Blog - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher

Fall is here!!!

I LOVE the fall! I mean I love it. I love the crisp feel in the air, I love the smell of fireplaces in Park Slope, I love the sound of the leaves under my feet, and of course . . . I love the sweaters. Despite all the hours I spend at the shop, I’ve still done a lot of knitting and a lot of living in the last two weeks. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted.

Two Mondays ago, my pal Tim and I took a road trip to Tarrytown. We went to a really cool place called Phillipsburg Manor.

It was great! It’s a complete recreation of a 1750 mill and farm. They grow all their own food

Raise their own animals (missed the sheep shearing . . . damn)

and mill their own flour. The mill demo was pretty cool.

It was a spectacularly pretty fall day. Blue sky, high 60s – perfect! The only blight to the day was the hour long search for parking on my return to Park Slope, and my Seinfeld-like confrontation with someone who tried to front into a spot I was backing into. Long story short, the space was mine.

Last Friday David made sure that I would leave work on time by booking us onto a harbor cruise. It was really great. Kind of a misty chilly night. First we ran into my old friend Sara Brians on the dock.

The sailboat was large enough to make a steady ride, but small enough to be cozy. David brought some snacks and the wine and champagne was included.

The city looks really pretty when you get off of it. I didn’t notice the rainbow until I saw the picture. It hadn’t been raining, but it was this weird misty night.

and what sunset cruise would be complete without Lady Liberty

On Sunday we spent the morning working in our garden. We moved a tree that has always been lost in the corner, and enjoyed the late season Dahlias.

This weekend I cast off the Vogue winter 2005/2006 eyelet pullover. It would look better on a taller gal, but whatever. I sat up in the garden and did the finishing. It was sunny and WINDY, and it was SOOO great to sit in the sun and knit.

Here’s what it’s supposed to look like. Note, the model is sitting, showing the sweater to its best effect:

I wasn’t totally thrilled with it, but it’s kind of growing on me

Since I cast something off for me (or as David points out . . . 19 sweaters for me, 1 for him), it was time to cast on David’s sweater. I’m using the dreamy Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed, and my own hand spun for the strip. Here it is so far

I’m loving this yarn. It is the perfect pairing for the hand knit. Kind of slubby, thin, thick with flecks of color. I really like this yarn. The angora makes it extra yummy.

So, my next sweater will have to wait until David’s is finished. It’s the fabulous Grey’s Anatomy sweater from Vogue magazine last year.

It was knit in cashmere, but I’m using Rowan Tapestry. The yarn is a super cool blend of wool and soy with subtle stripping.

Love it.

Here’s how the three rows look (that’s as far as I got before David said “where’s my sweater?”)

Sunday night we went to the Jack o Lantern Blaze . . . amazing. That is a post in and of itself. I’ll write about that tonight. Tragically, my camera battery died, but my pal Tim sent me his pics. I’ll just leave you with these words . . . 4,500 jack o lanterns!

Hanging on to the day off

The last two weeks have been a blur. I told myself that I would treat the first month of my new job as manager at The Point, like one long tech week (a reference to my old life as a Stage Manager!). I’ve been working 13 hour days, 6 days a week (NOT kidding). I feel like things might be finally settling down. I finished my first store newsletter, I put together my first class & workshop schedule, and I’ve started to get my own systems in place.

The thing that has kept me sane through all the work has been the customers. I can’t believe how many I’ve grown close to in such a short time. It really is the knitting equivalent of Cheers. The regulars walk into a place where “everybody knows your name”. We even had one of our regulars come by with a bottle of Champagne to announce her engagement (sorry I can’t say who until she has time to tell all her friends and family . . . yes, the staff of the Point came after her family, but before some of her friends – LOVE that). We lowered the gates, locked up for the night, cracked out the glasses, and the staff and about a half a dozen regulars toasted the happy news. Despite all the craziness, the stress, the long hours, it really is a special place!

On Sunday I actually left my house to do something other than go to the store! David and went to the Atlantic Antic, welcomed the return of the prodigal daughter (my long lost pal Nell) and went to my friend Michael’s house for a little party. It was so nice to think about something other then work.

