Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Appreciate the Small Things

I just finished reading Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman. There are a couple of passages from this book that I love and I thought I would share them here. For you non-knitter's out there, these passages apply not only to knitting, but also to life, so read on...
Inspiration is unsettling to a degree. If not pinned down immediately by being worked on... it melts away like morning dew and is lost forever.

What? You can't knit in the dark? ... Shut your eyes. Knit one stitch. Open your eyes and look at the stitch; it's all right.... If, when your eyes are shut, your left thumb or right needle sends your a message that it is up against something funny, it probably is... If you are in the car in the dark, hold your knitting up against the light of your headlights on the road and fix matters.... If your driver, noticing your struggles, offers to turn on the inside light for a moment, you are in luck, and have allied yourself to an A number one spouse.
The first quote I like mainly because it seems so true, at least for me, and EZ consistently puts things so eloquently that I wonder why she is more famous for her knitting than her writing (or why not both?).

The second quote I like more for the small statement at the end. I find it at the same time inspiring and saddening to hear of people who actually appreciate the little things in their relationships. I don't think many people do... maybe I am wrong though. My ex used to say I only heard what I wanted to hear, in music, movies, books, etc., and this is probably true. To me, this passage is not about knitting in the dark but about the appreciation for the small things that someone does for you. This same ex is the one that would have offered to turn on the light for me, as I would for him. This seems like such a long time ago now... and I will never be able to understand why he is an ex.

Monday, October 30, 2006

An Accomplishment

A trainer at my gym (that I chat with occasionally) told me I look happy...

Added!

I was added to the Knitting Bloggers Ring! The link in my sidebar is now working. Thanks Julie!
[blog ring no longer available]

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lace Baby Blanket


Near the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge after the Rhinebeck Festival



Pattern Notes
Breeze Lace Baby Blanket from Karabella

Yarn: Karabella Breeze (40% cashmere; 60% silk)
Colors: #26 pink
Needles: US 5 circulars & size E crochet hook
Gauge: 20 sts and 36 rows = 4" over lace pattern
Care: Hand wash in mild soap. Lay flat to dry.

I started this project sometime after my August trip to Maine where I bought the yarn. I finished it in early October and was only waiting to post it until after I gave it to its new owner, Maura, who is due in about 2 weeks. I spent a lot of time early on "tinking" and if not for that, it would have probably taken only about a month or so (also, while it was my main project at the time, it was not my only project).

I didn't make any modifications to this pattern, other than repeating the lace section only 21 instead of 24 times. The pattern called for only 5 balls of Karabella Breeze (which I finally found at a shop in Camden, and have never seen in person before or since), but I never would have been able to do three more repeats with what I had left. The blanket is more than large enough anyway.

I highly recommend both this pattern and this yarn (and no, I do not work for Karabella Yarns). I saw it knitted up at Saratoga Needle Arts laying across a baby's cradle and I loved it. I bought the pattern there, but I can't remember seeing the yarn there. They probably have it and I was just not ready to buy it at the time or something.

This was my first somewhat complicated lace pattern and while it took a lot of "tinking" at first, I was able to learn the pattern eventually (although not memorize it since it's a 12 row repeat and I have a terrible memory). The yarn is definately worth the price, although if you want to do all 24 repeats (36 more rows than I did), I recommend buying an extra skein. It is so soft and luxurious to work with and definately will feel nice against a baby's skin. I think it got even better when I blocked it after first washing it in some mild soap (actually I used Victoria's Secret Gentle Affection Lingerie Wash). It smelled so good for a while after I soaked it.

Patterns & Books

I can't wait for Stephanie Japel's new book Fitted Knits. I have admired her knit designs for a while now and I read her blog regularly. I have been wanting to knit the Simple Knitted Bodice ever since it was released, but with Christmas coming it isn't high on my list (since I would be knitting it for myself). But I love seeing other people's versions on the KAL.

