Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007: Year in Review (Techniques)

I posted this meme in August, not long after I started this blog, and I thought it would be a great way to review the things that I learned this year.

Bold for stuff you’ve done, with an asterisk for things done for the first time in 2007
italics for stuff you plan to do in 2008, and
normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Baby items (finishing anyway)
Button holes*
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)

Charity knitting
Continental knitting*
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers*
Designing knitted garments
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Drop stitch patterns
Dying with plant colors
Dying yarn
Fair Isle knitting
Freeform knitting
Garter stitch

Graffiti knitting
Hair accessories
Holiday related knitting*
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Kitchener BO*
Knitting a gift*
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting and purling backwards*
Knitting art
Knitting for a living
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public*
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting on a loom
Knitting smocking
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars*
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca*
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Knitting with beads
Knitting with camel yarn
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with cotton
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Knitting with DPNs
Knitting with linen
Knitting with metal wire
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn*
Knitting with silk
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn*

Knitting with soy yarn*
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Knitting with wool

Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Lace patterns*
Long Tail CO*

Machine knitting
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting
Olympic knitting (it is an olympic year after all)
Participating in a KAL*
Publishing a knitting book
Short rows*
Slip stitch patterns

Socks: toe-up*
Socks: top-down*
Steeks (getting there!)
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys

Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing
Tubular CO*
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern

Holy cow that's a lot. 17 new things to do this year but a far cry from the 29 new techniques/items/whathaveyou that I did this year. How momentous!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Open letter

Dear Gmail,

I love how when I open mail I get ads in the banner that reflect the content of the letter. Usually you're awesome and totally spot on. Like when I email Jenn from DC and talk about yarn and you remind me that I haven't checked out the Yarn Pirate shop in awhile. That is ever so helpful. Or when Lauren and I were trying to get rid of the bedbug infested roommate and you helpfully suggested exterminators. Thanks for that! But then today I noticed that you are suggesting I visit a site that has "awesome bearded dragons." Apparently these dragons also have brilliant color morphs and a health guarantee. I'm not entirely sure what prompted you to suggest the bearded dragons nor am I certain what I would do with one of these dragons (having read Harry Potter and all, it seems like they might be somewhat of a nuisance even with that health guarantee)*, but thanks for the heads up!

*Yes, I am aware that bearded dragons are actually lizards. This makes no difference to me because why the heck would I own any kind of reptile or amphibian?

Edited to add: Best one yet! I just opened a new years email from Jenn in NYC and now you're providing info on how to "Avoid the Dangerous Mistakes Women Make & Drive Away Mr. Right" Gmail, don't assume. It makes an ass of you.

2007: Year in Review

2007 will go down in history as the year I got serious and got knitting.

Not merely by starting this blog, but by truly embracing a hobby and making it something much more. It's the year of my first (real) sweater (still unfinished, naturally), my first wearable garment, my first Yarn Harlot experience, my first fiber festival, and my first inkling that I may have a wee bit of a problem in the yarn purchasing department.

But it's been a wonderful year. I've made so many wonderful things and met so many wonderful people. I've been introduced to the absolute most brilliant website ever in the history of the world. And I have the prospect of never again spending a single solitary minute bored while commuting.

So let's re-examine some of the FOs of this year, shall we?

1. Kate's Cabled Hat, 2. Lady Eleanor, 3. Smidges! ahem "Scholar Collars", 4. Voyager Lace, 5. Tilted Duster, 6. Potter Puppet Pals, 7. Fetching Mitt, 8. Giants Pillow, 9. Fake Isle Hat, 10. Unisex Gloves, 11. Widdershins Kneesocks, 12. Tilted Duster, 13. The Clutch You'll Never Give Up, 14. Kyra's Flowered Scarf, 15. Lady Eleanor, 16. Tara's Scholar Collar

It started out very simply with some birthday gifts for Kate and Kyra that were not much to write home about.

Then it progressed to something a bit more complicated: Blaze (the first real sweater that is, naturally, unfinished) I can't quite decide what I want to do about this. I love the yarn, but am not terribly pleased with the pattern. Something to think about in 2008, I guess.

Then there was Lorna and her laces. I finished these gloves from One Skein at the Yarn Harlot event at FIT in May. That was awesome on so many levels.

