Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008: Year in Review (Techniques)

Bold for stuff you’ve done, with an asterisk for things done for the first time in 2008
italics for stuff you plan to do in 2009, 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 (didn't get around to it this year)
Participating in a KAL
Publishing a knitting book
Short rows
Slip stitch patterns

Socks: toe-up
Socks: top-down
Steeks* (WOO HOO!)
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys
Swatching (though making this a habit should be a goal for 2009)

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

I had set a goal last year of doing 17 new things, but as these things invariably go, that didn't quite come to pass. However, I did manage to accomplish a whopping 11 of the heretofore untried techniques including, and this was a big one, steeking! Such fun. I have 12 items I'd like to do in the coming year, several of which I'm very excited about (thrumming!) All in all it's been a pretty good year on the knitting front.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008: Year in Review

If 2007 was the year I got serious and got knitting, then 2008 is the year I turned into a knitting machine. Having already accomplished serious milestones of sweater knitting and such, there was very little I was not willing to try. But I ended the year having finished a whopping 39 items (one of these, as of press time was awaiting finishing, but with confidence that it will be completed in time for gifting on New Years Eve).

So what did I make this year? (Lots o' stuff!) And did I make an effort to make stuff for someone other than yours truly? (Yes and no.)

1. Enid, 2. Mittens!, 3. Dan's Noro Striped Scarf, 4. Haruha Scarf, 5. Ellen Cowl, 6. Feb Lady Sweater, 7. Leah Tunic cropped, 8. Mossy Shell Sock, 9. Renaissance Palm Cowl, 10. Hexacomb Cropped Cardigan, 11. Roped Shell, 12. Koolhaas, 13. Kiri, 14. Brompton Cardigan, 15. Clapotis, 16. Drops Jacket

Hats came out on top with 8 items, due to my designating this a hat Christmas gift year after 2007 year of the cowl. There were lots of cowls and cardigans (6 of each in fact). There were 6 wraps and scarves of varying types. There were 4 tops and tees. Add in the assorted other random items for a total of 38 finished objects this year. Not too shabby considering the monstrous scale of some of them.

I altered much of The Plan I laid out for myself at the beginning of the year, which I think is totally fine. I kept it challenging and just altered choices and dates as whim demanded. As I fell out of love with a particular pattern I was certain to find another that replaced it, which is why Buttony and the open collar pullover did not get made but the Drops Jacket and the Roped Shell did.

My goal of knitting 5 pairs of socks fell through just barely with 4 pairs completed. Quite an accomplishment since I'm not so wild about sock knitting (though I love wearing them!) Though stashbusting of sock yarn failed miserably.

The year did not start off great as far as The Plan was concerned. I quickly found that the Kauni color changes I selected for the Venezia Pullover were not what I wanted and so that project went into deep hibernation mode to be awoken this January with one strand of the blue Kauni and one strand of a solid oatmeal colored wool used instead of the yellow/brown/white (which I think might look lovely paired with the dark red wool I picked up in something like this). I also had serious attention and enthusiasm issues as far as Juno Regina was concerned. But hopefully all that will be rectified with some serious rethinking and reevaluating of projects in the New Year.

The tail end of the year was pretty awesome as far as I'm concerned. Jenn in DC and I went to our second (frigid) Rhinebeck. Oh yeah, and I bought a wheel. That'll play quite heavily into my goals for the coming year. I finished a bunch of the aforementioned major projects, proving that Venezia and Juno hadn't sucked out all my mojo. Most of all I had a lot of fun knitting. With work and family and city living driving me nuts on occasion, it was definitely a great respite from all that craziness. Here's hoping 2009 sees improvement on all fronts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gchat: It happened just now...

1:43 PM me: so um i started mildly freaking out last night b/c i haven't woven in the ends of dad's sweater and therefore have not washed it yet, have not started on tara and melissa's gifts
cousin danny and cousin jess are only half done
Jenn in DC: well christmas is a week away
me: and anthony's hat also needs the ends woven in
Jenn in DC: you should get a lene
me: lol yes
1:44 PM well i freaked out mainly b/c the sweater is gigantic and where will i block it at home w/o dad seeing it?
Jenn in DC: who's anthony?
me: jess and dan's younger brother
who is ryan's age
Jenn in DC: oh i didnt know they had one
block it at your house tonight
me: yes we frequently forget about him too
but i'm seeing them on saturday
i have love actually/indubitably cookie party tonight at kyra and tyler's*1:45 PM Jenn in DC: saturday two days from now?
me: yes
Jenn in DC: well when are you going to dad's house?
me: sunday
ryan is picking me up at my apt. on saturday to go to long island and then from there i go straight home
Jenn in DC: oh
yeah you have a problem
1:46 PM cant you just do it at his house in a room and tell him not to go in
me: i guess i can improvise at home in my room
but i will weave in ends when i get home tonight
Jenn in DC: so you need to find yourself an office and go knit right now**
me: i haven't been able to fall asleep before midnight all week anyway
i am not too worried about the other projects***
i will have a half day tomorrow
1:47 PM and i may skip a christmas party to stay home and knit all night
and block danny's scarf
and then i can finish jess' mitts in the car if need be
oh lordy
1:48 PM Jenn in DC: jesus
you're a mess
me: how did i get complacent???
thank GOD i didn't bake ten million cookies this year****
Jenn in DC: you thought you had this christmas thing licked
me: i did
i totally did
1:49 PM me: yes
sigh :(

