Blog - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher

A week at home

This week has been SOOO great being back at home. Last Saturday David and I spent most of the day walking around our neighborhoods. We walked past the Gowanus Canal past the strange little art galleries, tucked into alleyways. We stopped into one place that had an exhibit based on the idea of “library”, and a match museum.

“library book” – A giant book that opens up into a model of a library

“Interlocking Bibles”

Here’s some crazy pics from the Match Museum

It was a gorgeous day last weekend (as opposed the the 32, what the @!$@!#% degrees it is today). Here’s one of the many churches of Brooklyn.

We walked and walked and walked. It felt so great to be back in NY where you don’t think anything of walking for miles. We walked from our house in the Slope, through Gowanus, to Carrol Gardens, to Cobble Hill over to Atlantic Ave.

By that time we were getting pretty tired. I was still looking for the light blue yarn for those damn sweaters that I promised Melissa (from the first national tour) that I’d make her. So, it was off to Knit a Way. Nothing jumped out at me, and we were beat, so we hopped on the subway

I’ve finally finished with the damn cotton for this sweater I’m sort of making up. I attached the mohair for the neck and it’s coming along nicely. I’ve actually finished the whole back, but this is a photo from a few days ago:

Here’s the detail:

We’ve finished the first week of rehearsals for the Chicago company of Jersey Boys and things are going really well. All the music has been taught, and choreography has begun. We finished taping out the set in two rooms, and finished spiking the main room. There are 8 gajillion spikes in this show. Spikes are little colored tape marks that show the actors where to put all the furniture. To give you an idea of how many there are, here’s a picture of our freshly set up rehearsal room

Here’s the ASM Brendan M. Fay collapsed amongst the many spikes (he did all the spiking!)

To celebrate being all set up, our Associate conductor staged a photo of the whole Stage Management team as a rock band

Back to my cotton / mohair sweater. More tales of knitting next time. I just got my Rowan Calmer plum in the mail. I’m going to cast on Tempting II. Can’t wait!

Back in Brooklyn and LOVING IT

I’ve been back in New York a week. I came back to rehearse the second company of Jersey Boys. Last week amongst all the pre production paperwork, I managed to have some late afternoon and Saturday fun in Brooklyn.

The first thing I did when I got home last Monday is rush up to our roof garden. It was mostly still sleeping . . . except for the crocus bed. There, spring has sprung

I’ve been loving spending time walking around Park Slope and doing little Brooklyn things like going to the 99 cent store with my pal Nell (or as Nell calls a particular stretch of 7th Ave in Park Slope, “the 99 cent district”) to buy crap we need, and more crap we don’t.

Here’s a lovely view of Carroll Street in my hood

Friday afternoon was spent searching for the elusive baby blue yarn in the perfect gauge that Melissa Strom wants for her sweater capelets. The alpaca I ordered from Knit Picks is really pretty, but not the color she wants. So, off to Seaport Yarns I go. Sadly, no luck. Baby blue is not a popular grown up color. Lots of baby yarn, not much chunky, yummy yarn. As long as we were at the Seaport, Nell and I did the tourist thing.

Nell and I having a little Seaport lunch

My cotton sweater is coming along pretty well. Soon it’s time to add the mohair lace. More on that later.

More tales of Park Slope, searching for the perfect baby blue yarn, Jersey Boys rehearsal, and of course . . . knitting to come in the next few days. I’ve gotten a bit behind

I’m leaving on a jet plane . . .

My bags are packed and I ready to fly! I’m heading back to beloved Brooklyn Sunday at 10:50 pm. YEAH!! Tonight the company and I will go out for my goodbye drink. Since I’m flying on Sunday night, I figured a Saturday night drink would be better.

Since I’m only back in NY for five weeks, I’m going to leave the spinning stuff in San Francisco and just focus on my knitting. I have a ton of projects on the burner. I’ve promised one of the Jersey Girls that I would make three little shrug sweaters for her and her two sisters. I ordered the yarn from Knit Picks, Decadance, and it should waiting for me when I get back. I also promised socks to my friend Tim.

My cotton and mohair sweater is coming along, but I’m not sure it’s going to look very good. I wanted to try cotton for a sweater, and this may be the first and last.

More pics and knitting news when I’m home.

