Blog - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher

Why . . . When I Know How Much I Hate it

Why do I knit sweaters that end up in SIX pieces when I hate finishing

1 – back, 2 & 3 – front pieces, 4 & 5 sleeves, 6 – yoke . . . grrrr, arrg

So I started by blocking the front and back. Gotta love the blocking wires, flexible for the neck & straight for the front sides



Next I laid out all the pieces to see if the yoke needed blocking (it did)


Then I decided I couldn’t deal, so I worked on the Yoke Pullover (Vogue Winter 2005/06) I cast on a few days ago. I started it at the Park Slope Knitting group on Thursday night, but then totally ripped it out. I decided I had to cast on an extra 10 stitches, like I did for the Pin Up Queen, to go over my hips & then reduce to the original cast on.



The twisted rib makes it slightly more interesting to knit

After a few hours of procrastination, I sewed up the sides, and sleeves, and then reblocked for the yoke.

There is still sits . . . maybe tomorrow

Trade Shows & Jet Lag

I’m finally unpacked and pretty much over my jet lag. Last Wednesday I left right from the Studio to head to San Diego for the TNNA winter show. I was really tired when I got in, and I had a six hour class on my first day, so I tried to get right to bed. Unfortunately the fire alarm went off at 4:50 am and we all had to evacuate the hotel. Drag . . . bigger drag, nobody could find anyone from the hotel to tell us what was going on or if it was okay to go back to sleep. Finally about fifteen minutes later we went back in since the alarm had gone off. When I woke up, I was greeted by a great view and a beautiful view


and a bright sunny day. The convention center is right in downtown San Diego, not in the middle of nowhere like Long Beach. Here’s some public art I passed on my walk to the center:


After the first day I again tried to get a good night’s sleep, but it was not destined to be . . . some alarm went off in my room at 5:14 am!!! (turns out it was a test of the smoke alarms, I was kind of hating this hotel at this point).

The second day was classes and meetings from 8:00 – 5:00 straight without even a moment to stick my head outside to enjoy the sun. In the evening I was treated by a visit from my pal Zeena and her impossibly cute daugher Zaleeya (she is a fan of knitwear and her young age!)


Day three was another class, sales floor, dinner & the red eye. I did get a lot of knitting done on the plane and in the evenings . . . and (drum roll please) Cobblestone is DONE!

As soon as I woke up I wove in the ends, kitchenered the underarm, and blocked the little darling



Today David tried it on for size. He looked pretty swell in it

Lots of Yarn, Lots of Knitting . . . and Vegas BABY!

I’ve been a bad blogger, but I’m a retail manager, and the holiday’s just ended, so forgive me. We survived our first holiday season at the studio. All in all it went pretty great. We are blessed by a great staff, so we all pitched in. I rewarded myself with a trip to VEGAS. I had a vacation day, and we were closed New Years day, so David and I took a four day trip to Vegas. We had a blast. We stayed at the super lush Bellaggio


which had this stunning Chihuly glass ceiling



Our room was pretty great, loved the bathroom, and that’s David in his “It’s Vegas Baby” pose


And the view from our room


Our first night we ventured out to the first of the bizarre fake Vegas recreations . . . Paris


Just as we did in the actual Europe, my knitting posed by a famous landmark. This time it happened to be fake


After a FANTASTIC dinner at the Bellagio (using all our Amex gift cards we got for the holidays), we got to bed early ready to spend the day visiting more fake landmarks in the morning.

Of course, we had to start by going to Brooklyn, our home town

There’s David by the too clean Brooklyn Bridge. How bizarre to visit the Vegas version of your town



After leaving that surreal sight we went to one of my favorite hotels, Mandlay Bay. It was pretty in an over the top, yet classy way (no easy trick in Vegas)



Then of course we went to fake Venice. Since David and I had been their twice we were pretty amused at the Rialto bridge taking you into San Marco Square, but I gotta give it to them, it was pretty.

We got to see Bette Midler, something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do. She was fantastic. Many jokes about her age. She is amazing.

Back at our humble hotel home we visited their crazy holiday greenhouse


We gambled on the cheap machines for three days, and ended our trip $2.00 up . . . whoo hoo! We are soooooo small time, but as my pal Nell likes to say of my cheapness “and that’s why you own your apartment”. I must say, in this economy, I’m pretty thrilled with our cheapness.

All in all, a great trip.

With 12 hours on planes and in airports, I got lots of knitting done. I took the sleeves of the sweater that wouldn’t die (the Cobblestone). I didn’t want to take the whole giant sweater with me, and I knew I’d finish the sleeves, so I cast on a new project, Karabella’s Cabled Cardigan.

When I got home I attached the sleeves and started the ENDLESS yoke. I can’t WAIT to be done with this bad boy. David better wear this all the time or I’ll kill him.


I’m loving the way the cables of the Karabella sweater are looking.


and yet more cables . . . my head was getting cold before the holiday’s, so I knocked off this little beret out of scraps I had around. I used my old Rowan Tapestry, I could never figure out what to do with it.