I also made a scarf and a beret using the rest of the Icehouse skeins I bought, but I recently frogged them and am considering making a clapotis with the, now fairly sizeable, remnants.

I made socks!

I was one of the first to finish a Tilted Duster, and I think that totally inspired me heading into the fall. I love that sweater/coat/skirt/dress/jacket/thing so much. And it was reassuring to know that Blaze had not cursed me where sweaters are concerned.

I mastered entrelac! And it was big.

Then there was lots of Christmas knitting. But I think I handled the challenge really well (sore neck and shoulders aside).

My first post of the new year will be all about setting goals for myself. Not resolutions, per se, but something akin without the added pressure or feelings of dejection and frustration and inadequacy.

This made me laugh out loud at work

I think my coworkers believe I have some sort of disability that causes me to giggle at inappropriate times.

TV's funniest lines of 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Recap

Wow. That was fun. Let's get to the goods, shall we?

Pattern: Voyager Lace Stole from
Yarn: School Products Supergeelong Coned Yarn
Needle: umm... 7?
Yardage: Goodness knows, but I've still got plenty left.

This project, a Christmas gift for my Aunt Judy, was my first real experiment with lace and my first experiment with coned yarns.

In my naivete, I thought it might be fun to just knit right off the cone. And then I read this post by the Yarn Harlot way back before Rhinebeck and all that changed. The yarn is a coned wool yarn from School Products and this is how it looked before I washed it:

Pretty much like straw

And on the left is the yarn after:

Washed vs. Unwashed

Pretty amazing, really. Plus, it was a heck of a lot more fun to knit when it was this soft. And once the stole was washed and blocked it was even softer. Very nice. I still have a bunch left over and used some of it to make a balaclava for my bro.

This towel rack was the best model ever.

One yarn, two Christmas gifts: can't beat that. (Although Dad kept asking why I knit everything in black. Ugh!)

There were these little guys:

I learned to crochet for real. How about that?

There was also a clutch for Cousin Jess that I had intended to line with fabric. I found some bonding web in the sewing kit and thought I'd use that. I grabbed the iron and discovered it wouldn't turn on. I tried several outlets, no luck. Dad tells me "Jiggle the wire." I do this and a flame shoots out of the cord and nearly singes my hand.

Singe marks are never a good sign.

It is quite possibly the oldest iron in the history of the world, a Sunbeam Jewel series, (with a fabric covered cord!) so I don't know why I was surprised. I'm pretty sure I've seen this iron in house museums where they replicate the way a room would've looked in a given time period. Pity it had to happen on Christmas Eve after all the gifts had been purchased and wrapped.

The gifting in general turned out very nice, but I still have one item that is in severe need of help. It's a felted Giants pillow I made for Dad.

I tried stranding at first, but that got way too messy and complicated so I switched to intarsia which was a vast improvement. Only problem was, I continued stranding the white and without the aid of a swatch (yes, my own damn fault) I was completely unaware of how much the fabric would shrink on the horizontal relative to the vertical (or whatever) so there's a fair bit of pulling across the center which not even I can rationalize as a "design feature." The pillow further suffered the indignity of having an insert that was too small (I opted for a 12x12 pillow insert, should've gone for 12x16, but again that whole vertical vs. horizontal shrinkage differential took me by surprise) and a lack of adequate buttons. I could not find a SINGLE button in Michaels this week and I'm extremely irritated that I had to raid my mom's old sewing basket for buttons - but for some reason I actually found a set of 4 that match! Oh yeah, and I also completely forgot to do the i-cord border before I felted the damn thing. EZ didn't call it the idiot cord for nothing.

As for me, thanks to the wonder that is my Amazon wishlist and the not-so-subtle hints I dropped to Dad and my brothers, I wound up with some things I completely love this year. Only one item had to be returned and that was because I got two of them! Thankfully they have accepted that, yes, I actually knit and, no, it's not funny. I got Inspired Fair Isle Knits by Fiona Ellis although Jenn from DC thinks I should've requested a spinning wheel ;) heh. I also got some books about art theft that I've been eyeing which led to some interesting questions and (2 copies) of the My So-Called Life DVD (Dad says he didn't think anyone watched that show. I asked him if he completely forgot my hypersensitive, moody teenage phase and thinks I've always been this well-adjusted?).

There has been knitting on Enid, yes. But I seem to have strained my neck and shoulders which makes knitting slightly painful right now. I'm very unhappy about that :(

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh there's no place like home for the holidays...