Knitting on the Tonight Show

I’ve just got back from an unbelievably exhausting, but great trip with Jersey Boys to make their network television debut on The Tonight Show. Last night after our show we got on a bus and headed to LAX. Since we all had the same Jersey Boys duffel bag (that we got for opening night), the phrase “is that my bag, oh wait, no, is that my bag, oh there it is” was heard more then once. We were “What’s Up Doc” waiting to happen.

By the time we landed, got on our bus and checked into the hotel it was past midnight. Since I had to be up at 7:00 am for our load in, I was pretty damn tired. The crew was great, and by the time the cast arrived at 10:30 am, we were ready to start our spacing rehearsal.

After a few runs for the director, she made a few adjustments, and then it was time for lunch.

Here are the ladies enjoying their dressing room snacks:

The Jersey Boys in their room across the hall:

After lunch it was time for a camera run, and finally a little down time. I grabbed for my knitting an went to visit with the ladies while they got into makeup. For a while I thought I would be too busy to even pick up my sweater, but I got a few rounds done while waiting for men to be escorted to the make-up room.

Meanwhile, what knitting is for me, cards are to the ensemble boys of Jersey. Those cards come out every time there’s a little dead time

Next it’s time to get the ladies wigged up while the men get dressed.

Here’s the lovely Jen on the phone with her Grandma waiting outside the hair room.

A little more waiting, and then . . . show time. 3 minutes and 20 seconds later, it was all over. Pack up, pizza on the fly, back on the bus, back on the plane, back home. . . to sleep.

Where to start . . .

So much is happening, I don’t know where to start.

My biggest news is, a week from Monday I’ll be back home (yeah!!!). I am switching from Jersey Boys first national tour, to the second national tour. This means I get to be home for five glorious weeks while I rehearse with the second company. I can’t WAIT!!! I’m beyond thrilled to sleep in my own bed and see (hopefully) spring come into ole New York.

Last weekend my mom came to visit me. We did a lot of sightseeing. That was fun for me, since I mostly knit, watch TV, and do the show. That’s it. On Monday we took a sightseeing bus and it was a FAB 80 degree day. Here are a few random tourist pics:

(Union Square)
(TransAm building)

(China Town Gate)

At Telegraph Hill near the stairs to Coit Tower there was this house with these kind of cool statues on it’s balcony

(View from Coit Tower)

(Coit Tower)

(Murals in Coit Tower)

(Houses on Alamo Square)

In other knitting news, I made a little sweater capelet for the fabulous Jackie Seiden for her birthday. Here she is looking as gorgeous as she always does (oh, the short woman next to her is me).

I’ve also started a sweater of my own design. I’m loosely basing it on a sweater from the pattern a day calendar, but it’s mostly my first design. I had an idea of mixing cotton tightly knit for the body, with a lacy mohair top and sleeves. I’ll post some pics in progress.

Last big news is, set your TIVO & VCR’s for this Monday night’s Tonight Show. The first national cast of Jersey Boys will be making their network television debut. We fly to L.A. Sunday night after the show, arrive at the studio on Monday morning for spacing rehearsal, then camera rehearsal, then into costume and make up, tape the show, wash our faces, and back on a plane home.

Tell ya all about it later.

I LOVE Brooklyn

I took two glorious days off from Jersey Boys last weekend to go home to New York. I got in at 11:00 am on Saturday morning after taking the red eye right from the theatre Friday night. Unfortunately I had to change planes, so I was pretty tired. It didn’t matter though, the moment I saw David and our beloved Brooklyn, I was wide awake. After we dropped off my bag we headed over to Grand Army Plaza to go to the Farmer’s Market. It being kind of between seasons, there wasn’t much, but there’s always baked goods and apple cider! Next it’s a walk through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden . . . oh did I mention it was 58 degrees and sunny and PERFECT. Then we strolled over to our beloved Brooklyn Library to look around at whatever exhibit was in the main hall (are you beginning to see a theme. I’ll give you a hint . . . it starts with “Brook”). Now it was nap time. Next a stroll through Park Slope to look at all the shops on 7th & 5th Ave. After a fab Park Slope dinner at one of our fave places with some friends, we headed back home for pie (from the Farmer’s Market) and a roaring fire. GOD I missed my fireplace. This is where I spent most of my Monday knitting

Sunday I had brunch with friends (in Park Slope, of course), and then headed into Manhattan to the Museum of Arts & Design. Only knitting would pull me out of Park Slope with only three precious days at home. I went to go to the Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting exhibit. It was interesting, although not as radical as some of the stuff we can see on the web. Here’s the Times review.

