Brooklyn Archives - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher
Combination Knitting

Brooklyn Class – Build a Better Fabric: Combination Knitting

Brooklyn Class -LIMIT 8-10 students

What: Build a Better Fabric: Combination Knitting

When: Sat, June 4th 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Where: Brooklyn Creative League
540 President Street
(btw 3rd & 4th ave)
Brooklyn – by the Union stop on the R train

Combination Knitting

Avoid Rowing out – What can you do to build a more stable fabric?

Build a Better Fabric: Combination Knitting

Description of Class

Have you tried learning continental, but the purl messes you up? Do you feel like you often have uneven tension? Or perhaps you are already a combination knitter and you’ve ever been told you knit “wrong”, or been asked “what are you doing”, take heart . . . there are no wrong ways to knit as long as we control our stitches. A combination knitter works through the back loop to knit, and the front loop to purl. It can be a fast and easy way to knit, but simple adjustments must be made to follow Western patterns, like how to knit in the round, and understand left and right slanting increases and decreases, and how to work twisted pattern stitches. If you are a Western knitter, then learn the amazing advantages to this knitting methods and how and when you would combine it with your own. If you are a Combination Knitter, learn how to make stitches better and easier for your style.

Skills Required:

Must know how to knit, purl, cast on, bind off, know simple increase and decreases. Recognize the knit and purl stitch and be able to work them in a pattern without supervision.

Materials: Click HERE to download

Price: $75

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Dear New York (subway letters) . . .


We all do it. Every single New Yorker who rides the subway does it. We compose the rants we wish we could say (and once in a while, do) to our fellow commuters. Sometimes the pile of undelivered letters gets too large, and we have to jot a few of them down. Please share yours in a comment.

Subway Letters.

To the coven of Wall Street business types,

I see you standing in your very important circle of suits in the coveted space just to the left of the subway door. I realize how vital it is that you keep you chatty, coffee circle, wide and open, so you can have space for your attache cases at your feet. I realize how your protective circle helps keep the unwashed masses from touching your pristine suits. I realize all of this, but it’s Calcutta just to the right of you, so I’m sure you understood why I felt it was necessary to reclaim some of that space for others by gently elbowing you until you moved.

Thank you for your understanding.

To the subway fine diner,

Thank you so much for sharing your meal with the entire subway train. We all love the smell of your chicken dinner so much, that I’m quite sure it’s why you chose to leave all the bones on the seat. It was so we can savor the delicious aroma of your meal all the way home to Brooklyn.

Bon appetit!

To the scowling teen,

I see you in your pants down to your bum, and your stupid cap with the straight rim and the (inexplicably) important round sticker still under said brim. I see you sitting there looking tough and scary and scowling. I see you glaring at others as if to say “stay away from me”. I also see you when you helped that woman down the stairs with her stroller. I see you be the only passenger to stand up when you noticed the old woman clinging to the poll. I see you shrug her thanks off with a grunt of “whatever”. I see you, and know you are not the “thug” that the rest of America would think you are. New Yorkers see you.

To the tourist family on the Canal Street Q train,

Yes. That is a bag of fish heads.

Welcome to New York.

To the music lover on the 2/3

Yes, please do turn your music up. We all share your taste in music and are so very very happy that you are providing a concert for us. No, don’t worry, that person trying to read the paper is more than thrilled to have a sound track.

We know headphones are uncomfortable, we would never DREAM of asking you to wear them.

To the man clearly on a first date,

You know you like her. You know you took her to a Broadway show, and probably and expensive dinner. You know this is not your train, but you are riding her home. You know you keep looking at her every time she is not looking at you. What you don’t know is she keeps looking at you every time you look away.

It’s going well.


To the family of disgusted tourists,

Just because we are all wearing headphones staring straight ahead does not make us deaf. We can all hear you.

To the dad who is wearing his backpack on his chest (looking like an idiot) saying “this is how you have to protect yourself from these people”, and the wife who is clutching the littlest one to her training him to be afraid saying, “don’t look at anyone, they could be dangerous” and the teenage daughter who refuses to touch the subway poll because “eww, I don’t know who’s touched that”, so therefore keeps loosing her balance and bumping into me, and to the son who disgustingly declares “Can you believe they cram into these trains everyday. Nobody has cars here. I feel so sorry for them” – to all of you we have the following to share.

We didn’t want to hurt you before, but we do now.

Go home.

That’s only a handful of the letters that rattle around in my head, but it’s nice to get a few of them out.

Thanks I feel better.


It’s been a long time since I’ve had a day quiet enough to blog. This time of year in retail is pretty crazy, and then there’s friends and family visits, social stuff, blah, blah, blah. But today felt like the calm after the storm. That’s the snow storm I mean.

