Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Villane, she is done.

Here she is in her unblocked, no buttons glory:


On to the Travel Shawl and finishing up the Lettuce.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Prepping for Fall

To do:

  1. Wash and re-block all scarves and shawls.
  2. Actually block that silly Sizzler scarf that I redyed last year because the original colorway was so freaking hideous.
  3. Start gauging how I feel about knitting Christmas gifts. I don't deal well with knitting on deadline. Feh. And last year was... a failure. I think knitting for Christmas last year is what made me veer towards almost 100% selfish knitting this year. The feeling still hasn't faded.
  4. Get off my butt and start actually writing the design for Bruce's steampunk superhero sweater. (nice alliteration, eh?) I've been designing in my head long enough.
  5. Knit faster.
  6. Drastically increase ambient levels of awesome in my general vicinity.

Random shot of the kiddo grooving out in Union Square:

And random thought/gripe for the day:

Why aren't there more great knitting patterns for men and kids? I understand that people don't want to spend a lot of time knitting complicated sweaters for kids because they grow so darned fast, but so many of the kids patterns out there are just so deadly DULL. (yes, yes, I know there are some cute patterns (tiny tea leaves) out there. But seriously. Go do a pattern search for a kid's sweater for 4-6 years of age. It's a great cure for insomnia)

Ooh yay. ANOTHER stockinette/garter stitch cardigan. Woo.

The patterns out there for men's sweaters really aren't that much better. They're either supercomplicated cabled patterns which take approximately 10 years to complete, or incredibly dull stockinette/ribbed/garter stitch patterns that are remarkably straightforward (not in a good way) and don't have any interesting details or shaping. I see so many cool sweaters for men in stores, and yet quite a few (maybe even most?) of the handknit designs for men are boring.

Maybe this should be item number one on my designing agenda. Patterns that don't suck for men and kids. See? I even have my collection's title.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Progress on the Villane

Knitting News:

I've completed the body of the Villane. It doesn't look too differently from the pictures I took the other day. I just have the collar and button bands left and I might actually make my own self-imposed goal of completing it by the end of July.

The Lettuce is coming along quite nicely, and will probably be done in a couple of weeks. If keep it up at the same pace, sooner.

As soon as I'm done with the Villane, I'll start on the Travel Shawl. Hmm. Just noticed a theme in my shawls lately. Traveling Woman. Travel Shawl. Think maybe my subconscious is attempting to tell me something through my knitting? Or not. It's never been a great secret that I've got a fierce desire to travel.

Random Photo time:

On Tuesday night, this gentleman was making sand art in the middle of Union Square. About an hour later he was done, stepped back to admire his work, and some jackass wearing an iPod walked straight through the middle of it without even noticing what he had done. Ah, New York.

The light in NYC during the summer is amazing. Here's a shot of the late evening sun hittign a building down 16th Street from Union Square West:

Coffee Shop, which you can see on the corner on the left hand side, is quite good, but very spendy. Also trendy. I think one night we walked by and for some reason all of the (young and attractive) waitstaff was either shirtless (men) or wearing bikini tops (women). Another night the staff was all wearing Western themed shirts and cowboy hats. Anybody know the story on this one?

Random Thoughts time:

I'm thinking about upgrading my blog to Wordpress and (gasp) actually paying to have it hosted somewhere. Blogger is driving me crazy.

Which also kind of leads into my next thought. Bruce had suggested a while back that I start an online knitting publication. After a fairly long contemplation of this idea, I feel like this has been done really well by other people, such as Knitty and Twist Collective. Both of these publications are fabulous, and I'm not really seeing any need to compete with them.

However, I was struck by Hannah Fettig's idea of selling kits of her own patterns and suggested yarns, and I'm liking that idea quite a lot. I like how she's done it, and how she's quite specifically edited the colorways that she offers.

I'll leave it at that for a moment. I'm still fleshing out my own idea and I'm not sure I'm ready to talk about it (simply because it may be half-baked at this point), but it's definitely rolling around in my head.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's no lomsters and M&Ms...

