I’ve been a bad blogger, but I have an excuse
1) opening a brand new yarn studio
3) having my asst. go out of town for a week
and that brings us to now. On top of all that craziness (I didn’t even mention getting a new class & workshop schedule ready to launch in December) David got sicker then I’ve ever seen him. Right now we are sitting at home, skipping a holiday party because he started to feel a little sick again. But (joy) we turned on our TIVO to find a brand new feature . . . it’s connected to our NetFlix & we can just download movies. SOOO cool.
In the land of knitting, I finished my summer top just in time for winter. Now it will sit, and sit and sit while I avoid doing the finishing. God I hate finishing.
I did manage to make some major progress on the miles of Stockinette that is the Cobblestone Sweater. I finished the body & now I’ve started the sleeves. You can keep your &^$& dps, I’m a magic loop gal all the way.
I’ve also been having fun with crochet. I got a skein of one of the brand new colorways of Homespun (a nice perk of the job), called Wildfire . . . really pretty. So in two days I did this little ruffled crochet scarf pattern. I’m kind of digging crochet.
I’ve felt all over the place lately. These last three weeks have been an utter blur. The Studio opened on Tuesday and I’ve been working pretty much non stop to get to the opening. Last weekend I was trying to get my Vanna Glamour shawl done for the opening night party. I looked at my couch and realized my knitting was a scattered as my brain felt.
Here’s a couple of bad pics
It’s been ages since I’ve had a moment to blog. I’m up to my (&^% in boxes getting the Studio ready to open. I have managed to get sick for about a week in the middle of it all (yeah). The sucky part was missing the Yarn Harlot when she spoke at B & N in Park Slope. Michelle (who is cool lady working in the Studio with me) even saved me a seat, and I was WAY too sick to go. On a brighter yarny note, I did get a lot of knitting done in my sick bed.
Amongst working sun up to sun down David and I did manage to squeeze in two great weekends. Two weeks ago David and I did our Brooklyn open house thing. I wrote about our Saturday at the cemetery, and then Sunday we did a whole other round. First we stopped at the Montauk club. It’s right down the street from our house, but I’ve never seen the inside. It’s both opulent and oddly run down at the same time. Kind of hard to describe.
On our way to Fort Greene we passed Urban Glass, who was also doing an open house. It’s a really big glass blowing place that has a gallery and they give classes and rent their space to artists. I love that places like this still exist in Brooklyn.
Next we went to the fab new(ish) Brooklyn Flea Market. It was a perfect fall day and the flea market was great. We spent the rest of the day walking around Fort Greene. I must admit, we don’t spend much time there. It’s really cool. The neighborhood has changed so much, and it’s filled with great restaurants and shops. We will definitely be going back for the Halloween festival next week. I’ve always wanted to see the dog costume contest!
After another back breaking week at work setting up the store, I was hanging on to the light at the end of the tunnel . . . RHINEBECK!!!!!!!!! We headed out late on Friday night and got into our B & B around 10:00 pm. We didn’t get to see the amazing grounds until we looked out our window the next morning to see this:
We were staying in a spa / B & B on a ton of land, called Buttermilk Spa. Just like last year, it was bright blue sky and perfect color. . . only difference, about 20 degrees colder then last year.
Our first glimpse of the fair grounds was an explosion of red
We decided after such a killer week that we would take it easy this weekend. I did a little shopping, ran into some pals, watched some Canine Frisbee toss, ate some cheese, and then we headed back to the B & B in the afternoon to go to the spa and walk around the grounds.
My first day’s booty was a pound of this stunning Corriedale roving
After a wonderful dinner, great sleep, great breakfast it was back to the fair grounds. Our pal Francesca was meeting us. She was on hiatus from the Spamalot tour, and we’ve been trying to go to Rhinebeck together for three years, and we finally made it!
We started again by visiting the animals. Why can’t I have a farm???
