Friday, March 31, 2006

library enhancement

The mail brought me two books today: Inspired Cable Knits and Knitting Rules. I'm really excited to dig into the them over the weekend (provided I get that dreaded paper done).

I've never attempted cables before, except for a little swatch that did turn out pretty well for a first try (if I do say so myself). There are some amazing patterns in here, and I can't wait to graduate so I can get some knitting time back in the schedule. I especially like the yoga bag (so very clever), the ripples in time baby sweater (now that's an heirloom), and the celtic icon (i'll have to be on a sabbatical to ever attempt it). It does have some of the knitting book photography that I hate: the soft focus on most of the garment, and only a little portion that's clearly in focus. Now, I like art and art photography probably more than the next person; but if I'm thinking of spending days of my life making one garment... yo: I want to see the whole thing in a clear focus. (This is not the only book that does this, and it's better than some that are obsessive about their new "style". I just don't like it.)

I also got Knitting Rules by the Yarn Harlot. (No photos, so there won't be a repeat of the rant above.) The first thing I flipped to in the book was the "Ten Reasons Not to Knit Socks" and it really tickled my fancy. Frankly, I think of those quite a bit myself. There's a lot more reading in here, so I haven't gotten to delve in as of yet. I'm certain that I'll enjoy it as much as I have Stephanie's previous two books.

I sent my mom to her reading in my hometown, because I was concerned that the turnout would be fairly paltry compared to her triumphs in the knitting hubs. Happily, Canton did pretty well. Was it the first time that an international book tour made a stop there? I imagine so.

Knitting this weekend? Probably not much. I messed up the Retro Rib heel already, so ripping will be next up.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

oh, happy day

I thought hard about getting out of bed this morning. I just wanted to sleep. I watched the shower run for about 10 minutes before deciding that I did need to go to work, and therefore needed to get moving. I wasn't feeling much better afterwards.

But Hubby had turned the news on, and I got the news that Jill Carroll had been released in Baghdad, and the day started to look up. I remembered a very similar morning about a year ago, when I heard that Marla Ruzicka was killed in Baghdad. Marla was a squatter in my office for a while, and I was introduced to her at some point.

Jill Carroll wrote a very lovely tribute piece about Marla in the Christian Science Monitor. I'm very relieved that Jill is safe and that the story is different this year.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

news flash: sock in progress

I'm pretty proud of my Retro Rib sock progress. I'm spending more time on them than I should be, but... life is short. (Please don't remind me that the semester is even shorter.) I really like the stretchiness of the ribbing patter, and think that it's going to wear really well.

I'm ready to start on the heel. The Jawoll came with matching reinforcing thread for the heel and toe, which I've never used. I tried to thread when doing Hubby's Koigu socks, but it looked really icky (he's pretty rough on them). I chose to only do 14 pattern repeats for the leg, because I like my socks a little bit shorter than most. It's about 6.5", and that's just fine with me.

I have a conference running from Sunday through Tuesday. I wonder if I can hide in the back and finish my socks during the boring bits?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

baby needs a brand-new bag

Next up in the knitting queue will have to be a little felted case for my iBook. I got these colors of Lamb's Pride Bulky at Patterworks last summer. (Yes, we took a rather significant detour to visit the shop. It was underwhelming, which is why I ended up buying the rather prosaic Lamb's Pride.) This yarn was intended to become a Buttonhole Bag, but I think that the colors will work well with the new computer.

Again, I'll get to use the AlterKnits book pattern, and maybe I'll get the enclosed knitting notebook out to record the process.

Monday, March 27, 2006

tres erres

At some point in the future, I'm going to try my hand at recycling. We were about to drop a pile of clothes off at a donation site, and I remembered that Leigh Radford's book had a fun pattern for a t-shirt rug. I pulled the old shirts out of the pile, and will proceed with cutting them up as soon as I get a free afternoon. I need to take a break from the sock knitting, and get something going on steroid needles for a change.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

stash enhancement

I was really trying to follow along with Amelia's New Year's Resolutions with respect to yarn buying. It was acceptable to do on trips (because it was a souvenier); it was fine to purchase yarn at 50% off; it was encouraged if you were going to start a project immediately and nothing in the stash would do. So far, I've followed those rules. There was Portland yarn shopping (and I used some of that immediately), there was a purchase from Knit Picks to try out cottons for all of the impending babies that need knitwear, and there was discount shopping at that the store-that-should-not-be-named (now closed, so it's probably ok to name).

But this past week was really rough at work. I got the Elann email, and saw that they had Regia Cotton Surf. My blue stripey socks were from this yarn, and I've really grown to like them. Hubby liked them as well, and he doesn't have handknit cotton socks... so I was weak. I bought three colors of Regia (guess which one is for me?) and he was very pleased with the selection.

