Sunday, September 30, 2007

saturday photo essay

Arrive in midtown at exactly 12 noon.

Purchase long-overdue wedding present (and photograph for Hubby, who was away this weekend).

The button emporium to the stars. No, I didn't see anyone exciting there. There were lots of other knitters, though.

Oh, Upper East Side. You are too much for me sometimes. That's why I don't visit too often. I didn't dare inquire about the prices or fiber content of these sweaters.

The Spin-Out! It was a lot of fun, and great weather. Yes, the guy in the kilt in the foreground was napping with his head resting on his big combat boots. With all the fiber lying around, I think he could have asked for some to make a better pillow.

Back at home, with the rapidly increasing Tilted Duster, and my button find. The center of the buttons are much more purple than they appear. But it's really close to being done, so you'll have to wait a couple of days for the big reveal!

Friday, September 28, 2007

swinging along

I'm entirely behind in commenting on friend's blogs, and owe so many people emails! Apologies! TGIF, seriously. I need a break! But the Spin-Out is tomorrow, and I really want to attend, so it's back into the big city for me. (At some point in the afternoon.)

The Tilted Duster is coming along pretty well. I've got half of the skirt part done - a full 8 inches. It's starting to get really heavy, and after 4 rows my hands are screaming for a break. 4 rows = 30 minutes, if I'm feeling zippy... so there's another 5 hours of knitting the skirt, at least. Then there's the big collar thing. A trip to Tender Buttons might be in order on the way to or from the Spin-Out, because finding a really special button is a necessity. But I'm very happy that this should certainly be done in time for Rhinebeck. (There will be a better picture tomorrow, when there's sun and it's not 7am.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

one project gal

When did I become a one-project at a time gal? No idea! So last night*, I rectified the situation by casting on some new socks for my grandmother. I used Judy's Magic Cast-On for the first time. The beginning of the instructions tout that it's fool-proof and simple, and easy to get the very first time. I was feeling quite foolish, because it took me a while to figure it out. I was wishing that the pictures were like Harry Potter-land images: I needed some video!

*This was thanks to Hubby, who I accompanied to the theater in the evening. Earlier, during dinner at a diner, I posed the question, "Do you feel like there aren't enough hours in the day sometime?" So when the show wasn't great, we left at intermission and arrived home before the second act was supposed to finish! Found time! Yay!

But I got it sorted out after a while, and made some good progress on the toe. I think I'm going to like it in toe-up land! The socks are going to have a plain foot, short-row heel, and feather and fan pattern on the leg. Using the trusty digital kitchen scale, I split the yarn up into two equal balls, so I can knit each sock until I run out of yarn.

I'm very happy to have multiple active projects again!

Monday, September 24, 2007

joba rules

Yesterday, we got to take in the last Yankees home game of the season. Before the game, there was a lovely tribute to Phil Rizzuto, and his good friend Yogi Berra was there! I love the grounds crew and their YMCA dance between the 6th and 7th innings.

The future of the Yankees, pitching for his first save, on his 22nd birthday. Joba! Joba! Joba!

Good game, good game.

To clear up any misconception about the events occuring in New York right now: I'm all for free speech. All kinds of it. That's the good thing that sets us apart from countries like Iran. I'm totally fine with Columbia's decision to invite Ahmadinajad to speak. In fact, I liked the pieces I heard on the radio; in particular, when the place erupted in laughter when el Presidente said that there were no homosexuals in Iran. When was the last time 600+ people laughed in the face of Ahmadinajad? I'm sure it wasn't very recent, and I think that it was EXCELLENT that it happened here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

tilting along

First: good news! My colleague Kian Tajbakhsh was released from prison this week. It was such a relief for everyone, and especially for his wife, who is due to give birth to their first child any day now. It's a good thing that this happened now, because if Ahmadinajad showed up in New York without releasing him... oh, the protests! I think we might still protest anyway.

And we had what is probably the last heirloom tomato salad of the year. I love the colors, adore the flavors, and wish that I had a big greenhouse (and land to put it on) so I could grow these all year long.