I’ll write more later, but now I need to spin and knit!

Yarn Coma

I think I’ve recovered from the last two weeks. It’s hard to tell. Starting a new job at the same time as that industry enters its busiest time at the same time that you’re gearing up for the largest sale of the year is NOT easy. I worked 14 days straight getting ready for the HUGE sale we had last weekend at The Point. The sale went really well, and we collected several giant boxes worth of yarn for charity.

The last two weeks I’ve done nothing but sleep and work. If it weren’t for the subway I wouldn’t have gotten any knitting done at all. It’s odd to be surrounded by yarn all day, but not knit. I did use my dreamy employee discount to snatch up 8 balls of the brand new Rowan Tapestry (just hit the floor for the fall). It cracks me up how fast the employees scoop up the new yarns when they come in. The Rowan Big Wool took a major hit before it even got out of the basement. The fall yarn line is soooooooooooo pretty, it’s hard to know where to start. When the Twinkle arrives, stand back for the stampede.

Sunday I did nothing but try to recover from the last two weeks, and to get myself organized for what’s ahead at work (So much stuff coming up). On Sunday night I curled up on the couch with a glass of wine to watch the Emmys. I TOTALLY forgot that my cast from Jersey Boys was performing. Why you may ask? They were doing a tribute to the Sopranos. They were awsome, I was so proud.

Today I went up to access the major damage to our garden

It was not good. This summer the garden was woefully neglected, and I’m afraid we lost a lot. Typical sight:

I was able to salvage some Brooklyn rooftop veggies:

Thanks to the subway, I was able to do some knitting. I cast off one simple sweater (from left over Rowan Polar and some baby yarn)

and cast on the eyelet pullover from last year’s Vogue Magazine

What a crazy week

One week ago today I was on a red eye from San Francisco heading back home. I had been away since November with the national tour of Jersey Boys and I was coming back to start my first training week as the new manager of The Point Knitting Cafe. I spent the rest of Monday unpacking my suitcases (by unpacking I mean piling up stuff everywhere). Later that day my giant trunk arrived. Oy. It was way to heavy to haul up two flights of stairs, so I unpacked it . . . on tiny arms full at a time. I collapsed in bed around 11:00 pm.

The next day the fun begins. Training at the Point made me feel like an intern again. It’s an odd sensation to start learning a brand new business at my age. There is so much to learn. For the first few days the only time I felt happy or comfortable was when I was helping customers. Finding the right yarn for a project, matching the perfect pattern for the beginner knitter, fixing the unraveling blanket a customer brought in, helping a customer who was stuck on a pattern . . . these are things I know. Inputing invoices, paying bills, creating purchase orders, inputting special orders . . . not so much.

There were moments of great fun (helping a new knitter, who had just moved into the apartment above our store, find the perfect first sweater project), and moments of great terror (living in fear of someone ordering a Cappuccino before I learned how to make it).

In the world of knitting, I got very little done this week. I did manage to cast off a sweater that was almost finished when I got home. A had two skeins of Rowan Polar left over from another project, so I knocked off this little Bolero.

I have a feeling I won’t be doing much knitting, except on the subway, for a month or so. There are so many special events coming up in the store this month, and the new fall line being released, and the new alternative fibers coming out, and on and on. It’s SO much to learn.

Here were some of my favorite and least favorite moments of the week:

favorite: meeting the knitting groups that come to The Point, listening to them gab and knit
least favorite: screwing up at the cafe register and needing Rebecca to void out my sale
favorite: finding the wonderful Dave, a visitor from North Carolina, waiting for the shop to open (I let him in early. He had come so far)
least favorite: inputting invoices

The best thing about working at The Point?

The smell of coffee, and the sound of laughter against the clicking of needles.

