Monday, July 25, 2011

Rainy Day Book Review

Today is a rainy day in lovely Astoria, and I'm home sick with a nasty tummy bug. So to comfort myself, I've been knitting (on the second endless Breezy sleeve) and watching knitting videos.

I've become a fairly big fan of Interweave's videos (especially when they're on sale), and picked up the Introduction to Fair Isle with Eunny Jang, and Knitting from the Top Down with Wendy Bernard from the digital downloads a while back. On sale. A lot of sale. I really, really want to get the Reversible Cables with Lily Chin one, but it is $30, which feels a lot steep, and I haven't seen any good sales, discounts or coupons lately (hint, hint, Interweave, ahem).

However, today I've been watching the Sock Knitting Master Class video that came with the book, and it is awesome.

Sock Knitting Master Class: Innovative Techniques + Patterns from Top Designers

While a lot of the information in it is basic, I learned a great deal about knitting technique (even that which has nothing to do with socks) from it. Plus, Ann Budd is really really cute. I was mentally compiling a list of Ann Budd quotes while I was watching the movie, such as:

"Kitchener stitch: It's that easy!" (said in the style of an infomercial)


"There's nothing worse than running out of yarn on a bind-off. Well, there are plenty of worse things, but we won't talk about those today."

I've been reading Ann's blog since her first post, and she's got a wonderful warm writing voice. Also, she's currently knitting through all of the socks in Sock Knitting Master Class, in a kind of KAL with a bunch of other folks from the Interweave boards. (which, honestly, I never read. Ravelry is more than enough for me.)

Anyway, the book has some gorgeous patterns, and with the accompanying video is well worth the price of admission. I imagine super experienced knitters wouldn't get all that much out of the video, but the patterns... some of those socks are downright sexy, with all kinds of fun technique and stuff.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is that Mistress of All Things Yarn, Clara Parkes, writes a sidebar with each pattern about the types of yarn that would be most appropriate for it. She discusses the differing qualities of the yarns and why smooth yarns may be more suited than fuzzy yarns (or vice versa).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More pictures of Astoria

Last night Georgia and I went out on a little photo walk through Astoria park, and got some pictures of the two bridges and the East River.

The RFK Bridge (nee, Triboro):

I particularly like this shot:

The Hell's Gate Bridge:

And this shot is a favorite:

The Hell's Gate Bridge is particularly massive. Each of its trusses is huge, and they make the RFK bridge look almost delicate in comparison. In the second photo from the bottom, I wanted to show the scale of the bridge, with the light post in the frame for comparison.

The last photo is a favorite shot of Georgia's, as she says it looks like the bridge is cracking.

This shot, from Wikipedia, shows how close the two bridges are, RFK on the left and Hell's Gate on the right:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Seduce Shawlette

I finished up the Seduce Shawlette today and got some lovely photos of it (if I do say so myself).

The yarn is pretty awesome to work with, despite the fact that it is, technically, a novelty yarn. It looks really pretty knitted up, and looks great in this pattern. Additionally, it wasn't splitty, and the nylon wrapped construction really helped keep everything together. As far as the feel on the hands, it was a little rough at times, but that was mostly when I was knitting in 100 degree F (38C) heat.

Speaking of the heat, one thing that it is very good for, is blocking. When I blocked the shawl, I didn't even bother to wring out the excess water. I just pinned it and left it sitting out on our terrace in the afternoon for about 20 minutes. It dried superfast, which was particularly awesome, as it was near instant gratification for photos.

Here are the details:

Pattern: Seduce Shawlette (in-store pattern from a yarn store in Oregon, the TSpot)
Yarn: Berroco Seduce in Dreams
Needles: US6 - 4mm

My lovely model, Georgia, was exceedingly cranky about having her picture taken. I might try to convince her again, but I have no idea if it'll work.

To my friends across the sea...

(photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

We're mourning with you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cheating on my Breezy

Last night I finally got fed up with the neverending sleeves, so I wound up some Berroco Seduce (Colors) and started knitting on a shawl (my rav link) my mother fell in love with.

It's from a store pattern, and I'm a little weirded out by the shawl's cast on, and initial rows, but c'est la vie.My mom likes it, she got me the yarn and pattern, and I shall knit.

Here it is thus far:

The stitch pattern is really pretty, but again, I'm not thrilled about the beginning of the shawl. I might rewrite the pattern a wee bit to be a little more sensical. Then again, maybe it will block out.

Then again, again, I'm not sure that patterns that need extreme blocking in order to look somewhat normal are really something I'm thrilled about.

Anyway, it's a fun and pretty stitch pattern, and I'm enjoying the break from endless stockinette. All is well.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Sleeves That Never End

I am getting so bleeding tired of working on my stupid Breezy Cardigan, that I'm starting to really dislike knitting. The sleeves are going on and on and on and on... Anyway, all this means that it is time for another project.

While I am deciding on that, I will give you some photos that I took recently of my neighborhood, and at least one knitting related item. I know. Don't faint. There is actual knitting-related content in this post other than me whining about knitting endless stockinette sleeves in lace weight yarn on DPNS and being completely and utterly BORED.


