04 December 2008

Wish List, Winter 2008

E.T.A. This was dated incorrectly, and I'd forgotten about Ork Posters!

I don't know why I have such fun making these lists, but I do. What do you want this season?

  • Pretty pearl drop earrings - they remind me of a pair Nick gave me years ago
  • This pretty clutch from Red Ruby Rose embroidery, silk, nickel clasp - all things I like
  • I am still longing for Scilla (under Bohus Stickning)
  • Silk (again with the silk!) Circus dress and one of Desira's Bow belts - I'm thinking of an all-etsy wardrobe for the coming year. Not truly possible with my need for Lucky jeans and all, but fun to imagine.
  • Silver Wellies 'nuf said
  • Yarn, yarn, yarn
  • T I M E Time to knit, write, sleep, design those patterns in my head, play with my kids
  • a baby who sleeps some of the time
  • remote for my camera
  • blocking board - not really sure what kind but some surface for blocking
  • sewing stuff - I'm getting (have gotten, actually; the box is in the laundry room) a sewing machine for Christmas, so if you have any recommendations on books or blogs or websites, please let me know. My mom taught me to sew when I was little, so I hope it comes back to me, though I should probably find a class to refresh my memory.
  • Starbucks card since I'm too cheap to treat myself very often (except when I'm visiting my parents 'cause there's a Starbucks drive-thru near their house - love it!)
  • fabulous laptop case - why is it sold out?!?
  • the Domino book
  • an ork poster (or three) - the pale blue Boston one, the Great Lakes one, the orange butcher paper Manhattan (how cool is that substrate?), the white on black Chicago - so many to choose from
  • Christmas Meme

    I read this on Carol's blog and enjoyed it. Hope you will, too.

    1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper (from IKEA usually) or tissue paper and this wonderful ribbon from Paper Source (wish they would open one here in NYC; I always visit when in the Chicago area)
    2. Real tree or Artificial? Real! We're going to get ours this weekend from one of the Quebeçois vendors who sell trees on the street in New York.
    3. When do you put up the tree? We haven't solidified a tradition yet but sooner rather than later, as we will be in Chicago for the holidays.
    4. When do you take the tree down? A week after we should have.
    5. Do you like eggnog? Noooo. That may be the one dairy thing that I do not like.
    6. Favorite gift received as a child? The dollhouse my parents made for me when I was six.
    7. Hardest person to buy for? My father. Added bonus: his birthday is just a couple of weeks before Father's Day.
    8. Easiest person to buy for? Isobel. So much fun to find gifts for my little/big girl.
    9. Do you have a nativity scene? Not here, but my mother has a beautiful one that was her parents'.
    10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Maybe New Year's cards in the mail? I still have to send out Penelope's birth announcements, but she's been a pickle on naps thus far. Next year?
    11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Netflix (nothing against them) from my now-ex-husband. I should have known he was having an affair at that point.
    12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life followed by A Christmas Story. Is it being a Midwesterner that makes it such a resonant movie for me?
    13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? December, though I try to start knitting any presents earlier.
    14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No.
    15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mother's Boeuf Bourguignion and her mother's thumbprint cookies.
    16. Lights on the tree? Of course! White lights.
    17. Favorite Christmas song? Pretty much all of them. Well, except for the dog barking ones and such. All the real Christmas songs.
    18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Winging to Chi-town.
    19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? You bet.
    20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? My family does one Christmas Eve, usually with family friends, and the rest Christmas morning. Not sure what it will be like this year (we're staying with my in-laws).
    21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The buybuybuy mentality, particularly this year. I'm trying to do handmade - we'll see.
    22. Favorite ornament theme or color? Lots of red, since that shows up against the tree, and silver, which is just my thing.
    23. What do you want for Christmas this year? Anything from my wishlist.
    24. Angel on the tree top or a star? Very pretty angel at my parents' house. I need to do something about the dreadful papier mache star I have for our home.
    25. Favorite Christmas dinner? See #15. And there's usually shrimp cocktail and champagne to start. Last year I had to forgo the champagne, and that's how I told my dad I was expecting.

    03 December 2008

    Belated Thankful

    I am so blessed. This year I am thankful for

    -my husband
    -my beautiful children (may they some day sleep through the night)
    -my family (old, new, and ex)
    -living in New York City (finally!)
    -knitting
    -blogging (and all my bloggy friends)
    -ravelry
    -my sister leaving Afghanistan
    -President Obama
    -JetBlue (TV on airplanes is the best thing to happen to family travel ... ever!) and the new T5

    I know there is more to be thankful for, but that's all I've got today.

    28 November 2008

    Knitting Daily Pattern Store Sale

    A Thanksgiving treat from our friends at Knitting Daily: Pattern Sale. Once an issue goes out of print, the good folks at Interweave Knits now offer the patterns for sale online. Prices are reasonable ($5.50 less 20% through 1 December), and you have the joy of instant gratification via PDF.

    21 November 2008

    News: Popknits, Winter 2008

    Popknits preview for Winter 2008 is up here.

    Fayfay looks like a nice project for that yummy skein(s) of Kidsilk Haze you have marinating in your stash.

    FO: Big Sister Aran


    Pattern: Aran Pullover from Knitting for Baby [Ravelry Project Page]
    Size: 24 months for my niece Frances
    Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton in Bone
    Mods: just subbing the Organic Cotton for the superwash wool called for

    Like the model? She really did pose for this one, which is actually for my niece rather than Isobel, though Miss Is wants one now. I just don't think I can knit another cabled sweater in cotton for a while, though, so I will have to find another yarn. My gauge wasn't spot on, but that's OK. This is a sweater to grow into and then out of (my niece did so with her first one, which is now being worn by her baby brother). Great pattern - this is the fourth time I've made one. Can't wait to meet my nephew and hope to get a picture of both kids in their Aran Pullovers over Thanksgiving.

    Free Pattern: Cable Luxe Tunic

    Lion Brand is starting their next KAL, and it's with the Cable Luxe Tunic. You can find the free pattern here until 27 November 2008. I've had this one in my queue since February, so I'm excited about this, though I'll have to wait until after Christmas knitting is finished. (And there's a lot of that at the mo'.) Have to decide what yarn to use, perhaps some stashed Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed, though I'd probably have to tweak the numbers, since it's a DK yarn. But folks on Ravelry have found this yarn to grow upon blocking, so maybe. Or I have some O-Wool that's been marinating in the stash for a while, just not sure it's enough, but the cables would certainly pop in that yarn.

    Anyway, go download that pattern while you can, but be sure to read it the whole way through. Lots of folks on Ravelry had issues with it because they hadn't read ahead.

    14 November 2008

    29 October 2008

    Brrr

    It's finally gotten chilly here in New York. We even had wet, windy weather yesterday, which called for woolen items on all extremities. (including wrapping an alpaca silk blanket around the sleeping-baby-in-a-sling (no way was I going to take her out of the sling, thus waking her up, to get her into a warmer individual get-up - we've had a rough few days here with the little one) to take Isobel to school. And poor Isobel has a cold (the oozy kind with a goopy cough), though she seems in good spirits most of the time.

    Not a lot of knitting around here, which, of course, doesn't help my mood. In doing the multitudes of laundry lately, I get to spend time *near* my stash (it's in a bookcase across from the washer/dryer) but no time with it, though I hear various skeins calling out. I am about two thirds of the way up the front of my niece's Aran sweater, and once that's done I can get cracking on some birthday (Isobel) and Christmas (everyone else) knitting. The second sock has turned into subway knitting reserved for Thursday evenings when I go to my writing class.