I’m in a total cable mode lately, and I just started swatching for the cable class I’m teaching at the studio.


One down, five to go. Swatching hell
I finished the swatches for the gauge class I’m teaching. Everyone teased me about the gauge class being the class nobody wants to take, but I’m teaching two sessions, and one is already sold out . . . go figure

Snow Day!!!

I am listening to This American Life, still in my pjs (it’s 2:00 pm) loving my snow day. Yesterday it was our first really soggy, wet, snowy day. It being a Friday I was finished at the shop by 4:00 pm. It had been a nice day at the studio with a steady stream of folks coming in to stock up on yarn for a snowy weekend. There was a really cheerful, pre weekend feel to the day. I was home by 5:00 pm (LOVE Fridays), lit a fire, and waited for David to get home. I did a little spinning while I waited. I also wanted to finish up the baby hat & booties I was working on for David’s friend. I had knocked off the hat and had cast on the bootie on the subway ride home.


We spent a lovely evening by the fire with our pals Nell & Time, eating Thai food we had delivered, and drinking wine. All in all, a perfect evening for me.

I also had brought home the demo scarf we made at the Studio on the super cool little Cricket Loom. There’s no pattern, and about everyone’s hands have been on this thing. Claire set it up and pulled a bunch of grey & purple yarns. Then she started it, but we left it on the project table for customers to play with. This thing has Jiffy, Wool-Ease, Vanna’s Glamour, Homespun & Cupcake. It’s kind of the kitchen sink scarf. Weaving is so fun & easy, I may have to buy myself one of these little beauties (thank you store discount!)

Here it is blocking


This is a close up of a few fun things we played with. Holding a little bling (Vanna’s Glamour) with the Wool-Ease:


And running two yarns through at once. Love this look:


Today I finished my first bootie (so cute)


and then I’m going to force myself to do one of the two tedious chores I have. Either finish the bamboo top or weave in all the ends of that woven scarf (althoug I might make someone at the Studio do that!).

Gotta make another bootie now.

Stockinette, Fear of Finishing, and Double Crochet

I’ve been a bad blogger, but I have an excuse
1) opening a brand new yarn studio
2) thanksgiving
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.



Another delight of the job is getting your hands on the brand new yarns as soon as they come out. I couldn’t resist the 100% Italian Cashmere that just came out. So yummy


Don’t know what to do with it yet, but I’ll figure it out

ADD knitting

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.


I somehow had four projects going at once. . . not at all like me. First I decided to whip out a shawl in two days. I decided to do a simple three rows of drop stitch and then an eyelet row

Here’s a couple of bad pics



The other couch projects . . . My first crochet scarf (I decided I needed to beef up my crochet skills for the Studio)




David’s Cobblestone Sweater


and there’s STILL the bam boo top that I totally lost interest in now that it’s no longer summer


Today was my first day off where I didn’t work all day (I did work until about 3:00 pm), but tomorrow . . . NOTHING. I will give myself a whole day off! Now it’s time to light a fire and knit

Time Moves Slowly & Quickly

It’s November. Finally? Already?

On the one hand, when it comes to the Presidential election . . . FINALLY it’s November. I felt like it would never be here. I don’t remember a time when this campaign was not going on. On the other hand, it seems like a minute ago it was June and I was going to enjoy a summer. Time moves in strange ways. Seemingly dragging on endlessly and whipping by so fast, you don’t know how you got to be forty something.

Studs Terkel, my beloved Studs, finally died the other day. On the one hand, he was 96, had a good run, lost his wife years ago, and was probably ready to go. On the other hand . . . five more days!!! If he had just held on five more days he (god willing) might have seen the first African American President, from his own State no less. After all he’d seen, the last of the great liberals, having to suffer through the last eight years. It made me sad.

This weekend I also greeted and said goodbye to two of my favorite things. I love Halloween, and I love the fall. On Friday night David and I went to our adorable local Halloween Parade. It is our Park Slope neighborhoods G rated version of the Halloween Parade, all dogs and kids.







Saturday was a, stay in your pajamas, light a fire, and sit and the spinning wheel all day, kind of day. I really needed that. It’s my last weekend of calm before all the pre opening events in the next two weeks leading up to the Grand Opening (photo shoots, member preview days, staff open house, private parties . . . lots)

Sunday it was time to say goodbye to the garden for the summer. Time to dig up the Glads, Cannas & Dahlias, cut down the lillies, bag all the clippings and put the garden to sleep for the season.

Insanely enough we still had more tomatoes, peppers & green beans to pick.

The craziest thing was the sweet potato we dug up. Every year we plant a couple of sweet potato vines. This year we only planted one, tiny plant, it grew into the plant you see above (after we ripped it out of the ground). The plant just has plain old roots when you plant it, but by fall when you dig it up there roots turn into a potato. It’s usually a medium size potato, but this year it was larger than my head! Crazy


You might not hear from me until we get through the

Small Town Brooklyn

I really do love our Brooklyn weekends. After two of the hardest weeks I’ve ever had, this weekend was SOOOOO what I needed. The last two weeks have been back-brakingly hard (yarn is NOT light when packed by the hundreds in cases), so what I needed more then anything was to relax. Saturday it was blustery and wet, so we stayed home all day. I got on the spinning wheel in the morning, and didn’t stop spinning until my pal Nell came over. We then cracked out the wine, cheese and Paul Newman documentary we added to our Netflix cue the day he died.

