Monday, December 31, 2007

Last 2007 FO: Noro Iro Scarf

Last FO of 2007, at least officially. I am so close to finishing Dollar and a Half that I can taste it but unless I abandon all plans to get my house in gear and the food in the oven for the New Years party we're throwing tonight, it's not going to happen.

I fell in love with this scarf the first time I saw it, when Jared Brooklyntweed introduced it to the world, aptly naming it “You’re My Iro”, based on the material and presumably his reverence for what it turned into. It’s little more than 1 part common stitch and 1 part perfect yarn but mix it together and it delivers a beautiful scarf that to me, looked perfect.

I was, at the time, paralyzed by the sweater myth, but I wanted to knit Hart something and a scarf seemed low risk but meaningful. When we first started dating over 5 years ago, one of my first gifts to him was a beautiful deep orange scarf. He fell in love with it when he saw it at the store, thought about it often and once he owned it he has been wearing ever since. I knew that the scarf I would make him had to compete, almost trump his beloved orange faithful. I showed him Jared’s scarf to make sure he would be on board and he was.

For both men and women, I see this as the perfect neutral yet colorful, warm colorway, largely driven by it being contained to a scarf. It is rich and unique, yet classic and timeless – something that looked finished but also home made.


In terms of recipe, here it is:

Pattern: garter stitch - 19 stitches (jared did 17 stitches wide, I opted for 19 to make it wider)
Hardware: US 10 (jared used 11 but after swatching, I opted for size 10)
Software: Noro Iro in shade #47. I used about 1 and 3/4 hanks and it got me to
Time lapse: Finished in October and this took about 2 weeks –could have been done in a couple of days but I was switching back and forth between projects



In terms of how it looks, I personally love it. My photography doesn’t do it nearly as much justice as Jared’s, so if you’re considering knitting something similar, look to his for potential greatness.

In terms of the finished product, I finally blocked this about a month ago and Hart has been wearing it since. He thinks it’s a bit scratchy – and I can understand. Most scarfs, or ones you love to wear, if not made from cashmere are made from a beautiful soft wool that is so soft that you love to pull it around your cold neck.

I also perhaps would have considered reducing the needle size a bit for a tighter stitch. It’s not as warm as his faithful orange, and I wonder if doing a tighter stitch (and compensating by adding a few more stitches per row, to maintain the width) would have done the trick.

Finally, at least so far in its wearing history, the scarf isn’t as pliable/flexible as I would have wished. When you fold it, and then release the fold, there is a fold mark.

At this point I’m just nitpicking. Net net, I give this a thumbs up and I think Hart does too.


Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Alton Realized

Our Alton Brown fantasy is about to begin….for Chistmas my BF Hart gave me a beautiful shiny Kitchen Aid stand mixer along with a shopping spree on Bowery, a street/mecca, steps from our apartment.


Apparently this plan has been in the making since May, when the New York Times printed this article on outfitting your entire kitchen for under $300 at one of the many professional kitchen/restaurant supply stores on Bowery. We found that we could do it in much less – so after buying tons of pots, pans, baking accessories, and such, we headed to Bed Bath and Beyond and picked up some W favorites – including a mandolin, a food scale and a probe thermometer.

I am very much looking forward to upping the amateur anti of our kitchen in 2008 and to kick it all off, I just cracked open the spine of my new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, another Christmas gift, this time from my Mom, and started making a heart clogging masterpiece. I should count, but it appears as though most of her recipes call for 1 lb of butter.

As my poor Hart is stuck in Detroit after his flight was cancelled and could be reading this on his blackberry, I’ll keep mum for now on what I made. In the meantime, here are some updated blocking pictures. As soon as I got home today, I blocked the front panels of Dollar and a Half. Just seaming (groan) and knitting up the neck band, and this will be a FO!


Monday, December 24, 2007

Feliz Navidad!

That sure was a long nap!

No better time to get back to this than when you’re stuck in the Massachusetts suburbs, bored out of your mind, watching a marathon of Everest on the Discovery Channel while breaking every 30 minutes for yet another slice of banana bread.

Knitting spirit still under repair, yet I do have some progress. I have been slowwwwwly working away at Minimalist Cardigan – one more sleeve to go. As promised, I would not finish Dollar and a Half Cardigan until I had a blocking board – and now I do! Christmas came early – my mom felt it was best to have the blocking board sent direct instead of forcing me to lug it home after opening it on Christmas morning.

And I also leave you with this link to Finnyknits. This lady is a freaking riot.







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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Status

I got nothing major to say except for:

Michigan’s doing much better than they were 2 months ago and it makes Saturdays a bit more enjoyable now.

Friday Nights Lights is getting better (if you haven’t seen it, you’re wasting your life away)

I’m cooking more – thanks to Real Simple's Five Easy Dinners (in every issue) and their accommodation of at least 1 out of 5 recipes being vegetarian. That’s 20%!, which is high given that only 1-2.8% of those in the US are veg (thanks Wikipedia). Here are two (one, two) of my favorites.

I’m thinking a lot about running but not actually doing it. And Hart would agree, as he has to deal with the 6am “faux” wake up call that I subject us both to every morning. Why do I think he’ll believe me when I say “oh- I made a mistake when setting my alarm” as I fall back asleep. Especially as I do it every day. More importantly, when am I going to learn that my positive thinking at 11pm does not overpower my laziness the next morning? If you live in NYC, esp in my hood, you know that running outside at night is not an option as it’s too crowded. So mornings it is! (or in my case, isn’t right now)

There are crazy re-orgs going on in my dept and I took the plunge and moved into a new job – I’m still not sure if I’m 100% excited about it even though it is technically a bigger job.