But it is a better world. A world where Sweet Georgia yarn has come into my life, thanks to my dear sister-in-law, Ella and her fiance Ryan. Cashmere Sweet Georgia, no less.

cashsilk lace: 45% cashmere, 55% silk in botanical: (none of my cameras, not even the SLR, could get a good shot of this color today. Sorry)

superwash worsted: 100% merino in cypress: (the color is pretty true in this photo)

cashluxe fine: 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon in boheme: (colors are pretty true in this photo too)

Ella once again made a trip to Urban Yarns in Vancouver, Canada, which is rapidly becoming one of my favoritest stores ever in the whole entire world, and I've never even been there.

Thank you, Ella!

Also, I did a side-by-side comparison of photos from my Pentax point and shoot and Olympus digital SLR today (for the first time) and boy, does my ancient (at least 5 years old) little SLR blow my Pentax out of the water. The quality difference is mind boggling.

I don't seem to be having any problems with light and exposure and stuff with the SLR, however, I do have a pretty big problem with focusing it. Even when its on auto focus, out of 30 pictures, I'd say three were actually in focus.

Partially this is due to my lack of depth perception (I have none. I can't see traditional 3D movies, although the new digital 3D is better, as long as I sit close to the center of the theater, keep my head perfectly level, and don't move at all while watching. It takes a while to refocus after I take my eyes away from the screen), and partially due to not having used the camera much. Now that I have all the proper equipment, and know where to get batteries for my camera, I will be using it more frequently. So we'll see if this problem gets solved in the near future.

In knitting news, the Lettuce is coming along nicely, I'm almost done with the top part of the yoke. I'll be dividing for the sleeves and joining for the bottom part of the V neck shortly. It's progressing a lot faster than the other Hannah Fettig things I've knitted before. Maybe because I am more experienced/faster/better with the knitting? No clue.

You would think that after a year and a half of knitting, I would be able to remember which way M1R and M1L goes, however, I am apparently on crack, and have to look it up at least once a day while working on the Lettuce. Go figure.

I am less than ten rows away from having completed the body of the Villane, and am getting ready to do the button band. I tried it on last night and it looks awesome. I was thinking that it was going way too smoothly, and I was right. I discovered that I unevenly divided the ribbing. According to the pictures, I was supposed to have three ribs on either side of the sleeves, however, on three of the four sides I have two ribs, and on one side I have three. I think I can live with this. I really don't feel like ripping back to fix the problem, and I don't think anybody will notice. Maybe just other knitters.

And finally, a quote from Hobbygasa, who posted this comment on one of my blog entries the other day. It is cracking me up more than a week after she wrote it:

"My DH do not longer ask when I frog... He just say; oh so now you are finished reading the pattern and are about to start knitting."

Every time I rip back a stitch, I think about what her husband says, and just about die laughing. It makes the ripping process a lot easier. Thank you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A little knitting love... and a bathroom update

First things first. I know y'all are just DYING to know about the condition of my bathroom. Below is a picture of the ceiling over the toilet. Did I mention that I have house guests arriving tomorrow? Right now there is an incredibly chic and attractive black garbage bag covering the hole in the ceiling. Fortunately, our guests have stayed with us before and are fully aware of the joys of living in a 100 year old apartment building in the Bronx. And they are rather awesome people, so no worries there (hi Jen and Joey!).

Secondly I got to see my good friend Cara, from Roanoke, VA for the first time since we've moved to New York City. It was awesome to reconnect with her. We haven't had much time to talk because both of us have had an interesting (ahem, traumatic) past three and a half years. Cara is one of those awesome people with whom I can just pick up with after about 2 seconds like absolutely no time has passed what-so-ever. Which is unusual, because I am an extremely prickly person. Sometimes. Ok, most of the time. Whatever.

Here are Cara, Bruce and Georgia on a street somewheres in the LES.