Tonight I went to Michael's craft store to attempt to find something to use my 40% off one item coupon on that I got from the Knit Out. Most of the time I don't find much there. I don't often buy that type of yarn (although Paton's SWS is tempting me) and I figured if I could only use it on one item, I should buy something a little more expensive than any one skein of yarn would be there. They also rarely have any knitting books that I don't already have or that I actually want. But tonight I found Nursery Knits. This is such a cute book. For the few kiddie projects I have done, I have used either single patterns that I have bought or something from one of my many magazines (which I will soon be selling on Destash). But I am at that age where friends are pregnant or will be soon, so I thought I should have a book of cute baby/kids patterns. My favorite in this book are the kitten and puppy sweaters, the ducky outdoor snuggle, and the zoo toy bag.

I have also looked at Cables Untangled a couple times since it came out. It is tempting me, but more because of the 2nd half of the book which has so many beautiful cable motifs. They are even better than many of the ones in the patterns section of the book (although there are a couple of patterns that I wouldn't mind knitting either). I am more into lace than cables right now though. I say this only a few days after having started the Frost Jacket (which is somewhat intricately twisted and cabled).

Unfortunately, I am still on the hunt for the perfect lace pattern. I think I mentioned this is another post. I love lace that is an all over very openwork pattern with a nice border. Specifically, I am looking for some sort of long rectangular shawl (not triangular). Anyway, I haven't found the perfect thing yet, and maybe I never will. I did design (on paper only) a few lace patterns months ago and haven't actually knitted them (not even swatches!) to see if I really like them. I might try that soon since I am not finding the perfect pattern.


I love the beautifully cabled socks that KnitAnon designed. I can't wait until she releases the pattern!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rhinebeck

I went to the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival yesterday in Rhinebeck, NY. The hour and a half drive up there was beautiful with the newly turned leaves, but somewhat boring since I was driving alone. This festival was much larger than the last one I went to. This wool was one of the first sights I saw after arriving.


Isn't it beautiful?

There were lots of sheep...



and llamas and alpacas...



I bought 12 skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted and got 2 skeins of Paton's ChaCha for free. The Lamb's Pride was really cheap ($4.65/skein!) because it was not first quality, and therefore the dye lots were not guaranteed. My project originally calls for Manos del Uruguay, but to do the project in that yarn would cost well over $300! So, I am going to swap skeins every few rows, as is suggested for Manos, to account for variability in dye lots (although these skeins seem very close in color to my color-trained eyes). I have absolutely nothing to do with the ChaCha. I rarely use "fun" yarns, but hey, it was free. I chose it over Fun Fur of the same brand because it is very silky and I will probably be more likely to find a use for it at some point. Or maybe it will be Destashed....



I also bought some very rare wool in white and brown to make a hat. I was told that there are only about 133 of this type of sheep left in the world. The vendor had it knit up (by machine) into a Norwegian snowflake patterned hat. The yarn is not very soft but I loved the way it looked knitted up, so I thought I'd try to find a similar pattern somewhere.

I also bought some 100% rayon yarn that was so luxurious feeling that I thought it was silk at first. I should have known it wasn't silk (or at least not 100%) since not even silk is as smooth as this yarn is, plus it was only $8 a skein (!). I bought 920 yards so it will probably make a nice lace shawl or something.



I walked past Amy Singer and instantly recognized her. I walked up to her and told her how much I love Knitty. She told me to stay for a minute and I thought she was talking to her friend who had just walked up. It turned out she wanted to give me this "i heart knitty" button because I had said the magic words... I didn't even know there were magic words! Thanks Amy!



I saw 6 different Clapotis at the festival. At first, I didn't notice it. Then I told one girl how beautiful hers was and she mentioned that everyone was wearing theirs today. I told her I hadn't noticed, but after that I saw 5 more! The first one that I saw was definately the best. Yarn and colorway choice definately make a difference.

I also bought a couple small bags of lavendar at the festival, which I hope to use to make some sachets for Christmas gifts.

On my way home there was a rest area by the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge where I stopped to try to take some decent pictures of my lace blanket. I think I got a couple good ones and I will post them in the next few days. I am sure you are all waiting with baited breath...