The Lion Brand Studios store window. It's the tradtional tacky NYC tourist postcard (which I love) done up in knitted items!

The Triboro Bridge (now the RFK Bridge, I guess) at night, overlooking the Astoria Park pool.

Another shot, in B&W. Love the light pollution haze coming from Manhattan. You can really see it in the B&W.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy birthday to me!

Madelinetosh tussah silk lace 1000 yards

Posting from my phone, apologies for short text.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Manhattanhenge (pix heavy, but no knitting)

Last night was Manhattanhenge, when the setting sun lines up perfectly with Manhattan's street grid. It's a pretty awesome sight, and this year Georgia and I got to watch it from Queens. We were running along the waterfront on Hallet Cove near Socrates Sculpture Park trying to find a spot that lined up with the grid. Finally found one, about two seconds before the sun dipped below the horizon. And then my stupid camera wouldn't focus... fortunately it has a fast shutter speed.

Out of focus, but I thought it was still pretty damn cool.

Finally got the shot!

The last of the sun.
 We then went into the park and I got a sweet shot of the kiddo in the falling light. Amazing that she stood still long enough for me to catch this one.

Georgia and I also found some awesome street art (or graffiti, if you will) on our walk to the waterfront, on 30th Ave near Main Street:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


My work on the breezy came to a screeching halt this weekend when I got to the sleeves. I've been using addi clicks, lace needles on this sweater, and while running the stitches over the truly craptacular joins on the needles was annoying for the body of the sweater, it became completely unbearable when attempting to magic loop the sleeves. 

(By the way, I will be posting a side by side comparison of the addi clicks, Knit Picks interchangable and hiya hiya interchangeable soon)

So I went to my knitting needle collection to dig out a pair of DPNs. None in size six. Sigh. I decided to break out the KP interchangeable needles to magic loop, because at least the join is decent on those. Nope. No cables in the size I needed, because all of those cables had broken because of the crappy glue used between the cable and the ferrule. Sigh. I do not have to matching pairs of size six circs, so I couldn't use that method either.

I tried to knit another row on the addis and nearly threw my knitting across the room. Obviously, it was time to stop.

Yesterday I went out to Seaport Yarns, which is near where I work, and picked up a pair of metal hiya hiya DPNS, and as I was complaining about my interchangeable needle issue, the owner handed me a set of the hiya hiyas and told me to take them home and try them out. SWEET!

Anyway, I've now worked on the sleeves with the DPNS, it's looking ok. I'm not really thrilled with the laddering problem between each needle, but I'm not sure there's really any way to avoid that when working with lace yarn on size 6 needles.

I haven't knit with the hiya hiyas, but I will finish up the ribbing around the collar and front edges of the sweater with them, and leave the addi clicks for bigger yarns that won't snag quite as much.

Sorry for the no pix post today... I'm away from my camera at the moment.

Also, my blogiversary, birthday and wedding anniversary are coming up on the 14th, 15th and 17th, respectively. (two, 35 and seven, also respectively)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Plugging Away

I seem to be plugging away at a number of things recently: unpacking, working, finishing up my Breezy Cardigan.

We are making progress with the unpacking, but so far, the balcony/terrace/veranda/patio/whatever is the only place in the apartment that is not at all chaotic.

The view from the balcony. We have a cheery red patio umbrella! The tall buildings in the distance are at the intersection of Astoria Blvd and 21st St. for those who are interested in such things.
Bruce has done an amazing job of putting away and reorganizing our rather gargantuan collection of books. So yes, the books are mostly put away. For now.

There really isn't *that* much left to do, just finding places to put all of the stuff we have sitting around. It's not a huge job, just annoying. And tiresome.

Anyway, my new commute offers me exactly zero time for knitting, which is frustrating. Ok, that's more of an understatement. It is driving me absolutely freakin bananas.

However, I have managed to get the body of the Breezy Cardigan done:

Georgia also joined me on the balcony for the brief photo shoot, but she insisted on making weird faces the entire time. However, the light out there is gorgeous today:

You can just see my landlord's garden behind her. He's this lovely old Italian gentleman, who lives with his incredibly elderly mother. They grow grapes, figs and garlic in the back yard. His mama braids the garlic in the old school way, and gave us some when we moved in. YUM.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Done moved.

We moved successfully from the Bronx to Astoria this past weekend. Amazingly enough, it was accomplished in a single day. And now we are exhausted and trying to reorganize a three bedroom apartment into a two bedroom apartment. However, the large balcony is nice, and I love our new hood. The neighbors are lovely and have introduced themselves, which is a rarity for us. In the Bronx we only knew about four of our neighbors.

Anyway, it's nice here. Georgia and I have been camping out on the balcony all morning because it's been sunny and warm.

I may actually get over my sleep deprivation sometime soon. Within the next few days, I hope.

And yes, I know exactly where all of my yarn, knitting books and needles are.