The Den-M-Nit was just for the stash. I really want to try a piece from the Miss Bea's Seaside collection, and didn't have enough leftovers from the Taro blankie to complete a garment. So I got a bunch of that too.

Of course, this was a purchase from Elann, so the prices were 50% off retail. Does that mean that I've kept the resolution?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

oh, papa.

(First post from the iBook! So exciting to write from the couch!)

I pass by a Beard Papa cream puff shop every time I leave school and head for the subway. There have been nights were all I can think about is how marvelous a cream puff would be to savor on the train home. Usually on those nights there is a long line, and my desire to not miss the next train overrides the sugar potential. Most often, though, I just tell myself "You've been sitting for the past four hours, will sit for another hour on the train, then go to sleep. You really don't need a cream puff." But last Sunday I was leaving school early. I would be active for hours before going to sleep, and thought that it really wouldn't be so bad to have a cream puff (and one for hubby, of course).

So I went in and ordered my Japanese cream puff from a Latin American, and clutched the precious bag all the way home. There was also a race to make a train (which I missed), so calories were certainly burnt in preparation for the feast. After the first bite, I knew that I should have given in to the cream puff impulse earlier.

The cream puff was terrible. The pastry was really salty; the cream was flavorless. All of these months, I've been passing by thinking how special it would be to have one, and that it was going to be a great occassion when I finally went in and treated myself.

The lesson? Don't deny yourself, because there's a good possibility that whatever it is won't live up to the high expectations you've created in the denial process. The iBook is the exception, of course; this thing ROCKS.

Friday, March 24, 2006

now contains actual knitting!

(I have no idea why the picture is sideways. Tilt your head.)

I finished up a little hat and set of booties for a friend to gift at a baby shower this weekend. I used the little hat pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and the booties came from Weekend Knitting (the easy booties). Friend was thrilled to receive them. They are done up in sporty red Cascade Pima Tencel, which is soft and affordable. It does seem to split more than it should. The set is done in red because Future Mom and Dad are Chinese, and red is the most auspicious color for the Chinese.

Next up is some work on Retro Rib socks. For some reason, size 0 needles seem much smaller than size 1 needles, so the progress hasn't been swift.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

the year of the baby, continued

The next set of booties (commission from a friend) and my new baby! I'm very excited to get my iBook up and cranking, once I figure out the battery configuration thing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

from the archives

So, school is currently kicking my butt. Work is currently kicking me around too. Pressure is building from all sides, including the pressure to knit a hat and booties for a friend who is attending a baby shower this weekend. I know the expecting dad slightly, so I really want to get them done, but....... WHEN?

As a result of the fact that my knit blog has had no knitting content for quite a while, here's a picture of a little scarf I made for one of my LA nieces. Knitting for girls out there is hard, because when do they need wool? It's always 70 degrees!

This is the laceweight yarn from Morehouse Merino, my favorite yarn source forever. My favorite, favorite is the 3-strand, but all of it is pretty great. This handpaint had lots of flecks of purples and really hot pinks every once in a while. Through the magic of blocking, all of the wrapped stitches untangled, and I was very pleased with how it turned out. She liked it too!

the perfect gin and tonic

To honor the beginning of spring, I made my very favorite warm-weather drink: the gin and tonic. I prefer Plymouth gin, and please don't hate me because I didn't have a fresh lime. Sometimes you've just gotta punt. (The bottled lime juice is around primarily for use in Thai curries; you need quite a bit, and that's a lot of squeezing.)

I always use David Rosengarten's G&T recipe: 3 oz gin, 4oz tonic, 1 T of lime juice. When doing research for this post (!), I was pretty surprised to see that porportions for the G&T aren't readily available. My two favorite books were silent on the subject. More on them later.

Monday, March 20, 2006

the closest i'll ever get

The Bouchon Bakery opened up last week, and of course I headed over immediately to snatch up some goodies. I don't have an extra $1,000 hanging around, so I can't go to Per Se any time soon, but these little tarts were pretty tasty. They will have to tide me over until I can go in for the real thing! They were pricey (around $7, I think), but really well-made. I was particulary impressed with the thinness of the crusts. It's not easy! (Crusts aren't really my thing.)

The tart on the left was an almond/apple "seasonal" selection; the one on the right was lemon, and marvelously tart. I'll be back!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


The bathroom is done! The bathroom is done! The bathroom is done!

OK, we need to paint and do some touch-ups, but the majority of the bathroom is done!