Eat, Knit and be Happy

Count down, cast offs, and goodbyes

The count down begins. I have 8 more shows, 6 more days, 4 rehearsals left of Jersey Boys before I’m HOME. . . . back in Park Slope, back in my own bed, sitting in my garden. Then, a week from today I will start my training at The Point. Yeah! I should be packing today since Wed – Sun I need to be at the theatre at noon. I’m avoiding it by blogging and watching The Colbert Report. I’ve been here for nine months, so I have a LOT to pack.

Yesterday was a big day for cast offs and stash busting. I finished two of the “left over cotton projects”. My mother in law gave me a ton of white and red cotton yarn. She had been given a half finished sweater that neither of us liked or wanted to finish, so we frogged it and reballed it. First I made the white cotton cable sweater

The pattern called for the sweater to be knit straight (with no side shaping),
but I added side shaping since cotton has no negative ease. It turned out pretty good, but I could have gone narrower in the waist. I really like the cable on the shoulder and the roll neck line.

I still have a lot of white cotton left, but not enough to do the lace cardigan in Vogue’s summer 07 issue, so I’ll buy some more. Why is it that the attempted stash busting always lead to buying more yarn??? Does that happen to any of you?

As for the red cotton. I whipped up this little cable tank.

Next cast off from yesterday was a simple garter stitch triangular shawl/scarf. It was made from some cool black and white boucle yarn (more Mother in law left overs!) mixed with a ball of leftover black mohair from my cotton/mohair sweater.

Of course you can’t have cast offs, without cast ons. Continuing my trend of stash busting, I’m making a little lace bolero from my two leftover skeins of Rowan Polar from my Winterwonderland sweater.

That’s count down, cast offs, and now to the goodbyes . . . Yesterday was my last Monday with Chicks with Sticks. Sadly I could only stay a half hour (more about that later). I was glad I came by, but sorry I missed so many folks. I can’t thank this group enough for welcoming a stranger into their midst nine months ago. It’s been my home away from home and, many weeks, has been the only part of my week that I’ve liked. This group was a big part of my decision to change my career and my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I ended my evening going to a benefit performance for BCEFA. It was a join effort by the casts of Jersey Boys and Avenue Q. They were great! Some highlights for me . . . the puppets of Avenue Q auditioning for Jersey Boys singing “God I hope I get it” from Chorus Line. The swings from Jersey Boys singing about how hard it is to be understudying all those roles to the tune of Avenue Q’s song “It sucks to be me”, but the winner has to be Jake Speck’s original country music song – wait for it – “You’re only gay if you take it”. Beyond words.

Right before intermission was the auction. At one point when the bidding had slowed John Hickman offered to put on a red bra if they got a bid of $1300

John Hickman, Drew Gehling, Jarrod Spector

Here’s another pic from the auction. This was for the Jersey Boys package. It went for $2800!

The boys singing their movie medley

The whole cast singing the finale

Thomas Wolfe was wrong . . .

. . . or so my mother says. Maybe you can go home again. Over the weekend, my sister, brother and mother did just that. We went back to Forsyth Mo as a kind of memorial for my Grandpa. My Grandparents bought a house in this tiny town in the Ozarks when I was 6 or 7. We spent every summer there and we loved it. When my grandpa died recently we decided that rather then getting together for a funeral (we aren’t funeral people, our family is too small) we would all meet up in Springfield Mo, go to his grave, and then go to Forsyth and do everything we used to do with my Grandparents when we were kids. It was a perfect trip.

I got in first after a miserable sleepless night. Springfield MO not being a huge travel hub, there weren’t a lot of choices on how to get there from San Fran. I left straight from Jersey Boys Saturday night show and took a 12:50 am flight to Dallas Fort Worth. I landed at 6:20 am (4:20 San Fran time), so not a lot of sleep was had. I then had a DELIGHTFUL 3 ½ hour layover. No more sleep for Patty. Next a 1 ½ hour flight to Springfield, where I took a cab to our hotel and immediately fell asleep from noon – 2:00 pm. After the rest of my family got in and we got something to eat we went to the cemetery where my Grandparents are buried. It was interesting; it’s the only military cemetery in the country where both Union and Confederate soldiers are buried together.