I haven’t blocked Dollar and a Half and I don’t care. Thanks so much for the comments of encouragement – it reinvigorated my excitement. I think it’s time for me to invest in a blocking board and well, that’s another excuse for procrastination.

But I have been working on my new BFF Minimalist Cardigan – I call her Mini and here she is:



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hibernation

It’s been another long hiatus here at Katyaflutes - there’s been work, weddings, travel, a really miserable start to the Michigan football season, but none of these things would matter if I was actually inspired.

I’ll cut to the chase. The Dollar and a Half Cardigan has nearly killed me. Okay that may be a bit dramatic but it nearly killed my knitting spirit, which I think is much worse.


Here’s a picture of the seductiveness.

No matter how much I tried, how seriously I took it, and how focused I remained, I could not get past the front decreases. This is meaningless to most of you, but for those who knit this sweater, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.


I spent every day and night on that decreasing business for 2 weeks straight and it just wasn't working. And I just couldn’t take it anymore. And so I walked away.

Knitting is supposed to be relaxing, exciting and fun. And this wasn't any of those things. And to add insult to injury I am a monogamous knitter – I can’t start projects until I finish the last one so I was being punished even more because I had to stick it out. PLUS my previous project was the Twinkle Sausage Shopping Tunic. It was easy but it early threw me over the edge when I actually tried it on at the end (and looked like, well, a sausage). I know there is a lot of love out there for Miss Wenlan Chia, and I agree- the designs are amazing. But like I know very well that I have no business wearing hot pants, I need to face the fact that I have no business wearing Twinkle designs either.

Back to the story... So I don’t know what happened but I guess about 3 weeks ago, after month break, I decided to give it a go again. And while it wasn’t easy – it sort of fell together much more easily this time and now I’m almost done with the sweater. And I honestly have blocked out all the badness of those weeks of pain. Probably like Lindsay Lohan wants to forget that she binged on alcohol and cocaine while wearing an alcohol ankle monitor and basically became a total disaster, I just want to forget those painful nights of frogging and trying again. And kind of like how she’s not 100% past it because she had to go to rehab for 6 months – I’m not entirely over it as I still need to block and seam it.

Here she is almost done (mind you, after all this angst, I refuse for this to end badly, and hence I loosely seamed this up in advance such that I know exactly how much I need to blocking)


But, to me “seaming” is like slow motion falling over the finish line. To me it’s practically a FO.

Which brings me to this:

Above is the greatness that is the Minimalist Cardigan from Interweave Knits Fall 2007. I found this on Ravelry as pretty much 50% of knitters are either knitting it or have it in their queue. It’s fairly clear why – it’s cute, it’s simple, it’s classic and it’s a plain cardigan with a little bit of style.

This belongs on the back of my chair at work. My office goes from hot to cold and back all the time and this is perfect for that.

I will be knitting it in Rowan Cashsoft Aran in black. It’s kind of weird to knit a black cardigan (isn’t that a “staple”?) but shut up – I want to do it. I found this yarn at Purl (where I also finally saw Joelle!) and what’s great about Purl is that they swatch every yarn they sell so you can actually feel and see what you’re buying. I fell in love immediately. Similar to the Misti Alpaca it’s warm but totally flexible (hangs well vs being stiff) and is super soft. Plus – er, it’s machine washable. Craziness. I bought it at Jimmy Beans Wool (sorry purl but with a $3 savings per ball, how can you blame me?) and got it today after ordering on Sunday night. Heart that.

Enough already! Am I trying to make up for lost time? I have knitting to do!

Monday, August 06, 2007

And the season begins

Wedding season began this past weekend with a trip to SF. My god it is cold there! In NY I’m used to sweating 5 minutes after getting out of the shower, and there we were, turning on the heat and layering whatever we could grab.

We got in on Friday and while I had big plans for Saturday before the wedding started- a nice SF run, lots of walking and shopping – that whole thing was thrown out the window. Unexpectadly seeing tons of old friends on Friday night led to a 2:30am bedtime after way too many cocktails. Running those hills + hangover = bad scene. Wasn't about to try it.


What I did manage to accomplish was hitting two yarn shops – Noe Knit and Imagiknit. At Noe Knit I picked up 2 skeins of Noro Iro in colorway 47. I have been excited about Jared’s “You’re my Iro” scarf since he posted it and as I couldn’t leave SF empty handed – I picked some up. I can’t wait to get started.


Feeling major progress to come on Dollar and a Half this week. I did lots of knitting on the plane while watching Spiderman 3 (boo!) and two netflix hits – Zodiac and the Wire. Hart’s investment in a portable dvd player was a savior. Anyway- I stalled on the fronts as I needed to decrease in the pattern. This always requires careful planning, a glass of wine, and at least 3 reference books or websites to refer to. Not something I’m willing to try on a foldout tray while sitting in the middle seat of an airplane.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Iced Tea

I have just finished the back and I love this sweater. I had a healthy start last weekend when I was on a gorgeous lake at my friend’s house in CT. It was me, Hart and 2 of our other friends visiting and it was a weekend of relaxation. It was gorgeous out and we usually spend all day swimming and tubing on his boat, drinking and eating – yet with all the Harry Potter mania (we actually seriously could not find our host nor his parents as they were in hiding with their books), it was a full day of knitting – plus a great run.