Second: my Tilted Duster! Two fronts, a back, and one sleeve are done. Before I can officially say they are done, I need some other eyes on my right-leaning decreases. I'm glad that there is 16 inches of skirt that's going onto the bottom of these pieces. This yarn rolls up like no one's business! I knew that I had to pin the pieces out for a picture, because otherwise they are just tubes.

So. The decreases:

Slip, slip, knit.

Slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over. (Thanks for the recommendation, Brenda!)

Do you have a preference? I'm leaning toward the Sl1, k1, psso version, but should I rip out the front piece and redo the ssks? It seems to be a little more subtle, and matchy with the k2togs. Can you tell if there's a difference? Am I crazy to be thinking about ripping, because you can't see anything? Please let me know; I'll be here working on the next sleeve!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

out of it

I'm out of the groove, it seems. Being back at work, and trekking through midtown Manhattan seems a lot more tiring than I remember it. I was also very confused by the sight of flowery taxis when I returned on Monday. What gives? Ah, this. I thought it was to mark the cabs with the GPS devices or something. It's also supposed to be about celebrating 100 years of motorized taxis. It's not terribly diginified.

However, I AM into the Tilted Duster. The back and two fronts should be finished by tonight. The miles of skirt on the sweater will not be as zippy, I fear. On the right front, my ssk seem very prominent, and I might rip it out and fiddle with them to be less obtrusive. The Backyard Leaves ssk were done slightly funky ... and now I can't remember how to do it any other way.

Research! I would have done so last night, but suddenly remembered after arriving home at five minutes to 7 that Hubby and I had RSVPd to attend an admissions recruitment event for our alma mater. Which started at 7, and was 15 minutes away. We got on the road and weren't that late, but it made for a panicky evening. And dinner at 10pm.

But the Yankees won again!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

a finished leaf

Yay! So much accomplished, and on a lovely Saturday, too.

1. A trip to the farmers' market in the drizzle resulted in quick shopping because there weren't many people there. And lots of good food.
2. At long last, I took four huge shopping bags of clothes to a friend's church thrift shop. They've been sitting around for way too long. While there, we saw that they also take household items, so the kitchen is going to get a de-stash session too. (There was also a lovely Gap cardigan with really interesting cables. So I got that as well.)
3. I finished the Backyard Leaves scarf! Still needs blocking, but it's really close.
4. Finishing the scarf nearly coincided with the end of the CD of Julia Child's My Life in France. I'm a very big fan of hers, and was very upset when she passed away on my birthday a few years ago.

So, now it's onto the Tilted Duster, from the cover of the recent IK. I heard that it's going to be a knitalong on the Ready, Set, Knit podcast, and then happily discovered that I've got the right yarn in my stash. It's Rowan Magpie Aran that I bought ages ago (see a theme here?), is the right gauge, and I should have plenty of yarn for the sweater. Can I finish it before Rhinebeck? The pressure!

Finally, my traveling sock hasn't gotten any screen time yet. Charade is a great pattern, and I'm enjoying it a lot. Once I'm back on the train twice a day (starting Monday - sob!), it will probably clip along at a much faster rate.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

a new leaf

Half of the Backyard Leaves scarf is done! It's been a very entertaining knit, especially after a no-shapinng stockinette sweater. And the yarn! Baby alpaca is my new favorite thing.

The pattern called for Zara, and now I understand why: the two distinct plys in the Shibui is kind of distracting with all of the lace swirling around. Zara is very smooth, and that probably would have been a better choice. However, I lurve this yarn, and will have enough left over for at least one hat! (35 grams is left from the first skein.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ridin' the wave

It's a well-known fact that finishing a garment is not my favorite thing to do. This morning, after finishing the second sleeve, I embarked on the sewing and the collar to the Wave Jacket. There was a false start on the three-needle bind-off for the shoulders (um, Rowan? The RIGHT sides need to be together, not the wrong ones; that is wrong) but I got the collar knitted up, and commenced in weaving in more ends than I care to thing about.

