Wednesday, January 30, 2008

There has been knitting!

I know it's been a bit quiet here at Chez Colorworks, but I swear it's not for lack of knitting.

You may remember my incredibly detailed, possibly foolhardy list of goals for 2008? Well I'm happy to say that 2/3 of the January goals have been accomplished as you can see in the progress bar widget over there on the right. But that ever elusive 3rd goal, is also unfortunately still visible. I don't think Enid will be done by tomorrow evening. (It is the Lost premiere afterall) I'm currently working on the buttonbands and made good progress at last night's SnB, but alas, not enough.

Steeking last Tuesday was the most awesome and liberating thing. I know many people who have steeked say that, but it's true. It's a heck of a lot of fun as long as nothing goes wrong, which thankfully was the case with my first attempt. I did a crochet reinforcement but realized once I was about to cut that I had not reinforced all of the floats in the colorwork section, so I decided to go back and give them a little help, just in case. They probably would've been ok as is, but I really was not in a mood to leave anything to chance. The only snafu involved the hem detail at the bottom which was not perfectly aligned and so I had one stitch that crossed the steek line. I just was extra careful cutting that area, and then secured the stitch to the correct side of the steek opening before cutting it loose. (I'm happy to say that Venezia, which starts with a similar hem detail using a provisional cast on, has a much better way of making sure this doesn't happen.)

I know what you're thinking, "Wow, wouldn't pictures help me to visualize all this better?" You're so wise. Of course it would've helped if my camera had accompanied me to Yarntopia instead of staying to work late in the office. Luckily Heidi obliged with her camera phone and captured the cutting and the lamaze-style breathing that kept me from totally passing out. (Ravelry link)

I've got a fun-filled weekend ahead of me, so no idea when I'll be able to wrap things up on Enid. Between my birthday party on Saturday, a Yarntopia sale, and the biggest game of the year for my G-men on Sunday, this is going to be one jam-packed weekend of fun.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

For New Yorkers only (and Chicagoans and San Franciscans as well I guess)

Just learned of this site EveryBlock from a post on Curbed. Pretty freaking awesome actually. I can get newsfeeds for any address or neighborhood including business reviews, blog posts, crime stats, all that fun stuff. Apparently they aggregate the Craigslist missed connections as well? How fun!

Dear staring guy on the A train: You were kind of cute, but the staring was a total turnoff. Hopefully you just had something in your eye and were rendered temporarily blind or something and had no idea you were staring at me. Best, Jen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No more jokes about watching paint dry! I mean it!

The conference was a hit. I was not booed off stage. I received many compliments and think people were just being nice or perhaps grateful that I was not one of the 5 presentations that day devoted to Colonial Williamsburg. Anyway with that out of the way I feel like I can devote myself wholeheartedly to my knitting again.

I'll be steeking Enid tonight at Yarntopia. I'm very nervous and excited about that.

I saw Cloverfield on Friday and for the last 3.5 days I've felt like I should be running for my life instead of casually walking the streets. I had a realization that should a zombie invasion or monster attack occur in Manhattan, I am perfectly positioned to escape the carnage as long as I'm in my apartment when the catastrophe strikes. Thanks Inwood! I'm fairly sure the Cloisters won't be the first target. Although when I flee, I'll be sure to head north instead of crossing the river.

My office was not closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Instead we worked at City Hall, which was closed. And being there I was not able to share this fabulous op-ed piece from the Times by Sarah Vowell. I hope you enjoy it.

But most importantly, and I can't believe I didn't post this as the initial entry, my G-men pulled out another impressive victory. I cannot even express in words how excited I am. Especially since just prior to the game I received a voicemail from a certain Packer fan in my family consisting only of "PACK ATTACK!" I can't wait to make him eat his words (especially since I can name more of the players on their roster than he can ;) hehehe). I'm tearing up now just thinking about Eli and Feagles jumping for joy in the middle of the field. *sniff*

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2 True Things and 1 False

1. Enid is almost ready for steeking.
2. I'm totally ready for my presentation tomorrow at the paint research conference.
3. I have not cast on for the Venezia Pullover.

Can you guess which one of those statements is false? Because I'm certainly in denial about it.

It's true. Enid is almost ready for steeking.