Here is the back of my Dollar and a Half Cardigan.


Other than that there has been a whole lot of busyness – not much of which is worth blogging about but is unbearably time consuming. Work, for one, which I’m starting to hate. Actually that’s kind of it outside of admin stuff of buying plane tickets and making hotel reservations for the FIVE weddings we have in the next couple of months.
I am excited for all equally but am super psyched for the two Indian weddings (I’ve never been to one! I need *outfits*) and sigh in bliss- the one in Ibiza that Hart and I (and 3 other couples) have turned into a villa rental for one week. The only, but pretty severe, downside is that many of these weddings fall on weekends of Michigan football games. I wasn’t a heavy blogger during last season but may want to prepare yourself as this may be discussed heavily starting September. Hart and I plan around these games and with Ibiza, we are leaving way later (and perhaps paying more for airfare) so we can see the Penn State game. We have scoured websites for bars at JFK and may literally check in and drive to a close by sportsbar in Queens. Of all things, I can’t imagine anyone would have a recommendation, but if you do, I need it.

One of the cooler things I have seen, and was gifted just today is this:

My friend Elf-friend (her name is almost that phonetically – and was created by her dad using a random letter program – how cool) has the angel one and I cried in jealousy when I saw it but she got it in Japan. She just went again last week and I got both the devil and the angel! Love!

Regarding the sweater, I’m glad I did my homework in advance but of course there were some hiccups – nothing major thank god. The lace pattern, while easy once you’ve got the rhythm, is not something htat can be worked on mindlessly while having deep conversations with your friends. Therefore, there was a bit of minor ripping – but minor.

My only mistake that I discovered only just a bit ago, when shaping for the arm holes, is that selvedge stiches are maintained in the reverse stockinette. So when you start a row of purls, you need to start and end with a knit. While it would probably be easier on me had I done that when seaming time occurs, it’s not worth ripping out for. Finally, one thing that keeps happening is that when I start the lace pattern, I have 87 stiches, yet I end with 86. I have been diligently following the work to see if I missed something but it keeps happening. Fortunately it has no impact on my lace work so I end up adding a stich during stockinette. God, I hope that doesn’t come back to bit me.

One final thing. My very VERY best friend BP is having a baby. Holy cripes I can’t believe it – it makes me want to cry every time I think about it. I made a Big Bad Baby Blanket (my 4th, actually) and I have been just saving it. It’s been so long that I actually considered just holding onto it for whenever it is I have a kid. It’s hers now and I am so happy about that. BUT – that was created awhile ago and I am so into finding new little things I can knit for him/her. I just need to find things suitable for a hot baby with hot hipster parents who live in LA.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Turning Lemons into Lemonade.

It's been a slightly rough past few days. Have you heard about this thing that happened in New York on Wednesday? It happened at 41st and Lexington. Guess where my office is – 41st and Lexington. I wasn’t there when it happened fortunately. Why? Because I woke up that morning to the sound of water gushing, through my AC and into my apartment. The wonderful news is that all of my colleagues are totally fine (yet shaken up) and while the building is a mess, our office is okay. Our office is closed indefinitely.

When I learned on Wed night that the office would be closed on Thursday, I decided that the following day would be all about
Dollar and A Half Cardigan from Interweave Spring. I have been staring at this pattern since it hit the stands, but searching for the called for yarn exhausted me so I shelved it. Until now.



What you see above is a swatch. A really big swatch, that is sectioned into groups of lace by the needle size I used while trying to get the right gauge.

The immediate roadblock of this pattern (and there appear to be many) is that you need to swatch in the lace pattern. This is a bit annoying. The other thing that happened to me, and sounds like has happened to almost everyone else, is that while it lists a size 5 needle, you really needed a larger one. I swatched on a 5, a 6, a 7 and finally an 8. Even with an 8 I’m not making 4” but the lace pattern is starting to look a little too loose for me. I am going to knit with an 8.

Under normal circumstances I am never afforded the time to spend so much time on swatching but the reality is that it took only 1 day. I will spend many days and perhaps months knitting this sweater and I would rather deal with this up front. I’ve seen a lot of frogging out there. Seeing that I ended up several needles up, it was clearly a good idea.

The yarn I’m using is Misti International Alpaca Worsted in 4388. When I was at Downtown Yarns last weekend to get help on my Shopping Tunic, we spent a lot of time finding some substitutes for the Reynolds Soft Linen, called for in the pattern, and I fell in love with the feel (soft) and color (super deep brown/purple).

Getting Started:
This pattern has received a lot of bad press, yet there are so many wonderful examples of FOs that I know it’s going to be great. While there are a lot of problems, there are also some great solutions out there. For you and me, as a reference point and a time saver, here is what I have learned so far.

Doing the gauge. As you’ll see, the lace pattern has 7 rows. If you look in the directions for the body there are two call outs that you must include in your swatch: 1 selvege stitches, and 2) the order of doing the lace pattern. Make sure when you are swatching to knit the first and last stitch.. The swatch requires 21 stitches and this incorporates the selvege stitches. The pattern itself. When I first did the swatch I knitted 1-7, which is the pattern for lace. Row 7 is the tricky row and doing it after row 6 was confusing. When you actually do the pattern for real, you will do row 7 after row 3, not 6. Basically when you swatch, follow what you’ll do in the body. I did the pattern twice plus 2 rows of stockinette in between, and got 26 rows.