I cast on and knit about 10 rows so far on the Frost Jacket from Knitting Nature. I love this book, but this will be the first pattern I have made from it since buying it months ago. Many of the patterns in this book are very complicated, or at least need full attention, or are longer-term projects. I bought the Lamb's Pride for this pattern. I don't like the color nearly as much as the coral color Manos shown in the picture, but the difference in cost (for a somewhat similar yarn) will probably be well worth it. I am not sure how much of this project I will post. It will most likely be a Christmas gift, but I am not sure that the person who it is for reads my blog all that often.



I am about halfway done with the silk lace scarf (my travel and Grey's project) and about a third of the way done with Wild Stripes.

In related news, my email knitting buddy sent me the link to this great animation the other day. Now I thought I was an obsessed knitter....


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Progress

Last night's yogilates class kicked my ass! I am so sore it is ridiculous and I can barely move and it seems to only get worse as the night goes on.

Tonight was stitch -n- bitch night and I got a lot done I think. Besides getting advice on writing a proposal for work from some friends that I respect a lot when it comes to business, I also got about 15 rows on Wild Stripes done.

As for the Knucks that I have been working on during Grey's Anatomy, I am realizing I had the gauge completely wrong and they are somewhat tight on me. They were meant to be for my brother who of course has larger hands than me. So, I put the knuck on some scrap yarn for now and will start a new one next week. Eventually I will finish the cuff and knit a mate for this one and give it to a small handed person.



I would start the new pair this week during Grey's Anatomy, but I may have to miss the show this week (horrors!). I got a free pass to Marie Antoinette at an East Village theatre for the day before the opening of the movie. Of course, it is first come-first served, so by the time I get there after work, I may not even get in.

This past weekend was pretty busy. I visited the Dancing Goat Cafe in South Orange with a friend. This is an adorable little artistic coffee shop with live music on the weekends. I had no idea that South Orange was a nice place to go. It was a very nice area similar to Montclair or Saratoga and I am pretty sure I even passed by a yarn shop. I also went upstate for a friend's baby's christening, where I saw some old friend's, as well as my email knitting buddy. On the way back home, I stopped by Woodstock Wool Company, where I got some great Mango Moon yarn on sale. I was trying to be good since Rhinebeck is coming next weekend. I went in looking for Lavish Lace because I have been debating about buying it after seeing one of the patterns in the KnitPicks catalog. I decided it wn't worth it since there were so few unique patterns in it that I liked. I do love the way Shimmer looks in lace though. I bought some a while back and haven't found the perfect pattern for it yet (not that I have time to start another project before Christmas anyway). It is too beautiful to use for just anything.

House Slippers



Pattern Notes
House Slippers
from Knit 2 Together

This was a quick and easy project that only took me about 4-5 hours in total. These cute felted wool slippers will be a Christmas gift for my uncle. The pattern in the book shows them with embroidery and/or felted flowers, but when I saw this Manos colorway, I thought it would be great for the top of the slippers all by itself.

Yarn: Manos del Uruguay 100% wool
Colors: 11 (blue) and 111 (variegated)
Needles: US 11 24" circulars and size 13 straights
Gauge: 8.75 sts and 17 rows = 4"

Care: Hand wash in mild soap. Stretch to desired size. Lay flat to dry.


before felting

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sia

A taste of my new favorite song (for the moment):
Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe
That was from Breathe Me by Sia. I heard it in Starbucks tonight and instantly recognized it. Someone I was with knew instantly the title and artist, and that it was the last song in the amazing series finale of Six Feet Under (was anyone not bawling???), and I downloaded it when I got home.

There seems to be an abundance of great music out there lately. TV is good and subsequently the music in the shows is good (think Grey's Anatomy). Even the Walmart commercial song is great (Brother Lee by Citizen Cope). This type of great, semi-alternative music reminds me of Spot Coffee and related things... you don't hear much of that stuff down here in hip-hop central... I swear, NYC is far more behind the times in music than they should be.