I forgot how hot it is in the Ozarks in Aug. It’s like Africa hot. It was 103 all four days we were there. We were a sweaty mess after visiting the cemetery, so the natural thing was to do a little shopping in the cool air-conditioned Target. We needed “creek shoes”, and I needed a bathing suit (I somehow forgot to pack one). Pickens were slim in the bathing suit department, but we found awesome water shoes for $2.50. NOTHING makes my family happier then a bargain. We were still crazy full from our late lunch, so we decided to go out and drink our dinner. We found a funky looking cocktail desert place in the middle of a strip mall in the middle of nothing . . . weird. After eating and drinking our fill, we went back to the hotel, sat in a hot tub for a bit, and then fell sound asleep.
The next morning we headed for Forsyth. My mom booked us a really cool place down by the lake. It was a huge three bedroom cabin.

After dumping our stuff we headed into town. At first it was weird because as we neared the
town we saw all sorts of new things, a Sonic Burger, a tanning salon, a big grocery store, but as we got closer to the town it all looked exactly the same as it did 20 years ago. Our first stop was my grandparents old house

It looked exactly the same. It was really weird seeing it again. So many memories. We took a walk by the park at the base of the hill. The creek was a pretty good height. When we were kids it seemed like the only two seasons were flood or drought.

There were times when the water was so high that it came up to the walking bridge

We walked around the tiny town and went to visit the Library where my Grandma worked. The two people working there didn’t remember her, at first I was surprised because I was so used to everyone knowing them, and then I remembered how long it had been since she worked there. The rug my Grandpa made was still hanging in the library

as we were talking about the rug a woman walked by and said “Are you talking about Mollie and the Doctor?” She remembered them both, and it was so nice to talk to her about them. Everyone loved my Grandma, and we were so glad there were still people in town that remembered them.

It was 103 degrees out, and we’d been looking forward to swimming in the creek all day. It was one of our favorite things when we were a kid. My brother remembered exactly how to drive to our old swimming hole. It was like no time had passed at all. Over thirty years ago we built a dam out of rocks to make our area deeper. It was still there. Thirty years worth of kids must have kept adding rocks to it as it broke and got rebuilt, broke and got rebuilt. Crazy! We bought some cheap floats at Target and floated down the creek in search of deeper, cooler water. The top of the water had to be 80 degrees, but if you dig down we were able to find a little cool water. After a while it was time to sit on a rock and knit by the creek. What a life!

It was so lovely at the creek that we stayed until 7:30 or so. The only restaurant of the three in town that was there when we were kids was closed on Mondays, so we got a couple of frozen pizzas & some ice cream from the market and made dinner back at the cabin (it had a full kitchen).

The next day we went into a little town called Hollister. It’s this strange little fake English town. The main street is called Downing Street, and yes, there is a 10 Downing Street. After looking in the only open shop and buying the worlds cheapest homebaked cookies (everything was crazy cheap in the Ozarks), we headed off for the College of the Ozarks. It was called the School of the Ozarks when we were kids. It has a museum I used to love called the Ralph Foster Museum. They call is the “Smithsonian of the Ozarks”, and it kind of is. It has everything from the Ozarks (including the car from the “Beverly Hillbillies”). It had a great spinning wheel and hand carved loom.

My brother, sister and I all took pictures of ourselves by the tools from our chosen profession. My sister posed by a recreation of a country doctor’s office, my brother posed by a wood shop, and I . . .

After a terrific lunch at their brand new restaurant (it was a simple cafeteria when we were kids). It was time to head off to the main attraction . . . Silver Dollar City!!!

Silver Dollar City is hard to describe. It’s an amusement park that is designed to be a town from the late 1800s. They have glass blowers,

carpenters, carvers, metal workers, potters, candy makers, bakers, candle makers and on and on. We liked the rides as kids, but we loved watching all the artisans doing the craft demos. It had changed some. There were now roller coasters built on the outskirts of the park, but they still had some of the old rides. Didn’t matter to us, we had a ball. It was almost exactly as we remembered it.