Michelin Arms. If you're starting this pattern, you MUST check out the
Knit-Along. You will see very quickly that when you switch from the reverse stockinette stitch to the lace pattern, the stockinette buckles and looks, well, terrible. A solution that is getting a lot of converts, and which seems to be working, is knitting the lace in one size needle, and doing the stockinette in a needle 2 sizes smaller. I just went back to buy the rest of my yarn (I wanted to swatch first) and was advised to do everything but the lace pattern in the smaller needle (doesn’t include cable). So for me, I’m going to pretty much knit everything using an 6 except for the lace pattern, which I’ll do in an 8

Row 7 of the pattern. Not easy, but once you see
this, it’ll all make sense.

Decreases. I haven’t really looked at this closely but have heard it’s a nightmare.
Veronik Avery has a tutorial and the knitalong has plenty of posts

Size/length. At this point all I know is that the sleeves are long.

I am really still excited about Magic Shawl, yet I simply can’t handle bulky wool with huge needles. I’ve been itching all week to knit but I need something slightly more mindless than Clementine, which is literally all lace. So now I’m happy. Heading to a friend’s lake house this weekend and will hopefully get some knitting in while I
wait in line for the new Harry Potter book. That’s the price I pay for staying at said friends house – must accompany him on line.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sneak Preview

Well I finished her up tonight and she’s resting in her blocking stage. Given Hart left today for a business trip, I won’t have pictures until later in the week but here is a bit of her. A very small bit.



I will do my usual debrief when I post the final work but I’m not going to lie to you. While I am upset that I didn’t get knitting done on my “sick day” last week, I think being sick and dealing with where I was in the pattern would have been bad. Where I left off was a procrastination point. Short rows. I am, or was, a short row virgin.

So at like 8pm on Thursday, still sick, I gave it a go. Mistake. The Twinkle book has some instructions but in true Katyaflutes form, I whipped out my Vogue Knitting manual and starting doing it, but it was dreadful. It totally didn’t make sense to me and I’ve learned that “winging” it in these situations never ends well. And it didn’t. Long story short, on Saturday I hit Downtown Yarns in the hopes of getting some help. This is my first time doing this (asking for help at a store) and I was afraid of the reaction I would get given that I didn’t buy any of the materials (book, yarn, needles) at the store. But they were fantastic. Not only did they help me walk through it, I got to see a just finished Baby Surprise and I was just so excited to be there that we spent a lot of time picking out yarn for another queued project, Dollar and a Half Sweater.

Alas, another thing I’m not going to lie about is my diminishing love for this sweater. My frame is not bone thin - and I tried it on and it’s big, bulky, and makes my body look at least 3 inches bigger in girth. Plus the sleeves are a bit cappy which make my arms look like sausages. Actually it’s not just my arms. I tried the timer on my camera to get a full shot and after seeing the picture I felt, well, aside from immediately deleting the picture I just look like a sausage in general with this sweater – you’re just seeing my least sausage-y part – my neck. I'm thinking that this one isn't going to end well.

We’ll see, perhaps I like it more when she’s freshly blocked.

I am really itching to do something with small stitches but I do love the Magic Shawl and I’m a glutton for punishment – perhaps I should listen hard to my complaints about the bulkiness but even as I write this, my love for the shawl is bigger than my knowledge that it will be BIG.

I’m thinking of, wow, modifying it. If anyone has this book and can act either as a helper or a sounding board on what I’m thinking about doing – please let me know.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"sick day" ?

I have a boss who doesn’t understand the definition of a “sick day”. I have had a somewhat crazy week, at least for me, that resulted in falling asleep only to cough all night. then i woke up this morning feeling terrible. I guess my boss believes, in a passive aggressive sort of way, that if you have your computer and you're not in the hospital, a “sick day” = “working at home”.

I had great intentions to sit on the couch all day and watch tv and knit, but that just didn’t happen. I instead just sat at my computer all day and I literally just finished what she considered a “quick” project about an hour ago. So while I didn’t knit, I do have reporting still in me.

There have been several minor yet gratifying things OUTSIDE of work that have happened in the last month or so which have been keeping me busy or pre-occupied.

In knitting news, I started Shopping Tunic with a bang. It’s freaking hot out right now which is lowering my motivation but I am on the cowl part and it took me about 3 days to get there. While I’d hoped to finish her today, she’s close. I don’t have it in me right now to take pictures, and while not a good knitting photo, the background is great. This is the deck of friend’s house where we spent July 4th. And Shopping Tunic as an accessory.




Speaking of July 4th, that’s my birthday and Hart took me, as a surprise, to Babbo, on the Saturday before.This is my (and his) ultimate favorite restaurant and needless to say, reservation getting isn’t exactly easy. It's almost annoying but the upside is that it can actually happen. If you want a specific date you need to call at 10am exactly 1 month to the day before and hope for the best. Such a great guy that Hart is– this required him calling the day before we left for Eastern Europe in the middle of some crazy work situation. Not only that, he enlisted his entire team to sit in a conference room and have Babbo’s number on redial in the hopes of getting through. I will say that all the pain and annoyance is worth it.

The best part about the whole experience is that he tricked me into thinking we were going to another restaurant and as we were walking by Babbo for a *stroll* next to the park, he stopped me, told me to put on my heels (I was walking in flip flops, with the Manolos in my bag) and we were going in. Nice.