I started the Lettuce pullover yesterday. Though I suppose mine is more of a carrot. Anyway, no, Villane, I am not cheating on you, I promise. It is merely that you are too heavy to carry around, and having you in my lap in 100 degree heat just isn't that pleasant. Also, you require brains, which are in short supply right now. The Lettuce just doesn't demand that much of me. Plus, you know, I can knit on the Lettuce when I'm pretending to be social around people other than my family. And can actually, if I so choose, converse while working on it. I can also stop mid row (as you can see below) and not worry too much about picking back up again.

The Villane is actually looking like a sweater now. Damn, but this thing is WARM. Hoo hah. Can't wait to wear it when the weather gets colder:

I took my friend Randa to Knitty City (KC) yesterday because I needed another size of crochet hook and some stitch markers. Those smart smart (evil) people at KC have placed giant bins of Malabrigo right next to the checkout area, and I couldn't resist. I had a tough week (though yes, Bruce, things did get a lot better on Friday). Malabrigo makes everything better. Or if it doesn't make everything better, it at least tries really hard. Anyway, Randa was seduced by Knitty City. Yarn stores are a very sensual experience. I offered to teach her to knit. She thought that might be a good idea. So this will happen soon and I think she'll enjoy it. I'm trying to sucker other people into learning to knit (I'm talking to you, K) so they will understand the true joys of the craft.

Anyway, I picked up two skeins of Mal lace in Noviembre. Love the colors. Don't know what I'm going to knit with it yet.

As I was checking out, I mentioned to Pearl (the owner of KC) that I had a tough week and that I needed the Malabrigo, and she gave me the super cute reusable KC bag in the picture below. Once again cementing the fact that the people at KC are the NICEST yarn store folks in the whole entire city, and that I will continue to spend my money there on a regular basis, simply due to the fact that they are awesome. The bag, by the way, is large enough to hold a sweater project, or alternately, three large loaves of bread, which I picked up for a grilled cheese party at my friend Katie's apartment last night. Grilled cheese is good. Hanging out with friends is good. Both of these things went a long way towards making my week quite awesome.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A slight change in plans

Current knitting:

Villane sleeves are now actually done, and yesterday I attached them to the body. Then I read the pattern and got totally intimidated. I'm supposed to do raglan increases, cabling and short rows all at the same time? I can't even COUNT! How am I supposed to be able to do this? But carry on I must. For I love this sweater and I can't wait to wear it. And it might even get done before the weather cools off. (I'm really hoping to have it done in July. We'll see.)

Future knitting:

I have decided to turn my planned Wispy Cardi into a Lettuce Pullover (same designer, Hannah Fettig) from the Fall issue of Knitscene. Hannah is selling kits for this sweater (and some of her other designs) at her online store. Pretty awesome. Here is a picture:

Here is a refresher on the yarn I'm going to use (knitpicks shadow kettle dyed):

Also, I spent some time yesterday winding the yarn for this project:

The Travel Shawl from Veronik Avery's book Knitting 24/7. I fell in love with this shawl, and I think this is the very first time I have ever used the same yarn in the exact same color as what the designer specified. It's gorgeous. The wool is Peace Fleece from Maine (!) and is 70% merino and 30% mohair. The company has a really cool story which you can find here. Anyway, so far I love this wool. It feels a little rough, but honestly that's a bit of relief after my 100% malabrigo, soft soft soft all the time Villane experience. I like a bit of texture to my wool and this stuff feels awesome. It's kinda soft and kinda not, and feels great between my fingers. I hear that it softens A LOT after a few washings, so I'm really looking forward to seeing this shawl age.

Here are a few shots of the yarn cakes:

The color is Father's Gray and it's really gorgeous. It has tiny little flecks of green in it, which you may be able to see in the photo below.

A side note: this post is taking much longer than usual due to circumstances beyond my control. Said circumstance is that it is currently raining rather hard in my bathroom. Right over my toilet. Which means that I have to use an umbrella to go to the bathroom.

Yee haw.

The plumbing emergency just got worse... I'll be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's hot for Fall. Apparently.

We have a coat hook by our front door, and upon it scarves and various other items of fall related clothing have gathered.

