Sunday, September 30, 2007


I've decided to participate in Socktoberfest this year. I have been collecting quite a few sock yarns with the intent on producing a bunch of socks for Christmas gifts. Problem is there has been more collecting than producing going on at Chez Colorworks. I think I finally made some headway though by casting on for Charade. Except that those socks are for... um... me.

So my goal for Socktoberfest is to knit socks for others. This will also be a stash-busting exercise as well as an exercise in selfless knitting. I'm not trying to go for difficult patterns or techniques, just nice socks.

Currently in my stash:

1 skein Knit Picks Memories in Cape Cod Colorway
1 skein Yarn Pirate Merino Sock in Sierra

1 skein South West Trading Co. Tofutsi in a red/white colorway
2 skeins Koigu KPM in 2329 (light blue/purple) colorway - currently in use for Charade

2 skeins Zitron Lifestyle in a pink self-striping pattern (no pic yet)

So here's hoping that all goes well on the sock front. I know I'm going to pick up some other sock yarns in the near future because there are certain colors I want to get for specific gifts, including a pair of socks for my little bro, who (horror of horrors!) got his driver's license on Friday.

As for the Charades, I'm enjoying this pattern very much. I had some issues early on because the herringbone rib says it's in multiples of 4 and yet I was doing it with 5 stitches. Turns out that the YO method is different than the one I was using from Stitch n' Bitch. I figured it out though after a little experimentation and searching of the internet and all is proceeding smoothly. This is also my first attempt at 2 socks on 2 circs and I think I've mastered it to the point that I'm not getting all tangled or using the wrong needle and getting hopelessly confused.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fall TV means more TV Knitting

I can't even begin to describe my excitement about the return of the Fall TV season. As if I needed to spend more time sitting on my couch, I've tried to be very selective in which shows I watch this year. That means that some of them just didn't make the cut (I'm talking to you, Grey's Anatomy!), while I'm giving some new shows a trial run at making it into the rotation. I'm really excited about Mondays and have a feeling that will be my go-to TV night. Heroes = Awesome. Chuck = Adorkable. I just need to make sure I don't turn into a total couch potato and get out a bit more. At least until Lost comes back in early 2008.

Speaking of couches, my new living room set arrives tomorrow, a purchase made easier by the raise I got last week. Woo!

Also, I've got some nifty Ravelry progress bars over --> in the sidebar. Unfortunately they only seem to work in Firefox. No idea why IE isn't cooperating. :( Update: They seem to be working ok now after I've fiddled with them a bit.

TV Update: Private Practice was horrible. No more Shonda Rimes shows for me. It's a shame, because I really wanted to like it based solely on the actors in the cast. Dirty Sexy Money however is fantastic. I recorded Ugly Betty and CSI last night and watched The Office. I love PB & J! Squee!

I had no idea the fact that the fall TV season is back could make me so unbelievably happy, but it has. :)

Knitting Update: I resumed work on the Blaze sweater last week and frogged the sleeve I started previously. I went down a size because it was clear that the sleeve was going to be gigantic. I'm still worried about the body being too big, but I can deal with that more easily than if the sleeves are huge.

I also cast on my first pair of cuff-down socks. I'm using my Koigu for the Charade pattern by Sandra Park. I'm using 2 US size 3 circular needles. I recently sharpened the points on these bamboo needles using an emery board and it's made it much easier (although slightly more dangerous) knitting.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Projects and Pics and Updates, Oh My!

I managed to upload a set of pics to flickr last night (finally). Mostly they're a stash update with the yarns I picked up in Boston with the addition of some UFOs (Hey there cabled blankets! Where have you been hiding?). I think the fact that I feel guilty walking out of a yarn shop empty handed is not a good sign. But out of all the vices I could have, I feel like yarn gluttony is least likely to get me into any kind of serious
trouble. I just need to work on these projects.

You already saw this Malabrigo lace in my Secret Pal post, but good lord it's so purty I felt the second skein deserved its own moment in the spotlight.

I'm trying to decide which lace pattern to use on this unbelievable stuff. Both are lace shawl patterns by Miriam Felton: Icarus and Seraphim. I'm leaning towards Seraphim, but gosh it's hard to decide.

Then there's this little beauty:

That's Colinette Mohair. I'm planning on doing the Branching Out Scarf with this.

The lace pattern from Elizabeth Zimmerman's February Baby Sweater has whetted my appetite for some lace. So I think I'll have to bump one of these projects up in the Ravelry queue.