Friday, March 17, 2006

erin go blech

I am not a fan of St. Patrick's Day. I wear no green today, except for a stone or two in my necklace. My dislike of the holiday stems from working just off of Fifth Avenue for about three years. You always had to bring your lunch, because running out for a sandwich would mean dodging the drunk people throwing up all over the place. The building guys would have a hose running the whole day, just washing off the sidewalk. Also, four to six hours of bagpipes wailing away triggers migraines. Not fun.

I was further distressed to read in the freebie Metro paper this morning, "Corned beef can stick with the cabbage on the menu for Roman Catholics, as the Archdiocese of New York grants a special dispensation today from rules forbidding the eating of meat on Fridays during Lent." Um, hello? WTF? Further proof that the Church is full of crap.

Kudos to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for standing up to the parade organizers and just saying NO. She's got three grandparents from County Cork and one from a neighboring county. She's got bright red hair. But she's gay, and the Order of Hiberians wouldn't let her wear a pin or sash acknowledging that fact. I'm proud to work in her district.

One good thing that's come from St. Patrick's Day this year is that Club Med was handing out umbrellas (it's quite sunny today, though) along Fifth Avenue. So I picked one up. Can't pass up a free umbrella!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Do you know what it means?

Last year, I was rewarded with my first official SPRING BREAK in many years. OK, so spring break when you are approaching 30 (as I was then) isn't exactly the same as when you are an undergrad. But I needed to skip town for a while, so called up my friend C and convinced her to take a little trip with me.

We settled on New Orleans, found a nice bed and breakfast inn, and agreed that no Mardi Gras beads would be purchased. My trip down there was rather harrowing, but once there I did slip into the feel of the Big Easy. Sort of. I'm a Yankee, you see, and we don't adjust to that slow lifestyle very Easily.

Yesterday Teri Gross interviewed the chief medical examiner for LA, and two teachers from one of only three high schools that are open in New Orleans today. And since I'm on my second spring break in as many years right now, I thought that I would share some of the pictures from that trip.

And, of course, there's the skein of Malabrigo that I got at the Quarter Stitch. It's in Alpine Pearl (light and dark grays and lavenders), but I can't figure out what to do with it yet. It'll remain in the stash as a great memory.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I could just knit you up!

I saw My Neighbor Totoro over the weekend, and thought that the Totoro character needed to be knit up immediately. He was so cute! Anyone know of any patterns out there, or do I need to get to work creating one?

I highly recommend checking out Hayao Miyazaki's work, if you haven't seen any of his movies yet. I think that Kiki's Delivery Service is my favorite, but I haven't gotten to Howl's Moving Castle (it's in the Queue). There was a really interesting profile of Miyazaki in the New Yorker a few years ago, and MoMA had a little exhibition of his movie posters in the theater lobby last summer. Very beautiful!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


A yarn shop near home is closing this weekend, after 85 years in business. The owners are now elderly, the younger generation isn't interested in carrying on the business. It's sad to see small businesses close in today's world, when there are big box stores everywhere.

However, I can't get that worked up about this store closing. The staff's attitude was always bordering on surly. If they had been nicer and more welcoming, I think that I would have started knitting earlier. The stock on the shelves was dusty and dingy. The overall experience of shopping there was so poor that I'm kind of happy it's not there to poison knitters who might be starting out.

My unfortunate experiences there didn't stop me from going to the 50% off sale. I got a bunch of Cotton Classic (I can wash it, and therefore don't have to worry about the dust), and some sparkly Berroco Metallic FX. I really liked the Hershey's Kiss hat in Handknit Holidays, and although I didn't have the book with me, I thought that this would be perfect.

Who will be the lucky kid to get this hat? I'm not sure yet. Another friend announced his impending fatherhood yesterday. This isn't the Year of the Dog: it's the Year of the Baby.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Here they are: my first attempt at short-row heels and toes. I love the look of the Dream Socks, but I really didn't enjoy doing the short-rows. Unless I can sit and do the whole thing at once, I mess it up. And I haven't mastered the art of frogging back to the error, so I need to rip the whole darn thing and start from scratch. Finally, having to graft across 30 stitches is a little beyond me. Thankfully the wild Koigu colors hide the very poor finishing!

I am excited to give them a wear, though, and see how they feel on the feet. This weekend is supposed to be cold again, so I'll get at least one wearing in before spring hits. Whether I'll try short-rows again depends on how they wear; I'm hoping for a nice snug fit.