* Love Actually/Indubitably Cookie Party (c): Party in which we watch Love Actually (not to be confused with Love Indubitably) the greatest Christmas movie of our time and bring cookies to eat and share. During which I will clearly not be eating cookies because I will frantically be working on Jess' gift.
** This is how Jenn gets her knitting done.
*** Yes, I am.
**** Just a batch of Sambuca Cookies, a batch of Ginger Spice Cookies, a batch of Black and White Cookies, and a batch of Florentines (which I am just this moment realizing, I sandwiched instead of leaving as described in the recipe, doh. No wonder I only have a limited number of them)... and a partridge in a pear tree.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's the Holiday Season...

This weekend Lauren and I hosted our Annual Drink the Tree Party. It's a holiday tradition wherein friends bring little bottles of booze (nips) to decorate our tree with the idea being that we drink them at a second party held at a later date, but that typically never happens so we try to drink the tree every other year. This year was fantastic.

Pre-party, not a creature was stirring...

The tree looked totally lovely with a nice combo of legitimate ornaments as well as alcohol-filled ones. Here's one of the yarn skein ones I made up last year. Knitter Jenn from DC says her mom loves the ones I made last year, particularly the one that looks like a fetus. Happy Holidays!

Not a fetus

There was a crackling fire on the teevee.

And there were even knitwear ornaments courtesy of Knitter Jenn C. She says the use of BoSox colors was completely unintentional and she claims they're holiday colors, but Lauren loves them and begs to differ.

The only problem (if you'd even call it that) is that our fridge is still stuffed full of beer. Apparently wine and mixed drinks were more popular this year, though there is a can of PBR currently hanging from the tree.

Even in the midst of all the party prep and substantial cleanup, I managed to make serious progress on the Christmas gift front. I've got 2 cowls finished, a thorpe hat for Cousin Anthony and a noro striped scarf for Cousin Danny both at the halfway stage, and two more bulky hats to cast on once those are finito. Add that to the sweater completed for dad and the hat for my bro, and I'd say I'm doing just fine, thanks. I may have a few more crafty ideas up my sleeve as well.


Unfortunately Christmas cookies are lagging far behind, a situation not helped by the fact that both batches of cookies I made for the party were totally wiped out. So I get to make a whole bunch more tonight. Delish.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Now that that's over with...

With the major hurdle of Dad's Aran complete (and the sleeves sewn on in proper fashion), I've moved on to other projects including a big bout of finishing. This, of course, means I've got some stuff to show off!

First up is a project I had hoped to finish during NaKniSweMo, but it just didn't make it: the ubiquitous Drops Jacket.

It would've been done ages ago, but the collar gave me all kinds of issues. I finally got it just right last night and am happily sporting it today in my frigid office.

Pattern: 103-1 Drops Jacket by Garnstudio
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted Merino in Forest
Used: 6 skeins
Needles: US 7 for body (US 6 for collar)
Modifications: There were tons of mods on this one, most were inspired by Canary Sanctuary's top down raglan version. I used Laura Chau's top down raglan instructions but added a few extra stitches to the front to account for the wider button band detail. I'll have to go back and look at my notes but it was pretty straightforward. Made 5 buttonholes on the body but will probably only end up using 3 of them. I prefer it as a swing jacket after all.

For the collar I ended up picking up every stitch around the neck and started in basketweave, keeping the first and last 2 stitches in garter stitch. Then I then increased 2 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows, followed by two rows without increases, working the increased stitches into the pattern as I went. I added a buttonhole about 4 inches up, and then continued for another 2 inches at which point I stopped increasing stitches and continued knitting for about 3 more inches. Total length of the collar is about 9 or 10 inches and it used up a full ball of Malabrigo.

My next finished project has been sitting around for ages waiting to be blocked.

Pattern: Short Rows Wavy Hat by Lee Meredith
Yarn: Briar Rose Fibers (one of the remnants I got at Rhinebeck. It's got some alpaca content and looks to be a heavy worsted/bulky weight)

Next up: Zeebee

Yarn: Karabella Soft Tweed
Used: 1.25 skeins
Needle: US 7

It's my brother's Christmas present. I picked a nice plain, tweedy looking yarn that is soft enough to be against the skin and a nice plain pattern that'll keep him warm. I think it turned out nicely. Hopefully he agrees. So that's 2 holiday knits down, just a couple more to go, since I'm taking it easy with the holiday knitting this year.