Greetings from beautiful snow-covered New Jersey!

I love this time of year for so many reasons. It's partly the decorations and the bustle of it all. It's partly the gifting and getting. It's partly bundling up in warm woolens and walking in the snow (and preferably not slipping and falling on my ass on the ice). It's partly Vince Guaraldi and a Charlie Brown Christmas. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed (Merry Christmas, Movie House!!!). But mostly it's the holiday baking:

The goodies include several recipes new and old from the 12 Days of Cookies Food Network newsletter and some old favorites: Martha Stewart's Kitchen Sink Cookies (my version made with cranberries and raisins but no walnuts), Super Gooey Chocolate Drop Cookies, Ginger Spice Cookies (chewy, yum), Peanut Butter and Chocolate Biscotti, and Jam Thumbprints by Ina Garten. Yum.

I'm on vacation until the 27th. This means lots of holiday knitting while bundled up on the couch with a mug of hot cocoa.

Here's the agenda for my time:
1. Finish Chris' balaclava Update: Check!
2. Finish and full Dad's pillow cover Update: Check!
3. Finish JN's present Update: Check!
4. Finish Aunt Judy's Stole Update: One more row of binding off!
5. Sew buttons etc. on sundry items
6. Socks if I have time
7. Enid!

I'm getting so close. This weekend I wrapped up Lauren's Ponytail Hat (it's a knit cap with a hole in the back for her ponytail). She's been talking about getting something like this for when she goes running. I used the leftover Malabrigo from my Fetching Mitts and it is so yummy. I hope she likes it :). I've also sorely neglected photographing my FOs. I've already given away three of the Scholar Collar gifts and of the three, I photographed zero of them. Bad Jen!

Sunday night was the Sit'n'Knit New York Meetup group Holiday Party at Session 73. I brought the pale blue Scholar collar with wood buttons from M&J Trimming for the gift exchange. When my name was pulled I walked up to receive my gift and was carrying mine. When Hope (the woman who pulled my name) saw what I was carrying she started cracking up. Turns out she had made me a Pidge-knockoff as well! So I got to give the group a little explanation of the Pidge and how ridiculous it is to charge $400 for a scarf. I'm all for fair wages and fair valuation of handmade goods, but really now???? I estimate that the cost of one of the Scholar Collar based on materials and labor (ok... minimum wage) with a slight markup for profit should be approximately $100. A far cry from what they're charging, so those knitters are doing pretty well for themselves! I wonder if they're hiring. I can show them my Ravelry portfolio in lieu of a resume! :)

Tuesday night was our weekly sit n knit at Yarntopia, with some added festive cheer in the form of hot buttered rum, hot chocolate and Bailey's :) Huzzah! I even got a picture of me wearing the massiveness that is Lady Eleanor.

Also this weekend was our big Christmas in Inwood fiesta. I may have imbibed a bit too much... but it was all in the spirit of the holiday. Our annual theme for this party has been universally hailed as brilliant: Guests come with "nips" (little bottles of alcohol), upon arriving the bottles are tied with festive ribbon and hung as ornaments from the tree. Here's our tree pre-nips:

And here it is post-nips:

Very festive, no?

Theoretically in a few weeks we should have a "Drink the Tree party" when we use up all the little bottles. So it's like 2 parties in one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I've managed to remember my camera today which allows me not only to upload the countless work pics I took last week on my site visits, but to finally give my Secret Pal some love.

Gustav Stickley's House at Craftsman Farms
Really pretty in the snow right? Yeah not so pretty, when there's no heat.

I got my reveal package last week and it was truly fantastic. And my spoiler is Heathir! I feel like she completely outdid herself with each successive package and it blew me away. It's probably for the best that the next SP swap has been put on hold for awhile, because I don't see how anyone can live up to my first SP experience. But enough talk, get to the goods!

See what I mean? Holy cow!

Included there you see a project bag and circular needle case both made by Heathir and both currently being put to good use by yours truly. I've been using the project bag for the many scholar scarves I've been churning out this holiday season. What a relief to have my yarn and project safely separated from all the junk in my ginormous purse.