The pattern: Priscilla Gibson-Robert's Dream Socks
The yarn: Koigu KPPPM from Sticks and Strings in the village
The time: Cast on at the beginning of November, finished yesterday (not my best effort, but I kept putting them away because of short-row trauma).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Touch Me again

I found three precious balls of Muench Touch Me at a small shop on the UES about a year ago. I loved the bright red, the feel of it, and the 60% off retail. (That stuff is just too expensive to pay full price!) I took it out on occasion to fondle, but never could find a pattern that I really liked. Eventually, I needed a real pick-me-up, and took it out to do a quick 1x1 ribbed scarf. It was really nice to knit, and I got through most of the three balls.

I only cast on 16 stitches, and it was a bit narrow for my taste. Also, there were some problems with big loops hanging off at random intervals. So, on Friday night I decided that I just couldn't use the precious Touch Me for something that looked icky and that I wouldn't wear.

So, I frogged the scarf and rewound the balls.

I'm thinking that seed stitch might work best for the next go-around. However, with spring upon us, I'll hold onto them until fall rolls around again.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Only in New York, part 1

It was pretty windy in the big city on Friday night. I was walking down Broadway past a restaurant with sidewalk seating (which suddenly popped up since it was 70!). As I passed by, I narrowly avoided being smacked in the face by flying proscuitto. You see, a pizza was being delivered to a sidewalk table, and the proscuitto was caught by the wind and carried uptown.

I'm sure that flying proscuitto could happen in any city, but in NYC you don't let winged ham slow you down. I didn't miss a step.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Secret Stash of Sock Stuff

OK, so it's just too warm to think about making woolly socks right now. I pulled out the sock yarn stash, just to assess the possibilities. (I need to stop buying yarn.) I think that it's time to start the Retro Rib socks in the navy Jawoll cotton. I got that at Purls of Yarn in Pleasantville last year. It's got nice flecks of purple, aqua, and pink; but it's very subtle. The rest of the stash is woolly, and there's no way I'll finish a new woolly pair by the time I can still wear them.

This weekend I plan to finish a pair of Koigu simple ribbed socks for me! This was the first time I've tried the short-row heel and toe. I want to see how they wear before starting another set. I'm stuck on toe #2, and keep having to frog back to the beginning of the short-row part. When I mess up I can never seem to figure out how to just go back to the error, so end up taking it all out. For that reason, I tend to think that short-rowing just isn't for me. Action shots by Sunday, I hope!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Jumping on the Jaywalker Bandwagon

I've got the needles, the Socks That Rock yarn (from Knit-Purl in Portland, OR), and the pattern. Now I just need the time to get started! I'm a little concerned that there won't be enough yarn to finish a paid for the hubby. He picked out the yarn on our trip, and I didn't really notice that there was only 425 yards. I might have to find some gray yarn to do the heels and toes. Any experience with Jaywalker? Can I get the large size out of one skein of STR?

Of course, tomorrow it's going to be 70 in NYC, so it might be wise to put away the wool socks for now. Where was winter?

Monday, March 06, 2006

a triumph of packaging!

I love the graphic design on Target's Choxie items. Unfortunately the chocolates inside didn't quite live up to the way-cool boxes and wrapping. The folks at work were happy to help dispose of them.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

What I knit this week

Completely pitiful, isn't it? I got three rows into a garter stitch mitered square (and only cast on 48 stitches). I'm in a bit of a knitting slump. The Oscars are tonight, and I can't figure out what I want to knit. It's a real dilemma. I need a break from the sock yarn, but can't find a pattern I want to use for something bulky.

The real problem is that I have way too many options. I need to decrease the stash. Clearly.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oh, my.

A bit scary, my bathroom. We are currenty at the in-law's due to the lack of shower. I offered to run over to my gym for showering needs (not that I would work out - heavens no!), but hubby wasn't so into that idea. Mainly because he wouldn't be able to use the gym too.

Estimated completion date: soon. Maybe Monday, even. The tiles they removed were original to the building, so they'd been up for 50 years or so. I'm impressed with anything that lasts more than four years at this point. (Don't talk to me about my iPod right now.) The guys doing the work are remarkably clean and tidy. I'm really impressed with that. Who cares if the tiles go on straight if I don't have to spend hours cleaning up after them?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Missing the "Monkey"

When the charmingly quirky show "Ed" was cancelled a few years ago, I cried during the finale. I just loved the lawyer-goes-back-to-Ohio-and-buys-the-bowling-alley premise. The cast was unique, the writing snappy, and it was just so unique! We got our happy ending wedding in the finale, so I guess that's something to be thankful for.

So I was thrilled to hear that CBS was launching a new show for Tom Cavanaugh. "Love Monkey" was a lot of fun. It was really nice to see a show where the male lead enjoys his career and does it well. And Tom is just the best.

But for some insane reason, the suits decided to cancel "Love Monkey" after airing only three episodes. Hear me now: bring back the Monkey!