Here are tiny gloves (yes they are really knit)

Here’s a pretty damn cool dress with ichords made from all different materials:

Here’s what the NY Times incorrectly identified as a work made after the 9/11 restriction on knitting.

It didn’t have anything to do with that, it was made before that and the artist commented that the week the work was finished was ironically the week knitting was banned on airplanes

Here are “lace” skirts made from paper doilies

This is lace hand cut with an exacto knife. It was HUGE. It would make me want to shove the exacto knife in my eye.

This was a computer program that make knitting charts out of photos or video. It was more than just that though. The videos were talking about big business and child labor and mass produced items. There was also a knitted NIKE logo.

Lace skulls:

This was a lamp made from knitting fiber optic chords together:

This was a model of a giant knitting machine. There was also a video of the actual knitting machine at Mass MoCa

A knitted mushroom cloud:

Clothes knitted out of newspaper

Next it was back home for a roaring fire and hot chocolate. That evening we went to a movie at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music, the theme continues).

On Monday another lunch with a friend in Carroll Gardens, and then knitting by the fire all day. By Monday afternoon, it had dropped about 30 degrees and started to snow. Here’s the view out our window

A perfect day to stay in. When David got home it was homemade Risotto and a movie.

All in all, a PERFECT three days in Park Slope Brooklyn. Then it was back to San Fran for another week of shows. My mom is visiting me now, so I’ll post more later.

Single minded knitting

I went through that cast on o’holic phase, can’t commit, wanted it all, but I’m done. Now I’m a single minded knitter. Oh sure, I occasionally stray from a project with a little spinning, but for the most part I’ve become so impatient to have a finished object that once yarn goes on needles I can think of little else but the day it comes off. . . Hence the 7 day sweater. Followed up by the one day sweater. First came the bizarre two way sweater from Vogue. Here’s how the cowl neck version looked on the needles (front)


I still was NOT getting how this would look on me. So I flipped it around to try to visualize how it would look as a V neck. Here it is (front):


My burning need to solve the mystery of this bizarre garment drove me to finish the sweater in exactly 7 days. I cast it on Monday night at Chicks with Sticks and the following Monday night I was wearing it. It came out okay, but I ended up making a little modification. Here’s how it looked, knit directly from the pattern.

Cowl neck side:

Kind of weird looking with the big ole v going up the front, but then I thought I might look better flipped around as a v neck:

It’s kind of hard to tell from this photo, but the waist band cut my chest in half, and then the helpful v dissected it yet again, having the most amazing flattening affect I’ve ever seen, basically, I didn’t like it either way. . . so, I knit a little triangular insert. I just cast on 18 stitches and worked in the K1, P1 rib with decreasing on each side until I got myself a little triangle, and here’s the final result.

Cowl neck

V neck:

Still kind of weird, but I like it better.

Here’s the back in both cowl & v neck. If you think it’s taking photos in the mirror, try taking photos over your shoulder of your back in the mirror!

I had some yarn left over, so I decided to cast on (one Tuesday morning) the Anthrogologie inspired sweater.

By Tuesday night. . . cast it off, blocked it on Wednesday,

and was wearing it by Thursday.

Here’s the final product:

I still have to add a button to the collar

"I feel the earth move under my feet"

So the Jersey Boys ROCKED the house a few nights ago, oh wait, it was an earthquake. In the middle of Act I, we felt a little shake and then about a second later a big one. It lasted no more then 10 seconds, but it unfortunately stopped our show. It was our third earthquake since we arrived in November, but it was the biggest. It was also, apparently, the first one that some of our actors had noticed. After a brief pause in the action during the largest rattle, while the audience was murmuring, our Tommy DeVito waited a second while they settled and then went right on with the scene with his next line “But when it crashes don’t come crying to me.” . . . BIG audience relief laugh. Unfortunately, the actors then left the stage not sure what to do (I wasn’t going to stop the show, but oh well). I was at the calling desk, so I asked for the god mic (what we call the announce mic for the house) and I asked for everyone to remain in their seats and the show would resume in just a minute. Ah well, it was an unnessesary drag to have stopped the show, but we sent the actors back out there, and the show was greeted with even MORE enthusiasm then usual. What do I mean by MORE then usual, well underwear was thrown on the stage at the end of the show. Yikes!