The circular needle case especially is awesome. (After the inital SP survey, I realized I should probably find somewhere to keep my needles more accessible and orderly, but this just meant I stuck them in a Yankees Souvenir cup on my desk, so not exactly organized ;) This is much better!) You can also see that the interior lining matches the color of my duvet color. So I am obviously a big fan of Heathir's color choice :)

Other stuff in this package: A pair of socks with little chicks on them (in washing machine at time of picture, because yeah, I procrastinated doing laundry so long that a clean pair of socks was a very welcome present), a sock blocker key chain (which will replace the broken carabiner that keeps losing my office keys. Sweet!) , a postcard with tasty tex-mex recipes (roommate Lauren loved that) and a Texas cookie cutter (Heathir's originally from the Lonestar State), a notebook (currently being used to strategize my holiday baking - cookie cutter will come in handy there), yummy chocolates from Vermont (I forgot to write down the exact name of the chocolatier... will update later with that very pertinent info), some more sugar and cream cotton (yay!), a magnet with a lovely quote from Pope JP, some Soak wash, popsicle printed tissues (how did you know I was getting a cold??), and a pack of J-shaped post-its. Wow.

Soon-to-be-not-so-blogless-Jenn-from-DC also wished me to extend her gratitude for introducing us to the Susan Bates End Weaver gadget. Thanks for being the best SP!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Vote for Inwood!

Over at Curbed there's something interesting going on:
The Curbed Cup, our annual award to the New York City neighborhood of the year, for the past three years has been determined by reader vote. This year, we're upping the ante with a 16-neighborhood elimination tournament spanning the month of December. The first round concludes today with two more faceoffs, the winners of which will meet in round two, which begins tomorrow.

No one cares about Williamsburg anyway! It's so yesterday's news.

So much new stuff to discuss

and I've left my camera at home with all the fabulous pictures.

So instead you get an awesome yarn pr0n shot of the delicious bit of silk lace that was waiting on my desk chair this morning:

It's my first Sundara Yarn from the Seasons Yarn Club. 1000 yards of silk laceweight in "Copper over Bamboo." I opted for the Autumn colors and I was just telling Soon-to-Be-Not-So-Blogless-Jenn-from-DC that what I really wanted was a beautiful deep/bright red... and what do I find when I open the box? Bingo! Sundara, you are fantastic. I think a lovely silk wrap is in my future :)

Good grief, I cannot stop petting this! So yummy.

Christmas knitting is progressing nicely. I'm churning stuff out like nobody's business and I plan on hitting M&J Trimming tomorrow for finishing touches. It helped that I was home sick on Thursday and continued to recuperate over the weekend by leaving the couch only when absolutely necessary (like when I made no pudge brownies, or shepherd's pie w/ leftover meatloaf. yum. I swear, I'm going to the gym today.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Strikewatch: Colorworks Edition

So with the writers' strike ongoing and some of my favorite shows having ended or ending this week, I'm a bit horrified at the prospect of what I will be seeing on TV in the coming weeks and months (American Gladiators much? Or that creeptastic Moment of Truth show??)

Making matters worse, I have friends who enjoy The Hills. Mother. Of. God. Save me now. (And thank goodness I don't have cable)

The only way I want to be watching The Hills is if it's in a format like this:

Thank you Judd Apatow. Thank you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

On Sweaters

I've progressed to the point on Enid where the time comes to divide for the front and back and start on sleeves. It is at this point that I have an epiphany: This is so not fun. This is essentially the same point I stalled on the Blaze sweater but luckily instead of way too many cables, I have the prospect of some awesome stranded color knitting to encourage me through some dull sleeve knitting. I'll definitely be doing both sleeves at the same time on two circs rather than even attempting to do them on dpns. Never again!

What is the appeal of sweaters with all these pieces? Why didn't I try to do this top down and seamless? (oh yeah, because I still think I'm a n00b and have no desire to muck up this project due to my own inadequacies rather than something I can blame on things that are not my fault like pattern errors or yarn inadequacies)

I'm also stalled a bit in the holiday gift department. The clutch for Cousin Jess has been knit and felted and is now in need of some trim and fabric lining (I'm thinking Hula girls). I washed another hank of the yarn for Aunt Judy's stole last night so once that's done drying I can resume with the knitting. But the rest of the gifts are at a standstill. So I feel I have no choice but to revert to that favorite organizational tool of mine: the numbered list. This is however complicated by the fact that secret holiday gift knitting is not the kind of thing that benefits from being publicized in blog format.