Speaking of Holidays, my roommate and I picked out our tree yesterday and it is the most delightful smelling thing ever. Made watching yesterday's abysmal performance by the Giants somewhat bearable (aided by the fact they still won the division). So my next project is to determine what holiday cookies to bake this year. Some of the Food Network 12 Days of Cookies recipes aren't terrible, but I'm not all that inspired by them either. I looked back at last year's baking and I'm going to change things up a bit this year. The Chewy Ginger Spice cookies are definitely sticking around, but I may only keep the chocolate drops and the biscotti.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

NaKniSweMo, I owned you this year. I picked the biggest, most cabley sweater I could find and knit the heck out of it. Don't believe me? Bam! Taken at 11:30 pm on November 30:

That's right. Dad's Aran is as done as the turkey on Thursday. Or maybe the stuffing which was gone after about 15 minutes. Seriously, for some reason no matter how much my dad makes, there's never any leftovers of stuffing to go along with the leftover potatoes and turkey and pie the next day. It's some seriously delicious stuffing (my mouth is now watering and I've just eaten lunch, go figure).

Now. You may notice if you look carefully that something seems a little off with the seams on the sleeves (how's that for alliteration?) That would be because at 11:30 when I was attaching the sleeves, I somehow managed to attach them upside down so the increases run along the top of the arm to the shoulder. Ooops. Naturally, it being 11:30 at night, I did what any sensible person would do and I took this picture and said in my best Scarlett O'Hara voice "I don't want to think about that now, I'll think about it tomorrow." So I put it away to deal with this evening when I get home. I'm still quite pleased with the sweater. It's gigantic, so I'm fairly certain that despite being worsted weight yarn, it met the requisite 50,000+ stitches for NaKniSweMo. I may actually unravel the bottom and shorten it a bit since Dad's fairly short and the torso on this bad boy is way too long.

All told I probably used 8.5 skeins of the yarn so with the unravelling I could've gotten away with only 8 skeins, but definitely would not have finished before the deadline.

Pattern: Aran Sweater by Lion Brand
Yarn: Bartlett Yarn Fisherman 2-ply
Needle: US 6 and US 8
Modifications: Body and sleeves knit in the round for almost no seaming (given my issues with the sleeves this was probably a very smart move on my part!) Instead of a simple ribbed neckband, I opted to double the length of the neckband and tack it down on the reverse for a more finished look. I think it makes it look much neater and more professional. ;)

Reflections on NaKniSweMo
This was an awesome experience. Definitely gave me great motivation to get a massive project like this done in a timely manner. I doubt I would've been able to finish the sweater in time for Christmas if I hadn't participated. Though I set a lot of goals and deadlines for myself this year and met quite a few of them, it seems like all the big projects tended to trip me up (see: Juno Regina, Venezia, etc.) This definitely gave me an ego boost in the FO department.

As an added bonus, because it was knit in the round, the sheer size of this knit meant that I couldn't take it on my commute which allowed me to work on other smaller projects. I think this contributed to the ease with which I could pick up the sweater when I got home since I wasn't sick to death of it. So I also have a bunch of projects that I've either finished or made good progress on while I was working on the sweater. All in all, I'm a big fan of NaKniSweMo.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Looking ahead

I've got some big plans for this weekend. Lots of stuff needs to get accomplished and I'm really hoping to get it all done.

1. Finish the body of Dad's Aran. I caved to pressure and bought 2 additional skeins to be safe.
2. Rearrange the bedroom. I've been thinking a lot about the way my room is set up and the fact that I have an incredibly comfy chair that is in an awkward spot which means I rarely use it. Also it is covered with FOs and works in progress that make sitting in it very difficult. I'd love to move things around so that the chair is more accessible and possibly creates a little knitting nook where I can sit and knit (or spin!).
3. Make some butternut squash soup and perhaps some other tasty treats from pinch my salt (oooh she just posted some sweet potato rolls!) or orangette. I went gonzo for gourds and tubers last weekend when I made sweet potato fries, sweet potato biscuits, and pumpkin cheesecake (using recipes from pinch my salt). Unfortunately I think the weather will be a bit too warm for these comfort foods so we'll see how motivated I am.

Happy weekend all!

Monday, November 10, 2008

NaKniSweMo: Week 1 Status

Not bad eh?