We arrived at 3:00 pm which meant we got to stay until closing (7:00 pm) and come all day the next day for one days ticket price. On our way out we saw a humming bird that let us get really close to it. The wings beat so fast that they don’t even show up on the first photo

By the time we got back, stopped to check out the sunset, and changed into dry clothes (we were all wet from the raft ride) it was past 8:00 pm and the good old Longhorn restaurant closed at 8:00 pm.

So we went to a bar that served food and it was pretty darn good. We all got to bed early since we were going to head back to Silver Dollar City the next day.

Before we went back to the park we made a detour to Bonniebrook, the home and museum of Rose O’Neil, the creator of the Kewpie Doll. We went so my sister could buy a Kewpie doll for her daughter. It ended up being pretty cool. I can’t believe what a huge phenomenon this little doll was. It was on everything. Here’s just some of the TONS of merchandise that had Kewpie dolls on it

The big surprise was finding out she studied with Auguste Rodin, and was a celebrated serious artist in Europe. All while being the most commercially successful female artist in America. What a combo! Her serious art was kind of dark, lots of monsters. I suppose if you grind out Kewpie dolls all day that makes sense.

In her garden there were two of her sculptures. You can really see the Rodin influence in these:

Her house was in the middle of acres of forest that she owned. There was a little stream that ran beside the house, and she’s buried right on the grounds. My sister said she would love to live there.

We spent another great day at Silver Dollar City. Here’s some pictures to give you all an idea of what it looks like

We watched this amazing woodworker make rolling pins on a lathe. He had just finished one that was made from the most beautiful cherry. The wood grain was gorgeous. My brother admired it so much that I have a feeling that the ridiculous price of $20 was set just for him.

The artists set their own prices. They are all incredibly low. Handblown glass from $30 – $50 on average!! I was torn between thinking how wonderful it is that this way everyone can afford to buy something beautiful and thinking that artists are woefully undervaluing their own work.

I was surprised that with all the different crafts there was no textiles, no spinning, no weaving. Ah well. I knit enough on this trip to make up for it. (I’ll post finished pics of my two leftover cotton projects tomorrow).

We finished the trip with dinner at Lamberts. It’s this crazy place where they throw dinner rolls at you with amazing accuracy.

All in all it was an amazing trip. You really can go home again. . . and speaking of going home. I will be home a week from today, and a week from tomorrow I will start my new job at The Point Knitting Cafe.

Tonight I go say goodbye and thank you to those great folks at Chicks with Sticks. More knitting content and finished objects pictures tomorrow.

Replacements, Rehearsal, Disney and Sheep

I know, I know, it’s been ages since I’ve blogged. Between rehearsals, David’s visit, weekend trips and getting ready for the new job, I’ve been swamped. I am almost finished with the cotton cable sweater. Just have to (ugh) sew all the pieces together. I HATE finishing. Gimme a good old top down raglan any day. Ah well. I’ll post FO pics next time.

In the world of weekend trips, we went to Russian River last week. That was great. It is gorgeous there, and unlike Napa, FREE wine tastings. Here’s the view from Jordan, one of the vineyards we toured

David, otherwise known as the world’s best husband, found a brochure for all the farms in the area, and he noticed a section called “Animals & Fiber”. Hmmmm, he then circled all the area farms the featured, Sheep, Angora goats, roving, spinning etc. We went to visit this terrific lady who used to be a Upper East Side Manhattan socialite, and then ended up on a 200 acre apple farm raising sheep, Angora goats, spinning and making and selling her own roving. As my pal Alexander said “(sounds) just so awful. I don’t know how people do it- being around all that nature all day long :)” She was really great. She told us about how the whole thing started with a friend asking her if she could find a home for one sheep. The rest is history. Here we are with her “useless friend”. It’s a goat that someone gave her that has no purpose other than to be sweet.

Ah, but here are some of the beauties that make the yarn we love

This weekend we went to . . .