As usual, Babbo was unbelievable. No it's not cheap, but it's not out of control - it's a special occasion type of place. The food, for both meat-eating foodies (Hart) and vegetarian foodie-in trainings (me) is perfect.

On to one of my next goals, learning Spanish, Hart got me for my birthday Spanish lessons! Unfortunately right now most classes are mid-semester so this will be in the fall but one thing I am really excited about in the meantime is a great Spanish podcast, Coffee Break Spanish, which I’m trying to listen to and practice.



For any one interested, you can go to their website and download previous podcasts. For anyone interested in another language (Crimenotes: Hindi) I found the Spanish one via searching the store at Itunes. They list a bunch of podcasts and most are free.

Speaking of I-tunes, many months ago I saw Fig and Plum post this and it introduced me to this new and exciting Nike+ gadget. It’s a souped up podometer. It’s $30 and comes with a connector that fits on a nano (only) and a sensor you throw in your shoe. It tracks your running and with the push of a button tells you (in your earbuds) how long you’ve been running, how fast, distance, etc. You then sync it to your itunes and voila – it keeps track. I combined many generous gifting for my b-day and bought a new nano, an armband and the Nike-id and it’s great.


One other really cool thing is that on the Nike website you can use their map to determine the distance of routes you may already, or may think of running.

So many goals that are exciting. I wish I could convince my motivation to get on board.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rusted Root - FO

Here she is, Rusted Root. It was a long time coming. She was finished back mid-May but it took a bit longer (with the trip, and all) to weave her ends in and block her.



Details:
Start: March 25, 2007
Finish: May 15-ish, 2007 (knitting finished in early May but blocking only June)
Pattern: Rusted Root by the Zephyre Style ladies
Size: Medium
Software: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Buttercream - 3 skeins
Harware: size 6 Circulars

Note and Modifications:

The key note is that this lace requires practice. Seriously. This was my first lace work and the lace pattern takes awhile to get used to and get in the rhythm of. Like, specifically row 3 (I think that's the one, as I have tried to block it out). I frogged, painfully, 7 times.

A good resource is the Zephyr Rusted Root Message Board, which was really helpful in getting me through this. Especially that lace pattern.

I know it's totally anti-instant gratification but it's worth it to swatch this and practice on the lace pattern. Hopefully it'll prevent you from the frogland I entered.
Also, as always, I added a bit of length.

Finally, I love this yarn BUT, see below.



Can you see the difference in color in the front and back ?(click for close-up) I wet-blocked this and it dried on it's back. I blocked it on a dark green towel so I couldn't tell but I'm thinking the dye sort of bled. I need to reblock.

Whatevs, I'm wearing it tomorrow to work.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Super Bulky Yarn + 100 Degree Weather

Yesterday I received my Twinkle yarn and wow. It’s great - it’s incredibly soft and luscious but well, it just seemed a bit wrong holding it in my hands with the type of heat wave we had going on. You wouldn't exactly call this summer yarn.

After I left work I headed over to Yarn Connection on Madison and I think about 36th street to buy some new needles. I need a 19 and a 17 for my two projects and not only were they godly expensive, take a look at that thing!

During the NBA draft (snore), I got a chance to spend some quality time with Hart and this pattern/yarn. I didn’t bother swatching. The reason why is because I checked out the other 6-7 FOs for this project on Ravelry and every knitter used a 19 when using this yarn.

Knitting with a size 19 is hard. While projects do take longer with a smaller needle, I really like knitting with small needles – the smaller the better. And I’m a tight knitter. For me, knitting with an 11 is hard and awkward but size 19 is next level. I knew I was getting myself into this, it is just a major adjustment.

Anyway, I casted on and knit about 5 rows and it all just felt and looked sloppy so I pulled it out. At this point I was tired and with a plan to swatch on both the 19s and the 17s, I gave up for the evening.

This morning I got up at my normal time which left me enough time to shower and get to work on time. Instead I made coffee and hit the couch for a little swatching. I was on a mission and work could wait. With the 19s I was doing a tad bit over 10 stiches per 6 inch and the called gauge is 9.5. So I was pretty close. I then swatched wit the 17 and while the gauge was too high – 12 stitches per inch- my god the knitting was so much easier and smoother looking.

I did spend a lot of today trying to figure out how I could make this tunic using the 17. Figuring this out is very easy for some, but I'm a novice. I was planning to make the small and figured out that if I followed the pattern for the large the width/circum would work. But now I will likely run out of yarn as I’ll need to make more rows to get the length.

As of right now I am going to shut up and use the 19s. More pictures to come.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Twinkle Twinkle

Nothing like a little Ravelry to get you full force back into knitting.

Ravelry. It’s like My Space for knitters but better. I don’t have my head fully around the powers of ravelry but in the small corner of what I’ve discovered, I am obsessed.

Cutting to the immediate chase, I found this knitter, I can’t remember how, and her FOs were amazing. Why? Well, she’s great but she chooses patterns wisely, or at least I just love what she’s done. A large portion came from Twinkle’s Big City Knits. Click here for pictures of most patterns.




So on ravelry, if you find a person who did a (for example) sweater, you can click on that pattern (say, “Ms. Marigold” or “Jaywalkers”) and see every single FO or WIP – pictures, what yarn they used, their modifications, the needles, etc. Basically, this eliminates the annoying protocol of the past. You used to find a patter you loved, want to see if others did it or what yarn they used, and you googled the pattern name or yarn in hopes of finding blogs, pictures, yarn websites, etc. This is all about centralization.