Ok, enough with the lace already! This bad boy I can't even remember which yarn it is. I'll have to check later when I get home. I do remember it's in a colorway called Midnight and I think it's beautiful.

Then there's the Debbie Bliss SoHo. This yarn just leaped off the shelf into my arms and before I even knew what was happening, my credit card was swiped and the balls were tucked neatly into a shopping bag.

It's like I blacked out and had one of those "Ohmigod what did I do last night?" moments. But Jebus this is pretty. Perhaps for another My-So-Called Scarf? Perhaps a felted hat? The possibilities are (nearly) endless. I only bought 2 balls after all.

In other knitting news, I'm happy to say that I've got what is shaping up to be a regular Stitch'n'Bitch. Tuesday nights uptown (err, for me downtown?) at Yarntopia. I love this store. I love it more and more every time I go. Not least of all because Dona the owner was nice enough to take a pic of me in my Tilted Duster with some decent lighting. Check out those fabulous yarn displays! Is it any wonder I have no willpower?

Lady Eleanor is progressing nicely. I'm almost done with the 7th ball of SWS so I'm more than halfway there. But more exciting, I practiced knitting backwards on the subway this morning. And wow, did that make a difference. I'm still getting the hang of it, but not having to flip the whole project every 8 stitches (especially now that it's getting pretty big) will hopefully improve my knitting speed. I'm doing it in the Combination Method described for English Knitters, which I didn't discover until just now when I went looking for a link. So maybe my made-up methods of knitting aren't totally made-up!

I'm also trying to find some little goodies to use as filler in my Secret Pal package. Hopefully I'll get it sent out early next week.

There have also been some really cool links out there on the internets that have gotten my interest piqued:
  • Like HomeEc from Flirt via Brownstoner via Subway Knitter. Rentals of sewing machines? Classes for beginners? Wine and chocolate? Sign me up!
  • Or Park(ing) Day via NeoKnits.
  • ETA: And then I just found this sweater from Urban Outfitters that is like a cross between Buttony and the Tilted Duster with some lace thrown in. I am probably getting way over my head but I totally want to make one.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Rhinebeck Plans

Less than a month until Rhinebeck and I'm kind of freaking out (squee!). And it's not because I spent a hefty chunk of change on yarn in Boston (well, not entirely because of that). I'm getting a bit overwhelmed at the coordination and organization that so many people put into it. Over at the Rhinebeck!!! Ravelry Group, there's thread after thread discussing vendors on the must-see list, things to keep in mind especially for first-timers, meet-up plans, carpooling, you name it.

I'm trying to tell myself to take deep cleansing breaths.

I'm only going on Saturday which immediately limits the amount of time I will have, but let's be real here, I do NOT need to spend two days buying yarn and assorted yarn related goodies. (Plus, I'm going to see Pygmalion with Angela Chase... uh, I mean, Claire Danes on Sunday the 21st).

I was considering doing Rhinebeck Blogger Bingo, but decided that 1) I want to focus on the festival, so playing is out and 2) C'mon now! I'm new to blogging so I seriously doubt that anyone there is going to have a clue who I am (or care), so being a square is out. Maybe the next time I go, I'll give it a whirl, but this first time around I think I'm going to have enough on my mind.

I wish it was October already!!!

I spent yesterday knitting, organizing my new yarn stash, prepping a secret pal package for shipping, watching the Irish and Yankees lose. I took new pics of the stash additions, but completely forgot to upload to Flickr. So here's a shot of Lady Eleanor to tide you over. She's pretty.

I'll be at Giants Stadium today with my brothers (how nice of them to let me go to a game when it's not negative 20 degrees with 50 mph wind gusts). Go G-Men!

Monday, September 10, 2007

In Boston No One Knows My Name

I find that song ironic if only due to the theme song of Cheers (was that intentional?). But anyway, yes, I spent a good part of Friday and Saturday in Boston, that most hated of cities. I was even forced to drive past Fenway Park on numerous occasions (boo! hiss!) but luckily, was able to tune into 660AM WFAN while I was there and get some quality NY sports.

I was there ostensibly for a wedding (which was meh) but my real goal was to hit some of the premiere yarn shops. This went better than the wedding (apparently the groom's family and friends hate the bride. I wonder if any of them conveyed this to the groom prior to the nuptials?). I stayed at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, which was awesome if only for the leopard print bathrobes and security guards on segways in the park outside.

leopard print... hot!