Dream jobs?

I’m typing here on another cold rainy San Francisco day. It’s my day off from Jersey Boys and as I sit here 3000 miles from home, I can’t help thinking about dream jobs. I do realize that for a lot of people (my niece Alana for one) I have a dream job, but everyone has different dreams. I saw my dream job on my TIVO last night. I was watching Shay Pendray’s Needle Arts. I usually end up fast forwarding through most of the needle point and embroidery stuff, but today was a great show. They went to the Koigu studio. We got to see them dye the yarn, make it into skeins, package it, the whole deal. It’s a family run biz, and if there was someplace like that within an hours drive of Brooklyn, I would be calling them right now for a job.

So here’s my question, well two questions really . . .

1) What do all you knitter/blog readers out there do for a living
2) If you could do anything, what WOULD you do for a living.

post your comments, I really want to know what everyone’s dream job would be.

When not daydreaming about playing with yarn all day as a job, I’ve been playing with yarn all day as a hobby. I’m still spinning up that yummy wool, alpaca, mohair I bought on e-bay. Here’s my first spool full:

Here’s my first plyed spindle full. I used the Andean plying technique.

I ordered a niddy noddy and a “Handy Andy” (a tool for Andean plying). I can’t wait till they arrive.

I’ve also been playing with different textured stitches to see how they felt. I’d like to design a felted purse with textured stitches. Here’s a swatch I made with a bobble and a popcorn stitch.


And post felt:

I used some crappy hand spun so it felted REALLY fuzzy. The popcorn stitch completely flattened out, and the bobbles felted a weird shape. I’ll keep experimenting. I want to design something cool, but not too weird.

Back to my strange two-way sweater. I’m almost finished. That makes it a 7 day sweater. Not sure it was worth 7 days though. I’ll post some pics tomorrow.

WHAT?? . . . pattern gibberish

So I saw this sweater in last winter’s Vogue and I thought looked intriguing . You are supposed to be able to wear it two ways. One way the neck is a deep V and the bottom is a cropped band (or not so cropped the way I’m going to knit it), or turn it upside down and it’s a cowl neck. What? Can’t visualize it at all, so of course I had to knit it. Unfortunately they only picture it one way, so the magazine doesn’t help. Here’s the v neck way to wear it.

Has anyone out there knit this thing? The schematic and instructions made NO sense. I even cut out the shapes and tried folding them every which way and it still didn’t make sense. (The yellow tabs are post its, I didn’t have any tape in the apartment. One of the many joys of living away from home).

Then I remembered, Vogue is notorious for the need for pattern correction. So, I went on to the web page and found this correction, (pattern #2). So I tried my little arts and crafts project again, and I think I understand it.

Here’s my second pass at my little paper sweater (minus the cowl/waist band thingy)

I’m still not entirely sure it will work, but I’m giving it a shot. I’m knitting it up in Wool Ease Chunky, a superwash wool I got at Smileys. It’s a natural colored wool with flecks of brown, black and grey in it. I think I like it, but I can’t tell until it’s finished.

It’s either nice or looks like a sweater that went through the washing machine with black and grey kleenex. I don’t know, I kind of think it’s cool.

On Monday I went to another fab night of bar knitting at Chicks with Sticks. I wore my Tubey sweater so I could get a good picture of it.

Knitting and second chances

I’ve been experiencing a lot of knitting redemption lately. If only life were more like knitting. In knitting when you make a mistake, you can just rip back and start again. . . If a project goes horribly wrong you can frog the whole thing and start again. You can even revisit old projects and fix them using the tricks you’ve picked up since you originally knit them.

I’ve had a lot of knitting second chances lately. First there was the winter wonderland sweater that started looking like this

and after frogging and starting again ended up looking like this

Next there was the manly sweater. I knit if for David last winter. I wasn’t so great with finishing back then. Also, my gauge wasn’t so great back then. The arms, being the last thing I knit, were too big for the armholes. They always had a bit of a poof at the shoulder seam (NOT manly). On David’s last visit I took the sleeves out, re blocked the sweater, reattached the sleeves (in a non sucky way this time), and gathered some of the unavoidable fullness under the arm, so there’s no poof. Yeah!