As far as my new job at The Point, I’m getting insanely excited. Rebecca (the current manager) sent me a list of all the yarn that the store is going to be stocking in the fall. She said the shipments are all ready coming in. WOW what a list. It makes me want to roll around in it . . . but now that I’m going to be the manager, that might be frowned on.

Knitting through Italy pt. 3 (Venice to finished object!)

When last we left our heroes. . . they were leaving Cinque Terre and taking the (maybe crazy) four different trains to get to Venice. That’s right folks, three different train transfers. We only have 10 minutes to make the first train transfer. Our first train is (ahem . . . ) 12 minutes late. We’re screwed. But wait, a clever couple (not us) asks the conductor to radio ahead to the next station to have the train (that we were trying to catch) held. YEAH, one mad dash and the next two train transfers went without a hitch. We arrived in Venice just in time to check into our hotel in the Lido, clean up and take the Vaparetto back to Venice to see the Grand Canal in some pretty dramatic light.

Here’s the famous San Marco from the Grand Canal.

We spent the evening wandering through the lovely streets, weaving around the tiny inner canals. We’ve been to Venice before and hit all the big tourist places, so this time around we were free to enjoy the city and just wander. After a nice dinner and a rainy Vaparetto ride back to the Lido it was time for sleep and 1 1/2 more fabulous days in Venice.

The next morning started overcast and chilly and then turned sunny and gorgeous.

Here’s David by the famous Bridge of Sighs. The city has to be one of the most photogenic in the world. We took about a hundred pictures in two days.

Wait, before you start reaching for the “quit” button on your browser . . . I’ve only selected a few.

After spending the morning strolling and eating. . . it was time for a knitting break. Sitting by the Grand Canal with San Marco in the background seemed like a good spot.

Followed by more strolling, eating, some art museum, eating, visiting gardens, eating . . . you get the point.

The next day there was more “knitting by landmarks”

If you haven’t been to Venice. Sign up for some fare watcher alert e-mails. Find and off season flight and GO. I love this city. It’s even more beautiful at night, but the camera could really capture how beautiful it was

The next morning we enjoyed our last 1/2 day in Venice doing what we do . . . walking, eating, taking photos. Before we took our plane back to London. We were only spending one night in London just to make our flight in the morning easier.

Because we were only sleeping in London, we booked a small hotel by a convenient rail station. London is crazy expensive, so we spent a whopping $100 for a room with no breakfast. This is what $100 can buy you in London:

Yes, that’s the whole room. What the hell it was clean. We ate at a pub, walked around Picadilly Circus, went to the river and went to sleep.

The next morning it was time to head to the Max Jet departure lounge to eat and eat and eat. I can’t believe how much food they set out for the business class traveler. We had another fantastic plane ride home filled with food, liquor and movies.

Unfortunately, on the coach plane ride back to San Francisco, American Airlines lost my luggage AGAIN. urggg.

Thus ends my tale of Italy. Now I’ve been back in San Fran for a week and a half, with rehearsals and shows nearly every day. I did finish Jenny Lee’s bikini. So without further ado . . . My first finished object for someone other than a family member.

She was kind enough to model for me before the show outside the Jersey Boys hair room. I’m pretty thrilled with the way it turned out, and she said it’s really comfy. I love that Cascade Fixation. It really hugs the curves and it doesn’t sag at all when it gets wet. Very cool.

Here’s my personal favorite shot. Both because you can see the detail of the pattern, and because her tattoo is priceless:

Knitting through Italy pt. 2 (Cinque Terre)

Back in Italy . . . The next day it was time to set off to explore the rest of the towns. We started by hiking above Monterosso. It gave us a better view of all the tiered farming.

On the way to visit the Monastery on the hill Jenny’s bikini top stopped to pose by the Italian Rivera

Next stop, Vernazza. It was our favorite little town. The harbor was beautiful.

and there were lots of cats (what could be bad)

Here’s the view of the town from the goat path above.