But I digress (again).

From said great knitter, I clicked on Twinkle and I spent a monumental amount of time looking at different knitters Twinkle knits, and then looking at what yarn they used or substituted with, how much they bought/used, problems they had. In Twinkle case, patterns a) appear to overstate how many skeins and b) Twinkle yarn isn’t like Cascade – it’s hard to find. As you know, learning this is critical.

Here is what is next up:

Shopping Tunic (click here for FOs on flickr)



Magic Shawl: (click here for FOs on Flickr)
And today was all about fulfilling that dream but the scandals of immediate gratification were not met. Today, I got up, went to the local bookstore, bought said book, and perused while getting a pedicure (you know how gnarly feet get while on a trip, walking around everywhere…wait, do I need to justify pedicures?)

I then went to Downtown Knits, Purl and The Point. I was hoping for Cascade Magnum (a suggested substitution) and while the first two had a skein or two of each color, they didn’t have what I needed. I mean, did I really think any knit store in their right mind would carry a super bulky in the summer. Anyway, I came back home, planning to buy the Cascade online, and from a random google search found the Twinkle site (no, I didn’t find it easily before), where I bought enough yarn to make the tunic in eggplant and the shawl in white. So there we have it.

Hart always tells me I’m a very bad story teller. I’m longwinded, I know, but this took a whole to get through! Anyway, I can’t WAIT to start.

Finally, while I do feel like I am not paying attention to current projects but only looking for the next, I will say that I wove in ends and blocked Rusted Root yesterday and if Hart isn’t too jetlagged when he returns from Milan tomorrow, pictures will be taken. So since he will be jetlagged and annoyed by my pressing for a photoshoot, they will come this week.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Caffy McFaFa

Holy hiatus batman.

It’s been 2 whopping months since my last post and this is due to 3 reasons – the first two legit, the third fairly sloppy.

Reason #1: Late April came with, well, a tear in the retina that needed repairing. This came with stressing, plus busyness at work, and finally surgery. Horrific eyes runs in the family and my mom (who had eye surgery twice, the first when there was no laser surgery only the old knife *ugh, vomit, scream* and only after all that grief, she developed glacouma), my aunt (hole in retina) and my uncle (hole in the retina) all said, “laser surgery? no sweat”. I’ll tell you there was plenty of sweat and while not horrifying pain, there was pain.



Reason #2: Into May and we had trip planning. Hart had a business trip in Prague and I learned mid-month that I was due in Switzerland for work (the exact same week, mind you) and so we turned it into a long and great trip to Eastern Europe. Planning a 3 week trip to 5 countries in 2 weeks was no easy task. Hart and I flew to Prague late May for a few days, Hart stayed and I flew to gorgeous Switzerland, and then we met up in Budapest, went on to Slovenia and finished up in Croatia.

I am back, jet lagged, but not afraid to discuss reason number 3.

Reason 3 is that I am not feeling the knitting lately and it’s really bumming me out. I think it’s the summer but I’m not sure. Perhaps it was the full excessiveness of knitting that occurred between November-ish and April. I think, and hope, that it's due to the summer. For the summer, knitting to me = a) I’m not into summer knit looks and b) god, it’s freaking too hot to have a lap full of wool. Also, I do keep reading in blog land about community and, with the exception of Hart’s mom, who is in Michigan, I don’t have any knitting friends. Wah. I just kind of wish I had someone to knit with (wow that sounded really weird)

In terms of the agenda, I have my lovely shawl – see last post for reminder. But this piece requires full attention and focus (not what I’m yearning for at this moment) and I have to finish and block my Rusted Root (which is actually pretty great and deserves an outing).


Other:
Onto other things, I need to figure out how to create a To Do list on this blog-thing. I said back in January that I have much self-improvement to be doing but I’d like a way to track it.

The first thing that is coming to mind as of now is that when Hart and I were in Europe I realized yet again that it’s gross that I can only speak one language. I didn’t speak a lick of any language other than English. In Hungary and Czech Republic, the term for “thank you” was actually pretty hard to even attempt to pronounce. More so, in all places we visited people were too excited to speak English that I felt it would be a disservice not to let them practice. This issue of a second language is not (and shouldn't be) a big deal for many and it’s perfectly fine, but it’s not okay for me.

For me the language that makes most sense is Spanish for fairly obvious reasons. Hart is muy supportive but he always is and does not push my laziness. I think this is why I love him but our combined laziness makes for, well, procrastination. Hart and I went to an uber crazy grad school and we always joke that we are the two most unmotivated people from our class and while our b-school friends are off making millions, running marathons, speaking 15 languages and starting charities, we’d prefer drinking beer and watching Michigan games. It only figure we found each other.

SPEAKING of Michigan games. We just bought our plane tickets for the Notre Dame game for September 15th.

Finally, I got invited to Ravelry. Tres Excited.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Y is for Yarn


Can we talk about the weather? I can. The first true gorgeous New York weekend of the year, and Hart and I took full advantage.

Saturday morning we woke up and hit CafĂ© Mogador in the East Village. It soooo didn’t matter what we ate or how good it was (but it was) because we were eating outside.

We hit the dog run at Tompkins Square Park (it’s seriously like going to a zoo- people just hang there for hours watching the dogs), then stopped by Downtown Yarns to browse, and then landed at DBA at 2pm to meet Crimenotes.

