George warmed up to them after doing some drawings from his stuff, though.

Here is one of Georgia's creations and the Kandinsky that inspired it:

Georgia's interpretation of a Picasso (Ella helped with the spiral and the lettering):

The next drawing isn't from their Guggenheim outing, but it's one of my favorites of hers. Plus, it clearly delineates Georgia's complete immersion in her deconstructionist phase:

The drawing on the right is one that my friend Sachi did for Georgia while we were all bored waiting for our food at a restaurant. The one on the left is Georgia's interpretation of it.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Lots and lots of knitting time

After our incredibly long trek on Saturday, my little family was feeling pretty exhausted and decided to take it easy today. Bruce worked on his writing, which is awesome. Georgia and I played a bunch of the games that she got for her birthday, as well as made about 50 different kinds of art. She also took a three hour nap, which is a rarity now that she's turned 4.

This meant that I got quite a few hours of uninterrupted knitting time, and a few more hours of time split amongst knitting and various other things. WOO!


The Damson is almost done. I have less than 20 rows before it is complete, which is awesome. In the middle of row 89 I discovered a knot in the yarn and had to tink it back to the beginning and cut the knot out. That was a little frustrating.


I'm about an inch into the featherweight, which is nice. It's easy knitting and highly enjoyable right now.

Liesl the Second

After about a week (maybe two) of thinking on it, I may be past the heartbreak and ready to figure out what I'm going to do. So we'll see if I'm up to the task of laddering up the dropped stitches or if I'm going to just rip the entire thing and start over. But it has been percolating and I'm ready to move on.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Knitters Guild

Yesterday I went to my first Big Apple Knitters Guild meeting, which was very interesting and fruitful. I was probably the youngest person there by a good 20 years (if not more). Most of the ladies who were in attendance were retired. Adina, the creative director of Tahki Stacy Charles yarns was the featured speaker, and she brought along the fall trunk show for the yarns, which was lovely.

After her speech, I went to talk to her briefly about what kind of process designers went through to get published by a yarn company, and she assumed that I was a designer and started telling me how to submit things to her company and mentioned that I should send my sketches and swatches, that she was always looking for new designers, etc. Ok. So I guess I should get off my butt and start designing. I've had a design in my head for a sweater for about a week, so I suppose I should just go for it.

She said that after they look at a sketch, they then send the designer yarn (YARN! I feel much like Cookie Monster when it comes to yarn. YARRRRRRRRRRRRRRN!) and the designer then knits it up and sends the garment back. Sweet. Knitting. Free yarn. YUM.

And miles to go before we sleep

After the meeting I walked up to String, and extremely high-end yarn store on the Upper East side. They have some beautiful stuff in there, including most of the Tahki Stacy Charles yarns, so I checked those out (they're surprisingly reasonable, especially given that String carries them) and thought about various things I could make from them.

Then Bruce and Georgia met me at 86th and Lex, and we walked down Third Ave to 60th Street to take the tramway to Roosevelt Island. We walked the entire northern half of the island, saw the Octagon Tower and the lighthouse, decided that the island itself is its own special kind of hell, and went home. All in all about six miles of walking for me yesterday, and 4.5 for Bruce and Georgia. The kid was a total trooper.

The one good thing I have to say about the island is that it has some truly outstanding views of Manhattan. Here are some pix from our walks (all taken from my crappy camera phone, excuse the quality):

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Awesome new book

I just picked up Fairy Tale Knits at Borders. (Thank you 40% off coupons. Gotta love it) It's a gorgeous book with awesome patterns for kids between age 3 and 10.