I picked up a small crochet hook on my way back to the office this afternoon (after a fascinating site visit to a townhouse on the UES which served to confirm my belief that I would be the best rich person ever). But I plan on crocheting the steek edges just as soon as I finish the bottom hem. Unfortunately, that will have to wait until after I do my presentation for the conference tomorrow. Nothing like leaving things til the last minute, eh Jen?

But that means I've been good and I haven't cast on for Venezia. Hopefully I won't decide in a fit of last minute procrastination tonight that it sounds like a good idea.

I'm excited for the conference but also concerned that these international paint researchers will find my presentation a) boring or -worse- b) common knowledge. Luckily, I'll only be a few blocks from Yarntopia so if it's a total snoozefest I can head over there on my breaks and get a knitting fix instead of making polite conversation with total strangers.

Ok. Off to gather images and write about the infiltration of the Modernist decorating aesthetic into commercial paint catalogs in the 1930s!

Monday, January 14, 2008


Ok I know I said several months ago that I had the best weekend ever, but I was wrong. This weekend totally topped it in terms of scope and diversity of enjoyment. I had a delicious dinner on Friday night at Community Food (& Juice) followed by a delicious brunch (French Toast, carmelized bananas and white rum caramel? hell yes!) the next day at The Smith with some energy expended strolling around the East and West Village and browsing at The Strand. There was football and knitting and I was simply flying through the colorwork on Enid. It was unbelievably enjoyable.

Then Sunday dawned and I was out of bed early for a matinee of There Will Be Blood. I really should do these early $6 movies more often. Especially if it's a movie like this one where I literally couldn't take my eyes of Daniel Day-Lewis. Give the man the Oscar now and let's be done with it. I cannot say enough good things about this movie.

After that I finally got my butt in gear and joined a new gym, paid a visit to Target and managed to get home in time to see the Colts lose and the G-men pull out a win over Dallas. A very productive day! And on top of that Enid is progressing very nicely. I'm doing the collar bind off now and then I plan on adding more length to the body before doing the hem and prepping for the steeks.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nabe Names: Stop the Insanity!

I've never been too fond of the trend to apply cutesy nicknames to neighborhoods. Especially not when a neighborhood already has an identity such as, for example, Inwood. Ok TriBeCa, DUMBO, you had no identity before you got your asinine names. Congrats. You've now ruined it for the rest of us.

Instead of using a perfectly lovely name (Guess what, we kind of are in the woods! How appropriate!) there came "WaHI" which I'm ok with since it identifies us as part of an ugly stepchild area of Manhattan that so often gets thought of as being in the Bronx. Washington Heights and Inwood get no love.

The whole Washington Heights thing I think is what the perceived problem is. For some reason, "Heights" seems to be associated with higher urban crime. Think: Crown Heights, Morningside Heights (well, in the 80s and early 90s anyway)... none of them give you quite the warm and fuzzy feeling you might be looking for in a potential neighborhood. So the real estate industry needed to spice things up a bit.

A former professor who lives in Hudson Heights said that another considered appellation for his neighborhood was Ft. Washington, but many neighborhood residents opposed it because of whatever connotations "Ft." has. Is Ft. Greene really that bad? I'd have thought they'd want to go with Fort instead of Heights because Fort projects that sense of security that people don't expect venturing into the Manhattan hinterlands.

But then there was "NoMa" (good grief) and now there's controversy about how to pronounce the stupid names in the first place.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Knitting with Scissors?

I hope that there was a really good reason that Enid was given that name because honestly, I don't think it does her justice. (Maybe it was someone's favorite aunt? I certainly hope so.) I'm sitting here, looking at pictures of the work in progress just marvelling at how beautiful the stockinette stitch looks on the sleeves. Do I credit the yarn or my own not insubstantial innate abilities^? I don't know, but either way I'm beginning to understand what the Harlot talks about when she describes how beautiful knitting can make her fear she's becoming simple. I mean, look at this:

click for BIG

I just want to curl up on the couch with this sweater and never move from my seat. I'm a half inch away from starting the colorwork and I swore I would hold off posting until I had something that was not a big black blob to show, but the sight of those neat little v's just made it impossible. I mean look at them! Precious! The yarn is a delight to work with but, as is typical with alpaca, it shows up mistakes pretty glaringly. There have been a few mistakes, mainly of the tension variety, and even though I've tried to fix them, it doesn't look quite right. Also, I have to confess that I'm a bit worried about the prospect of steeking. But Dona promised to hold my hand through the entire process, and it's still a ways off yet so we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

As if the prospect of taking scissors to one big knitting project wasn't enough, this arrived today (or possibly yesterday. The box was sitting in the conference room and someone neglected to inform me that a big box of yarn had showed up with my name on it until I saw it there at lunch):

It's the Kauni yarn from Webs. That'll be turned into Venezia (Ravelry link).