DBA, how I love thee. We were there for, seriously, 5 hours. Hart, Crimenotes and I played Scrabble and then two of CN’s friends showed up and we played hearts.
And that’s me up there, just after scoring about 7 points for Yarn.

Speaking of Yarn, my silence has been multimedia related. I have taken about 25 pictures of this gorgeous yarn below- it's Blue Sky Alpacas - Alpaca and Silk - in Spring. It it so light that it's just not very photogenic and I just need to call it a day with trying to shoot it.


I haven’t given up on Rusted Root. She’s resting. But in the meantime, I’m working on this shawl from the latest Interweave.

If you have it, the yarn and the color I’m using is featured on the cover of Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Anyway, Hart and I ended our weekend in Battery Park yesterday, where we kicked off our shoes, did crossword puzzles, and I started my shawl.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Six Degrees

Knitware Vase by Alyssa Ettinger
I've been in great awe of Etsy lately - only discovering it a few months ago. It's funny the degrees of separation, or the path you take to a new discovery on a blog or website. It happens all the time. I'll get so wrapped up into looking at new things and often times I'll think of something weeks later and have absolutely NO idea which site it was on and knowing that I probably pathed through 9 websites to get there in the first place, it's a lost cause.

I wish I could remember how far back it went, and the exact path, but I somehow ended up at a knit blog- the writer of which turned me onto Design Sponge. I love Design Sponge - it has turned into a daily read. And while I had perused Etsy a bit before that, looking for random things, it was Design Sponge that opened my eyes to lots of artists who sell work that I can actually afford to buy. More on that later.

Anyway, Design Sponge is on vacay, so in "path-like" fashion, I visited her guestblog, hosted by Victoria and saw a link for Poppytalk. Clicked on that, and found the above vase in her category called "Etsy Pick of the Day".

Cute vase, right? BTW there are several different vases and coasters available, in different cable patterns. Love that.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Operation

I needed to perform some very scary surgery on Rusted Root this morning and I will say it was not fun. Not fun at all.

I had been knitting along at a good speed and was quite excited about it. This morning I was just making coffee, whistling, thinking about how far I had come...And then it hit me.

I put my coffee cup down, clenched my fists and hissed quietly through bared teeth, "I forgot to do the shaping".


At the end of the day I had to pull out about 4 inches worth of sweater so that I could do my decreases and shape. Again, Vogue Knitting saves the day. Even though I know how to do this method, it's always reassuring to have the visuals in front of me.
I haven't knit an entire round since this happened as I needed a much needed break after the 1 1/2 hour surgery. Also, just thinking about getting to the lace part is incredibly scary and it's making me nervous. I have really no idea what row of the pattern I'm on. Ugh. I just hope it works out.
Anyway. Off to enjoy the weather. The storm is coming and we've decided to have movie marathon tomorrow so I may need to hit Purl or The Point for another project. I almost want to stick RR in the corner until she behaves and starts telling me things in advance so I don't screw up again.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

God Bless You Mr. Rosewater


Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
1922 — 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

I’ve been knitting up Rusted Root at a fairly rapid pace after frogging 7 times in the beginning (more on that later).

Lack of progress shots is because she's not as photogenic as I’d like.

this is a better shot of the actual color


I recently got a new camera and I’m kind of not loving it. It’s a Canon A570 IS. We did plenty of research and we actually waited to buy as we knew this was coming out. I think the lighting/crispness kind of sucks and yes, I could probably learn more about the camera and take better pictures but at the end of the day, I bought my mom a Kodak Easyshare for Christmas last year and I like hers better.
Had a great weekend. But first, this. I have decided once and for all that I am taking a step back into anonymity and will be calling said boyfriend “Hart” from now on. I will discuss later, maybe.
Anyway, on Friday Hart and I had no plans and he convinced me to go to Sripraphai in Woodside, Queens. This review finally put us over the edge.
This was embarrassingly my first time in Queens outside of commuting through but I’m happy that going to this restaurant was my first experience. I first heard of it in 2004. Hart and I had dinner at Veritas and started up a conversation with the sommelier about food. We asked, and he told us that it was his absolute favorite Thai restaurant in New York. For the record, this was NOT when Hart first heard of Sripraphai. When recounting the story of dinner later to friends, I told the Veritas story and asked him when he first heard of it and he gave me that look that meant, “er, wayyy before that.” Like in 1990 when he was 16, as though he had walkie talkies with Zagat and they called when it opened.
Anyway - this place is ridiculous. Hands down the best Thai food I have ever eaten outside of Thailand. It is 100% the trek and they make the best Penang Curry with Tofu. We seriously ordered 6 dishes for the two of us and brought half home.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Who's on a roll?

Another from Veggie Meal Plans (let's recap that while this may be boring - you're talking to a lady who cooks no more than 2 times a year. just humor me)
Been thinking about this recipe for awhile. Went to my new best friend's place to shop, and spent $14.85 on enough for 8 - at least 50% of which was organic. How amazing is that?

Honestly, I have been knitting. She's just not ready for debut yet.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pineapple Part Two

This is my second time with this. We loved it the first time but I think we needed more of the glaze and well, we didn't have enough so I made more.



Not bad, eh?
ps: Whole Foods at Bowery is as good as I thought it would be. I'm not being snotty but it's the best one I've been too - including the one in Atlanta where Alton shops. I could definitely spend at least 2 hours a day there.

