Blog - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher

Well it’s been a long, been a long, been a long

. . . been a long time (you can take the girl out of musical theatre, but ya can’t take the musical theatre out of the girl!)

I know, I know (as my pal Kia pointed out) Feb 4th, what the heck. Well, it’s been a month. First there was preparing for the semi annual sale at the Point. That was a scene I did not anticipate. We put the entire store on sale (20% – 75% off). I asked Leia, one of the women who works at the Point, “do you think a lot of people will come?”. She replied only “are you kidding?”. The Saturday of the sale was not to be believed. They were hanging from the rafters.

Sunday afternoon David and I headed off to Israel. We were going for a week for his nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. We didn’t really have time to do much planning (or any) so it was all a little last minute. We arrived late on Monday exhausted. Tuesday morning we woke up to a sight not seen in Jerusalem for five years.


It took a bit of figuring to decide what to do next. You see Israelis don’t know what to do when it snows, and start to shut everything down. Our nephew Carmiel is a tour guide, and he planned our day. First he took us to these very cool caves. Since the snow turned into pouring rain he thought it would be good to run from cave to cave. Here’s a few cool pics

(burial cave)

This was the translation of one of the more bizarre inscriptions:

(The bell caves)

Here is the version of the main post office. The holes in the walls are for carrier pigeons

A BRIEF break in the rain affords a glimpse of the countryside.

Next we went to a Bedouin Village to see the women spin and weave. When they spin they go right from the fleece, with all the straw etc.

Here’s the yarn hanging out to dry after the dyeing process:

Here’s the weaving:

I bought some yarn just because. It’s terribly rough and overspun, only suitable for a rug. I may try to take some of the twist out, wash it and hang it out, then knit up a little throw rug.

The next day we headed off to Haifa. We saw the Bahai Center at Haifa. Gorgeous!

(The view of the harbor from the garden on the hill)
The next day we went to the old city at Acco.

After a lovely day in Acco we headed back to Haifa for a great meal and to enjoy the garden lit up

Next morning to was back to Jerusalem for family time. The next few days were all about hanging out with the nieces and nephews and about the Bar Mitzvah. It was fun to spend time with everyone since we don’t get to see them all that much.

Sunday we did a bit of bumming around the old city. Checked out the markets, etc.

Sunday night was the party. Lots of food, music, family and fun. We were so tired, but the party was great. After that we got in a cab to the airport at 1:00 am (ugh), two planes and 19 hours later, we were home!

As for knitting, I left the scarf I was working on at home (it was on US 4 Knit Picks and I was afraid they’d get taken away). I took my Fitted Knits sweater on my plastic Denise Needles instead.

Here’s how it’s coming along:

When I got home I finished the scarf out of the yarn that one of our reps gave me. I love this yarn. The color changes are so subtle and beautiful. We are going to order it in lace weight and worsted. Here is is:

I forgot, I finished Mr Greenjeans before I left, but I didn’t get any pics of it.  Next time

As my pal Nell would say . . .

How ironical (our favorite fake word, right in front of irregardless).  The last few days have been a crazy roller coaster.

So I was writing a post last Wednesday, trying to will myself out of a bad mood.  I hit save and was feeling better . . . but not for long.  After some terrible Google experience which I can’t go into . . . my blog was gone.  What?  My blog was gone.  What was that now?  My blog was gone, where there was a blog, there was a blog no more.  AHHHHHH!!!!  Does anyone back up their blog, their life?  Not me, nope.  Not a word, not a picture of a work in progress.  Nothing.  After a fluky, try to delete an old gmail address, accidentally delete a google account, blogbegone moment, the last year of my life was gone.  Okay, not my actual life, but my record of it.  I discovered it on Thursday morning before I went to work.  Ever try to find the contact info for Google or Blogger.  Finding the Holy Grail would be a tiny bit easier.  I had to leave for work, so I gave up.  I spent the whole day at work being distracted and depressed.  I didn’t go to my knitting group because I had to go home and spend all night on the computer desperate for help.  After reading some tragic “official” line from Blogger stating simply, “If you delete you Google account, your blog is gone” I got some help from some other Bloggers.  After nearly 48 hours of my blog being gone, I got an e-mail from Google Friday night saying they were able to restore my account.  I WAS BACK.  
Okay, feeling pretty good.  Went to work on Saturday, and because of a serious of events not worth going into, I ended up leaving work 11 1/2 hours later.   I wasn’t feeling so good from having gotten not a lot of sleep, and (ironically) despite my exhustion, I couldn’t go to sleep.  I finally dozed off at 5:00ish, only to be woken up by a phone call at 6:45 am.  It was my asst. saying she was really sick with the flu and couldn’t come into work.  So sad.  I slept for an hour, before getting up throwing on some clothes and heading to work.  I poured about a half a pot of coffee down my gullet.  I was now exhusted and crazy wide awake at the same time.  I was there from 9:00 – 1:00 pm and then Helane (the owner) came to take over for me (she had been sick herself the day before, but she wanted me to get some sleep).  I went home and went to sleep for 2 hours.
When I woke up David and I walked to the Pavillion movie theatre right on Prospect Park.  It was an amazingly beautiful day.  We saw Juno (GREAT movie) and then walked through the park.  It was about 5:30 pm and the park was so quiet and still.  There were lots of people in the park, and dogs, but everyone was quiet.  It was like everyone there wanted to enjoy the late afternoon light, the crunch of leaves under their feet and the magic of the park.  Just then we saw an albino squirrel.  I felt like my crappy streak was over and I was feeling pretty great.  We went home and had a great dinner and watched a movie.
Today .  . . I locked myself out of my apartment (sigh).  Well . . . tomorrow is another day.