However, I'm getting progressively more nervous about yardage. At this point I'm about 1/3 through the fourth ball of yarn (out of eight). Hmmm. Another inch or two and I'll start decreasing for the armholes. Luckily the sleeves are not cabled, but still I think I'm going to have a heartbreaking realization soon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Know Hope

I've been spending a lot of time over the last couple days reading over the various reactions to the election and discussions of the path our new President-Elect will be taking. It's still so hard to put into words how I feel right now. I think it's equal parts hope, pride, and pleasant surprise.

2000 was my first presidential election. I remember so clearly going to vote for the first time and signing my name in the voter roll just above my mom's name. After years of accompanying my parents to the polls, now it was my turn. Over the course of that election cycle, I had watched the debates (and the SNL parodies... "strategery"). I had admired Al Gore since I was in the sixth grade when he was named as Clinton's VP pick and my social studies teacher had described his environmental stances. Now I was a sophomore in college and I stayed up late watching the results until my roommate, a New Hampshire resident who hadn't voted (something I loudly berated her for) asked me to turn off the TV late that night when Florida was still up in the air. It was just as well since when I woke up in the morning we still didn't know who won. That loss made me incredibly sad, not least because my guy hadn't won. It's never fun to be on the losing side, whether it's in kickball or political campaigns.

I still held out hope though. When the new president-elect explained that he would be a uniter, I (naively it turns out) believed that maybe it would happen, especially since there was no mandate for him since a majority of Americans had voted for his rival. I may have joked about moving to Canada like many of those who had voted the way I had, but without any real seriousness. I'll admit, it was a kind of fashionable thing to say at the time.

Then things changed and fairly quickly. I still held out hope that in the incredibly difficult times that were upon us, our President would lead us in a responsible way. I hoped that while we couldn't be made whole again, we could start to heal. Then it was decided that we would go to war. Hardball with Chris Matthews made a stop with their campus tour at Fordham University. The guest was John McCain. I attended the taping in the Fordham Prep auditorium and listened to a man I believed to be honorable talk about the need for war. I was skeptical. The show was disrupted by several protesters who took off their coats and showed t-shirts emblazoned with the words "No War for Oil" in red. They were quickly escorted out, nervous laughter ensued and the interview continued apace. I thought it was a shame that McCain had not defeated President Bush in the primaries, because he seemed like a pretty good, knowledgeable guy. He seemed presidential.

2004 was rough for me. My mom died a couple days before the Iowa caucus and I remember discussing the various Democratic contenders with my friends at her wake. I recall quite vividly talking about John Kerry even before it seemed like he would emerge from that primary caucus as the winner. I thought that of all the candidates, he could defeat President Bush. I mean, he was actually a veteran! He had fought in Vietnam! That year, I donated to my first presidential campaign. I watched with rapt attention as a new political figure addressed the crowds at the Democratic Convention. I cried. This, I thought, is what it feels like to have someone speak to you eloquently, with respect, seeking to inspire and manages to leave you feeling good. This, I thought, is what happens when you're left remembering the message rather than remembering mispronunciations and gaffes. But after that high point, the polls for my guy started to plummet. And again, my guy lost, though thankfully largely without the utter chaos and uncertainty that followed my first election.

And then there was this campaign, which seemed to extend back almost to the time the last election was decided. Early on, I found it difficult to decide who I wanted to support. I respected Hillary a lot. It was her turn, her time. How inspiring to have her in the White House again, but now in this new role! But I remained torn. I hadn't known an election that did not have a Bush or a Clinton on the ballot. Did I want another one? The contrast between Obama and Bush was so striking, so fraught with meaning that I began to think of the symbolism of having him in the office. But could he win? Hillary was probably a much safer pick. So I didn't choose. I didn't vote in the primary because I really just couldn't make up my mind. But deep down I think I knew who I'd support in the end.

I had a Democratic friend who was unmovable. Devoted to Hillary, she simply could not make herself support him. I suspected there was more to her opposition than these feelings that her girl was robbed of what was rightfully hers. I had felt that before and couldn't let myself be laden down by those feelings. Talking to her frustrated me since she seemed so unwilling to change her mind and so willing to believe everything she heard that was bad, regardless of its truth. In the end, she transferred her affections to the least credible candidate to have ever been raised to the ticket of a national party and viewed efforts to expose the inadequacies of this candidate as an attack on her. She turned into one of the people that I simply could not understand.

Now that it's over, I hope that she, like the millions who didn't vote for my guy, will have the same hope that I nourished for the last eight years: that while we may disagree with the President, in the end, he'll make good choices for all of us. He'll represent all of us and speak for all of us (and hopefully, he'll do that with words that are pronounced correctly). I hope that this time, those hopes will be justified and met with words and deeds that make us proud of our President, regardless of our party affiliation or whether we cast our votes for him. I'm looking forward to what's to come.