    Oh, in an "only in New York" moment, Isobel was scouted by a talent agency assistant Sunday on the subway, though the young woman said she usually works with five and ups, so we have a little time.

    25 October 2008

    W Day




    On a lovely Friday afternoon in October in New York, we pledged our troth publicly, making official our long-standing private intentions. The bride wore blue and carried a peacefully sleeping babe. The groom wore grey and translated the reading from The Odyssey himself. Our ring bearer and flower girl also served as the paparazzi. And our dear friend performed the ceremony with grace and emotion, while our other dear friend (her husband) recorded the events in still and moving pictures and witnessed the marriage. Their son was the third paparazzo. The small ceremony was followed by champagne, red velvet cake, and sushi.

    Icarus seemed the proper choice of covering, as I'd started to knit it when Nick and I reconnected. Plus, the color, incidentally, was just right for the dress.

    Many thanks to everyone for their well wishes in the last post.

    23 October 2008

    FO: February Lady Sweater


    Pattern: February Lady Sweater by flintknits
    Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Heavyweight in Blue Moonstone, 2 skeins from The Fold
    Needles: US7
    Notions: Perfect buttons from Knitty City
    Mods: Used sock yarn instead of Worsted, though this is the Heavyweight sock yarn. And I decreased one repeat of the lace out of each arm to make them snugger (and save on yarn), then knit the cuffs back and forth.

    What fun! I've made a bunch of February Baby Sweaters, so it was a no-brainer to knit this one up (along with everyone else). I'm not thrilled with my buttonholes, but I think that's my only problem with the sweater. It should be a useful knit to have this winter, since it's wooly yet lacey, and our apartment tends to be overheated.

    In more exciting news than an FO, I'm getting married tomorrow!

    20 October 2008

    First Time*


    The first time I knit a sock I didn't realize it was such a big deal for people. I decided to make a birthday stocking (like a Christmas stocking) for Isobel, so just a really big sock in worsted weight yarn: shocking pink Malabrigo to be exact. So soft and shockingly pink. I followed the pattern I had for normal socks (the great Family Socks from Yankee Knitter), using bigger yarn and needles but the same stitch counts for the sake of my sanity.

    Seemed kind of like no big deal. Why were some people so obsessed with knitting socks? And why were others so flummoxed by "turning the heel"? I guess I turned the heel. I mean, the thing had a place for a heel. Well, if you were a giant anyway.

    It's kind of like cooking. Why are people so impressed with a home-cooked meal. If you follow the recipe (and don't lose your head), you should come up with a reasonable facsimile of dinner. But people are so impressed when you follow directions. Does no one else follow directions? I'm the only one, aren't I. Being the good girl isn't always easy, but I do end up with a tasty dinner. And socks with heels.

    There are heel-less socks, though, called bed socks. Just a tube with a closed toe. They don't fit well in shoes but are cosy for bed or padding around the house.

    I haven't knit any of those yet, though I'm finally (three years later) making a pair of socks for myself. The yarn is a gorgeous colorway from Madeline Tosh called Twilight, with shocking pink (again with that color), navy, and brown and green in between: the pink of sunset-tinged clouds, the blue of the night sky, and the dusky shade of the trees as the light fades.

    These will be special socks just for me, unlike the socks I made for Peter. He was in rehab, and it seemed like the right thing to do, make him a pair of socks. I even followed the old wives' tale and knit a strand of my hair and one of Isobel's into the socks. It's supposed to bind the recipient to you. (Should have noticed the other one about knitting socks for your boyfriend: he'll walk out, but he was my husband.) So, it seemed like the right thing to do, since he was going to come back home. No one had asked me if I wanted him to. The good girl would, of course. Funny how that didn't work out. Making that pair for him. Does he still have them? Does it matter?

    The pair for me are knit differently, toe-up to use as much of the gorgeous yarn as possible and with a short row heel to avoid picking up stitches, which I tend to do badly. His were just a lesson in construction, and I've learned a lot since then.

    *I've just started a memoir writing class, and one of the exercises we did was to write about something we did for the first time. This was my essay. The photo is of the start of my second sock. I used Judy's Magic Cast-On, which I learned knitting up the Amy March Slippers around Mother's Day. It creates a toe that fits my pointy feet very nicely. And I used a short-row heel gleaned from various places online, including Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Sock.

    10 October 2008

    FO: BSJ and Bootees



    Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket [Ravel it.] and Bootees [Ravel it.] by Elizabeth Zimmerman
    Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club 2007 Bella Coola/Nuxalk Mediumweight
    Needles: US5
    Notions: Buttons from Purl Diva
    Mods: Dispensed with ties on bootees, as I was almost out of yarn

    Ah, the BSJ. Such a fun pattern once you conquer the double increases and decreases (it can be difficult to see exactly where they go, but I can read my knitting well enough now to see where they should happen). And the Bootees are equally fun and much quicker, of course. Not much else to say on this one. I loved the yarn and think it's one of those colorways that would work for a boy or girl. Penelope is modeling, but they are going to her cousin John who was born a month ago.

    In other news, we're licensed to wed! I don't think we'll wait for the new NYC Marriage Bureau, lovely as it sounds. We'll keep you posted :)

    07 October 2008

    FO: Knotty Gloves


    Pattern: Knotty Gloves by Julia Meuller
    Yarn: Rio De La Plata sock yarn in Coral Rose
    Needle: US1
    Mods: None, aside from dropping a needle size (I'm learning that as a thrower, my knitting is a little loose, so I often need to go down a needle or two to get gauge). Oh, I did make the fingers longer, as we Wilsons have loooong fingers and toes.

    I liked this pattern and plan to knit Julia's Entangled for myself when I wrap up Holiday Gift Knitting (hereafter referred to as HKG). My original plan for this yarn had been socks for my grandmother, as she told me the Amy March Slippers I knit her for Mother's Day never even went in the drawer but right onto her feet. But then I heard some felting stories from folks who had knit socks with this supposedly superwash yarn only to end up with ornaments and didn't want that to happen. So for HKG I may knit Grandma a pair of socks from my STR stash.

    Yes, I may knit socks. In fact I'm knitting myself a pair now, and it's not as tedious as I thought. I'm doing toe-up with Judy's Magic Cast On and plan to do a short row heel. The yarn is some gorgeous Madeline Tosh in the Twilight colorway from Purl Diva.

    Tomorrow I'll try to blog the Surprise Jacket and Bootees for my nephew, but Penelope has had a cold, so it's a piecrust promise: Easily made, easily broken. Wish me luck.

    30 September 2008

    A moment in knitting/parenting

    The kids just came and asked me for yarn and needles.

    They're almost four and five-and-a-half, so they're not knitting yet. But soon!

    29 September 2008

    The Big D

    Divorce, that is. Nick's divorce is finally final! We can get hitched! We're still processing the fact that we are both finally free to be together, but once we get a plan together, I'll let you know what it is. Something down at City Hall with a family celebration in the Windy City at Christmastime, so my sister can be there (she's still in Afghanistan but leaving her job there at the end of October to travel some).

    There are also quite a few FOs to share, but I need to snap pics, and it was too rainy for that this weekend. I prefer shooting with natural light. So, this week stay tuned for a pair of gloves, a BSJ and BSBs (Baby Surprise Booties), a beret, a February Lady Sweater (hopefully with buttons), and probably another beret (Christmas presents).

    Gotta go. Pen is waking up from another nap.

    27 September 2008

    ...And We're Back

    Whew! So far, so good. Should you ever be foolish enough to spill water on your laptop, shut it down right away and/or remove the battery, then turn it over so the water can drain out and let it dry for a couple of days before trying anything. I'm backing up everything that matters (photos and knitting patterns) right now, which hadn't been done for a while, and am keeping my fingers crossed that I won't need a new, expensive piece of hardware until I am gainfully employed. Ugh. At least it wasn't coffee or juice.
    And at least I did it rather than one of the kids or something. Only myself to blame.