Getting out of a funk

Last week sucked. Did I mention last week sucked?

First we got some bad news, then David got sick, then it was a long work week (spring ordering began – my first big ordering season . . . lots of work!), then I got sick. As is usually my luck I started to really get sick just at the end of my week, which for me is Saturday. For those of you who haven’t been to the Point on a Saturday . . . it is a sight to behold. It is hopping! Classes, shoppers, full tables of folks knitting and eating. Usually I tell my regulars that Saturday is my reward for the week. It’s the day I don’t pay bills, or write POs or do receiving, I just work with customers and enjoy the regulars and the general (chaotic) fun of the day. I did not get to enjoy Saturday because I felt AWFUL. Of course Sunday and Monday (my day’s off) was when I got to feel really sick.

Since I felt that I had spent most of the week feeling sorry for myself (and the first paragraph of this blog reinforces that!) I decided to change my !@#%$^ attitude and make this week better. Monday I finished David’s vest (my own design)

(the boring pictures I usually take)

(Me trying to take more interesting “Brooklyn Tweedesque” pics)

Here’s David wearing it on Tuesday. He said I had to take headless photos because he was tired at the end of a long work week

My Mr Green Jeans has taken a pause while I do some sample knitting for the shop. Here’s how it’s coming along

Here’s the sassy little one skein Misti Alpaca scarf I knit up for the store. It’s a great pattern for everyone who has (or sees one at the Point) skein of Misti and doesn’t know what to do with it.

Too cold to do anything but . . .

. . . drink tea, sit by my fire and knit. My favorite type of day! It’s was a crisp 10 degrees when I lit the fire at 9:00 am. It’s 6:30 pm now, and it’s still going. What’s the only thing that can make this day better? David having the day off and staying home with me – YEAH. I got a few tedious life things done (file papers, open mail, renew car insurance, change homeowner’s insurance), got a few work things done (worked on March’s class/workshop schedule for The Point, worked on cleaning up our house pattern file), so I felt perfectly good about eating fudge and knitting.

I finished the back of David’s vest and started on the front:

Mr GreenJeans is far enough along to try on. I need to do a few more inches on the length before going to the sleeves and band

Last week I got over my hatred of finishing to sew up my Pin up Queen from Stitch ‘n Bitch. I wore it to work and asked Cale, who works with me, to take a picture in front of the store.

He then put the camera on that continuous setting and took a zillion pictures including those where I was threatening to kill him

Yarn, jet lag and chocolate

I got back this morning from a whirlwind 48 hour trip to Long Beach to attend the TNNA Winter Show. I took the red eye and got home at 6:30 am. I’m jet lagged and exhausted and left to sort through STACKS of information.

I left straight from the Point at 4:00 pm on Thursday and got into my GLAMOROUS Travelodge at 10:00 pm (1:00 am NY time). I waited way too long to book a hotel, so all the good ones were gone. The important thing is it was 5 blocks from the convention center and it had wireless and a clean bathroom.

I did get a lot of knitting done on the plane. I spent the first hour or so getting all my notes together about what vendors I wanted to visit, what books I wanted to see, and what bags I wanted to check out. After that I worked on David’s vest and my Mr. Greenjeans.

Here’s David’s vest

It looks much too blue in the first picture. It’s really more of the brown/gray in the close up.