I’m really happy with the yarn I spun. It’s my very first three ply yarn. One ply is the Cascade Magnum I started spinning when I got sick of knitting with it


The other ply is the Corredale roving I bought from Morro Fleece Works

And the third ply is a mix of them both. It resulted in a pretty dreamy mix


I took it up to the garden to dry in the sun



and here it is all skeined up . . . mmmm



I still have tons more to spin, so I should get a whole sweater’s worth out of it.

Much to my shock, although we’ve left it TOTALLY unattended, the garden doesn’t look half bad


Even more bizarre . . . veggies are still growing.



Last night David made our (probably) last meal made from our crop. Pasta w/ eggplant, peppers, tomato, basil, green beans. Every bit of it (except the pasta) grown in our own little Brooklyn roof top farm.

Today was sunny and georg, so we headed over to the Fort Greene Halloween Festival. Brooklyn often feels like a small town to me, and anytime we go to these park festivals, I feel like this could just as easily be the town fair in Stars Hallow (Gilmore Girls anyone???).

We got there right at noon in time for the Dog costume show – The Great PUPkin! Here’s a few cuties:

Goldie Locks & the Wolf that ate Grandma:

Lego Helicopter (runner up)
Diva
Peter Pan
Laverne (of & Shirley)


Peas & Carrots (Third Prize)



More food . . . Sundae


yet more food . . . Lobster Dog
Dancing Queen


Sweet 16 (she really was 16, and it took a LONG time for the old gal to walk around the ring)


Pumpkin


Dogzilla


The stubborn Caterpillar (second prize)

Then there were many political dogs. Our first place winner was Joe the Plumber tries to fix the Fort Green Dog fountain (an inside dog owner joke). What pushed him over the top, was the fountain was rigged up to shoot water . . . very cute

Lipstick on a Pig


Revenge on Sara Palin



Continuing with the same theme. Here’s Palin & McCain (note the devil tail & horns) guns a blazing w/ a moose & polar bear. Here she “shoots” both dogs


The golden parachute


And my personal favorite, a truly Brooklyn entry . . . Marty “Barkowitz” and Bruce Ratner. For those of you not from Brooklyn, click here

After they took a turn around the ring, someone in the crowd shouted “roll over for emminent domain”, and the dog promtly rolled over . . . genius!

We ended with a late afternoon walk in Prospect Park, and then back home for some knitting. Tomorrow it’s back to hauling furniture & boxes around (sigh)

So Many Boxes . . .

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.



This cotton bam boo top is taking me forever. Plus I no longer get any knitting time on the subway since I’m back to rush hour riding (which means standing . . . boo).

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 started by visiting the little darlings that give us the fiber we love. Here’s a little cutie getting shorn.



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 the spa we walked around the grounds which were swell




They also have their own little herd of sheep and alpaca.



SOOO cute.

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???


David was trying to take a picture of this cutie alpaca, but right as he snapped, the alpaca stuck his nose right in the camera. It’s my new favorite picture


Francesca went through her budget in the first 10 minutes or so . . . mostly at Brooks Farm. I picked up another pound of Merino roving


Here we are saying goodbye to our wonderful weekend, clutching our treasures


Monday it was back to unpacking boxes and counting balls of yarn.

My First Perfect Fall Weekend of 2008

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


After deciding it was time to leave the house (after many Scrambulous rounds with Nell), we checked out the program for Open House New York. I’ve never even heard of this AMAZING weekend. I only wish it lasted a month. There are hundreds of free programs all over the city. After much debate we settled on a dance installation in Greenwood Cemetery. We love Greenwood, and it was a perfect fall day, so we figured, if the performance/installation was a bust we would still have a nice day. The installation was fantastic!!! I found it eerie and beautiful. It was called Angels & Accordions. It is really hard to describe. It starts at the main gate of the Cemetery. . .by the way, for those of you who don’t know about the wild parrots of Brooklyn, I should mention that there are giant nests of bright green Monk Parakeets that live in the front gate. Their squawking only added to the strange and delightful afternoon. (on a weird side note, the other city that I lived in, Chicago, also had a mysterious population of Monk Parakeets that lived in Hyde Park. There were many theories on how they got there, but nobody knows for sure.)
* I forgot my camera, so these pictures come from a fab Brooklyn Blog, Atomische*


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).


Another favorite was walking though the catacombs past people ringing bells and projections of pictures, and the soft speaking of names. All to accordion music




It all ended with a final, full ensemble dance, by the chapel. A magical afternoon.

This morning started chilly and rainy, so I lit my first fire of the season (yeah)


and David made blueberry pancakes. Now we’re mulling over going out and doing yet more fun Brooklyn things This weekend is just what I needed to prepare me for the upcoming weeks.