I noticed a theme. Yep. The official fall colorway in my household is:

What's scary is that since I took this picture, I can think of at least three other items of clothing that I've either made or purchased that are in these shades. Heh.

(no, I didn't make the gray sweater (secondhand store. $2). Although I do love it. And will probably make one at some point in the near future)

And yes, Mom, I did remove the knitted items from the hooks so that they don't stretch out or get weird lumps.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bargain Book Bonanza

But first, some thinly sliced cucumbers:

Ok, now that the pretty food moment is over, I found this book at B&N for $6.98 (all prices are in USD unless otherwise stated. Which isn't likely because I don't think I'll be going out of the country any time soon). It's from the blogger who does Yarnstorm. I did not know about Yarnstorm until I picked up her book. It's very very pretty, and calming at night as I read it. Plus, she's got some AWESOME projects - knitting, baking, sewing, and otherwise. (also, I saw this book on sale for $9.99 at Williams Sonoma, so if you're not near a B&N, a WS will do)

I found this book - also for $6.98 at B&N. Which rocks, because I've been really wanting a Built By Wendy book, and they're usually in the $25 to $30 range. And in that range I usually buy knitting books (with Borders Bucks and major coupons). It particularly rocks because this book is about sewing with stretchy fabrics and using a serger (which I have, and shamefully have never used, not once, since my awesome husband bought it for me for Christmas more than four years ago. Boy, do I suck sometimes.)

Anyway, the above book particularly rocks because I am lusting after this dress from the Garnet Hill catalog, and honestly haven't spent $48 on a piece of clothing in, oh, forever. (it was in 2008, and I used a $50 gift card to buy a pair of jeans from Banana Republic. Thank you Jen BuckDaniels!) And I can totally make this:

Today at Borders, I bought these books for $5.99 and $7.99 respectively. Happy for No Reason because, as I said in a comment on Perches blog today, the cover is yellow and it has the word Happy on it. And happy for no reason? That almost NEVER happens to me. (ok, it happened once when I was pregnant with Georgia. I was suddenly filled with a total sense of well being and happiness for about ten minutes. It was awesome.) It will be an interesting social experiment. On myself. Also, I'm a total sucker for self-help books:

And I got this one, because I've been wanting to try out a Nigella book, and I like the words "Feast" and "celebrate life." Also I'm a total sucker for cookbooks. In the interest of total disclosure, you could probably make that sentence more true by eliminating any qualifier around the word "book."

Plus, Nigella and I have similar coloring.

Anyway, the Villane is going well, although I discovered that I screwed up a wee bit. You know, it's probably good to do one of the following two things:
  1. Read the pattern. I hear this is helpful. Oh, and then after you read it, check it again as you approach major completion points.
  2. Listen to your husband (a non-knitter) when he says things like "Gee, that sleeve looks really short. [I show him the picture of the sweater on a model] Huh, maybe the model has really short arms. Look, the cuff is halfway down her hand in the photo. I think your sleeve is too short. No? It's not too short? You followed the pattern? Really? Ok. Well, you're the knitter."
Yeah. So it is today, a good four days after I "finished" the first sleeve that I actually, you know, read the directions and it said to do five repeats of charts B1 and B2 after the one repeat of chart A. I had remembered the instructions as "do five repeats total, including chart A."

oops. Yeah. So sleeve one is about five inches too short. Maybe less. It's too short, regardless. Also, I have really long arms.

Sleeve two needs 1.5 more repeats to be actually complete. And one more repeat for sleeve 1 to finish that one. Sigh.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I used my birthday money at a 40% off sale (a LYS is going out of business).

17 skeins of Mirasol Sulka, 60% merino, 20% alpaca, 20% silk, and at least 20% awesome. Which adds up to 120%, but this yarn is so sexy that the math totally makes sense.

Look at the halo on this sucker:

Big sexy pile of yarn:

Georgia, as usual, got into the act:

I'm thinking about making this:

(owls (rav link) by kate davies, photo courtesy of the designer via Ravelry)

or this:

(buttony sweater (rav link) by Katie Marcus)

In other news, almost done with other sleeve for the Villane, so should start the shoulders this week!