My row gauge was off rather significantly, thus calling for some pretty fancy math to get the finished garment to the called for measurement. But this is denim: renowned for its shrinkage after the first washing. I did some calculations, and after one nightmare with numbers and denim chasing me around, I decided that it was fine.

Before the hot water wash: length is just about 18", and it's supposed to be 15.75". Will the washers in our laundry room hit the recommended temperature of 60 degrees C? No idea, but there aren't other (easy) options. In it goes, with some towels and old jeans that I keep around for just this purpose.

Out of the washer, there is some shrinkage. But not enough, and we can't give a one-year-old a floor-length jacket. Holding my breath, I tossed the jacket into the huge, industrial dryer - alone. I know that these dryers get hot, and I'm hoping that 15 minutes will do the trick.

Post-dryer, we are there. Triumphant jumping up and down, and a few concerned, strange glances from the building staff who are walking by in the hallway.

It's still too damp to sew up, so no reveal shot for a while. Then comes the zipper. But it's so cute. Three cheers for Miss Bea and Louisa Harding.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

more yarn...

Isn't Hubby's hat the greatest? He's working on it for his brother, and I'm starting the Backyard Leaves scarf for his wife. Apologies for the icko pictures: there's no light coming from the sky today.

I tried to focus my vacation purchases on local yarns, and succeeded! (You can see the details on Ravelry, if you are a member.) We visited a number of yarn shops on vacation, listed here in (I think) the order visited:

Windsor Button, Boston: I wish there was a place like this in New York. What a great variety of stuff. All the rumors are true - it's great. Hubby got his Malabrigo here!

Newbury Yarns, Boston: They were reorganizing the store when we popped in, so it was pretty hard to see what they had in stock. Also, there were no prices anywhere... which raises my suspicions. No opinion.

Seed Stitch Fine Yarns, Salem MA: The shop was lovely and spacious, and had a crazy awesome display of giant knitted flowers. (There's a reception with the artist this coming Friday.) Prices seemed quite reasonable, and the owner was very friendly.

Yarn Sellar, York ME: Located in a strip mall, the store was pretty small and carried a lot of very large brands, and didn't really emphasize natural fibers. There was locally dyed sock yarn, though, so I got a skein. Again, very friendly staff.

Yarn Basket, Portsmouth NH: Yay! A teeny-tiny shop, but packed with good stuff, including customers just stopping by to knit and chat, and also to scold the owner for blocking my way to one wall of yarn. The owner was chatting with another customer, and one of the knitters told her to get out of my way. It was pretty entertaining. More locally dyed sock yarn ended up coming home, along with some J.Knits laceweight and an on-sale skein of superwash Brown Sheep.

Loom with a View, Newburyport MA: After returning home, I discovered that the shop just opened in July. The owner was, again, excellent, and showed off some yarn I'd not seen called Mirasol, from Peru. (They have it at Webs, too.) I stocked up on some of my favorites for an EZ marathon: the two-needle baby sweater and a surprise jacket.

Yarn for Ewe, Rye NH: While the shop was quite large, the yarns didn't call to me here. (Perhaps it was yarn overload from all the other stops we'd made?) My research said that this was a favorite, so I was pretty surprised. Maybe I was tipsy from the discovery of the Mirasol earlier in the day?

Monday, September 10, 2007

back online

We're back! It was a lovely trip, and New Hampshire was terrific. That is, until the weather took a strange turn into late July conditions and the humidity and heat went through the roof. But the very cold north Atlantic has a way of cooling you off pretty quickly, if you are so lucky.

Some highlights:
1. Visiting lots of little yarn shops and falling in love with this craft again.
2. Teaching Hubby how to knit, and bursting with pride at how well his hat is coming along.
3. The Red Hook brewery (not from Red Hook, Brooklyn! Who knew?)
4. Eating my weight in fried clams and oysters, slurping down raw oysters, and lobster rolls.
5. Wearing Chamomile a couple of chilly nights.
6. Progressing quite nicely on a soon-to-be-one-year-old's Wave Jacket!

I'll provide more details on the trip, comments on blogs, and return emails soon. I'm so glad that I'm off of work for another week.