Finally there’s my felted purse. I made it two years ago. I didn’t know about blocking to shape felted items. After finishing my felted tote and blocking it to make a nice flat bottom, I decided to take another look at my old felted purse. Here it is before, dried flat, with a sagging bottom, deeper and narrower then I’d like, with a strap that’s too short

First, I knit a strap extension, felted it, cut the old strap and reattached it to make a longer strap.

Then I soaked the whole bag and reshaped it to be wider, shorter and have a nice flat bottom.

I also reshaped the pouch to fit my ipod perfectly.

I also made a perfect little pouch for my cell phone.

Why can’t life be more like knitting. Have a fight with your spouse, rip it back until you didn’t say whatever stupid thing you said. Make a bad work decision, frog it, and start again. Eat a whole box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, resoak your butt and reshape it until its narrower and higher.

I might get a real life second chance soon. I can’t talk about it yet, because it’s not a done deal. When it is, I’ll let you know if I can make life imitate knitting!!

There was some real life second chances at Jersey Boys this week. Chris Jones, our Frankie Valli had a personal day on Wednesday. Our Frankie understudy went on for the first time on Wednesday night. He did great! All in all a fantastic first performance. There were some moments that be improved but there always are. We had no idea when he would get to go one again . . . until we got a call from Chris that his flight had been cancelled. That meant Rick was going on again. It’s so great for an understudy to get to do on twice in a row. He got a second chance and he was even better!!

In other knitting news – TUBEY IS FINISHED (the crowd goes wild). I love it! It took me forever to choose the colors for the stripes, and I’m so happy with what I chose. It’s 100% alpaca that I got it last year’s Smiley’s sale. I made it out of Filatura Lanarota Puno. At $3.00 a skein, that makes a $27.00 sweater. I love when I get a super cute garment for way less then I could buy it at a store. Here’s the colors from the pattern.

I only used 4 colors for the stripes instead of 5. I didn’t like the brown color, so I doubled the eggplant where the pattern called for the brown. I also got a pink instead of the purple and used a more neutral color for the yellow.

I have to wait until I go to work to take a good picture of the sweater, but here are some bad in the mirror photos I took.

Not having David my inhouse photographer is hard!!

Today is my day off which means, time for some spinning and cast on my next project, and of course my knitting group. More later.

Mountains and hand knits

David left Monday and it’s back to my same old routine. . . eight shows and 10 hours of rehearsal. Knit, work, knit, sleep, knit, work etc.

Last week David and I left right after the Sunday matinee to drive to Yosemite. We were staying in the lodge in the park. We got in a little before 9:00 pm and had a nice little dinner by a roaring fire in the lodge’s pub. The next day we got up for a fabulous day of hiking in nature’s beauty in hand knit sweaters. What could be better. The morning was crisp and cold, but it warmed up to high 60s by mid day. Here are just a few of the GORGEOUS pics from this winter wonderland.

I highly recommend going there in winter since at times you feel like you have the park all to your selves. There are deer everywhere. This is what greeted us first thing in the morning –

He was so still that David said “look at the fake deer”

We set off on our first morning walk and crossed a little bridge to this view

Here’s me & David wearing our hand knit sweaters (by my hand) in front of one of the falls

Later in the afternoon we took a drive to the famous tunnel view

On our way back to the lodge we came across over a dozen deer just grazing by the side of the road

We rounded out our first day of hiking with a sunset view of 1/2 dome

The next day was even brighter and more beautiful. Here’s our first hike of the day to Yosemite falls

In the world of knitting . . . I whipped up a little potato chip scarf out of some left over yarn. It’s pretty cute, although it’s a little shorter than I wanted.

I could have used much larger needles and it would have been longer and loftier. However it stays on your neck by just twisting in on itself, so you don’t have to wrap it.

I think I’ll make another one on much larger needles. For anyone out there in tvland (I know I know it’s the “blogesphere“, but I hate that word), who have never knit this scarf it’s the world’s easiest pattern:

row 1 – CO 90 stitches
row 2, 4, 6 – inc every stitch by knitting into front & back
row 3, 5, 7 – knit across
cast off

Tubey is coming along nicely. Here’s how it’s looking so far

More later. Gotta go to work. I’m very excited our Frankie understudy is going on for the first time tonight. I think he’s going to be fantastic. I’ll give you all a full report next time.

Of course, I have to take my computer to the mac doctor, so it may be a few days from now