When it came out, I was very excited because I've noticed a kind of dearth of patterns for kids in that age range. There are a few patterns for that age, but I've found that for the most part they are very dull. Not very exciting to knit, and kind of shapeless and blah.
I'm hoping that one of the patterns in here will be perfect for Georgia's navy blue sweater.
Plus I think she's totally going to dig the patterns that are in here. They're very cool. And I can keep making them as she grows.
Finally made it past row 76, which was very exciting. I think I ripped back to row 72 about 10 times. Last night I discovered that I had read the instructions for the wrong side (odd numbered) rows incorrectly and had been inadvertantly adding 2 stitches per row which of course threw me off count.
I cannot WAIT to wear this thing. Only 30 some odd rows to go...
My friend (and yarn store gigilo) Auffermann and I went to Seaport Yarns today to pick up some stitch markers. So now I can actually cast on for the Featherweight, as I needed quite a few more markers than what I originally had for the Damson. I'll be doing that tonight.
This is now my third Fettig pattern, and you'd think I would have learned from the first two that my gauge is vastly bigger than hers (or her test knitters) and that I wouldn't even bother trying with the needle size that she lists in her patterns. But of course, I did, and once again my test swatch was almost three inches too big. Amazing, isn't it? I thought from the Fettig patterns that I was a really loose knitter, but according to my local yarn store experts I'm actually a fairly tight knitter and that the Fettig patterns must be knitted super tight.
(for the non-knitters reading this, gauge is the measure of tension in your knitting. At the beginning of each pattern, the designer will usually give a gauge reading, like 24 stitches in stockinette by 36 rows = 4 inches. So when you go to knit the pattern you do a test swatch to see how closely your knitting with that particular yarn matches the designers and then size appropriately. If you don't do this, and your gauge is much bigger, then you could end up with a ginormous sweater, even though you followed the instructions for an XS.)
I have no way of verifying that one, as my test samples consist of exactly one knitter (me).
I went down three needle sizes and finally got gauge. She called for a size 6 (US) needle, and I'm using a size 3.
Last night I also read through the pattern, and it looks like a really fun knit, so this is going to be very exciting!

Friday, October 9, 2009

In other knitting news...

Somebody brilliant (and totally evil) came up with the idea of an NYC Yarn Crawl this weekend, which is an awesome idea. Plus, a 10% discount at most stores on the crawl. I'm going to have to go back to my favorites: Seaport Yarns, Annie & Co. and Knitty City.

I'm also going to my first meeting of the Big Apple Knitting Guild. I decided that in lieu of a regular knitting group, which I'm not sure I have all that much patience for, I should try out the knitting guild to get more involved in the fibre community.

Additionally, I'm thinking of applying to become a docent at the NYC Museum of Art and Design. Despite the fact that I absolutely abhor the architecture of the building it is in. Here's a pic of the ugliness:

I feel like that would be a very interesting way to get involved in the fibre arts community. I'm just not sure about the time committment. So we'll see.
The Damson
Well, I screwed up on another row yesterday, and had to rip most of the way back to the lifeline and reknit. So this is taking a while. Maybe it's just going to be a bit before I hit my groove on the lace section.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mes Mains are really gauche

or at least me brain...

I ripped all the way back to my lifeline yesterday. And then discovered that my lifeline hadn't picked up about four stitches, so I had to ladder them back up. I also had to teach myself how to ladder them back up while doing all of this. Yay. I ran a new lifeline. This time, while sitting in a nice, well lit, stationary conference room. Not on the subway. I think I've determined that maybe attempting to do delicate work such as threading a lifeline should NOT be done in a moving vehicle of any sort.

So I'm back at the beginning of the lace section. I hate it when you get all the way through a really tough row and discover, five stitches from the end, that you are exactly one off. Damnit.

A new project

Georgia has requested a navy blue sweater to match her school uniform. So now I'm off in search of a cute child's cardigan pattern and some soft yet machine washable wool.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Damson tu dis

Et moi, je suis
Mes mains sont gauches...

(a knitted item to the first person to correctly identify in the comments the thing I was punning on in my title. Bruce, you are excluded, simply due to proximity, and because you are my husband and probably receive 1/3 of all my knitted goods.)

I spent some lovely time on the subway and in Bowling Green yesterday knitting on the Damson, and I finally made it to the lace section. During the last 30 rows of the garter stitch section, I was flying without a net, and didn't use lifelines at all (or even put them in). When I counted row 72, I was dead on with the number of stitches I was supposed to have. WOO! YAY! I made it.

On to the lace section.

Despite my successes in rows 40-72, I did put in a lifeline at row 72, just in case the clumsy twit who can't count comes back and takes over my knitting for a while.

Here's a picture:

Featherweight Cardigan

Veronique is dead! Long live Veronique!

I will likely cast on for the featherweight tonight! YAY! I'm so excited to be knitting another Hannah Fettig pattern. This will make my third pattern of hers, and I've gotta say, so far I love her stuff. (I've done the Kindred Knits Yoked Cardigan (twice), and the Whisper Cardigan.)

The nice thing about her patterns is that so far I've found them extremely intuitive. I haven't had to stop and think "now why in the hell is she doing that?" while knitting from her work. Which is really really nice when I'm looking for something that is beautifully constructed and not challenging.