Yeah, I'm out of my mind.

^sarcasm indicator

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008: Start Your Engines

Happy New Year One and All!

Ok I know in an earlier post I said my plan for the new year would involve no added pressure and I know this is just asking for trouble, but you know what a sucker I am for lists. This one just happens to be in a monthly schedule format:

January: Finish Enid Cardigan and Start Venezia Sweater and Juno Regina
February: Continue Venezia and Juno Regina. Start St. Patty's Day Hat.
March: Finish Venezia Sweater and Juno Regina
April: Shrug and a bag
May: Picovoli, Clapotis
June: Open Collar Pullover
July: Have 3 pairs of socks completed
August: Start a gift sweater and Rhinebeck garment
September: Buttony
October: Have 5 pairs of socks completed, decide on unisex Holiday Gift
November: Finish gift sweater
December: Finish unisex Holiday Gifts and Start something for Me

This isn't to say these will be the only projects I'll work on. But these are ones I would definitely like to accomplish. I'll post this in the side bar soon so that I can at least try and keep myself honest. I'll be doing some blog cleanup as well. A note about the big projects that are front loaded in this schedule: Venezia is my planned project for a knit-a-long and Juno Regina will satisfy my desire for more lace (and silk lace at that! It'll be my first Sundara Yarn project.)

Looking at this list I know it seems like I'm going for quantity over quality, but a lot of these projects are ones I've wanted to do for a while. And maybe I'm setting myself up for failure, but the nice thing about my schedule is that there aren't really deadlines. Only gifts need to be done within a certain timeframe and even then, I'm not going to kill myself if I can't finish on time. But I need a bit of a challenge this year.

The sock quota is solely a stash-busting goal. I'd like to use up at least 7 skeins of sock yarn this year (Currently have 12 in stash: soon to be 10). And not necessarily everything will be socks (but I admit I'm having fun with the ribbed socks currently on the needles). In addition I'd like to get better at spinning, so spinning up some Rhinebeck fiber is one of my major goals. This also means I'll have to get crafty, because I really want to make my own Lazy Kate so I can ply the yarns.

For those non-knitters, don't worry! Not all of my goals/resolutions are knitting-based! And they are all nicely illustrated by several New Years ecards from Someecards. I love this site so much. It's most definitely my go-to source for atypical ecards. Anyways... In 2008 I plan to:

Eat in more neighborhood restaurants

My experiences in the neighborhood have been pretty consistently good. I really have no excuse for patronizing them more often.

Eat more veggies

I plan on stocking up at the Inwood green market more often too, although I realize that for the time-being I'm doomed to ingest large quantities of starch products.

Get out more

This is mainly so I can tell grandma I've met a nice boy and she can stop with the not-so-subtle hints that if I'm not married by February 20th I'm an inadequate human being. This is because she was married when she turned 27 and therefore all women must marry by 27 or be termed spinsters. I think spinster doesn't sound half bad. There will be spinning? Will I be provided with a wheel or do I need to bring my own?

Maintain gym plan

Self-explanatory. But I have no excuse especially since I'm no longer being ridiculously overcharged.

Follow through on travel plans

LMK (Lady Miss Kyra) and I have been talking about taking a trip forever. First it was going to be San Fran. Maybe Seattle? Then possibly London and Paris! Oooh what about Chicago, I've never been there. Possibly a cruise down the Nile? At this point, it's been enough talk. I'm going somewhere fun this year.

Try to do more than point and shoot with the camera

I love my camera. So it's a pity I really only know how to point and click. I really want to improve my photographs. And that also means taking more pictures of interesting stuff.

I hope your holiday season was filled with fun and good cheer. Feel free to send some e-cards to that special person on your list. :)