1. Clutch for Jess
2. Stole for Aunt Judy
3. Giants Pillow for Dad
4. ____ for JN
5. ____ for TF
6. ____ for MC
7. ____ for LW
8. Socks for Ryan
9. Socks for Dad
10. Balaclava for Chris
11. ___ for TA
12. ___ for KH

heh. see?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Thankful for Curvy Pants, Clue, and McMansions

After almost a week spent at home in New Jersey I feel (and look) at least ten pounds heavier. It's sad when my gap "curvy" pants get a bit tight. (Curvy is just a kinder, gentler way of saying "Hey there, pear shape!")

This was therefore probably not the best time to cancel my gym membership, but I'm sick of nysc charging way too much when I hardly go. Now that a Planet Fitness has opened in my neighborhood I plan on heading over there instead. It'll make gym visits easier for the weekends when I don't want to leave the apartment.

But Thanksgiving is quite possibly the best holiday ever. This year it happened to be unbelievably pretty in Northern NJ. I feel like typically the leaves are all gone by the end of November so I was glad they stuck around to make things especially picturesque.

One of the other things I like about Thanksgiving is that my-mother's-best-friend-from-college's-family comes out (and yes, I really do say that in one breath, though usually I cut my losses and refer to them as aunt/uncle and cousins) and craziness ensues. Each family has three kids and, with the exception of the middle children, all of us were born within a month of the corresponding member of the other family (And the middle children are only a year apart, so really, it's all the same). We see them more than our blood relatives (which drives my grandmother nuts) and I think the fact that my counterpart Cousin Danny and I are both single has facilitated the continuing of our holiday traditions, because we're not being called away to visit other families and we're not bringing new people into the mix who would just stare gaping openmouthed at our families' collective behavior. God help anyone who marries into either family because they had better be prepared to continue participating in the following holiday rituals:

Dinner has developed a tradition whereby bad table manners dock points from a theoretical points total. At this point, I think we all end the day with negative points, but generally cousin Anthony is the worst. I get nervous about even letting him use the good china and stemware.

After dinner, once we've recovered from post-turkey drowsiness, the "kids" play a game or five of Clue, which inevitably results in the youngest sibs getting frustrated that they cannot figure out who the culprits are and repeatedly guessing or accusing people that the rest of us have long since eliminated from consideration. I won two of the three games we played this year, so suffice it to say, I had fun.

Clue is usually followed up by less wholesome entertainment, a rowsing game of Circle of Death, among the of-age cousins. The first words out of Aunt Judy's mouth the next morning are inevitably "You guys drank an awful lot last night." Which, for the record, is never true.

This year we added a new tradition to the mix: gawking at the ridiculous house across the street which is still vacant after six months.

Cousin Jess, whose tastes run to what we in the architecture industry like to call "Classic Long Island Mafioso Style," loves the house. Everyone else agrees that it is too big and too out of character with the neighborhood. My dad is the only one who has ever been inside since he went to the open house to gawk with the rest of the neighborhood. So we decided to take a closer look. And it is really bad.

Jess loves it! Aunt Judy can't understand why there are French doors leading to a non-existant terrace with panoramic views of... our house.

Personally I think the landscaping is lovely. Look, they even put in a pool!

Nothing says "Class" like a bathtub in the back yard.

But the worst of it is, on Saturday after my-mother's-friend-from-college's-family left, we noticed that there was spraypaint on the front of the house. Someone had apparently tagged it with dollar signs. So we have a social minded graffiti artist in the neighborhood. I just hope none of the nosy neighbors point the fingers at us after our minor acts of trespass.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Heart NJ

I'm commuting into work from NJ (the motherland) this week and despite the snow showers this morning, I'm so pumped.

I love you, New Jersey.

You are great. Has anyone ever told you that?

Because it's true.

This means that every night I have the prospect of not having to cook/reheat my own dinner (Dad does it for me! Three cheers for Dad!) And then I get to wake up and look out my childhood bedroom window and see this:

That is literally the view I get when I wake up.
Can't be beat unless it's January and crappy out.

In addition to this bliss, I've decided that I would enjoy being BFF with Mindy Kaling. You may know her as Kelly on The Office. But she's a damn funny person with great taste and stuff. Which is why I spent all day reading her blog instead of doing work that annoys me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I May Have Cheated

and cast on for the selfish sweater.