I also got a big chunk of my Mr Green jeans in my yummy Rhinebeck yarn:

After sending a bunch of e-mails and checking my notes for the next day, I was sound asleep by 11:30 pm . . . and then wide awake at 2:00 am when the neighbor’s TV started to blare . . . sound asleep by 2:30 am . . . and then wide awake at 4:00 am when the hotel alarm clock went off (set by the last unfortunate tenant) . . . sound asleep by 4:15 am . . . and finally wide awake at 6:30 am when my wake up call came. An evening of waterboarding would have been more restful. Ah well, on to the convention floor to register by 7:45 am, and then on to my retailer’s meeting at 8:00 am. It was really interesting listening to retailers all over the country struggling with the same issues.

Next step, before hitting the sales floor, a stop at the wall of yarn & thread

(the only photo I can show you, as cameras are NOT allowed on the sales floor)

On the table were books listing all the yarn companies and the names of their yarn, rolls of tape, and samples of all the yarn. You could then make notes of what you like and tape in the samples. Can’t tell you what I loved until we secure the vendors. Stay tuned . . . LOTS of cool new stuff out there for the spring. The name of the game for the new season is blends. . . bamboo blends, silk blends, alpaca blends . . . mmmm. Companies are blending fibers in really interesting ways. There’s a lot of new combinations coming out that have not been seen before. The other word I saw every two steps – organic.

I settled in with my $3.50 tiny muffin, and the worlds LARGEST map, to create game plan.
Check out this intimidating sales floor:

My plan was to cover the whole floor in one day, not talk to anyone, just take notes and keep moving. That translated to a little over 2000 booths in a little over 7 hours (when you take away the 160 booths that are just needlepoint, and 45 min for lunch). I was DEAD on my feet by the time I met up with my pal Zeena for dinner.

The brought a backpack and tote bag to collect samples, but that became fairly backbreaking. I noticed everyone around me brought empty rolling bags. Genius! Live and learn.

The next day I slept in until 8:00 am, and spend the morning marking my map for the places I was going to return. The floor opened at 10:00 am, and by 5:30 pm I had gone to the 25 vendors I was the most interested in and made a few more passes to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything.

The show was over at 6:00 pm and my flight wasn’t until 9:45 pm. Do you know how if you have time to kill before a flight you can always get something to eat, look around some shops, get a magazine, maybe check your e-mail with the wireless you can find. Yeah, not at Long Beach Airport. There is one magazine stand, and one stack bar with ham & cheese, hot dogs and muffins. . . and that’s it. In addition, the gates are in one of those freezing cold temporary buildings. The airport may have sucked, but at least my flight was late!

One other thing I didn’t really think through was how I was going to cram all the stuff I collected into my little carry on. There was all the color cards and yarn samples:

Then all the catalogs, price sheets, company info etc

And all the book, bag, needle etc. samples

I forgot to mention the chocolates. Every few feet people hand you chocolate.

Today I came home to my unfinished Pin up Queen. I HATE finishing. One more sleeve and I’m done

It’s a whole new year . . .

Sooooo much to tell you all since last I blogged. Where to begin. First of all, it’s another lazy Sunday in Park Slope. First brunch with a friend, a walk, and now David reading in our cozy chair and a half. I am sitting by the fire listening by my MANY podcasts that have piled up (including over a year’s worth of Quirky Nomads). I fully plan on finishing my Pin Up Queen, and my vest for David is coming along nicely. Since I’ve only roughly sketched out the pattern, I am avoiding doing the math for the armhole & shoulder until I knit the 13″ I need to. Love the cable pattern I’m doing though. I’m finally treating myself to a few new books. We got a HUGE book shipment to The Point, and Vogue Stitchionary Vol. 2 (cables), and The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns is calling my name!

New Year’s brought me a deLICious three days off. David and I went to Boston to see his folks and to go to First Night. We had the swellest of all possible times. We treated ourselves to staying at a nice downtown hotel right in the middle of the action. We crammed a LOT into that day (making sure we got our $15 dollars worth!)

First we all went out to breakfast and then David and I went to his folks house and spent the day over there. That night we stayed at our nice downtown hotel (robes & HBO – yeah) and the next day we met up with friends and did first night events all day. We saw the ice sculptures, went to see some foreign short films, went to the museum, went out to a nice lunch, saw a few concerts, saw a parade and fireworks. It was really fun. The next day we had brunch with friends, went back and saw David’s folks again, and then drove home.

Here are some highlight photos:

The beautiful rotunda of the MFA

First cool ice sculpture . . . time for the parade now

These super cool dinosaur balloons kept stretching into the crowd and bopping people on the head

More super cool (pun intended) ice sculptures

After that it was time for fireworks and concerts. All and all it was a great start to what will, hopefully, be a great year.