    On to more fun things, like Christmas knitting. Luckily, I think I've found the perfect yarns for some family members right in my very own stash. As Stephanie so wisely said in one of her books, it's best to have a large yarn stash so you can go shopping at 3am if needed.

    24 September 2008

    Offline

    Having spilled water on my laptop, I'm offline for a little while with only occasional access to the interwebs on Nick's laptop (he has actual work to do on it). I have FOs to tell you about and holiday knitting plans to share, but it will have to wait a little.

    13 September 2008

    Happy Birthday to me!

    Another year has passed. And wasn't this one a doozy!?! Life is crazy and amazing.I just hope this next year is slightly calmer but no less wonderful. Thanks for being part of the ride.

    11 September 2008

    Happy Birthday, Nick


    Some day I'll get to write about what a wonderful partner, father, and friend you are. I love you.

    03 September 2008

    Wish List

    It's almost that time of year again - my birthday is next Saturday (lucky 13) - so I'm making my wish list again. Of course I don't need any of this, as I have quite a lot of yarn in the stash to knit up, but you know how we knitters are, always thinking about the next project. Just a few fun things that I've been eyeing in my travels in the world and on the web...

    Lobster Pot Yarns Whale of a Skein (2) to make a super-yummy sweater - Boiled Lobster, Salt Rose, Cape Sky, or Shoreline Heather are my faves (other lovely LYSes carry this yarn, too, but Purl Soho has them to see online, and we all like to see don't we)

    "C" pin (near the bottom) in silver from the talented Leslie Wind (Leslie lives in Gloucester!)

    Scilla cardigan kit (under Bohus Stickning) with blue main color from Solveig Gustaffsson

    kitchen scales - not sure which kind but one that does grams and small increments, like a drug scale

    Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting and the Special Offer means I could choose one of Sharon's other patterns, too, like the Dove Shawl - some say this is the definitive lace book

    27 August 2008

    FO: Lace Gloves



    Pattern: Women's Lace Gloves [Ravel it.]
    Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace in red (yarn doubled, almost the entire skein)
    Needle: US0

    I think I had more fun making these than is, strictly speaking, allowed. They were a birthday present for my friend and former roomie Annie who loves red. I much preferred knitting with the laceweight alpaca held double than I had working with it in its single form on last month's shawl. So, no mods, no complaints, and I really liked the little picot edge at the base of the lace (back of hand) section, as well as the YOs for the thumb gusset increases - very ladylike. I highly recommend this pattern. And I heard from Annie that they fit!

    19 August 2008

    FO: Baby Surprise



    Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman
    Yarn: BMFA Socks That Rock Lightweight in Firebird (2007 Sock Club)
    Needle: US4
    Notions: Red Flower Buttons from MJ Trimming
    Model: Penelope, born 11 August 2008, 7:07pm

    Surprise! Part of the thinness on the ground of posting chez Purly for the last few months has been due to pregnancy. There was a lot going on for us. Luckily, the pregnancy was uneventful, and Penelope's debut to the world was quick and tidy thanks to being induced by my wonderful OB. But our lives have been eventful, which led to us keeping my pregnancy pretty quiet. Plus, the second time around things aren't that different from the first, but you suddenly remember the heartburn and annoyance of sleeping only on your left side all over again. The excitement of pregnancy isn't there and you just want to have your baby.

    And now we do. She is a wonderful little one so far, and Isobel just adores her. Stephen is interested, though not as much, and that's pretty much what we expected. Nick is a wonderful father (and deserves a post of his own on that subject). We feel very blessed with our little "Birdie" (she pecks at my shoulder if I'm holding her in the classic burp position and she's still hungry).

    We had hoped to announce a marriage here first, but Penelope (and the divorce courts of Massachusetts and New York) had other plans. Soon enough, and this way I won't have to wear a tent at our wedding.

    And, of course, knitting up a BSJ was fun as was Isobel's and my adventure to acquire buttons down at MJ Trimming. When I have a chance I'll knit up the other Saartje's Bootie to complete the outfit.

    08 August 2008

    Spouse Meme

    I first saw this one on Carol's blog yesterday; Ellen and Margene posted entries today, so I had to jump on the bandwagon.

    Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
    Nick: [Laughs.] I'm in favor of any and all solitary pastimes and love the notion of craft. Plus it's fun to watch you make stuff.

    Me: What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
    N: When you knit in the car and make me carsick just thinking about it. [N.B. He's driving.]

    Me: What is something I have knitted, that you recall as good?
    N: The scarf you made me for Christmas.

    Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
    N: What, are you kidding? Of course not.

    Me: Do you have a stash of any kind?
    N: Oh, yes. [Books everywhere!]

    Me: Have I ever embarrassed you, knitting in public?
    N: No.

    Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
    N: Absolutely not. My mind is a blank when it comes to fabric.

    Me: Can you name another blog?
    N: Well, there's Ravelry.

    Me: Ravelry's not a blog.
    N: Ellen has a blog, right? [Purl Diva's shop blog]

    Me: Do you mind my wanting to stop at knit shops wherever we go?
    N: No.

    Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
    N: I think so. [Sort of.]

    Me: Do you read my blog?
    N: Yes, I do. Check it every day. I don't understand it most of the time...

    Me: Have you ever left a comment?
    N: No. Not being a knitter, that would be inappropriate. [Silly, no?]

    Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
    N: No, it would be much dirtier. What would you do with your time? You'd find a hobby that took up much more time, like sculpture or painting.

    Me: Anything you'd like to add?
    N: I consider myself a fan of knitting from a distance. A well-wisher, as it were. [I keep trying to convince him to start knitting socks, since I love the idea of handknitted socks but have yet to knit any for me.]

    In knitting content, I finished my grandmother's first glove and cast on the second. A good blocking will tidy things up, so you won't see the orange cabled wonder(s) until I finish the second. FOs are much more fun to photograph than UFOs.

    04 August 2008

    Sold.



    Yes, for those of you who have followed the saga, my house has sold. Last Wednesday, in fact, but there have been snarls with distributing the meagre proceeds amongst my ex-relatives and me. Today that finally seems to have been sorted out, so I feel like I can talk about it.

    This was, literally, my dream house. I saw a painting of it in Antique Homes Magazine (that's the painting at the top of this post - apologies for the flash) soon after Peter and I started dating (1998). We even drove up to Gloucester and tried to find it one Saturday, but, as I would learn later, it was hidden in plain sight on Grant Circle. From 1998 until 2005 it was my ideal: a big yellow antique house with half an acre of land, stone walls, multiple fireplaces including a beehive oven, and distant water views. What wasn't to love or daydream over.

    When we went to see it, I asked the realtor if it had been up for sale earlier and learned that it had. This was it! My actual dream house. It needed lots of work (and still does, though we did all the unglamourous stuff like replacing the almost-hundred-year-old wiring and such) but was within our price range and where we wanted to live.

    Anyway, things didn't turn out as planned. I saw a woman on 3rd (or was it Lex? doesn't really matter) yesterday riding a Vespa knockoff, which reminded me that the little cherry on top of my dream house was to open a yarn shop in Gloucester and drive to work on my Vespa.

    My life has turned in a different direction, and I feel so blessed with where I am now. Well, with where we are now. Isobel is a happy girl, despite having to say goodbye to her last binky yesterday (she chewed on it like an old man with a stogie and had all but severed it from the base). There have been tears. There have been woeful tales on the telephone: "Grandpa, I had to throw out my binky and I'm sad", and sleep was elusive last night. But she's growing up, though when I told her how proud I was of her being a big girl about saying farewell to the binky, she reminded me that she's not big, that she's three.