Monday, November 3, 2008

NaKniSweMo kick off

This weekend, November 1st, marked the start of National Knit a Sweater Month and I decided to participate since one of my goals this year was to knit a gift sweater for Dad. He's always asking for Aran sweaters and I picked one up for him when I was in Scotland (made in Ireland, but Scotland was more convenient for me at the time). But I figured making him one would be a nice use of my skills and so I picked up some nice sheepy yarn aran weight yarn at Rhinebeck from Wild Apple Farm to make him a Christmas gift sweater. I wasn't in the mood to design my own Aran and I wasn't wild about the cables used in a lot of the books I have so I wound up using a free pattern from Lion Brand. I started a different one of their arans many moons ago that is currently my oldest UFO, but I think this project will be different for several reasons (the NaKniSweMo deadline being one of them).

I cast on this past Saturday and spent part of the (rather temperate) afternoon knitting in Ft. Tryon Park. Can't beat sitting in the sun on a park bench looking out at scenery like this:

I managed to finish the waist band ribbing and start the cable pattern which gave me the opportunity to break out one of my favorite recent acquisitions, these awesome stitch markers I got from Shameka in the Sit'n'Knit neckwarmer swap.

On Sunday while I was knitting during the morning political shows, whenever Rick Davis or that shrill harpy Monica Crowley said something irritating (which was most of the time) I just looked down at those little markers dangling from my work and it made me super happy.

I've finished up one skein so far and have almost 7 inches completed. I'm a little concerned about having enough yardage, especially since the back is knit in beaded rib rather than stockinette and it seems to be using up a considerable amount of yarn. I think it's probably too late to switch to stockinette at this point, but on the plus side I think it'll give the sweater a lot more give which will make it easier for Dad to wear it with lots of layers underneath at Giants games.

In other news, the Drops Jacket is all knit up but I'm not so pleased about the neck. I think I'll wind up frogging that portion and starting over with some slight variations. Otherwise I'm quite pleased. Hooray for chilly sweater weather!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rhinebeck 2: Rhinebeckier

Caution: Picture Heavy Post Ahead!

Rhinebeck this year was seriously wonderful, though how it could be anything else is beyond me. You put enough sheepy things in one place and I'm fairly certain you're guaranteed a good time. Knitting Jenn from DC and I drove up Friday night and made a late arrival at our b&b, the lovely Creek Locks B&B in Rosendale. We slept like babies on one of the most comfy beds I've ever had the pleasure of sleeping in, in a completely adorable renovated 1860s farmhouse. Breakfast was delish! So they've got both the B's in that equation totally down.

We got an early start but to Jenn's infinite dismay were parked further away from the entrance gate than we were last year when we were practically at the gate. I don't know that we will ever be able to rival that spot ever again. I get out of the car, and immediately hear my name. It's our parking spot neighbor who happens to be Shameka from my Sit'n'Knit meetup group. She knit me the crofter's cowl I got at the neckwarmer swap a couple weeks ago which I happened to be wearing over my Enid cardigan (she also made me the best stitch markers ever)! How very fortuitous! Perfect timing turned out to be the theme of the weekend.

After picking up coffee, Jenn and I went about our business at a fairly leisurely pace. Having two days to do it all definitely allowed us to meander and take our time. I was less camera happy this year in the booths, but I made sure to snap shots of some of the funny signs that were posted here and there.

We spent plenty of time visiting the animals and happened upon the "Best Fleece" judging for both the white wool on Saturday and colored wool sheep on Sunday. Both were won by the same farm Pitchfork Farm in Michigan. Definitely looked like some quality fleece to me.

1. 100_2230, 2. Photogenic, 3. Sleepy Sheepy, 4. What great big horns you have, 5. 100_2200, 6. 100_2203, 7. Holy crap! There's a dog!, 8. 100_2148, 9. Sheep with Bandanas, 10. 100_2108, 11. 100_2171, 12. Itty bitty diva sheep

I spent what I am coming to understand is a simply obscene amount of money. I would actually prefer not to think about it. Instead, I will think of it thus:

Now that's an economic plan I can get behind!

We happened upon the Llama and Alpaca parade with BeBop and Dewitt.

We chronicled our rapidly expanding stashes by photographing the car every time we went to drop stuff off. Trip 1:

End of Day 1:

Towards the end of the day I made a major purchase:

I wanted to compare the single treadle Hitchhiker wheel with the double treadle folding Ashford Kiwi but the two that were in stock were already sold by the time I got to the Merlin Tree booth! Once I got the hang of the single treadle though it was a piece of cake. Now we'll see what I'm able to do with it.

We left the fairgrounds at the end of the day and headed to the Ravelry party where I stared stalkerishly at Ann and Kay of Mason Dixon Knitting fame for most of the night. We froze our butts off but had a great time and I'm glad we hung around for the whole evening because I actually won an awesome raffle prize: A spindle kit from Spunky Eclectic! !

The cupcakes were pretty sweet too.