Hey look! It's G.O.B!

On Saturday, I first drove around a lot which is saying quite a bit since Bostonians are horrible drivers and apparently enjoy living in a city that doesn't believe in street signage, let alone street signage that is coherent/legible/accurate. I got to see Beacon Hill (from my car). Drove around Boston Common and the Public Garden and then down Newbury Street looking for for a parking spot.

And I thought "Boston Common" was just a really bad TV show ;)

I wound up parking in the theater district close to Windsor Button, the first stop on my yarn shop tour of Boston. There were several knitters in here when I arrived. One of the shopkeepers mentioned that Norah Gaughan was coming in next week for a book signing. I restrained myself from exclaiming "She is BRILLIANT!"

I thought one of the things I might look for on this trip was another skein of the Malabrigo Lace I got from my Secret Pal. This is quite possibly one of the most lovely yarns I've ever seen or felt and I am so excited to make something with it.

The people at Windsor Button were great, I really should've spent more money there now that I reflect back on my spending activities. ;) When asked what I was looking for, I indicated the Malabrigo lace. I only saw it in the worsted and their posted price list didn't have the lace weight listed so I wasn't very hopeful, but sure enough in two baskets on the counter were a bunch of different skeins! Such pretty colors, but I was really looking for this one colorway and preferably the same dye lot. I wasn't going to hold my breath and, unfortunately, it wasn't in the baskets. "Oh, well" I thought. Then the man who was helping me checked the display in the front of the store. Sure enough, there it was! The same dye lot and everything! I couldn't believe it, but I was sooo excited and gladly bought it.

I also bought two more buttons to add to the Tilted Duster (the place is called Windsor BUTTON for a reason, afterall). I want to have it completely done for Tuesday when a group will be meeting at Yarntopia for a sit n' knit.

So with that task accomplished, I set to work on two of my other goals: 1) see a little bit of Boston and 2) get some fun stuff for MY secret pal. Now, my downstream is from the Boston area, but currently resides in more hostile territory, so I figured some reminders of home may be in order, but more specifically, some fun yarns from some fun Boston yarn stores.

I took a walk across Boston Common and stopped at the cemetery that's located along Boyleston Street (where Gilbert Stuart is buried, among other notable and not-so-notable New Englanders). You'd think I'd be sick of being in cemeteries, but, really, they have some of the most beautiful early American artwork you will ever see. I have a bit of a fixation on the iconography that was used on the earliest gravestones and this cemetery had some really beautiful examples of soul effigies from the 1790s and early 1800s.

Great hair!

After that morbid little detour I strolled through the Public Gardens and saw the Swan Boats, which I will always associate with one of my favorite books when I was young, The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. *sigh*

I walked down Newbury Street (past Chanel and Burberry and all that nonsense) and hit my second yarn store, Knit & Needlepoint by Mary Jo Cole. Unlike Windsor Button, this store was small and I probably spent more than I should have. But I really liked the colorways they had in the Cherry Tree Hill yarns even though the saleswoman made them out to be a bit more precious than they actually are. She may have been more on the needlepoint side of things, but what can you do?

I continued walking through the heat and humidity and at one point remembered I was carrying around my gift from the wedding in my bag ( a pink chinese food take out carton full of chocolates). I guess it was better than leaving them in the car?

I reached the third leg of the tour: Newbury Yarns. It's on the first floor in the back of one of the lovely buildings on Newbury Street, and WOW. It was a really lovely little store. One other woman was in when I arrived and she was apparently a regular. Once she left, the owner turned her attention to me.

So the owner at Newbury Yarns was incredibly nice. I asked if there was anything she had that was unique to her store and she quite reasonably replied that she really didn't visit the other stores so she couldn't say what she had that was different or unique (although she did notice my bag from the previous store and noted that I probably overpaid considerably. This I acknowledged, but luckily I was selective in my purchases there.) She showed me some really nice stuff that is dyed only for her (there was some mohair in particular that was lovely, but definitely out of my price range).

So she asked me what I knit and I told her about the Tilted Duster and showed her my Lady Eleanor WIP. I am really in awe of this project and she was too. This got us talking about yarn stores and knitting and in the end it was quite possibly the nicest experience I've had in a yarn shop.