    I'd have some knitting content if I didn't have to frog everything I start these days. I'm working on some gloves for my Grandmother, but once I started the fingers I realized they were going to be too big, and I don't have the next needle size down in DPNs so have to get to the LYS, and the cowl I want to match my two-needle gloves keeps pooling, which I don't want in this instance, so I have to mess around with cast on numbers and such to get something that will be more variegated.

    27 July 2008

    Knitted Dolls

    As my little lady gets bigger, we get more interested in dolls. Or maybe I just get more interested in dolls. Or maybe I've been interested in dolls since I was a little girl and finally have a safe outlet for my interest, since I don't want to be one of those creepy doll ladies.

    Anyway, this morning I discovered some awesome dolls on Ravelry that combine my appreciation of dolls with my interest in historical fiction, particularly the Tudor period. Check out Anne Boleyn with detachable head! The doll is gorgeous, and I love the details. She makes the Jean Greenhow Topsy-Turvy Cinderella in my faves pattern list look pretty blah. No offense to Jean Greenhowe, whatsoever. Her dolls are very sweet, and I have a fondness for topsy-turvy dolls.

    And it looks like Ms. Caffaknitted's dolls are going to be in a show here in NYC in December! So, I'll be able to give an in-person report on them then.

    22 July 2008

    FO: Razor Shell Cowl




    Pattern: Razor Shell Cowl (my own pattern)
    Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace, colorway 7120 (sea foam)
    Needle: US4 16"

    Apologies for the dismal photographs. I'll have to work on my self-portrait setup some more, perhaps get the tripod out.

    Anyway, here is a birthday gift for a dear friend, capitalizing on the current cowl craze sweeping the knitblogosphere (is that how you spell it?). This was such a quick knit, despite using laceweight yarn. Even doubling leaves you with a thin-ish yarn, perhaps closer to fingering weight, but it's so light. Having just complained about this yarn used single, I'm happy to report such a pleasant experience with it doubled. I'll have to weigh this item to see just how much yarn was used, as I had two skeins to pull from (the next project OTN uses doubled Misti Alpaca Lace as well, but I only have one skein, so the experience there is a little different).

    I used one of the Razor Shell variations from one of Barbara Walker's Treasuries and just knit away for twelve inches and used the k2tog tbl bindoff method I've found so nice and stretchy for shawls. No one wants to struggle to get a cowl over their heads!

    Another birthday alpaca FO to come shortly...

    14 July 2008

    FO: Old Shale Shawl




    Pattern: Old Shale Shawl by Evelyn Clark in Piecework, January/February 2005 [Ravel It]
    Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace, colorway 8105 (an almost indescribable shade of grey/periwinkle/lavender)
    Needle: Bryspun 29" US6
    Mods: None
    Recipient: BFF Karen

    I'm still shocked that I used the yarn called for in this pattern. Last time I made one of these it was in sock yarn, and this yarn is sooo thin in comparison. Apparently, I have trouble counting to, like, five these days, so there was a bit of tinking, which is a challenge with this yarn, though it held up nicely. Very happy with the final outcome, but I've come to realize this is not my favorite pattern, as I seem to recall having similar counting problems when I knit this for my mom last spring. Oddly, I seem to do better with a slightly more complicated lace pattern.

    It is interesting to go back and knit a pattern you've done before after some time, to realize what you've learned about knitting. So, I'm glad I did this one, and maybe I'll knit another one in a few years to see if I can finally count to five!

    06 July 2008

    FO: French Press Cozy



    Pattern: French Press Cozy from Design*Sponge
    Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in Red
    Needles: Bryspun US5
    Mods: I knit on i-cords rather than locating buttons for the closure.

    Last month I knit this up as a little Father's Day present for Nick for our french press in Maine. I hadn't considered that the press itself is green (whoohoo, Christmas!), but a number of other items in the kitchen are red, so this seemed appropriate.

    My feelings for this yarn are mixed. It makes a nice fabric and is pretty low maintenance (yay, machine wash!), but I don't particularly like knitting with it, and unless knit up at a small gauge, which it is here, it seems too floppy for my taste. But it does make a lovely, velvety fabric.

    The knitting took about two-and-a-half hours and used under one skein of yarn. A really nice, quick project that will see a lot of happy use.

    01 July 2008

    Maine Yarn Crawl


    Isobel wanted to show you the bit of roving she received at the Portland Fiber Gallery from the spinning lady. She calls it her "fluff". Maybe I'll get her to be the spinner in the family, and I'll knit with her handiwork.

    While we were up in Maine, we went on a little yarn crawl after taking Nick to the airport. We visited Knit Wit (just a block down from the Fiber Gallery), which is in a great space, has fun toys up near the front for kids to play with, and a really nice selection of yarn. I bought this GGH Wollywasch on sale and plan to make a yoke sweater with it at some point.

    Pale blue (shocking, I know) for the body and brown, fawn, cream, and pink for the yoke. I'm thinking of adapting EZ's pattern from The Opinionated Knitter for the yoke. (Or I may pull a "Kathleen" and research fairisle yoke patterns ad naseum until I master the subject and create my own - you never know.) I also acquired a copy of Loop-de-loop at half the price. What a thought-provoking book, even a few years after publication.

    After our visit to the Portland Fiber Gallery, which had lots of lovely roving, some handspun, and information and tools for spinning, dyeing, weaving, and such (which got a little overwhelming in the heat of the late morning, pre-snack), we had organic (in Isobel's case Vegan chocolate chocolate chip) cookies "as big as our heads" at North Star (a very hip cafe next door to the Fiber Gallery), then headed back up to our neck of the woods.

    We checked out the Knitting Experience Cafe in Brunswick, which also had a nice selection of yarns (and some toys for 'Bel). I couldn't leave without some pretty blue mohair (my only confusion about this yarn is that I thought Trendsetter distributed Kid Seta but this is labeled "Cascade", but I'm not complaining):



    And, of course we visited Ellen at Purl Diva, and I couldn't leave without some Fleece Artist sock yarn from the Great Wall of Socks. Isobel helped me wind it into a cake and declared that I could make her some *gloves* with it. They're always watching you, those little ones: Mommy has gloves for next winter from sock yarn, so Isobel must need them, too. I guess I'll have to look out for a winter coat for her that will match this pretty chocolate covered cherry colorway.




    I also took Isobel to visit Romney Ridge Farm. Kelly was very welcoming, and Isobel loved meeting the chickens, ducks, sheep, dog ... in other words "the farm". And I enjoyed checking out all the yarn, including some absolutely gorgeous handspun mohair in a robin's egg blue color that was out of my self-imposed budget. But I did indulge in some of last year's millspun (by the wonderful people at Green Mountain Spinnery) that Kelly dyed a lovely spring green. It seems to be heavy laceweight or light sport, and I am thinking of a shawl for my sister with it, but it will probably have to marinate in the stash for a little while. Kelly said her next batch of millspun yarn should arrive in the next week or so, and then she'll hit the dyepots. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. Apologies for not snapping a picture of the shop, which is an adorable fiber-filled shed, but it was starting to rain. Next time.



    And time spent in Bath isn't complete without a visit to Halcyon Yarns. I mean, I can walk there!



    Misti Alpaca 2-ply (laceweight) in cherry red, Classic Elite Wool Bam Boo in a beautiful turquoise color (Halcyon is discontinuing Wool Bam Boo from their lineup, and I couldn't resist the color - just wish there had been more! I'll have to find a one-skein project for that), and a skein of Rio de la Plata Sock Yarn in Coral Rose - a lovely, lightly variegated orange that I think I'm going to turn into socks for my grandma. I don't think I mentioned that the Amy March Slippers I made for her for Mother's Day, according to her, didn't even go into the drawer but right on her feet. Now, that's a woman who will appreciate handknit socks!

    FO: Gloves Can Be Deceiving

    One seamed, one to go.

    Model shot.

    With the coat.

    Fin!

    Pattern: Gloves Can Be Deceiving from Knitty.com, Winter 2007
    Yarn: Madeline Tosh Multi-Sock in Pool
    Needles: US2 Bamboo straights (I know! I can't believe it either)
    Mods: I knit these with one yarn only rather than the stripey sequence called for in the pattern, and, of course, I made the fingers longer than the pattern called for, as I have very long fingers.

    This was a great project, perfect for the park. I even had a mom ask if I was knitting gloves on two needles in a somewhat surprised voice. "Why, yes, I am." The sewing up takes a little time and concentration, but these are totally worth it. I love the yarn, and, as you can see, they will look fabu with my new Alpaca reversible jacket from Winter's Gone Farm.

    I bought the yarn from the lovely Ellen at Purl Diva in Brunswick (my hand can be seen here - well, first you can see me and Isobel modeling our sweaters, and *then* you see my hand in the next picture) and have about half a skein left. I'm contemplating a cowl of sorts with the rest, since we all know about Mad Cowl Disease. Hehe.

    18 June 2008

    FO: Celtic Cardigan

    The kit of deliciousness

    The pre-washed product

    Et voila!





    Pattern: Celtic Cardigan (Ravelry link) by Fleece Artist (the lovely people who brought us the Yarn Harlot's Garter Stitch Jacket)
    Yarn: Scotian Silk in Seashore (I think - unlabeled as to colorway - gorgeous blue mixed with silver, gold, and bronze); kit purchased at Purl Diva
    Needle: US10
    Size: S/M
    Mods: None.

    This was a super quick knit, especially post-Dad's vest (sport weight yarn for a man who's 6'4"), thanks to large-ish needles and an interesting construction technique. It's all in one piece. You start at one side "seam", knit around the back, then the front on one side, then you go back, pick up and knit the other front. And then you pick up for each sleeve and knit down. I'm still unsure of the sleeve length - it's bracelet-y, which I like now, but Summer starts this weekend, so I may feel differently come December. I have enough yarn left to make another sweater, so I can certainly add to the sleeves, especially as they are knit down to the cuff.

    Again, apologies for the lack of model shot. I will rectify that someday. I included the image with my Cubs cap to give a sense of scale pre-blocking. This one grows a bit, as has been mentioned on Ravelry. And apologies that some of the pics are a little blurry - you can see the cool stitch pattern nicely in the last one, though.

    This yarn is awesome! I loved watching the color progression with each stitch and row. You have to use a circular or swing needle with this project as you knit each row twice, which added to the construction interest. And, of course, this yarn has silk in it, which just makes it even better. I should probably rename the blog "Silky" instead of "Purly".

    FO: Tulips




    Pattern: Tulips (Ravelry link) by Kat Coyle, Knitscene, Fall 2006 (the one with the famed Central Park Hoodie
    Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk in Blush, just under six skeins
    Needle: US6
    Size: small/38" bust
    Mods: I decided to go with rolled stockinette for the hems both on the bottom and sleeves rather than garter borders (and I didn't start off on a smaller needle) - somehow seemed to go better with the i-cord neckline, which I did via a pick up and knit/i-cord bindoff rather than knitting up sufficient i-cord and sewing it on; I also did short rows for the shoulders and a three-needle bindoff, just to see if I could do it, and ... I can!

    Love love love this sweater! I've worn it four (five?) times since finishing it ten days ago. J'adore the yarn, as we already knew from Mermaid Hourglass experience and a number of Kat's berets from Greetings from Knit Cafe. Apologies for lack of a model shot, but my photographer is at work, and if I didn't write this up now while Isobel is supposed to be napping*, it might not happen for a while.

    Though it looks like this took me a month from my Ravelry page, it was actually a very quick knit - Mother's Day and my father's birthday popped up in there and took away a bit of knitting time.

    *Sadly, she's not, so I'd better go settle her down.

    06 June 2008

    FO: Hemlock Ring Blanket

    This one's for Isobel, and, as you can see, she's pretty happy with it.


    A pose with the new knit.


    'Bel as monster.


    In all it's glory.

    This was a super-quick knit. I started on the 1st and finished on the 4th - gotta love worsted yarn and a US10 needle after working on Dad's vest on US4s. I used Misti Pima Silk in this glorious cornflower blue color and switched to an Addi Turbo needle for sanity. And I started off with Susan Reishus's circular beginning on a crochet hook. It ended up being 36", so more of a cuddle blanket than a real one. I'll do a proper post later with links and everything, but we've got a date at the park with Isobel and her tricycle before the weather turns beastly tomorrow.

    04 June 2008

    Isobel at Knit Night

    There has been a lot of separation anxiety around here the last couple of months. Isobel is very keen to have me with her every second of every day. During the semester Nick had an evening seminar on Tuesdays, so we found a very nice baby sitter (named Kathleen) who came on Tuesday nights so I could go to Knit Night at Yarntopia. All went swimmingly, leaving was no big deal, until we came back from our visit to the Chicago area, and suddenly Isobel was weeping whenever I left. Then it got to the point where she would talk much of the day on Tuesdays about how much she was going to miss me. Needless to say there were more tears and she was always awake when I got home (after nine).

    Now that the semester is over, Nick and Isobel can have a little quality time together on Tuesday evenings, and I can have some quality time with knitting grownups. It really is lovely to spend a couple of hours with people who understand when you suddenly go quiet and finger your stitches intently (counting) or who have a pair of scissors handy or who have an opinion on the editors of Interweave Knits. To help Isobel with her separation anxiety, yesterday we decided I would have an escort to Knit Night, so she could see just where I would be (a place without significant allure for a 3.5 year old). Things went very well, though she was still awake when I got home. Progress, if not perfection.

    This morning Isobel crawled into bed and informed us that last night "I was feeling a little shy." Which was met with hoots of laughter, as she is not a shy person. But that's what she thought, and I'm intrigued by this articulation of feelings. My little girl is growing up. Pretty soon she'll want to come to Knit Night with her own projects.

    I did make some progress on the Hemlock Ring, having acquired an Addi Turbo. The yarn just dragged maddeningly on my Bryspun. While it is 30% silk and 70% silky cotton, I think the inelasticity of both fibers makes it slow to move on plastic. So, if I could just count correctly on the "action" rows, I'd be sailing. At least there are four plain knit rounds between the lace rows in the feather and fan border. Still have to decide which border to do when it's big enough.

    03 June 2008

    Animal Adventures


    We met this cutie Memorial Day Weekend in Maine at the Winter's Gone Alpaca Farm in Wiscasset. Unfortunately, we missed shearing, which was this past weekend. But we had a good time, and the weather was perfect.

    I thought it was very cool that Isobel was so fearless around them. Of course, they are very gentle, so that helps.

    As does living with Riley. He doesn't go up there every day, so it's always a fun event when he does.

    I'm busy knitting a Hemlock Ring blanket with that lovely Misti Pima Silk. Hopefully have pictures of that soon, but it just looks like a bag of yarn right now. And the Celtic Cardigan is complete, though I'm undecided as to whether the sleeves are long enough.

    30 May 2008

    Political girl

    I've been fairly apolitical this primary season, as I have mixed feelings about both democratic candidates. I'm a liberal through and through. As a third-wave feminist I should be stumping for Clinton, especially as I was a Bill believer back in the day. And I love Tina Fey, who said "Bitch is the new black." (In high school I was stage manager for a few theatrical productions and proudly wore a button that said "I don't have PMS, I'm always a bitch" - there is no other way to corral a bunch of teenagers when you are a teenager than to be a tough cookie.) But I really like Obama's message of hope.

    Anyway, just now I put our copy of The Week down on the table, and Isobel asked "Who is that man?" in regards to an illustration of Obama on the cover. I told her that it's a man who wants to be in charge of our country and did she think he would do a good job. She said "Yes". And then I found a picture of Clinton online and asked if she thought the lady would do a better job. Isobel seemed to think she would do a good job, apparently in part because I'm a lady and Isobel is a lady.



    There has been knitting around these parts. I finished my Dad's vest, washed (and dried for 15 minutes) it in the machine - eek! (it's Louet Gems Sport, so it says to do that right on the label) - and sent it to him for his birthday. The report is that it's a bit short, as Dad is very long-waisted, so I'll bring more yarn and needles to Wisconsin for the Fourth and fix him up.



    And here is the kit I bought from the wonderful Purl Diva, which is a wonderful yarn store. If you find yourself in Midcoast Maine, be sure to visit! I'll do a full IMOndays report on the shop next time we go up to Maine, so I can include pictures. So, all that luscious yarn is Fleece Artist Scotian Silk to make a Celtic Cardigan. I believe the colorway is Seashore (appropriate for my interests and where I bought it). And I'm almost done with it. Super quick knit, interesting construction (knit sideways with two strands, not double-stranded), and I love seeing what happens with the colors. As you can see we have a gorgeous sky blue, then there are golds, bronzes, silvers, and platinums, thanks to the sheen of the silk. I'm making somewhere between a small and medium (knitting the medium numbers on US10s - pattern calls for something between US10.5 and US11), I think though blocking will be the magic trick on this one according to other Ravelers who have knit this project. I should have an FO picture of this very soon, as I'm on the second sleeve already.

    I'm sure there's more to report, but the park is calling (at least to Isobel).

    28 May 2008

    Meme-orama

    Bridget tagged me with this meme last week (and Sandy did an open tag which reminded me to answer the questions). And now that we're back from a lovely long weekend in Maine, I'm ready to answer questions!

    The rules: Posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer. Play nice, children.

    1. What was I doing 10 years ago? I think Peter and I had just found a place for his parents to stay for a month in Newport, Rhode Island, that summer. It was a condo in an antique house in The Point district, which I fell in love with. Funny where life takes you, isn't it.

    2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today - I wrote this yesterday but had to go to the park before I could decide who to tag... I did get a start on everything but made more progress on my Celtic Cardigan kit from Ellen at Purl Diva - LOVE!
  • Take Isobel to the park for some much-needed exercise. Whenever we stopped on the drive home yesterday (from Bath to NYC in six hours with a stop for lunch and numerous potty stops thanks to our newly potty-trained girl), she ran everywhere, so she definitely needs some activity, and we can't just send her out the back door like we do in Maine.
  • Make a grocery list and start restocking the kitchen. We did a good job of eating things down before going up to Maine, so the cupboards are pretty bare.
  • Clean. At the very least this place needs to be vacuumed. Amazing how Riley-fur tumbleweeds accumulate even when he came with us to Maine (and tried to make a break for it on the last night there - luckily, I cornered him under someone's trellised deck and was able to get him back in the house - silly, indoor, city cat). And some clean clothes might help.
  • Devote some mental time to packing up/disposing of the last of the stuff in Gloucester, as our potential buyers found a buyer for their house. YESSSS! Well, they still have to do the inspection, and we know how that went (egregiously) last time. But I will continue to hope that this last burden will soon be lifted.
  • Organize the stash, inspired by Stephanie.

    3. Snacks I enjoy - Chubby Hubby ice cream, honey roasted cashews, blondies, cider donuts from the farmer's market, just about anything with dried cranberries

    4. Places I've lived - Evanston and Wilmette, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; St. Louis, Missouri; Boston, Brighton, Somerville, Cambridge, Chelsea, and Gloucester, Massachusetts; Wilmette (again) and Bailey's Harbor, Wisconsin; New York City, New York, and Bath, Maine. I also spent every summer of my childhood in Lake Mills, Wisconsin.

    5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire - Wow, what a question. I'm going to stick with selfish answers today, but know that I would do philanthropic things, too, just not sure exactly what they'd be, but probably things to do with children, the arts, the environment, and such. So, I'd pay off our debts and plan a lovely little wedding. I'd put enough aside for the childrens' educations. I'd buy a Lexus 400h - the hybrid - billionaire's need a little style, you know. I'd do a historic renovation of our little Bath cottage or maybe just sell it and buy a larger but still antique house on the water in Maine. I'd travel to Venice (again) and all over Japan (for the first time). I'd start a foundation that would employ my sister here in the States but allow her to continue her amazing work in Afghanistan - she works for Care International setting up schools in rural areas that have had no education system. Amazing work, but we'd all like her to be State-side. (Hey, there's some philanthropy, albeit with selfish motives.) Buy yarn (duh). Give Nick a generous antique book-buying allowance. Get Riley an amazing self-cleaning litter box (hehe). Furnish the apartment from top to bottom. Upgrade my wardrobe (and Isobel's) - it's tough living in NYC without a job yet: so much style, so much out of my non-existent price range.

    6. Peeps I want to know more about - Jenn, because she needs a distraction while waiting to go into labor; Tanya, because she hasn't posted anything to her blog in a while; Annie, just because; and Keri, because I'm curious to know where all she's lived.
  • 18 May 2008

    Present Knitting

    So, I just realized that my Dad's birthday is at the end of the month. Time to get knitting. Last spring I started a vest for him but was doing it in pieces, and my gauge was off. After knitting up one skein, the front (or back, your preference, as I didn't get far enough for there to be a difference) was much wider than it needed to be, and it's been sitting in the stash with the rest of the yarn apportioned for this project.

    Yesterday at Isobel's swim lesson I frogged the front and crunched some numbers with Ann Budd's handy The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, then cast on for a striped vest in Notre Dame colors (Indigo and Mustard, according to the good people at Louet, but Blue and Gold for Dad). It will have six rows of 2x2 ribbing in blue at hem, armholes, and v-neck, and one row of gold after every two rows of blue in the body. I'm using US4s and cast on 120 each for front and back. Let's see how fast I can knit! I did manage about three inches yesterday, including casting on those 240 stitches and doing an inch of ribbing. I'm also purling the side seam stitches. We'll see. I'll try to snap a pic while Isobel and I are at the park today.

    13 May 2008

    Queue-itis

    So, I have been battling queue-itis to distract myself from finishing the Pi Shawl (or running out of yarn and having to rip back a few more rows, since this isn't really a commercially available yarn, before re-knitting the edging again, which is a bit tedious) and cast on for Kat Coyle's Tulips Cardigan from the Fall 2006 issue of Knitscene. I'm using Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk recovered from a cute vest I'd knit some time back but hardly ever wore. I think I will get more use out of this little cardi. I have four skeins of Blush yarn and think they will do for the fronts and back, but I'm trying to decide whether to get more for the sleeves or use the Ecru shade I have in this yarn and do the i-cord edging and empire waist tie, as well as the picked up hems I plan to do, in Ecru for a two-tone effect or do all pink. Decisions. I'm off to my knit night at Yarntopia, which carries Alpaca Silk, so I will make a decision tonight.

    I've become very lazy when it comes to projects in process pictures, so you'll have to use your imagination, but the cardi has gone fast. I cast on Saturday and just have one front and the sleeves, which are short, to go.

    08 May 2008

    FO: Amy March's Slippers


    Blogger seems to be behaving badly when it comes to pictures. I'll update this post when it comes around.
    ETA: All better! (Assuming you can see the photo.)

    Pattern: Amy March's Slippers from Tinyowlknits [Ravelry Download]
    Yarns: Lamb's Pride Bulky in Strawberry Smoothie (two pair from one skein!), Malabrigo Worsted (doubled) in Ladrillo (orange) and Bobby blue (teal)
    Needle: US10
    Notions: Organza ribbon from M&J Trimming and pink satin ribbon from A.C. Moore
    Techniques: Magic Cast-on for toe-up socks and a short-row heel

    Thanks to bulky yarn (or worsted yarn held double) I can now whip one of these out in about an hour! It did take some time to turn the short-row heel at first, mainly because I wasn't reading the directions properly (d'oh). I'm psyched to have added some toe-up techniques to my arsenal. Maybe I'll knit some socks yet.

    So, these are Mother's Day presents: teal for Mom, orange for Grandma, and pink for my sister-in-law. I don't think any of them will visit the blog in the next few days.

    07 May 2008

    FO: February Baby Sweater & Magic Slippers



    Pattern: February Baby Sweater from The Knitter's Almanac and Magic Slippers from Sock Pixie
    Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino Potluck in Water (aqua and magenta)
    Needles: US4 (sweater) and US2 (slippers)
    Notions: Three magenta mother-of-pearl buttons from M&J Trimming

    This is the second of three FBSes I've knit thus far but the only one that's actually baby-sized. The first was knit with a worsted weight alpaca and is more toddler-sized. And having learned from my mistake, I knit one up in Rowan Calmer to be toddler-sized on purpose (post on that one some time soon, once I sew on the buttons). EZ's pattern is great, but you do need to read through it carefully, as she packs a lot of information into a few sentences and buries the lede on buttonholes. I only did buttonholes in the yoke of this one, and I placed them too close together having read "eight garter ridges" as "eight rows" (i.e., four garter rows). But I think it works in the yoke-only instance, as there would have only been two buttons otherwise.

    The Magic Slippers are so cute - I'm pondering knitting some up for grownups in worsted or bulky yarn. Picking up the stitches around the base is a little tedious but nothing I can't handle.

    There will be more of these in my future, especially now that I've gotten toddler sizing down. I think the version in Calmer will be a great summer sweater.

    05 May 2008

    IMOnday: Yarntopia, New York, New York

    I'm just going to act like I haven't been MIA for almost a month and get back to posting...

    Shop: Yarntopia
    Location: 974 Amsterdam Avenue (SW corner of 108th Street), New York, New York
    Telephone: 212 316 YARN (9276)
    Website: Yarntopianyc
    Hours: Wednesday/Friday-Sunday 12-7, Tuesday/Thursday 12-9, Monday CLOSED
    Payment: Cash, Check, Credit Card
    Other: Classes, Knit Night (Tuesday), Books & Magazines

    What's the first thing a knitter does when s/he moves to a new town? Find a new LYS, of course! And this one is mine, just 11 blocks from my apartment. Dona is the friendly and welcoming owner. There is a central table often piled with swatches from the available yarns, including Blue Sky Alpacas, Rowan, Malabrigo, Debbie Bliss, Noro, Lorna's Laces, Cascade, and more. Behind the table (with quite a few chairs for Knit Night) is a comfy couch for browsing the nice collection of knitting and crochet books available at the back. There is a full stock of Addi Turbo and Lace needles, as well as Clovers, Susan Bates, and lots of tools.

    I like the fact that, in addition to being knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful, Dona is one of those web-savvy LYSOs. The first time I went into the store she admired my Koigu Clapotis. I know most LYSes in NYC are web-savvy, and I think that's a good thing. Since so much of what's happening in the knitting world today takes place online (or is at least blogged about there), being hooked in can only help business. There is also a Yarntopia group on Ravelry, which is a lot of fun and a good way to make sure your knitsibs will be around on Tuesday nights.

    While Yarntopia is my LYS, it isn't the only yarn shop in town, so keep your eyes open for future IMOndays. And stay tuned the rest of the week for some FOs (lace, wee togs, and Mother's Day gifts).

    P.S. I'll try to get some Yarntopia pics to add to this post.

    09 April 2008

    Decisions

    I hope to have some FOs to photograph in the next few days. Some lovely things will be completed today, now that I have some gorgeous buttons from M&J Trimming. I don't even want to tell you how much I spent on a tiny handful of buttons! But they will be so worth it, as you will see. And if you're ever in NYC, you should check it out: the buttons! the gimp! the feather trim! the crystals! the ribbon! Mon Dieu! I'm glad I went with specific projects to focus upon and Isobel to keep me from spending the day there. I think she enjoyed our adventure to the Garment District, though her favorite part was the giant plastic lobster hanging from the Red Lobster entrance in Times Square. Guess she's a New England girl at heart!

    So, on to decisions. What next? I want to knit something for me and have been assessing the stash and my Ravelry queue...
    -Black Dog Designs Ink Flared Sweater in BMFA's Geisha
    -Tangled Yoke Cardigan in Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed DK
    -Rosy Tucker's Cocktail Capelet in Green Mountain Spinnery's Sylvan Spirit (different gauge yarn than the pattern, so would involve some swatching and math, probably)
    -Kat Coyle's Tulips cardigan in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk (after I frog the cute vest I made a few years back but never wear)
    -A Cardigan for Arwen in O-Wool (I may not have enough of this, though someone on Ravelry made it in a larger size with 6.25 skeins - I have six)

    In other news we have about six weeks to go to D-day, and I've been thinking about what to do with my wedding and engagement rings. I'm not sure I'll do anything with them for a while, but this article was interesting, as were the comments. I mooned about over the wedding band for weeks before we ordered it (and then they made the wrong one and had to line the store sample with more platinum to make it fit since there wasn't time to make another one - oy!), so it's kind of sad to not wear it but it is a symbol of something that is emotionally over and will soon be legally ended.

    Most of the time I have no excuse for not blogging, but last week Isobel and I were at my parents' as my dear aunt had passed away. She fought breast, then bone, then brain cancer for the past ten years. She did it with humor and a can-do attitude, but now she is free of her suffering. For that we are all grateful. It was a bittersweet wake and funeral. Some people waited over an hour at the wake to condole with my uncle and cousin. But it was great to see some cousins and my aunt and uncle who drove up from Florida. I'm glad we went, and my parents were happy to have some cheery distraction in Isobel.

    But I brought my rings back from my folks' where they had been for safekeeping. The best way to transport them was to wear them, and it was strange. Familiar yet discomfiting. Also weird-feeling was being back at my parents' house, since we flew home when the end was near for my aunt due to end of Spring Break craziness with the airlines and then extended our stay to attend the wake and funeral. The not knowing when we were going back to New York was reminiscent of some of my wandering feelings last year. But we did get to go visit my grandmother, which is always a treat, though I didn't get to treat myself to a visit to the Fold, since Isobel had just passed out in the backseat when we hit the exit for Marengo. Next time.

    Thinking about The Fold has me leaning towards Ink Flare in Geisha, since it's the yarn I bought last time I was there, and I'm very curious to knit it up. I could hold off on the Cocktail Capelet until it gets a little warmer here (and until we get closer to planning a happy post-D-day nuptial-type event), and I'm not sure I'm ready to plunge back into a largely stockinette sweater, even one for me. My brother has his sweater, and we did a little blocking when I was home to hopefully add some length to sleeves and body. I'll have to get him to take a picture.

    14 March 2008

    B*ll*cks

    Sorry for the expletive, but the buyer backed out of the sale. I found out just after Isobel and I had crossed the border into Massachusetts and would have turned around and headed back to NYC (through a crazy snowstorm - what is it about the stretch between Hartford and the Mass. border that always makes for an awful drive?), but Isobel really wanted to see Peter and he was at the house.

    The upside to continuing the journey was her getting to see her father (though that has plenty of emotional baggage for me) and going to the bestest Knit Night I know at Yarns in the Farms. Isobel was a little nutty thanks to no nap, so we only stayed an hour, but it was fun to see such wonderful people again, and I bought some yarn.

    Apparently, I can't actually upload pics to Blogger right now, so you'll have to wait to see my gorgeous yarn, but check this out. I bought the blue (surprise) and am planning to knit a baby blanket with it, but if that doesn't work out, I could make a sweater for myself with the 1200 yds. I got. Fifi, perhaps?

    And I'm extra miffed that picture uploads aren't happening right now, as I have a finished pic of my brother's sweater, and I am quite proud of it. Hope he likes it (and that it fits).

    We'll just keep on keeping on with the house and keep our fingers crossed that someone else comes along who loves it.

    04 March 2008

    Moving Forward

    We've accepted an offer on the house. Assuming the inspection goes well (we fixed pretty much everything our inspector pointed out when we bought the house, so can't imagine any big problems will come up), we are to close at the end of the month. Yes, this month, which means I will be spending a bit of time up in Gloucester going through things and deciding what to do with them. Isobel and I are headed up there this morning to start working on a game plan and bring back the rest of my cookbooks and her toys and whatnot.

    It is a bittersweet moment. The buyer plans to turn the house into a museum, which is good because (hopefully) lots of people will get to see the house and appreciate it's history. But it's also sad because this house had been lived in continuously since 1739. That's the way the cookie crumbles, though.

    For you Massachusetts folk, I will give more advance notice for the next visit, which may very well be next week.

    In knitting news I'm working away on the Swallowtail Shawl, having taken a break from my brother's sweater, as it's taking a toll on my wrists now that the whole shebang is on one needle. I appreciate seamless garments, but once the sleeves and body are united, it can be heavy, especially when it's for a tall, handsome fellow like my brother. I think my next sweater may be pieced, now that my finishing skills are somewhat improved. I'm considering that Drops sweater jacket that everyone's been knitting - "they" say it's a really quick knit.

    I'm also thinking about knitting a Pi Shawl, since I've been re-reading Knitter's Almanac before bed, adding in some lace patterns to make it exciting. I've been combing my Barbara Walkers and have found some likely candidates that meet stitch and row count requirements as well as having purl-back rows. I am finding lace, the structure and balance of it, more and more intriguing.

    27 February 2008

    A Fifth of What?

    Yes, our house has been visited by Fifth Disease. Isobel had a fever Sunday; Nick received a call Monday that his son had the tell-tale "slap" rash on his cheeks; and then Monday night Nick started to feel ill. In the usual progression of things, I should have started to feel crummy yesterday but seem to be resistant (or am going to be beaten with a pile driver tonight - who can say).

    It's a funny virus. By the time you get the rash, you're no longer contagious, and the fever is low-grade and other symptoms seem like the symptom for almost anything. The only thing is that it's usually a kids thing - the fifth of the classic five diseases that the little guys (usually ages 5-10) used to get (measles, scarlet fever, rubella, the brilliantly named fourth disease, and fifth disease) - and when adults get it, they say it's worse, which is the case chez Purly this week.

    So, I haven't gotten much knitting accomplished in the last few days, but I do have a snap of the Swallowtail Shawl:

    I'm a little further along now, but it's more of the same. I love this yarn, and the body pattern is pretty easy (though I still consult my chart now and then). My only problem with the yarn is my own problem - my right index finger is a little rough, probably from cooking, cleaning, etc., and it snags the yarn a little sometimes. Not enough to really be a problem, but I need to exfoliate!

    Speaking of cooking (and baking), I've been doing a lot of it lately: shortbread from Cook's Illustrated for Valentine's Day, chocolate loaf cake from How to be a Domestic Goddess (along with a recipe for fudge that was not to my taste), mussels from the Sunday Farmer's Market a la Aquitaine, apple crisp with Farmer's Market creme fraiche, white chocolate brioche bread pudding (my own adaptation of a Joy of Cooking recipe), couscous salad with butternut squash (also from the Farmer's Market), lemon-thyme-garlic roast chicken (bird from the Farmer's Market - sensing a theme yet?), stock from the chicken carcass, and pan-fried squid (from the FM) with lazy aïoli (mix minced garlic into good mayo) from Nigella Express. Sadly the kids won't eat any of it, aside from the chocolate cake, but Isobel likes to "help" me in the kitchen and has an adorable apron to wear.

    We'll probably have squid again tonight or leftover chicken, depending on the health of the patient.

    24 February 2008

    Look, storage!


    A belated Valentine's Day post, as my love got me an Expedit bookcase from Ikea to store the stash. What do you think? He's a keeper, isn't he.

    Of course, this means I have to organize it a little. My darling non-knitter thought I might do it by color. I had to gently tell him that by yarn weight is usually a better way to sort things. This means I have to get the rest of the stash from Gloucester, too.

    Still going back and forth on the house. It will be very bittersweet to sell it but for the best. At least I still have a little antique cottage in Bath, mere blocks from Halcyon Yarns!

    Progress continues on Michael's sweater. I'm about two-thirds of the way up sleeve two (yay!) and will soon be joining that one to the rest of the gang. And I'm slowly working on the Swallowtail Shawl whenever I know I'll be able to concentrate a little more (or whenever I can't take any more stockinette!).

    22 February 2008

    FO: Slouchy Cardi



    This one has been finished for so long that it is a wardrobe staple now. I think I've decided not to do the hood, though I have enough yarn for it. I really like the points on the front, which you can see in the second pic. Whaddaya think of my armscyes? I'm very proud of my seams!

    Pattern: Slouchy Cardigan from Greetings from Knit Cafe
    Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk DK from the good folks at Halcyon Yarns in #6 Steel Grey
    Needles: US6
    Mods: Even with checking the errata, I ended up with too-deep armscyes and had to rip back, but all turned out well in the end

    Scenes from the life of Mommy
    Mommy: (Exasperated at the end of a long day and trying to get some dinner ready for someone small) Isobel, this is the last time I'm going to ask. Do you want your pizza hot or cold?
    Isobel: Warm.
    Mommy: Nnngggh.

    A few days later at bath time...
    Mommy: Come on, sweetie, your bath is almost ready. Let's get you undressed.
    Isobel wriggles and attempts to get away in her room. The usual.
    Mommy: I have to check the bath. Get your shirt off, please. (Turning to leave notices the patch of blue crayon colored on the wall by the door) How did this happen? Why did you color on the wall? You know we only color on paper.
    Isobel: (Collapses in tears and stays that way, dramatically, for many minutes) ... Sorry.
    Mommy: Thank you for apologizing. Please don't do it again. You know better. Let's get you in the bath.
    A few minutes later during the bath...
    Mommy: Sweetie, why did you color on the wall? I don't understand.
    Isobel: Mommy, we already talked about this.
    Mommy: Nnngggh.

    The coloring was the result of Mommy not paying enough attention to Isobel due to spending too much time on the phone with all the people who own the house with me, as well as my family, due to our getting an offer (!!). We're in the midst of negotiations, so I don't want to say much more. If you're in the habit of praying or sending up positive thoughts or any such, send them up Gloucester way. I'll let you know what happens.