After sitting on the beach for a good couple of hours, eating focaccia, gelatto, and sampling some wine, it was time to set off on our hike. It seemed like the natural thing to tackle the hardest hike after sitting in the sun, stuffing our faces and getting a little liquored up. It was a tough hike, it took about an hour and a half, and it was VERY climby. Here’s our last peek of the town before we left it behind to hike back to Monterosso

We were pretty damn hot and thirsty when we saw a mirage in the hillside. Right on the trail there was a GENIUS fresh lemonade stand. Right off the tree, just squeeze add water and sugar. At two Euros a glass the guy was racking it in, but what the hell

After a refreshing 4 Euros worth of lemonade, it was time to pause on the trail for some knitting

The next day it was time to tackle the second hardest trail from Corniglia to Vernazza. The first thing that greeted us on the trail was another cat.

There were several places on the trails with bowls and big tubs of cat food and signs asking hikers to fill the bowls to feed the unwanted cats. The hike was great, and the town (big surprise) was adorable. We wondered if the quaint old Italian woman hanging out colorful stripped sheets against the peach and yellow walls and the blue sky were hired by the office of tourism. “Okay, here come some Americans . . . hang out your colorful laundry – now”

After eating, resting, and browsing around town it was time to walk down the 33 flights of stairs to the Corniglia train station to head back to the beach. Ah, what a life.

We spent our last day in Cinque Terre exploring Riomaggiore, and Monarola. The day started looking like rain and turning gorgeous. Another colorful and beautiful harbor

led us towards a path to a quiet rocky beach. It was still early in the morning, so it was time to settle in for a little a.m. knitting

before exploring the town

Then we took the Via dell’ Amore to Monorola. It’s the easiest path (and therefore the most popular). All along the path there were stairs that led down to the water

At one end of the trail there is a statue of lovers covered with locks. It is a tradition to put the names of lovers and lock them around the statue

Here’s Manorola, a little town clinging to the hillside

After a fabulous dinner in Vernazza it was time for bed and to say goodbye to Cinque Terre.

Next stop . . . Venice

Knitting through Italy pt. 1 (Pisa – Monterosso)

I’ve been back in San Francisco for a week, but haven’t had a moment. We were putting a new Nick Massi into Jersey Boys. Members of the artistic staff were here, so we had rehearsal everyday. It’s a foggy Monday morning, so I thought I’d do a little blogging about Italy.

The trip got off to a bit of a rough start. First, my luggage was lost flying from San Francisco to New York. I was really worried I wouldn’t get it in time to go to Italy. We got my bags back the morning we left for Italy, so I had time repack the bags and head off to Kennedy. David booked us on a fancy airline called Max Jet. It’s an all business class airline. The plane looks really odd, because it’s an entire plane with seats that can fully recline. Our fun began in the departure lounge. We finally got to see what’s behind those glass doors. MUCH better than sitting at a gate. It’s full of comfy chairs and couches, computers w/internet, food and lots of liquor! Unfortunately our plane was three hours late. This meant we would miss our connection to Pisa. Fortunately because we were flying Max Jet they agreed to pay for a ticket to Pisa on another airline. This means we only ended up arriving in Pisa 1 hour later than planned. Not bad.

Flying business class is crazy. First of all, it’s non stop food and liquor, then there’s the entertainment system you’re given w/tons of movies, tv, music, etc, but best of all there’s getting a good nights sleep.

We really weren’t that jet lagged when we got to Pisa. First stop (after a fantastic dinner) was to take the nighttime snap of the leaning tower.

The next day we took a train to Siena and I cast on Jenny’s bikini top on the train. Then the knitting through Italy began.

First stop was the famous Campo and some lounging in the sun and knitting. David was my official knitting photographer.

Siena is a fabulous city. Little winding streets, great views everyplace you turn. The Duomo is amazing.

After walking our feet off it was time to relax in a square and knit (me)

or nap (David)

Before heading back to Pisa, it was time for Pizza and wine in the Campo. We liked the building reflected in the wine

The next morning we headed over to check out the tower, Cathedral and Baptistry. It was nice getting there early, very quiet. Here’s the first view as you come down the street.

Here are some morning pictures.