Monday, April 02, 2007

FO: Hourglass Sweater


Pattern: Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Hardware: 24” size 6 bamboo
Software:
Knitpicks Andean Silk in Orange – 12 skeins.
Start: December 26, 2006
Finished: March 14th, 2007

I really like this sweater in the end. If you look back or notice how long it took me to finish, you can tell that I kind of lost interest along the way– starting and finishing CPH before wrapping this up, etc. I think the reason is that, well, if you're in the stage that I'm in - which is eager beaver new knitter who has a short attention span and who wants to try every new technique she crosses, this could fall by the wayside.

But in the end, I love it. While it's easy and some could say boring (your call - it's many many rounds of stockinette), someone could probably whip this out in 2 weeks and it's just a classic sweater with a bit of a twist.

The first picture I took was this one below. This shows me wearing the sweater before I blocked it and how short it was. This was tres scary.


But then I blocked. And this next picture was the first picture taken post-blocking. The sizing made me very excited and I requested an immediate photoshoot. We were just back from Loreley and several beers (hey, it was that first of the season 70 degree day and what better way to celebrate than at an outdoor German beer garden). Hands on hips and stilll wearing work skirt is indicative of excitement level.

Here is the final photoshoot:


The above and first photo of this post were taken this past weekend (with new camera, btw). You can tell I am in the exact same position so that I could see pre-post blocking. Important to note is that I actually wore the sweater to work on Thursday and then took these pictures on Saturday. Maybe I’m crazy but it seems to have shrunken in length from the previous picture?



Details/Modifications

In terms of yarn/gauge/amount – the pattern calls for a different yarn using size 7 needles. As you may know, Andean Silk has been widely used as a substitute, calling for a size 7 needle. When I swatched, I was running too big, which is kind of weird because I’m a really tight knitter. I probably wish I used the size 7. Blocking did a lot for me but I do wish this was a little roomier. It’s not too tight, it fits well, I just wish it was looser.

In terms of Modifications - I saw a lot of sweaters with serious boat neck action – which is really not that obvious when you look at the picture in the book. This is, in reality, the style of the sweater. This works for a lot of people, mostly those who wear strapless bras or have super bra strap invisible powers, but it doesn’t work for me.

I read a post by a woman who started doing decreases every row instead of every other row, to make the neck more narrow. I am fortunate enough to live close to
Purl (owner is author of book), and so I strolled in for some direction. The staff recommended that I NOT decrease every row, but that I instead knit more rows, but continuing in the pattern of decrease one row and knit the next straight. Instead of 38 rows (I knitted the size for 37) of decreasing (19 decrease rows, 19 regular), I knitted a total of 44 – which nets 3 additional decrease rows.

I really wish I would have knitted this longer and while the blocking did wonders for me (added 3 inches in length without looking wonky/stretched)

And about that finishing. Yes, it’s annoying but it wasn’t at all hard. I have since seen some references to attaching/seaming the “turning round” as you go, vs finishing it after, and I would recommend that.

If you want a couple more pictures, click here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

On Cooking

First, I seriously am on the verge of a heart attack because I’m so excited about this:


Opening two blocks from my house!!!!! Opening this Thursday!!!! I feel tears coming on right now. I went vegetarian when I was 14, which was, wow, a long time ago. At that age, Bread and Circus came into my life – which was the most amazing upscale veggie-friendly grocery store in Boston/MA (where I grew up). When I went to college (in Boston) I worked there and then it was bought by WF and I've hearted them ever since.

Second, I just want to say that I have cooked two times in the last month and both meals have come from Veggie Meal Plans, which is one of my new favorite things ever.

I frankly have a lot to learn and realize that I’m so underdeveloped in the cooking area that you will find humor in my commentary.

Dinner #1: Pineapple-Chipotle Glazed Tofu, Grilled Asparagus, Jasmine Rice



Rundown

Great – pretty easy except that I cooked the glaze too quickly. The tofu was great although it could have been cooked a bit more – I can’t seem to brown tofu all that well – it just seems to hang out and not cook. Can anyone at all help me with this?

Burned the asparagus. Pre-cooking I emailed my friend Lucy and asked her for advice on cooking asparagus. She said either broil it or use an asparagus cooker. You think I have an asparagus cooker? Nein. I opted for broiling but didn’t know that this doesn’t require a whole lot of time.

Dinner #2Spelt Linguine with White Beans and Vegetables


Rundown

This was awesome – a lot of moving parts (a lot of ingredients) but worked out great and lasted several days.

I didn’t realize that you could steam without a steamer (pause for laughter) – I had to call my mom after reading: “heat veggie broth and garlic in a sauce pot. Add cooked beans, broccoli and asparagus. Cover and allow vegetables to steam until they are barely tender”. This seriously almost threw me over the edge. Anyway – mom told me putting the lid on would steam it just fine. A few notes:

- This was my first time using broth.
- Didn’t need all that garlic – it was a little too much
- I used whole wheat spaghetti – this was in our cupboard and given that we cook twice a year – I knew I should use it up. Point is that I think this could have used a thicker/”meatier” pasta to suck everything up.

Conclusion

It was super fun and I’m ready for more. I will do a resolution round up (and it has to be before mid-2007) but I am committing, right now, that I will cook at least 18 times before 2007 is over.

“18?”, you ask. Well, it is basically equivelant to once every 2 weeks, but since that’s too much commitment, I’ll just say 9 months x 2 times/month = 18. Worse case scenario, if things don’t go well I’ll just cook soup for 2 ½ weeks straight in December.