Day 2 dawned cold and sunny. I had sewn the buttons on my Briar Rose Brompton Cardigan the night before so I actually had a new sweater to wear. I'm quite proud of myself for having finished two sweaters made with yarn I purchased at last Rhinebeck. Not so proud that I didn't actually photograph myself in them in all their finished glory.

The first stop of Day 2 was Briar Rose Fibers and we got there just as sale baskets were being put out so we got some amazing deals on cone remnants. Unfortunately I have no idea which yarns they are or how much yardage but they'll make some great small items.

We bought Jenn a birthday gift: two prints from this booth.

End of Day 2:

Luckily by lunctime on Sunday we had stopped purchasing and didn't need to make more trips to the car. Instead, we ate some lamb chili and watched the sheep dog trials for a while before taking a last spin through the vendor and barn areas where we happened upon these fellas:

We didn't hit any of the lunchtime meetups but managed to see a lot of people in our travels. A whole lot of people from my local sit n knit groups made it. I bumped (literally) into Maggie at Brooks Farm. Saw Kathe at lunch while waiting in line for lamb kabobs and lamb ravioli. Then there were the various knitting celebs we happened upon. Saw Franklin, Ann & Kay, Amy Singer and the Yarn Harlot.

The weather was chilly but perfect for sweaters. The trees were beautiful and it was just generally a lovely weekend. Can't wait to come back next year!

And just when you got into the traffic leaving and thought you were safe from temptation, there were these ladies hocking bunnies on the side of Route 9.

I don't really want to contemplate the enormity of what I bought, but if you do check it out:

Click to see notes

Friday, September 26, 2008

To Do List

I've been out of the office all week working outside which meant no internet, which means I'm unbelievably behind (in my blog reading). So today involved a real effort to catch up on all the stuff I missed (over 400 bloglines posts) Here's some of the coolest food related blog posts I've come across this week. The weekend can't come soon enough so I can get cracking!

Muffin Mix

Chai Mix
5 Minute Chocolate Cake

I finished a slew of projects this weekend but of course neglected to upload the shots from my camera. I also cast on the ubiquitous Drops Jacket (in more Malabrigo) and I'm trying to decide whether I'll wear it or the (equally ubiquitous) February Lady Sweater to Rhinebeck. Oh wait, I'm going both days! One for each I guess, they're pretty much the same color green which I think is hysterical.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I've gotten sucked in

I've got election fever. Amazing how the Palin pick galvanized me as a fervent supporter of Barack Obama, huh? In the event that you're like-minded*, crafty, and live in the NYC area, this event might be for you.

Some of my required daily reading:
Andrew Sullivan
Matt Yglesias
Huffington Post
Real Clear Politics (I keep this open all day to monitor the poll index)

*In the event that you're not like-minded, don't bother posting about it here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Back on Track

If the updated Starbucks menu is any indication, it's officially fall. And you know what that means! Tumultuous weather? Nasty political ads? No, silly! Knitwear!

I've finally photographed a bunch of projects that have been finished for ages but just haven't made it to the blog due to my own laziness. Part of me just felt silly blogging knitwear in 90 degree heat (though admittedly, August was pretty delightful).

Up first: Frock Camisole

Ignore the bra straps, I certainly try to. It's unblocked, but still serviceable as is, I'm not too bothered about any wonky gauge issues. It flares nicely and I added some length so it would hit at my hips (probably not too smart considering it's my widest part, but I cannot abide shirts that are too short).

Pattern: Frock Camisole by Katie Himmelberg
From: Interweave Knits Spring 2008
Yarn: Cascade Sierra Quatro (cotton/wool blend)
Size: 39 1/2 (weird, this is the size I have recorded in Ravelry, which is not at all the size listed on Knitting Daily... don't know what's up there, but I don't have access to my copy of Interweave)
Used: 3 Skeins for a whopping 573 yards

Next: Leah Tunic

This picture makes it look like the yarn's all stretched out, but I swear it's not. Click for big!

Pattern: Leah Tunic from the Purl Bee
Yarn: Bristol Yarn Gallery Lyndon Hill (fingering weight cotton and silk blend)
Size: Medium
Used: 4 skeins (approx. 870 yards)

This bad boy has been in my queue since it came out last summer and I'm so glad that I finally got around to knitting it. I have quite the penchant for large projects on tiny needles (see: Enid Cardigan, Venezia, etc.) and this one used needles just as tiny, but luckily without the need for pesky details like sleeves or seaming. I love this shirt not least because it also has plenty of length (being a tunic and all) as is my general preference (see: Frock Camisole above). It made its inaugural appearance at the Bon Jovi Central Park concert pre-All Star Game and has been well-worn and well-loved this summer.

The yarn is simply amazing; cannot say enough good things about it. In fact, I'm using it in green for my Apres Surf Hoodie and am loving it there as well.