David’s sweater vest is coming along nicely. The alpaca from Rhinebeck is so soft and a pleasure in my hands

My new work schedule starts next week, with our new asst. manager. I’m SOOO excited that I can go to my Park Slope Knitting group again. My late nights will be Wed & Saturday, but Thursday I will be able to go straight from work to the knitting group.

I’ve been so missing Chicks with Sticks. That was by far the best part of being in San Francisco. Those women cracked me up. I went to the web page and looked at all the pictures from the last couple of months. Miss you all!

I made it!

Ode to surviving xmas in retail:

‘Twas two days before xmas and all through Park Slope
There was great rejoicing, and no one did mope

The alarm clock was silent, no beep did we hear
“I slept till 10:30!” I said with a cheer

There’s knitting to do and movies to see
Chinese Restaurants are where we will be

I’ve earned three days off, I’ve worked like a dog
It’s time now to celebrate and write in my blog

I was thinking of spinning and fiber and yarn
when all of a sudden an idea started to dawn

My gifts are abundant, my life is quite rich
So here in my blog is my holiday wish

Don’t take life for granted
Hug your loved ones quite tight

Be thankful for your stash and to all a good night

Okay you guys, I’m sorry you haven’t heard from me in a while, but I’ve been up to my &%$#@ in yarn. Things at The Point have been hopping. Tons of last minute shoppers, but I made it. The days have been LONG and hard, but there were some nice holiday surprises. I never expected to get gifts from my regulars, but I got a cake, some candy, cookies, a lavender sachet hand made by the fabulous Barbara Kerr, and a bottle of wine from one of my favorite regulars.
The shop is open today and tomorrow, but these are my days off.

The best gift I got this season?? An Assistant Manager. The shop is going strong, and it’s time to add some management back up. So all you regulars, come by after the New Year and welcome Kim. I’m really excited about her. She is the rare combination of a knitter with retail management AND food service experience. She’s going to make life and the shop great!

The last week has been full of holiday parties as well (hence me not posting last week). First there was David’s theatre company Brave New World Holiday party. Then the Sit n’ Knit holiday party. That was great! Here’s the little beret I knocked off from left over alpaca, for the holiday gift exchange:

Here I am modeling it before I say goodbye:

the party was great. 50 knitters, free food, free liquor, knitting gifts raffle, holiday gift exchange . . . what could be bad. I don’t know what the restaurant was expecting when this party was booked, but they weren’t expecting us. They weren’t expecting 50 or so rowdy, drinking knitters.

Here are some party pics:

The fabulous Anne-Marie

Liquor and knitting!

Liquor IN knitting (that’s a martini washcloth)

Holiday gift exchange – drawing names

Happy gift receivers!

Winner of my hand knit beret

A knitter’s (knitted) bowl of chocolate

The fabulous Ana Gonzolas (fellow Point employee)

After knocking out my little hand knit beret for the party, it was back to the endless K2 P2 rib of the Pin Up Queen. After I finished the back I decided the ribbing would be to tight around my sizable hips, so when I did the front I cast on more stitches and reduced every 4 rows to get back to the original amount. I will knit a little insert for the sides of the back and mattress stitch them on.

The short row shaping for the front came out pretty well. Now I just have the sleeves. The construction of the front would also make a pretty nice sleeveless tank. Maybe this summer I’ll play around with that.

I also finally finished winding the Manos Silk for the Vogue magazine “Life Aquatic” cardigan. From this photo you can’t tell how subtly fabulous the colors are:

NOT counting old stash projects, I have in my cue:

– David’s vest (my design) Alpaca from Rhinebeck
Clapotis ( Silk Nylon from Rhinebeck
– Mr Green Jeans ( Merino hand dyed from Rhinebeck
– Gatsby Girl Pullover (Interweave magazine) Sublime extra fine merino wool dk
– Life Aquatic (Vogue magazine) Manos Silk
– Pullover (Fitted Knits) Art Yarns Superwash Merino
– ???? for my own handspun

Better start knitting!!

Knitting detour

I had almost finished the tedious, 13 1/2″ k2, P2 rib of the pin up queen when gift giving made me take a knitting detour. First David asked if I could make a baby gift in a week and a half. I told him no problem. Three days later I knocked out this cute little baby sweater knit up with the luscious SWTC bamboo

I also started to swatch for David’s vest. I’m using 600 yards of alpaca I bought at Rhinebeck held together with Filatura Lanarota Puno Alpaca. I’m writing a pattern (my least favorite thing to do), because I can’t find any pattern I like. Here’s a close up of the cable pattern.