Plus her designs just flat out rock. I love the simplicity. If you were into high-fashion and couture in the 1990s, the minimalist look was very big during this time period. Fabrics were generally jersey, with some draping and interesting seaming, but for the most part, they were just gorgeously cut, embellishment-free pieces.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Not much knitting...

I've been exceedingly involved with my daughter's fourth birthday. Which has consumed every last bit of spare time from Friday evening on. No sewing, no knitting, pretty much no time to sit down.

My husband threw his back out on Saturday morning, so my daughter and I went out for her birthday present shopping together. No surprises for her. However she's not really at an age (or personality type) where she cares about such things.

She's been wanting a dollhouse for forever, so I went in search of one. We went to FAO Schwartz to start, and couldn't find anything that was even remotely reasonable (yeah, silly me), and it was crowded, so we loaded up on candy and headed out to another store. I was thinking about a boutique toy shop down on 15th Street, but that seemed just as expensive and silly, and it was raining and hot (weirdly hot). The weather channel had said it was going to be in the 50s (F) and rainy, so we dressed for that and the discovered it was in the 80s and rainy. Ugh. Massively overdressed.

So we started walking down Fifth Avenue and saw the Disney Store, and Miss Thang of course had to go in. Despite my personal feelings about Disney, I have to say the store is a pretty great place (as well as an excellent distraction, keeping Georgia from discovering the American Girl store a couple blocks down). I wasn't expecting to find anything for her, but amazingly enough we found this:

which she was (still is) over the moon for, and has all the princesses (not just Cinderella) and furniture. Perfect. It wasn't too expensive, she loves it, it's age appropriate (unlike most wood dollhouses), and so far has provided hours of entertainment for all of us (including the cat).

Awesome. Done and done.

We had her party on Sunday at the American Museum of Natural History, and then across the street at Central Park. We let the kids in attendance climb all over "the big rock" and bounce around to wear themselves out, and when it was time for the out-of-towners to go home, a few of us went to the Shake Shack (for the first time) and had some awesome burgers and fries. Here's the birthday girl (on the right) and her cousin:

Today I took the day off and hung out with the kiddo. We went to see "Cloudy With a Side of Meatballs" in IMAX 3D. After that we went to Big Nick's for lunch, Grom for ice cream, Knitty City for sanity (I fondled all the malabrigo, and contemplated my bizarre attraction to yellow yarn), and down to the Time Warner Center for Borders, Whole Foods and random other stores. For some reason Georgia insisted on going in Duane Reade (a drug store) and Williams Sonoma.

Oh, and we went to Sephora, where she insisted on looking at every single item of makeup in the store and tried Vera Wang Princess perfume.

All in all a good day.

Tomorrow, back to the crafting.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some inspiring news

My awesome friend J. has placed in two different photo contests, one for Islands magaize, and one for Caribbean Travel + Life.

I was so excited when I found the second on on the newsstand at Borders. I immediately bought a copy and flipped to her photos. My favorite is this one:

The colors are so beautiful. I kinda want to knit something with those colors now. And I love the almost Japanese look to the photo. It's just amazing.

So yeah, this one is definitely going into my inspiration file.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Art in every day life

The other night I was telling my husband that in knitting I finally feel like I've found my medium. I've played around with so many, and showed talent in a few, but not an overwhelming amount, and it generally hasn't been enough to actually make me want to pursue whatever it was I was doing. Over the years I've learned watercolor technique (respect to all those who work in this medium. It is a pain in the ASS), pencil and charcoal drawing, pen and ink (including sumi-e), and various acrylic painting types. I've sewn, quilted, embroidered and beaded. I've crocheted. I've played numerous musical instruments (piano, cello, french horn, percussion) and sung. I've danced (ballet, modern, tap, odissi). I enjoyed all of them. Ok, most of them. The french horn and watercolor were both beyond me in terms of ability. I also have dabbled in photography, but I can't really count that one as I can't focus a camera. It wasn't until recently that I discovered that is due to the fact that I have no depth perception. Thank God for autofocus.

I don't know why I resisted learning to knit for so long. Maybe it just wasn't the right time.

All of a sudden I've developed a deep interest in art theory. I'm guessing that it stems from the knitting, although it could come from my background in various other media.

I picked up The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda, which although it purports to be a business book, and can be found in the business section, really is more about design than about business. It's a beautiful little book, with some truly great analysis of things, including the best explanation of why we need white space in our designs that I've ever read. I mentioned this book in an earlier post, but I was only starting to read it. This book is awesome.