Francesca went through her budget in the first 10 minutes or so . . . mostly at Brooks Farm. I picked up another pound of Merino roving
I’ve been working WAY too hard for the last four weeks. So, my boss forbade me to do any work this weekend. Being the good employee that I am . . . I listened to him. This resulted in a perfect Saturday in Brooklyn (and Sunday is starting out pretty nice too!). First we spent a lazy Saturday morning at home. I got a nice hunk of my bam boo top done
Back to Angels & Accordions. . . it started with a trio of accordion players & the dance performance in front of the gate. First a group of mourners came out all dressed in black under black umbrellas.
Shortly after one mourner laid some flowers on the ground, a group of dancers (presumably the dead) appeared in white flowing costumes. They danced with the mourners, and then after the mourners embraced the dead, they slipped out of their arms and left the mourners with empty arms.
The dancers then walked up the hill into the cemetery and the whole crowd followed. For the next two hours, hundreds of us followed guides holding large black and white umbrellas, throughout the cemetery.
As you walked you came across the dancers, singing mournfully, draped eerily and dancing beautifully all around the graves. It was really spectacular. My favorite was walking under a low hanging willow and finding the dead hidden amongst the branches quietly singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (later we found out that Frank Baum was buried near by).
Summer is drawing to a close. Tomorrow is the first day of fall. Sigh. This time of year used to always fill me with anticipation of the coming season. For years as a kid it was the start of a new school year, then for 20 something years in theatre, it was the start of a new theatrical season. As a knitter it’s time to say goodbye to knitting tanks & camis and hello chunky sweaters. This year I’m feeling a bit apprehensive about the future, but that’s because of a whole lot of stuff going on with my personal & family life. We cast on. We forge ahead. My favorite mantra from one High Holiday service I went to years ago was . . . I will try, I will fail, I will try again.
We are still harvesting a bunch of late season veggies. Here’s yesterday’s pickings
Just in time for the end of summer, I finally cast off the Lotus Blossom tank
Now that I finally got that bad boy off my needles, I’m going back to the Cotton Bamboo top that has been languishing in the knitting bag. It’s coming along nicely. I feel like this cable pattern is going to take me forever, so I might cast on David’s Cobblestone Sweater, and alternate between the two projects.
Since I avoid finishing like the plague, I decided to convert the pattern to in the round. For some stupid reason I thought it would be easier to divide for front and back when I got to the cable pattern. I somehow thought I would have to think too much to convert the flat chart to in the round. That was (of course) dopey. There;s nothing too it, and now I’ve just created another seam for myself. Curse you mattress stitch!!
The last two weeks have been insanely busy. I just got back from dropping my mom & sister off at the airport. It was a nice visit, but I’ve been so busy at work I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as I’d like. We had a great Brooklyn day yesterday. We went to Prospect Park to see the exhibit on the re imagining of Grand Army Plaza. I hope we’re still living here when this gets done For those of you have been here, you know why this is long overdue. The Arch, Baily Fountain, the Farmer’s Market, they all sit on disconnected hunks of concrete, seemingly impossible to get to without taking your life in your hands dodging traffic.
All week I didn’t get much knitting done, but I did manage to finish (almost) the Lotus Blossom Tank. It’s blocking waiting it’s dreaded finishing.
It’s been a couple of weeks full of surprises and gifts. A huge life change (more about that later) and being the recipient of a moment of pure generosity.