I know the poll wasn't over yet but it was clear that Enid was in the lead and I haven't worked on a colorwork project in ages (hello! look at the blog title!) that I really couldn't resist.

So Enid is being made using black sport weight baby alpaca from A Touch of Twist, a vendor at Rhinebeck. I'm currently about 4 inches in on the body of the sweater and the baby alpaca is definitely the kind of yarn I just want to rub my face in.

So last night at my Yarntopia SnB I made some purchases (I'll admit that's another reason I was excited for this project). I was hoping the Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light would have more colors, but the reds are just a bit too bright for what I want to do with this sweater. I still managed to pick out three colors for the bottom and top tiers of color and then browsed a bit this morning to find something in another yarn that will go well with those original three colors. My decision is made easier because the main color is black, but it's still quite a challenge. I finally decided to use Blue Sky Alpacas Melange.

So at left is what I've come up with. From the top it's UAL 4283 (Lavender Mix), 4287 (Denim Mix), and 4294 (Turquoise Mix). In the middle, Melange 809 (Toasted Almond) 800 (Cornflower) and 811 (Bubblegum). And then at the bottom the top colors are mixed up a bit with 4294 on top, 4283 in the middle and 4287 at the bottom. I'm liking the digital version and just hope that the colors are true enough that it'll really reflect what I'm getting.

I think it's a really good sign that, for a project that is made up of a lot of stockinette, I'm so excited to get home and knit on it. This will definitely encourage me to buy really wonderful yarn for plain projects. The prospect of steeking makes me feel a little sick to my stomach, but I'm game.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Ballad of Lady E

I was on a quest.

I climbed the highest mountain.

Braved the darkest forest.

Battled the white knight.

Crossed the drawbridge over the moat.

Reached the castle.

And climbed the crenellated fortifications of the tallest tower.

Where I rescued the fair Lady Eleanor.

Actually I took a walk in Ft. Tryon park on a beautiful autumn day when the leaves were just starting to turn, but whatever. Anyways... it feels so wonderful to finish a big project. Especially when it's something as pretty as Lady Eleanor.

Lady Eleanor by Kathleen Power Johnson
From Scarf Style
Yarn: Patons Soy Wool Stripes (SWS)
Colorway: Natural Earth
Used: 11 skeins with a minimum left over after fringe

Started August 2007 (Sometime between August 16th and August 23rd).
Finished October 26th 2007

Finished Dimensions (blocked): 84 x 29 in.

I finished the knitting during Game 1 of the World Series (Boston Sux!). And proceeded to steam block during Game 2. This was my first time steam blocking as opposed to wet blocking. I have to admit, it was kind of mind boggling just how big this project turned out. Friday night, I learned to crochet (ha!) and added the fringe (as if this stole needs to be any longer!) so that I sat watching the last two games swaddled on the couch. It was the only thing that could raise my spirits in the face of such horrors.

I didn't block it as much as I could have and let it shrink back a bit because it was really getting out of hand in terms of length. Right now I can drape it over my shoulders and the fringe drags on the floor on both sides. So yeah, it's long (and I'm short).

I learned to knit backwards for this project and it made my work so much easier, especially with all that subway knitting. And I have to say that so far this has been the most commented on project I've knit on the subway. I've had countless people admire it and everyone seems to think it's some sort of impossibly complicated project when entrelac is really unbelievably easy once you get the hang of it. I could knit it forever. :)

I found many other projects knit with the Patons SWS on Ravelry and really loved the way they turned out. The colors change subtly enough to make the squares really blend nicely but at the same time they stand out really well. And the jewel tones of the Natural Earth colorway are really beautiful. I think I may like it more than most of the Noro Silk Garden versions. But I'll be tempted to maybe do a scarf with the Noro in the future.

All in all, two very enthusiastic thumbs up for this knit.

(And yeah, I have no idea what that big plywood cut out of a guy on a horse is doing in the middle of Ft. Tryon. Are they putting in a new equestrian statue or something? Bizarre.)

Glory Days

Two of my favorite guys just totally made my Monday.

Photoshoot pics coming shortly.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Word of Warning...

My replacement camera has arrived. I may be so overcome with joy at having a camera again that my next few posts will consist of nothing but pictures. Watch out.

I'm finding it very hard to resist casting on for one of the contender sweaters below, so help make my decision easier by voting. --->>>

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Next Selfish Knitting?