Next . . . it’s time for the Sit n’ Knit holiday party. I finally RSVPed on Sunday, the last day that I could and got the last spot free! Yeah! There’s a holiday exchange, so I’m knitting up a little something from some pale blue Alpaca from my stash (as per the gift exchange rule, stash knitting only!).

Soon I’ll return to my sweater.

Perfect Sunday part. 2

The firewood is stacked and being used

the hot chocolate has been made. I’m FINALLY skeining, balling and counting the yardage of yarn that my mother in law gave me a year ago so I can figure out what to do with it.

and my husband just pulled a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven. His specialty, baked in the new pot my mom bought for him

A perfect Sunday in Park Slope

I woke up at 7:00 am to David’s little voice saying “I have to go to the Food Coop, do you want Bagels & Lox or Pancakes?”. As if that wasn’t nice enough, I got out of bed and saw this out the window:

You can’t really tell from the photo, but it was snowing. Now I am sitting on the couch, waiting for the pancakes (we were going to have lox, but David came home and found we had no cream cheese), and our firewood delivery. I used up the last log of last year’s wood. I ordered a full face chord, and I’m going to spend all day tomorrow spinning by the fire!

Speaking of spinning. I bought some dreamy dark Blue Faced Leicester from Spunky Eclectic Fiber, to ply with the free 1lb of light Blue Faced Leicester that came with the wheel. Last night I gave my new jumbo plying head a whirl, and plied up my first 200 yards of yarn!!! Here it is on the plying head:

and on the niddy noddy

It’s all over the place gauge wise. It goes from fairly chunky in spots (like 3 st/inch) to almost thread thin. I think I’ll get between 600 – 800 yards when I finish spinning up everything. I should be able to make a 3/4 sleeve sweater I have in my head.

Last night after the shop closed, David came by to pick me up, and we hung out with Leia as she closed out the cafe (and she showed me the AWESOME shawl she’s working on!) and I finally got around to balling the skeins of yarn I bought in Rhinebeck. Here’s the Clapotis waiting to happen

And for Mr. Green Jeans (see pic below), here’s the beauties awaiting that pattern

In my current knitting life, After knitting about 10″ of the Vogue pattern Grey’s Anatomy traveling cable sweater, I ripped it all out and conceded to this simple reality: good yarn, bad choice!. I was using Rowan Tapestry. It’s a lovely self striping yarn. However, what bone head (read, me) thought that a horizontal self striping yarn and a vertical cable pattern would be a good match. I returned the yarn to my Point account (love the ability to change my mind!), and gobbled up 8 skeins of the brand new Manos Silk (as Homer would say “ahhhh, Manos Silk”). Here’s the pattern I’ve picked out for my beloved Manos Silk (from my beloved Vogue magazine)

So for now, I’m knitting up the Pin Up from Stitch ‘n Bitch, that I’ve been meaning to knit for YEARS, in a lovely worsted Alpaca. It’s a short row sweater, which is always fun, but first I have to get through 13 1/2″ of 2 by 2 rib (boring).

Oh, firewood is here! Gotta stack wood and then light up the fire.

Much needed

I got to spend three whole days with my family this Thanksgiving. It was a MUCH needed break. I’ve been working myself into the ground, and the weekend was the first good night’s sleep I had in months. We left Wednesday at 7:30 am. My brother in law picked us up and we just hung out all day. Except for a brief trip to the grocery store (day before Thanksgiving, wow!), it was just a day to knit, talk and chill.

Thursday was all about cooking and eating. It was a perfect day. A light snow was falling, and while the turkey was cooking we took a walk just long enough to get really cold and need to come back to some hot cider!

I finished all the pieces to David’s sweater in the morning, and now I just had to do the dreaded sewing up the sides of the body and sleeves.

Here’s a detail shot of the handspun and cables

Here’s my sister’s cat enjoying some afternoon sun and some shoes. Two of his favorite things

I finished the sweater on Thursday night in time for David to wear it the next day. Here’s David looking adorable on my sister’s porch

Friday we did our traditional, walking around downtown Ann Arbor looking at all the cute little shops. This, of course, was followed by a dinner full of leftovers. All in all, a perfect visit.

Saturday, David and I left for the airport at 5:00 am. We landed at 8:00 am and we went right to the shop. We got to the shop at 8:45 am, and David stayed with me until 10:00 am. He helped me restock all the shelves, and get ready to open. I then put in an exhausting sales day that went to 7:00 pm. I’ve never been more tired. Today I’m still recovering, gearing up for another trip into the retail world during xmas shopping time. Wish me luck!