We bought a ticket to the Cathedral, but it wouldn’t open for an hour, so we walked around the University area, and of course, knit for a while

Since the first cup of bikini top was coming pretty far along, it was time for it to pose by its first landmark.

That morning also began what I called, “David’s job as official staff photographer of Italy”. He would never walk past any couple or family who was splitting up to take photos of each other without stopping to ask “Would you like me to take your photo”.

Speaking of photos . . .

We were cracking up at all the people posing holding up the tower. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but there were tons of people lined up having people take the same picture.

After marveling at the inside of the Cathedral…

it was time to take a lovely train ride to Cinque Terre. We were staying in the town of Monterosso. Cinque Terre is on the Italian Rivera, and it’s made up of five fishing villages connected by goat trails. It was a relaxing train ride with
plenty of time to knit, read and look out the window.

This was our very first view when we got off the train

We crossed under a tunnel to the old part of town where we were staying, and were greeted by views of fisherman and sparkling blue water

Our hotel had a tiered roof garden with fabulous views of the water. This was our first glimpse of the terraced gardens that are carved into every inch of the hills of Cinque Terre. We could not get over how much food this place grew. On our hotels little roof garden they grew lemons, grapes, plums, tomatoes, figs, squash, tons of herbs. Here’s our view

That evening we got dressed up and went out to a fantastic dinner. The fish was so amazingly fresh and the pesto (which they are known for) was to die for.

Here I am in my Honeymoon cami from

Next post Monterosso – Riomaggo

Eat, Knit, and be Happy

That is the new slogan for my life.

Before I left for Italy (which I will blog about later) I said I had some huge news. I have been an Equity Stage Manager for (ahem) 21 years. I’ve been thinking for some time about a life change. I often spent my day off from Jersey Boys, poking around the Internet to see what kind of jobs were out there. . . and then one day I saw it, an add for a manager of a knitting store. Hmm I thought, I wonder what store it is. When I found out it was one of my favorite stores in the world, The Point Knitting Cafe, I had to explore it. After several e-mail exchanges, I met with the owner in person, and, long story short. (drum roll please), I begin my new life as the manager of The Point on September 4th!!!!

For you New York knitters out there, many of you already know and love the shop (and if you don’t know it, run, don’t walk to 37 A Bedford Street in the Village). It’s a fantastic knitting shop and an adorable cafe all rolled into one. It’s the kind of place you can come meet up with some friends and spend the day. My friend Francesca and I could spend hours there. We would start early in the afternoon with coffee and muffins and before we knew it, four hours would go by and it was time for a salad and the worlds’ yummiest quiche.

So all you blogger/knitters out there, come by and see me. I’ll be on my own starting after Labor day and I’d love to have some friendly faces. I also really want to hear from you all. I’d love to get your thoughts on what makes your dream knitting store. What do you love, what do you hate, what do you wish you could find?

Stay tuned there will be lots of news to come. Stories of life in the store, what it’s like to learn a whole new business. I may use this blog from time to time to kick ideas around and see what you all think.

I’ll take some time over the next few days to tell the tales of my knitting through Italy. I’m back in beautiful Brooklyn and tomorrow I head back to San Francisco to finish up my time with Jersey Boys.

The two projects I took to Italy were Jenny Lee Ramos’ bikini and a cotton tank top. I mostly worked on the bikini, the tank top was for travel on planes in Europe (plastic needles!) I cast on the bikini top on the plane to London, and cast it off on the train to Venice.

Here I am blocking the top while wearing it on the deck of our place on the Lido

I cast on the bottom and finished the front by the time we were home:

The cotton cable tank (to use up some more of the cotton yarn my mother in law gave me) is also coming along:

It’s been so great to be back in Park Slope and it makes me SOOOOO excited for my permanent return in the fall. The first thing we did the morning after arriving home was do a little garden clean up and then spend a good chuck of our day enjoying the roof garden:

All in all the garden is doing pretty well. The lilies are in bloom

More later. I must sit on my roof deck now and enjoy my last day in Brooklyn for the next six weeks.