Yes, it's approaching holiday time.

Yes, I have lots of gifts yet to knit.

Yes, I know I typically only knit for myself.

But wouldn't it be nice to have something started that I can work on while I'm home for the holidays that's just for me? Yeah, that's what I thought.

So in the spirit of giving (to myself) I'm setting up a poll over yonder >>>

We're only a year away from the presidential election, so let's flex our voting muscles!
Allow me to introduce you to the contestants:

1. Enid Yoked Pullover: She's a no-nonsense girl with those miles of stockinette stitch, but that colorwork yoke gives just a hint of her soft romantic side. She says "My life's ambition is to alphabetize everything in the Library of Congress... and own my own organic bakery."

2. Buttony Cardigan: If this cardigan was a high schooler, she would totally be the rebel artsy chick with blue streaks in her hair. She says "Buttons down the center? Hah! That's so bourgeois!" (the pic on that link is not so great, but my favorite version, in the yarn I'll use is here.)

3. EZ's Open Collar Pullover: Plain Jane? I say thee nay! This is an Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern after all and once she's all dolled up in some Briar Rose Celebration wool/bamboo blend you'll think: Brains and beauty? She's quite a contender. She says "Cogito ergo sum. Now let's go paint our nails."

You will notice that the 3 lovely contestants have one thing in common: they're all sweaters. I think that's due to the fact that it's frakkin cold in my office and even though I'm currently wearing a turtleneck, a wrap, and fingerless mitts, I'm still freezing. Thoughts of sweaters make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so a sweater I must have.

Some more info to help you make your decisions: Enid would be done in black alpaca with some yet to be decided colors possibly in Berroco ultra alpaca light. Buttony would be done in light blue Araucania Nature Wool. And the Open Collar Pullover would be in a red/pink Briar Rose Celebration (wool/bamboo). All yarns I picked up at Rhinebeck.

Voting will be going on for 1 week. At which point I won't be able to resist casting on for something... anything. Make your vote count!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Kodak Z710, you were so good to me

So I'm currently without a camera. It's a very sad state of affairs because it is solely due to my carelessness. I overpacked my purse on Halloween and while digging for my wallet to pay the very nice cab driver who drove me home in all my blue-wigged glory, the camera was taken out of the bag and never put back in. But I managed to remember the $20 butterfly wings. So there's that. At least I didn't leave my keys in the cab. Because that's definitely the kind of thing I would do.

I've ordered a new camera from Kodak because I simply love(d) my camera and it's not sold in stores anymore. The latest generation is black instead of the snazzy silver one I had. I just hope that whoever has it now treats it with the love and respect it deserves (and enjoys the pictures of me and Kyra dressed as butterflies).

It's amazing to me how the minute I am without a camera I suddenly see tons of things I want to photograph: beautiful tree bark, an awesome sunset, hysterical mis-printed store awnings.

So I obviously did not have an opportunity to photograph Lady E this weekend. Instead, I made some progress on the Christmas gifts front, spun some very inconsistent yarn on my spindle (practice, practice, practice), and wrote my conference paper (which was due Thursday, but who's counting?). I also watched Transformers. That was awesome.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

And one more...

article from the Times just because I can never get enough Stephen Colbert. I even added Comedy Central's channel to my TV, despite the fact I do not have cable. So now I watch scrambled/snowy/blurry TV, just so I can listen to his voice. Is it any wonder he gets 13% of the vote?

LOL "Well, suddenly an option is looming on the horizon. And I don’t mean Al Gore (though he’s a world-class loomer)."

Stephen, you slay me more than Maureen and David combined!

My So-Called Life

This article in the Times brings me back. I remember so well the anguish I felt when ABC cancelled my favorite show. Poor Angela Chase, they just didn't understand you. Or me. I'm adding the DVD to my Amazon wishlist. Maybe I'll pick it up along with Veronica Mars Season 3 this weekend.

Why do these TV networks insist on cancelling awesome shows with young female leads that have depth?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sports Links and TV Thoughts

It's almost enough to make me want to be a Dodgers Fan.

A-Rod: What a jerk.

Holy crap. (Video link) I enjoyed watching this last night with the guy on the recumbent bike next to mine at the gym.