In knitting news: I am on the 4th "wild stripe" and I am halfway through the 2nd slipper.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Petal Bib



Pattern Notes
Petal Bib from One Skein

The Petal Bib was a one day project I made on October 7, 2006. This is a Christening gift for my friend's son, Thomas.

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Light Country Blue
Needles: US 6 straight and DPs
Gauge: 18 sts = 4"

Care: Machine washable and dryable

Although the gauge wasn't correct for this yarn, I didn't modify the pattern. This is an acrylic yarn so it curls more than the one in the original pattern, but it isn't too bad.

Brooklyn

I went back to Brooklyn this weekend for two reasons. First to visit Brooklyn General Store, and second, to take the pictures of D.U.M.B.O. that I had wanted to take a few weeks ago when I forgot my camera. I also went back to the Water Street Restaurant and the Jacques Torres Chocolate Shop.

At Brooklyn General, I got some fabric for the back of Wild Stripes, 3 skeins of Manos del Uruguay to make felted slippers (for my Uncle's Christmas gift- I am using a pattern from Knit 2 Together), and 3 skeins on Rowan Calmer that was on sale. The Rowan is a pretty dark purple color that I will use to knit the plain socks from the Rowan Calmer Collection.


Brooklyn General Store

In D.U.M.B.O. I walked through the park and some other places I bookmarked in my head to visit again with a camera. There were at least three different wedding parties being photographed in the park. I listened to live jazz music at the cafe and had a homemade ice cream sandwich from the chocolate shop. One of the things that I really wanted to take a picture of was a flying elephant painted on a large board on the side of a building. One would think this would be an obvious piece of art to save in a section of Brooklyn actually called D.U.M.B.O., but no, that would be too obvious.


Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park


Violin on Woman with Graffiti


An Abandoned Spanish Restaurant with Outdoor Seating

The lace blanket is finally done and will be gifted soon (pictures coming). It is a good thing that I decided not to do the last 3 repeats before starting the border. Here is the yarn I had left after finishing the border:


Definately not enough for 3 more repeats

The petal bib from One Skein was a one day project for my a friend's baby's Christening this weekend (I think it's okay to say this since I doubt she reads my blog). Knucks are making progress, but mainly only during Grey's Anatomy. My silk lace travel project scarf is also making progress. I am about half done with it, especially since I have been making several trips to the city lately. My 2nd felted clutch (also from One Skein), to be gifted at Christmas, will actually be felted this weekend since I am going to mom's house for a couple days (and visiting the good washing machine). I need to knit a flower for it since I can't find buttons, patches, or embroidery that I am loving.


Knucks (mostly knitted during Grey's Anatomy)


Silk Lace Scarf from the Rowan Pure Silk Collection

In other knitter's news, the new Vogue Knitting Holiday Preview is up, and the projects are beautiful. Brooklyn Tweed seems to be teasing us with his secret fair isle project, which is no doubt beautiful based on the yarn, his photography, and his previous FO's. I have not yet been added to the Knitting Blogs Ring.

I rarely write about work. However, I don't think I am saying anything to be worried about here. It has been a little better lately. A couple of things have been changing. A regular disruption has been removed , my future there has continued to be [blatently] hinted at, and things are generally more comfortable. All this in the midst of other opportunities. I wish other pieces of my life would fall into place as well.

Sadly, I just lost the football pool. I was so close.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Books

I saw this meme at Mind of Winter. I love reading but it has taken a noticeable back seat to knitting in the last couple of years. I used to read several books at once (one in the living room, one in the car, a couple in the bedroom, etc). Knitting projects have taken their place. I am reading one book right now that a friend is forcing me to read and it has taken months to get only half way through it.

***********************************
1. One book that changed your life:

Blindness by Saramago changed my life for many reasons. The person who suggested it was very important to me at that time in my life. The story will always challenge me and haunt me at the same time. I need to read it again.