Secondly, I was going to pick up a copy of Design as Art by Bruno Munari today, as I had a $10 off coupon at Borders, however I read through some of it and decided that it wasn't really what I was going after in terms of art theory. It's got a very pretty cover though:

However I found mis-shelved next to it a book called The Accidental Masterpiece - On the Art of Life and Vice Versa by Michael Kimmelman. This book seems absolutely perfect. I shall report on it later.

I am not really interested in what art is. I am much more interested in the role that art (and creating it) plays in everyday lives.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I feel like I'm all growed up now...

I've been fighting with my complete antipathy towards the Veronique for a while. It's a gorgeous little shrug, and I really like looking at it, but I just haven't felt like knitting on it for quite some time. I started it July 1. I got halfway through the body and just quit. Here's what it looks like:

Cute, no? But I'm not feeling it. For a while I struggled with the possibility that it was my feelings towards the recipient that were preventing me from continuing, but I sat down with it tonight, read through the next few steps in the pattern, and realized that my reluctance comes from the way the sweater itself is constructed.

RIP (and ripped) Veronique. So Ella's getting a completley different sweater. I was thinking about making her a whisper cardigan, but I wasn't feeling that either. Here's a link to some photos. I've already made one, and I don't really feel like the pattern itself suits Ella.

See, this is the problem with knitting for other people. Not only do the yarn and the project have to match, but the person also has to match the pattern...

I decided on another Hannah Fettig project for this yarn for Ella. I'm going to do her lovely Featherweight Cardigan. Here's a shot of that one (off Ms. Fettig's website):

It's a super cute pattern, and I think I'm going to have a blast making it (even if I'm not too sure about her choice of colors for the sweater above, I think the pattern rocks). Ms. Fettig and Ysolda Teague are my two favorite knitwear designers out there. I can't wait to make something by Stefanie Japel, as I think her designs are awesome. I'm really interested to make some of her stuff to see how she puts her patterns together.

And my point is...

Oh wait. I had a point somewhere. ah yes, the title!

So it was a really really huge step for me, about ten years ago, when I first put down a book that I didn't want to finish reading. I'd never done that before. I had always slogged my way through whatever I was reading, feeling like if somebody had felt it had enough value to put it into print, then I should at least give it the respect to finish. Well, not after I put down that first book. Since then I have started and not finished all manner of books. Ok, probably not more than 10. I can't remember what the first book I didn't finish was, or what most of them were.

Did I have a point?

Yes! I remember it now.

My point with all of this is, I feel like this is a major step for me as a knitter. That I've grown to the point where I can now make a judgment call about a pattern, and that I don't want to continue on with it. HUGE step forward.

The next thing to work on is fit. That will be an entirely different post.

Friday, October 2, 2009

First Word Friday...

Thank you for the beautiful First Word Friday idea ( The story for the photo is in the comments.)

The first word for today is "Being"  All readers are invited to post their stories for the picture below on this blog in the comments section. I went first. If you visit the link above, you can register your own blog for this fun little meme.


Yep, I almost never give my posts titles, but I thought I might for this one. I've gone dun signed myself up for Blogtoberfest over at Miz Tinnie's website here:

This is going to be a LOT of fun, however, I'm kind of wondering what I've gotten myself into. I guess the good news is that I can schedule posts ahead of time on blogger, given my high levels of output recently. Or desired output. That is to say, I've been writing A LOT.

Plus, I now have links to like 150 new blogs of creative types of peoples, and that, my friends, is AWESOME.


Thursday, October 1, 2009


For the past few weeks I've been working on a post about creativity and its resurgence into my little existence here. It's taking me a long time to write, longer than pretty much any other short piece I've ever done anywhere. And it's a tough post. To write it, I've really had to do a lot of archaeology, and it's not something that I think should be done quickly.

But for now... I am finally starting to feel a little bit lighter. Recovery from the past year has begun. I feel freer than I have in a long time, and once in a while something overwhelmingly positive comes out of my mouth, which is a welcome change.

My family and I have had a very rocky past few years, which has made all of us stronger and closer. I am so thankful for that.

I'm learning to love process rather than product, and I'm thankful for that.

I'm learning about taking things more slowly, rather than blowing through life as if I'm running out of time... very thankful for that.

And because I'm a total idiot, I completely forgot to credit the above photo. It's from Aussiegall's beautiful photostream on Flickr.