Blog - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher

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!

to paraphrase Bette Davis . . .

Retail is not for sissies. Saturday gave me a tiny glimpse into what my life would be between now and Jan 1st. From 9:00 am – 7:30 pm I did not stop moving! We are selling out of stuff as fast as the new boxes come in. We are getting so many deliveries at the shop it’s hard to keep up sometimes. It’s my own fault (since I do the ordering). It’s a live and learn for me. It’s my first christmas in retail and I’m just trying to get the hang of the ordering. My first round of books I was WAY too conservative, and all the great titles sold out in the first three days. I placed a second order the day after the first order arrived . . . and don’t get me started on the yarn. My biggest dilemma is what I’m going to pick out for myself before it’s all gone.

David’s sweater is coming along swimmingly. The handspun (maybe my last on the spindle, now that the wheel is here!) is a little chunkier then the Luxury Tweed, but the flecks of color running through the handspun looked rocking with the tweed.

Here’s a close up, it still doesn’t show the color’s to the best effect

Because I want to use every inch of the handspun, I am knitting the front, back and both sleeves at the same time. As soon as I switch back to the Luxury Tweed, I’ll go back to knitting the pieces separately.

Got to sit by my roaring fire and spin on my new wheel.

Sunday in Park Slope

Okay, it’s been two weeks since I’ve blogged so this is gonna be a long one. Before I get to our perfect Sunday in Park Slope, I have to tell you about the two great outings in my last two great weekends. First, the great Jack o’lantern Blaze, and then, the long awaited . . . RHINEBECK!!

A couple of weeks ago we went to the most awesome Halloween event ever. The Great Jack o’lantern Blaze is on the grounds of one of those great old mansions in Terrytown. It features over 4500 hand carved pumpkins. From the time you enter under the pumpkin gates

it is pure magic. Everything’s laid out in amazing areas. First there is the pumpkin grave yard

That features the skeleton’s raising from the dead. It’s hard to tell from this crappy photo, but it starts with hands peeking out of the dirt, and then the skeletons get higher and higher

The house had this cool light show that changed color

There’s a whole section of pumpkins that looked like old radios

When I took some photos with the flash on it showed how the larger sculptures were made from taping multiple pumpkins together. Check this out:

Then there were the insects, snakes, the mushroom field, flowers, dinosaurs (not kidding), here are a few more pics:

As cool as that was, NOTHING could have prepared me for the glory that was the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. David and I arrived on Saturday around 1:00 pm. It was a stunningly beautiful day. Bright sky, sunny, low 70’s. The first area we walked through was the kid’s area. Little animals everywhere

As cute as they were, I had two missions . . 1) buy something for me & David 2) make some vendor connections and find some great things to stock at the Point. I really wanted to bring a bit of year round fiber festival to the West Village.

Saturday was all about the vendors, and visiting the animals. Here are just a handful of the hundreds of photos David took. A sample of the fiber photos (with the random tree):

And then there were those animals. We spent ages visiting the sheep, alpaca & of course the bunnies.

The world’s funniest sheep picture . . . David caught the little guy right before a big old “bahhhh”, but he looks like he’s smiling at us.

We ended our first day when they were kicking us out. 600 yards of Alpaca (for David’s vest), 1800 yards of silk/merino (for the clapotis), 2000 yards of merino wool (for a cardigan) and 5 hours later, the sun was setting on the first day of Rhinebeck.

After a nap, dinner, and a little knitting it was time for bed and an early start for a full day of events. This is the first sight that greeted us out our hotel window.

We started our day at the sheep dog trials. Very fun! Watching those dogs take off like a bat out of hell and crouching almost flat on the ground, amazing.

Next it was time for some wheel shopping. On to Carolina Homespun to admire the pretty spindles and wheels

We went to check out the sheep to shawl competition for a little inspiration and advise. Lendrum was the wheel I kept hearing over and over. I think we have a winner. Here are some of the teams. (the one in their pajamas was my favorite)

After a bit of time watching the pumpkin chucking competition (it’s just what it sounds like!) It was time for my favorite part of the day. The Llama Leaping (also just what it sounds like!)

To see all of David’s Rhinebeck photos, check out our photo page.

I forgot to take pics of the yarn I bought (I took it to the shop to wind), but here’s the real prize

Today we had one of those perfect fall days in Park Slope. There is no greater month in no greater neighborhood than October in Park Slope. David and I walked all over the hood today.

We went to the Ghouls and Gourds at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It was almost over when we got there, but we managed to catch the parade.

When we got home (freshly inspired from The Great Jack o’lantern Blaze) we carved our pumpkin. A great day.

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