Not to forget: Fir Cone Stole

This was a quick project I wanted to whip up to use this really beautiful yarn. I've since used the Malabrigo Silky Merino, and though I love Malabrigo Worsted and prefer it over Manos, the Manos Silky Merino is far superior to Malabrigo IMO. Though they're both DK weight, the Manos feels much more consistent and substantial. Plus I didn't have a problem with the yarn losing its twist like I did with the Malabrigo (trust me this was very inconvenient as I was attempting to bind off). It really shows off the stitch pattern beautifully:

I love the fir cone shetland pattern (as used in the Shetland Triangle) but really have no need for another triangular shawl, I think stoles are much more serviceable. This one blocked out really nicely despite my initial concerns that I might not have enough yardage for it to be functional. The pattern is mine but using the Fir Cone and Horseshoe lace patterns from Barbara Walker's Treasury.

Pattern: Mine
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Silky Merino
Used: 3 skeins
Length: about 5 feet (heavily blocked)

There have been other projects including two that I just finished yesterday and have yet to photograph. One is the February Lady Sweater and the other a cowl for my meetup group swap in the aforementioned malabrigo silky merino. Perhaps in an effort to get the subpar taste of that yarn out of my mouth, I'm casting on for another cowl tonight with the always pleasing Malabrigo Worsted in Azul Profundo, perhaps my favorite color ever. *sigh*

This was a spur of the moment project, only because I had nothing ready to go this morning when I left for work. I'll probably wind up my green malabrigo for the drops jacket when I get home from the Inwood knitting group tonight. :) Hooray for Fall knitting! I'm hoping to have it done for Rhinebeck since Knitter Jenn from DC and I will be going for both Saturday and Sunday this year. Which means we'll be able to attend the Ravelry party this year after missing it last time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Help support my cousin!

He's running for some political office. And I'd really like to get invited to the inaugural ball.


Friday, August 22, 2008

This Weekend

With the exception of a bbq event on Saturday, I'll have most of the weekend to myself for the first time this month. With that in mind here's a few of the things I'm looking to accomplish:

1. Weave in ends on several unfinished projects (one pomatomus, roped shell, koolhaas II)
2. Photograph finished and updated projects.
3. Photograph and update the stash.
4. Try to implement this awesome storage idea since I have a ton of magazine boxes waiting to be put to use.

Hopefully I'll have copious pictures to fill the blog with on Monday. Until then, enjoy this clip from a movie I saw screened last night:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Returning to the scene of the crime

Yes, yes I know. Let's move on from the lack of blogging content shall we?

As many of you may know, the Discovery Channel's annual "event" Shark Week just ended. It (rather conveniently) coincided with Ryan Seacrest getting bitten on the toe by a sandshark. Little did I think that Ryan Seacrest and I would ever have anything in common, but we do now!

This past weekend I took a little girls' weekend time for a trip to Cape Cod with Tara and Melissa prior to Tara leaving us for Indiana and business school. What does this have to do with Shark Week you ask? Well you see, the timing of our trip to Cape Cod during Shark Week was rather fitting, seeing as when I was 5 I was bitten by a shark* while wading out to a sandbar at a beach in Chatham with my mother. Though Dad's Cousin Bobby is oft heard saying "Where was the supervision?" in regards to the lack thereof while he and my dad were growing up, it doesn't apply in this case. Mom was with me the whole time and, when I started crying, she said "Don't worry, you just stepped on a shell." Silly Mommy!

Luckily the shark wasn't too interested in me b/c otherwise I could've lost my right arm which would've been problematic. I was taken to the local emergency care since apparently Cape Cod didn't really believe in hospitals way back in the 80s but I couldn't get stitches b/c the hole was pretty big where I was bitten on the elbow. Fun Fact: Chatham is the "elbow" of Cape Cod!

And then I got Peaches and Cream Barbie. (best Barbie ever)

Dad had to change the bandages for many weeks (he still likes to remind me how disgusting it was every now and then). I remember still having them on when kindergarten started in September and being embarassed. The scars never totally went away, so now I have a big gash and teeth marks on my right elbow.

Bad ass right?

*Shark was what the doctor who examined me post-attack called it. Most likely a sandshark he said. The local paper called it a bluefish** I guess b/c when you're a seaside tourist economy you don't like the words "shark" and "attack" being bandied about (See: Jaws). Personally I don't think calling it a bluefish is that much better than calling it a shark considering bluefish are "voracious and predatory" and "cannibalistic." WTF Bluefish?? Wiki
**They're also called "Pomatomus saltatrix." What socks am I currently knitting? Pomatomus by Cookie A. of course! I told you there'd be knitting content!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer: full of fun, knitting, hatching of evil plans, etc...