Are you a product knitter or a process knitter? I am a little of both, but primarily I’m about the product. I want the garment. Sure, I love to knit it, but I want the finished item. In fact, if you ask my husband, it’s pretty hard to get me to knit for anyone else. I’ve knit myself a whole wardrobe! Then there’s my pal Kiana or Patrick who will find a pattern they love, or yarn they love and just knit. Patrick usually says “I don’t know who I’ll give it to, but I have to knit this”. Well Saturday I was lucky enough to be with Patrick when he was showing off his latest work. It was a cabled vest made from beautiful hand dyed J-Knits Mohair. It was a soft rose color and it was SOOOO pretty. I told him I loved it, and a few minutes later, he handed it to me and said “I want you to have this”. I teared up. Nobody has ever just handed me something so pretty. I was knocked over. Here I am happily wearing a beautiful hand knit, NOT knit by me
My own hand knits are coming along. I’ve put aside the Cotton Bam Boo Top, so I can finish my Lotus Blossom Tank. I’m doing tons of modifications (like everyone has). It’s funny how many people “almost” like this pattern, yet we like it enough to knit it and make it our own. I’m following, as my base, the modifications on Lickety Knit. However, because my gauge is so insane, I have to do a lot of my own. I’m using Alchemy Silk Purse, which is supposed to be 22 stitches per 4″on a US 5. I get 25 stitches per 4″ on a US 6!!!!
Here’s how it’s looking so far
I decreased 28 stitches instead of the 14 called for, and knit the garter rows and another 3/4″ of stockinette. Then I increased back up to the original 200 stitches. My gauge is tight and it seemed to fit me better that way. I went back to a US 5 to maintain my gauge when I divided for front and back.
Here’s my five lotus blossoms/alien heads (instead of the 4 the pattern calls for)
As for my other news . . . this week I started an exciting new job with Lion Brand Yarn. They are opening a New York flagship Studio, and I was hired as the Studio Manager. I don’t want to give away to much right now (stay tuned for details), but it’s going to be a center for learning, sharing, & special events. The real focus of the studio is to teach and inspire.
What I’ve been most struck by in my first week is the passion and dedication of everyone working for Lion Brand. It’s a family owned business and has been run by the same family for 130 years, which is pretty special. I have a lot of work to do in the next few months, but it’s an exciting project to be involved with. I’m honored to be working with so many people who have such a passion for fiber arts. The design department is a constant buzz developing new yarns, patterns, colors. It’s all pretty inspiring.
The other day my little roof deck was honored by a very special visitor. She was in town for just a day from the tour of Spamalot. She hasn’t been back in New York in ages, and I was thrilled she chose my little roof garden to visit. I’m speaking of course of Tallulah the cat. She also brought her person Francesca along with her.
I hadn’t seen Francesca in ages, since she’s been touring all over the US & Canada with her adorable cat. It was great to hang out on the roof, listen to some music and knit. Tallulah was busy smelling everything
Life was good until Tallulah decided to crawl under the deck. Remembering what Francesca said about every moving day on the tour being a fight to get the cat out from under the bed (and our deck is a LOT bigger than a bed), I figured I’d better act fast
I went down to the apartment and fashioned this little cat toy out of a KnitPicks flexible needle
cable, some decorative stitch markers a wonderful customer gave me (thank you Patricia) and the needle end I was able to lure the cat out
Didn’t get much more work done on the Lotus Blossom Tank
Somehow it’s already the second week of August. How the hell did that happen? The whole month of June was eaten by work, then David and I went on our FAB vacation, home, family visits NY, then off to my family reunion, and boom, somehow the summer’s almost over. Okay, I’ve decided to try to slow time down. I’ve wasted the last 5 weeks angsting about what I will do with the rest of my life. I’m going to try to spend the rest of the summer not caring. I’ve worked almost non stop for that past 22 years. I think I can take 2 months to figure out the rest of my life.
Right now I am enjoying a Park Slope weekend after a fab family reunion. Once a year (although we missed one last year), my tiny family gets together. My brother and sister and I used to see our two cousins every year and now that we’re grown, we still seem to pick up as if we just saw each other last week. It’s pretty great. Usually someone has an old picture of us as kids that we are asked to recreate. Here’s this years
And, as always, one little sweet potato vine ends up a wee bit overwhelming
That’s right, it’s a fairly large tomato plant with flowers starting to come in. Crazy. We may be eating food grown from the seeds of last years garbage. If you can’t find inspiration in that, you aren’t trying
I took my Cotton Bam Boo Smock Top out of town, because it’s mindless stockinette and I don’t have to deal with lace.