And I have to say this for the Boston stores, they really do know a thing or ten about customer service. I don't know if the NY LYS have taken the New York City attitude to heart or what, but I generally get a colder feeling from them. Almost like I need to really prove myself as the *right kind of knitter* when I walk in the door. So many feel like secret clubby places where you need to know the password and know the secret handshake. The Boston stores were the complete opposite IMO which was really nice. I don't know if maybe I was just being chatty b/c I was a tourist, or if it was b/c none of them seemed to have a cliquey group of knitters sitting front and center as if challenging your worthiness to set foot in their domain, but I felt completely comfortable and knowledgeable and in my element for quite possibly the first time.

Newbury Yarns was really beautifully organized in a really lovely light-filled space. She mentioned some stores she wants to look at when she goes to NY and I told her, much to her surprise, that she would probably find that Purl SoHo is about a third the size of her store (but I will say that they certainly make good use of their tiny space. Maybe that's what makes it feel smaller?). I gave her some more recommendations that I think are fairly universal in their praise among NYC knitters and visiting knitters (Knitty City, School Products, Seaport Yarns). She also mentioned she will be going to see the Habu showroom, mainly so that she can stock her store. I bought two skeins of a really lovely color of Debbi Bliss SoHo and a nice neutral/pink mohair from her and then stopped and got myself a half and half (iced tea/lemonade) from Tealuxe on the corner. All in all a very productive shopping excursion.

On my way back to the car, I passed Trinity Church and then the Arlington Street Unitarian Church with a sign inviting visitors to see their Tiffany Windows. Having worked on several Tiffany interiors, I was intrigued and gladly paid the suggested donation price to see these really beautiful examples (Although, I wonder how heavily they've been repaired). I happened to be there when the light was particularly good which made it even more rewarding.

A few knicknacks for my SP rounded out my spendfest, but I definitely think it was worth it. I even got to Jersey in time to watch the Irish lose pitifully to Penn State with my dad. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Change of Plan

Do you ever just get so frustrated with the lack of activity on a project that you just start looking for reasons not to work on it anymore?

Oh, it's too hot to knit that right now.

I really need to finish this other project so I can post pics on the blog.

[Insert technique here] is so boring, I want to try something new.

That's basically the point I'm at right now with the Fair Isle Kid's Cardigan. Sure it looked super cute at the time but did I really think it through? Fair Isle with superwash wool? All those color changes! So many ends to weave in! I'm just beyond frustrated with this project and can't stand the fact that the picture I had in my blog sidebar (which I removed with good reason) and up on Ravelry has immortalized this point that I've been stalled at for what feels like an eternity.

So I give up. I'm just going to admit it. There's no way I will finish this project without wanting to pull my hair out. So I'm moving on and I'm frogging it. Goodbye, Kid's Fair Isle Cardigan, you were just not for me (and not for my goddaughter).

Instead I will repurpose the Cascade 220 superwash for the February Baby Sweater from my recently acquired Knitter's Almanac. (Thanks, Super Secret Pal!) It'll take some doctoring in terms of sizing, I'm sure, and I may also do the yoke and seed stitch borders in contrasting colors, but I figure I've got plenty of time until Christmas, right? (Yeah, I've said that before.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

It's a new week, a new month, a new post!

So I'm starting off this week on a new foot. After the serious negative energy I had going on last week, the long weekend did wonders for putting me in a better frame of mind (as did the smooth move-out of the now ex-roommate). I had a great weekend: went tubing on the Delaware River (and sincerely regret I did not buy a waterproof camera), got in some quality sunbathing, hot-tubbing, and swimming, and ate 4 different desserts (occasionally for breakfast! Hey I don't have to fit into a bathing suit for another 9 months!) It was some serious mental health time that was sorely needed.

So some random things that I neglected to mention in last Friday's posting frenzy:
-I received a random copy of Spring Interweave 07. No idea why it showed up, but I was totally pumped b/c it has Eunny Jang's entrelac tutorial. It also happened to be in pristine condition, so I don't think it has been lost in the mail since I subscribed.

-Lady Eleanor is coming along nicely. And it was nice to have the entrelac tutorial so I could reassure myself that I was not messing it up. So far it's been manageable enough for subway knitting but it's starting to outgrow my bag, so I have a feeling progress will be slowed considerably when I can no longer comfortably tote her on the train. I must leave room for all my other stuff afterall, you know like keys and cellphones and wallets (not unlike the one I very inconveniently left at home this morning).

And a very recent development: my office is currently without an office manager. And that is all I have to say about that.

So no dirty roommate and no evil office manager, I really hope this is karma's way of making up for the really obnoxious time I had last week.