In other other news, started swatching for Ella's wedding dress. It's going to be beautiful. Also, it really helps when you read the instructions. Also also also, I think the yarn that the designer specified wasn't really worsted (it's now discontinued, so no way for me to check) and the crochet hook she specified is more suited to sock yarn than to worsted yarn (I've tried both).

I've been crocheting for a really really really long time, and picking it up again has been easy and weird. Because I'm so utterly knitting oriented now, crocheting just feels...strange.

Anyway, the crocheting goes quickly, and I don't think its going to take that long to make the dress. A few months. I'm planning on doing a couple of motifs a day, and that should be plenty.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pros and Cons

Pro: It is my birthday!

Con: I am at "the office."

Pro: I am getting a LOT of Villane knitting done on the subway.

Con: I am at "the office."

Pro: I got to go to Fiancier Patissserie to get a mini chocolate mousse for my own birthday cake (lunch treat).

Con: can't really think of any cons to that one.

Sleeve number two of the Villane is rapidly approaching done. I am on track to finish the sweater by the end of July!

Also, for whomever comes to NYC within the next few.... REMIND me to to take you all to Financier. It is amazing. yum.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh hey! TODAY is my Blogiversary!

I thought it was tomorrow... heh. Oops. Well, I'm good at forgetting things, such as my own birthday (on the day it happens and all. Sometimes I won't remember until late morning).

And I've almost hit 200 posts (that should be the end of this week if I post every day)!

I suppose I should have some sort of giveaway, but as many people who know me well know, I suck HARD at actually giving gifts on actual dates for actual things (yes Mom, Jorie, Auffermann... anybody else I've missed for birthdays, anniversaries, oh, Christmas, etc). So the way I operate is that I'll probably have my blogiversary giveaway in October. Or maybe November.

And absolutely no knitting pictures for today. I started the second sleeve of the Villane. Not much exciting there. Three inches of ribbing and all 10 rows of Chart A. Woo.

So here's a shot of Georgia on the embankment over the rose garden at the NYBG:

Monday, July 12, 2010

This is why I'm hot

No, it's not just because I am fly. (In case you're not indeed fly, my reference can be found here. This song was HUGE in my hood a couple years ago.) It is because I am modeling a freakin malabrigo sweater in 90 degree weather in the middle of July.

The Villane sleeve (first is nearly done. Only six more rows to go):

Still life with cat butt:

And then Georgia decided to get into the act (she is lying on top of the sleeve):

And a moody photo of the kid taken at about 9pm last night:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Working on the Villane Again

After the um, well... four projects I've cheated on the Villane with, I've been back to working on it. And working on my attendant fear of cables, I'm a little over halfway through the right sleeve. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it when I had daylight today, but instead, some more pix of the Botanical Gardens:

Some beautiful rot:

Rose that looks almost like a water lily:


(I think) the best photo of the few hundred I took today:

A wild baby bunny who graciously posed for me:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Finished: Waterfall Lace Scarf

Finished it last night. It moved pretty darned quickly (even with a break due to the hands):

Yarn: Aussi Sock in Fall Melody
Pattern: Helen's Waterfall Lace Scarf (Rav link)
Needle: Size 5 US

A shot of the rare Virginiabeast (with appropriately beastly hair) who graciously consented to model the scarf despite the insanely hot weather.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The weekend

I'm exhausted. Someone accidentally spilled boiling soup on Georgia at a party last night (Happy Fourth of July to us) so we ended up at the emergency room. She's ok. Happily playing right now, and doesn't seem to be in too much pain, amazingly enough. Tough kid.

Anyway, here are some photos from our weekend.

Hands are feeling better, so knitting started up again.

A sculpture made entirely from film:

Sign of the recession (store banner, totally shredded):

Yarn bomb:

Never seen this building from this angle. Had no clue the back side was blue:

Our friend John kept getting attacked by butterflies (and as he said, in his own "obituary," moments later was tragically trampled by unicorns). Butterfly is on his back: