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


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


    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.