As you can probably tell from the lack of posting, my summer's been busy. So busy in fact that my blogiversary came and went this month without my noticing. There has been much knitting, and even better, much finishing of projects! But actually photographing said finished knits has been difficult due to the business.

I finished the Leah Tunic from Purl Bee and she had her coming out party at the Bon Jovi concert in Central Park on Saturday. (No cameras were allowed in, so I didn't get a chance to photograph Leah with Jon Bon, alas!). It was a great easy pattern that I made with a fantastic cotton/silk blend yarn. Super pretty, if they had more colors available that are not pastel-y, I'd totally make another but I'm planning on doing the Apres Surf Hoodie using Lyndon Hill in green.

Also the Hexacomb cardigan has been done for ages, also unphotographed. But one thing that has not gone unphotographed is this:

It's some lovely Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn, just acquired at Yarntopia. I had to restrain myself and only bought two colors instead of one of each. Very tempting indeed. I've got some fingerless mitts on tap for this bad boy and some socks for the other. Yum.

And last but certainly not least, you need to run, not walk, to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog . No seriously, go now, I'll wait.

See??? Wasn't that pure (evil) genius? Act I went up yesterday but the overwhelming desire of untold millions to see Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion singing overwhelmed their server and it was down unless, like me, you downloaded it on iTunes (the season pass for all three acts is an evil genius steal at $4). I've been humming these songs all day. Act II goes up Thursday, and the final act (denouement!) goes up on Saturday. The entire thing will only be available online until Sunday so get your fix now! Or wait until it's available on DVD with musical commentary. Huzzah!

Monday, June 23, 2008

As if working here wasn't painful enough...

So on Friday, rather than thinking about what delicious item I was going to order for dinner from 5 Napkin Burger*, rather than planning what new item I was going to knit this weekend, rather than scheduling a multitude of site visits for the coming week, I was busy getting this:

My skin does not naturally have that jaundiced glow

Yup. I got assaulted (accidently) by my boss with a broomstick. I feel like now I could be perfectly justified in quitting.

The knitting is going well though. My Hexacomb Cardigan (Rav Link)was finished this weekend and is currently drying. The Roped Shell (Rav Link) is also finished but will soon be ripped out so I can redo the back. The back is entirely too droopy, so I'm planning on decreasing for the armholes a bit more and then raising the back neckline. Unfortunately, that means a fair bit of reworking which will probably be excessively time consuming. Alas.

*I got the 5 Napkin Burger, natch. As well as a spicy melon margarita... I think I deserved it.

ETA: Here's some yarn to make it better eh?

That's Sundara Silk Lace in Granite Falls (Seasons 2.1: Winter) and Superwash Merino Sock yarn in Arabian Nights (Seasons 2.1: Fall). Yum!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memories of Memorial Day

Three day weekends, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

1) Finished objects galore!

Here we have Picovoli in Knit Picks Shine Worsted, Mallard Colorway. I added a 2x1 ribbed hem at the bottom to help it stay put and prevent any curling since I didn't do a picot edge.

Here we have the Child's First Shell Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks in Sundara Sock Yarn, Mossy colorway from the Seasons Yarn Club Autumn.

2) Baked goods!

Rhubarb and Orange Pie

I had never tasted rhubarb until last summer and I was intrigued by the idea of using a less traditional pairing of rhubarb and fruit (in this case, citrus) than strawberry. This happened to be in my much beloved Martha Stewart cook book. I used her Pate brisee crust recipe and it's deliciously buttery. Yum! I used valencia orange for the zest and juice and it tastes absolutely delightful!

3) Spring cleaning!

You may have noticed in those FO pictures above that I have a new background for my finished objects instead of my solid blue duvet cover. I kind of went nuts at Ikea a few weeks ago and got a new summery duvet cover, curtains, and rugs for my bedroom along with some organizational stuff and kitchen paraphernalia.

4) New projects!

What better excuse to stay in bed knitting than a long lazy weekend? (plenty of time left to get all that other stuff done, right? ha!) I started on the Roped Shell from IK Summer '08 and it's flying along. I'm really digging it so far and hope it turns out nicely.

5) Walks in the park

It wasn't all sitting on my butt knitting and eating pie. I actually forced myself to get out and enjoy the nice weather. I strolled through Ft. Tryon before heading downtown on Sunday and was handsomely rewarded for shlepping my camera around all day with some glorious shots.

These reminded me of Georgia O'Keeffe's Black Iris III which I discussed in my senior Art History thesis lo those many years ago. I got another shot that was very reminiscent of a different O'Keeffe flower painting, this one of two poppies:

I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers. -Georgia O'Keeffe

Then on Monday I took a walk down to the George Washington Bridge. The Gay Recluse likes to photograph the GWB too, but I liked being able to view it from some different angles.

This one makes me strangely excited for the new X-files movie:
I want to believe...