2. One book that you've read more than once:

I have read a few books many times- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo about 6-7 times, The Hours by Michael Cunningham about 3 times, Anthem by Ayn Rand about 8-10 times, and The Little Prince by Exupery about 4-5 times.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:

Well, I'd rather have something to knit (one of those Wedding Ring shawls that would take me forever to knit), but for a book... hmmm... it would be something really long that I could read over and over but I don't think such a book exists, so maybe The Hours

4. One book that made you laugh:

Knitting Rules! by the Yarn Harlot

5. One book that made you cry:

I can't think of any now, but I know there are a few... The Hours may have

6. One book you wish had been written:

The Hours

7. One book you wish had never been written:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I find this book to be highly overrated.

8. One book you're currently reading:

I don't normally read cheesy fiction but a friend is currently making me read When the Wind Blows by James Pattersen (he read Anthem in exchange)

9. One book you've been meaning to read:

One Hundred Years of Solitude

10. Some favorite books not on this list:
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Segu
I Know This Much is True
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
1984
***********************************

My first attempt at spinning alpaca yarn. I love the beautiful caramel color - the picture doesn't do it justice!



Thursday, October 05, 2006

Seams

When I was at the Knit Out a few weeks ago, I listened to a tutorial on invisible seaming. They were teaching mattress stitch and kitchener stitch (grafting). I have had to kitchener stitch many times, and while I always have to look it up in a book, I can usually do it pretty well. So, I only sat through the mattress stitch portion. I had tried mattress stitch before, but as I suspected, I was doing it completely wrong (which is why it never ended up invisible).

More pages were added to Knitting Blog Rings today. On one of them, I found this great post about seaming. This sort of sideways mattress stitch is fabulous!

And for those who don't like seaming, check out this beautiful seamless sweater at Brooklyn Tweed.

Movies I need to see:
Marie Antoinette
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
The Departed

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Few Things

For some reason I can't wait to see Marie Antoinette. I don't know if it's the great music in the previews or the title graphics or what. I normally don't even like Kirsten Dunst all that much. This one could either be really boring (and they are trying to play it up with music and graphics) or really great.

I am loving these armwarmers from this month's MagKnits.

I can't wait to be added to the Knitting Blogs ring! (Note that the links in my sidebar don't work yet). I am on the list though!

I attempted to get to Brooklyn General last Saturday with no avail. Hopefully I will make it there this weekend.

And finally, the lace blanket: row 9 of 21 (out of 24)... so close! Pictures coming after it's gifted.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Weekend with a Friend

Renee visited me this weekend. She is about 10 weeks pregnant but barely showing. We talked a lot about pregnancy and relationships and all the other usual girl talk. We saw a show (yes, I saw The Wedding Singer again, and yes, it was worth it), walked around SoHo and the Village, and watched a couple episodes of Weeds on DVD at my house.


Renee at La Figaro Cafe, Greenwich Village

While we were walking back to our car, we saw this:



It somehow seems wrong to me that Burger King's are now wired. What is this world coming to?

I bought two books tonight. I sooo didn't need another knitting book, but I couldn't resist. Knit 2 Together is a book that I was not really excited about when I heard it was coming out. One of the author's is Tracey Ullman, so I expected it to be full of novelty knits or something. There are more than 10 projects in it that I would actually knit. A couple of them are even planned for the immediate future (think Xmas). I am thinking of the House Slippers for a couple of the difficult-to-buy-for-males in my family and the Lacy Hug Me Tight Shrug for me (after Xmas, of course). The pattern for that uses one of my favorite yarns, Blue Sky Alpaca Silk.

The other book I bought tonight I just came across on my way to the knitting magazine section- SoHo: The Rise and Fall of an Artists' Colony. I don't know why I was attracted to this book. It is hard cover (and therefore, more expensive than I usually spend on random books) with a black & white cover of very homely people from the 60's. It sounded interesting though and I haven't read in a while since knitting has taken over my free time. I think I like reading about the history of places I like now. Another example of this is Portland's Pearl District (OR), which is basically a downtown area of old warehouses turned lofts.

On the knitting front, I have only 4 repeats (plus the crochet border) left on the lace blanket!