I'm so disappointed in Heroes this season. It seems like every plotline is either a) incredibly boring and/or b) a complete rehash of a story from last season. BOR-ING. Claire takes on a bitchy cheerleader? Been there, done that. NYC as scene of apocalypse? Wow, seems horribly familiar (and cliche). Mohinder having no personality and being the dupe of every other character? Way to evolve a character there, Writers.

I just don't understand how a show can consistently have NO COMMON SENSE and expect us to be interested.

Thank GOD for Chuck and How I Met Your Mother. That Hot/Crazy Scale from last week was priceless and now I really have a hankering for "Kobe lobster: lobsters that have been fed Kobe beef."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oh Maureen Dowd...

you slay me almost as much as David Gregory.

Favorite line: "CHENEY: If Admiral Mullen wants to be Admiral Sullen, that’s his business. I’m not going to be a defeatist or question the courage of our fighting men."

Is anyone else as happy as I am that the NYTimes finally wised up and made the editorial columns public again? (Well I know Blogless DC Jenn probably isn't, due to the NYTimes' status as liberal mouthpiece, but we'll just ignore that shall we?)

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Or at least since Rhinebeck last weekend...

To counteract all the effects of fresh air and the "cheap showiness of nature" (thank you, Rev. Lovejoy), I decided to be a shut-in this weekend. Who knew it could be so much fun?!

Friday, instead of going out, I made a delicious dinner for myself. I was sorely tempted by the illustration on the back of the Alexia fries to make myself a bowl of fries, but I resisted temptation and made a burger and broccoli as well and grabbed a Blue Point Blueberry Ale for good measure.

Mmm a bowl of greasy salty fries!

Saturday dawned wet and dreary and what better way to spend a rainy day than by cleaning your room? So that's what I did. It kind of boggled my mind how far I had let things slide. I still hadn't rehung my curtains since the summer's extermination vacation. And the dust bunny tumbleweeds were rolling across my wood floors like it was the Arizona desert. I had piles and piles of paperwork to sort and file, a daunting task on even the best of days. But somehow I made phenomenal progress and even managed to put a lot of my summer clothes and Rhinebeck stash in space saver bags under my bed.

The rest of the day I balled up a few yarns, settled in on my very comfy couch and watched The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie which has been sitting in its Netflix envelope for over a month. I blame it on the return of Fall TV. I then cast on for what I was hoping would be a quick weekend knit: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath from Knitty Summer 2006.

Between my netflix movie and discs 1 and 2 of Veronica Mars Season 1, I finished the entire left mitt. Which brings us to....

Sunday dawned sunny and crisp, but did I care? No. I wasn't moving from the couch. Unless it was to make some delicious pumpkin muffins for breakfast. There is something so pitiful and yet so satisfying about staying in your PJs for two straight days. Although I must admit it made my shower this morning (frigid as it was) feel like a spa treatment. I cast on for mitt #2 and made my way through the morning political shows (Oh, David Gregory, you slay me!) and then the Giants pre-game before I realized I had not switched to the C4F cable pattern for the cuff of the right mitt. Oh well. By the time kickoff started at Wembley Stadium (good grief, if I was a Dolphins fan, I'd be so pissed at Roger Goedell right now for outsourcing one of my home games.), I was finishing up the thumb and weaving in ends. An amazingly fast 24 hour knit, very satisfying.

Fetching by Cheryl Niamath
Needles: US Size 7 32" circ and dpns, cable needle
Yarn: Unknown worsted 100% merino wool in colorway Midnight
Cast On: Saturday October 27, 2pm
Completed: Sunday October 28, 2pm

Note: This mystery yarn was purchased from a shop in Boston which for some reason removes the manufacturer's ballbands and puts their own tags on them so I have no idea who made the yarn, it seems like it might be Malabrigo worsted, but I can't be too sure. I'll browse Ravelry to see what I can dig up.

Edited to add: Confirmed! It most certainly is Malabrigo Worsted. The first indication was the way the hank was tied, but I found a skein with a matching color in someone's Ravelry stash (Colorway is called Purple Mystery).

And if my hand gestures are any indication, this was a great project. Fun, quick, and practical (especially given the frigid temperatures that have arrived in my office) I'm sporting them now and wow are they toasty.

In sporting news, the Red Sox win the World Series, A-Rod opts out of his contract, and the Steinbrenner cabal plots over which over-rated, over-the-hill, 3rd baseman they can force Brian Cashman to over-pay.