The last couple of days I’ve been swatching for the Lotus Blossom Tank. I’m using the amazingly dreamy Alchemy Silk Purse. It’s supposed to be 5.5 st/in on US 6. I know I knit tighter in the round, but I wanted to get a tighter gauge. I think the pattern as written is kind of shapeless. I swatched it on a US 5 and got an insane 28 stitches per 4 inch (the pattern calls for 22), I reswatched on a US 6 and got 25, a doable gauge to make it more form fitting. However, when I divide for front and back I’m going to have to go down to a US 5 to keep that gauge.
The colors are amazing and it feels SOOOO good to knit with.
I wore my bamboo top so I could finally get some shots of me wearing it. David is so sneaky, except for the one posed shot, all the other shots were David sneaking in shots when I didn’t notice. What a guy.
Later today (after watching the opening ceremonies on our TIVO) we bummed around 5th Ave and looked at all the shops, and then tonight we are heading over to Prospect Park to see the final concert of the summer . . . It’s going too fast
It turns out my procrastination didn’t last as long as I thought. I actually finished the top a few days after my whining post about all the finishing I had to do.
Once again I was kicking myself for mindlessly knitting a pattern without thinking, “why aren’t they . . .” or “I could just . . .”. First of all, if I had given the scalloped edge two seconds thought I would have done a provisional cast on or invisible cast on and then folded the edge over and knit two together to create the scalloped edge and not have to seam ever ^&%#& edge. PLUS why do I continue to mindlessly cast on for front and back when I could have knit this bad boy in the round right up to the arm hole, thus avoiding yet MORE seaming.
I’m not going to make that mistake again with the Classic Elite Cotton Bam Boo Smock Top, I am going to knit this guy in the round. I learned after my trauma with the Bluebell from Fitted Knits, if your going to knit in the round, for god sake, swatch in the round. BOY does it make a difference.
I first swatched the Classic Elite Cotton Bam Boo (which is supposed to get 6 st/in on a US 5) flat on US 5 and got the gauge perfectly. Then I swatched it knitting in the round and I had to go up to a US 7 to achieve that gauge. I really am a crazy tight knitter. The great thing about this is, my row gauge is now 30 row per 4″ instead of 28 and I really need that, because I am about 130 yds shy of the yarn that I actually need to do this pattern. Hopefully between cutting a couple of inches off the length and the row gauge I will be able to eek by.
Does everyone know to cool trick for swatching in the round? Here’s my sample (note the loosey goosey stitches on either side)
But that’s not in the round you say. It’s not! You just cast on the number of stitches you want on circular needles, making sure to cast on at least four more on either end, so you can have a good flat section in the middle to measure. Then knit a row, pull the stitches across to the other side of the needle, and then bring the yarn loosely around the back and knit again. The back of your swatch will look like this:
By knitting every row, you will be able to check your in the round gauge. I’m doing the same thing with the incredibly dreamy Alchemy Silk Purse, getting ready to cast on for the Lotus Blossom Tank. More about that another day.
In the garden, it is one battle after another. Following my triumphant defeat of the Katydids I am now battling powdery mildew. Our zucchini is barely hanging in there. We are picking more green beans, tomatoes and eggplants than we can eat, and the peppers are just starting to ripen, but the zucchinis . . . are rotting on the vine. GRRR
We are getting new and strange bugs arriving everyday. We now have these weird all black bees and black & red beetles, and these crazy dragon fly things:
Speaking of keepers. I got a fantastic knitting magazine from my mother in law when we went on vacation. The cover tells you it’s gonna be fun (check out the hair!)
Here’s some equal time for the horrors that knitting needles can create in 1970