Yesterday the snow started and David and I stayed home by the fire until it was time to bundle ourselves up and brave the storm. We were meeting friends at the movies, and it was so pretty in NY.

Today was another day spent knitting by the fire. I’ve made some pretty good progress on David’s cable sweater:

In the late afternoon we decided to take our cameras (video and still) out to the Park to see the snow fun. Here’s a few shots

We love the first snow in Park Slope. It always makes everyone so friendly. It feels like a small town whenever it snows.

Halloween & a FINALLY Finished Sweater!

I don’t have much writing in my this evening, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking . . .

First, the fabulous Park Slope Halloween parade. Halloween is when our little neighborhood feels the most like a small town.

On the way to the parade, David enjoyed some of the local jack o lanterns:

As always, the parade was a fantastic mix of kids & dogs (all though it was light on the dogs this year)

Last week I finally finished the Flame Stitch Cardi. I had set it aside for most of the early part of the fall while I worked on other things. Here it is blocking, pre finishing

I gave myself less finishing to do by picking up stitches for the collar instead of what the pattern called for (knitting it separate and then sewing it on . . . bah humbug).

Here she is:

Sheep, Cherry Blossoms, Veggies & SPRING

Nothing says Spring like the Shearing of Sheep. Last weekend I enjoyed two of my favorite springtime Park Slope rituals. . . The Cherry Blossom Festival in Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Fleece Festival at the Prospect Park Zoo.

We started the rainy day at the BBG. Despite the rain, the blossoms were amazing.

My pal Micheal and I relaxing in the outdoor lounge

Next it was off to the zoo to the adorable little Fleece Fest. It’s really just sheep sheering with some music, but I love it anyway

In the land of knitting, I finished my Short & Chic Cardi, pretty happy with it

I was also inspired by the Knitting Surgeon class I just taught at the Studio, to revisit an old sweater. I was teaching how you can lengthen or shorten a knitted piece and I remembered the cotton boat neck sweater I had whose sleeves always bugged me. So I came home, cut, put it back on the needles and started fixing the sleeves. One down, one to go.

I also got back to some serious spinning. I did about 4 hours on the wheel, and I forgot how much I LOVE spinning. I really want to get through the roving I have so I can get my hands on the stuff I bought at Rhinebeck in October.

I also almost finished Stew’s baby sweater. I’m so loving the LB Collection Cotton Bamboo, and it’s turning out really cute. She better not turn out to be a boy!

Flowers & FO

It seems like two weeks between blogging is about the best I can do these days. I keep waiting for life to feel like it’s slowing down, but it won’t happen on it’s own. I’ve decided that I would find ways to slow it down myself. A couple of weekends ago it was Forsythia Day at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. We always go, as members, to pick up our free Forsythia Day, and to get our first wiff of spring. It was a perfect day at the garden & the sky was a perfect blue.

The week before we had planted our Canna’s and Dahlias to start them inside. When we got back from the garden I saw that we had our own first wiff of spring

The yoke pullover was coming along nicely. I was almost finished with the second sleeve, and I wanted to get it done before David and I left town for Passover.

Our next forced slow down came in the form of Passover. Since I work for a Jewish company we are closed for all work restricted holiday’s. The Studio closed early on Wednesday night and David and I had a cozy Seder for two. The next day we headed to Boston to spend the second night with David’s family and then we headed up to the Berkshires.

We stayed in this cool place called Porches right across from the Mass MoCa. In addition to the museum, which is FAB,

there are all sorts of odd little galleries. This is an installation of hundreds of toys. The artist is Jarvis Rockwell, the son of Norman Rockwell.

Before we headed out the next day, David took some shots of my newly finished sweater.

I cast on a new project in the car, and by the end of the next two days I had finished the front and back.

It’s the Short and Chic Cardi. It was originally knit out of Wool Ease Thick and Quick, but I wanted a springy cardi, so I’m double stranding Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton. I should finish it over the weekend.

Also over the weekend will be GARDENING! The lettuce gets planted & the Canna’s and Dahlias will go in the ground. What a difference one week makes. Here are the Dahlias today that just shot through the ground 8 days ago.

Spring is all over our garden

Time Moves Slowly & Quickly

It’s November. Finally? Already?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You might not hear from me until we get through the

Small Town Brooklyn

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

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

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

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

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

and here it is all skeined up . . . mmmm

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

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

Even more bizarre . . . veggies are still growing.

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

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

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

Goldie Locks & the Wolf that ate Grandma:

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

Peas & Carrots (Third Prize)

More food . . . Sundae

yet more food . . . Lobster Dog
Dancing Queen

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



The stubborn Caterpillar (second prize)

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

Lipstick on a Pig

Revenge on Sara Palin

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

The golden parachute

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

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

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

So Many Boxes . . .

It’s been ages since I’ve had a moment to blog. I’m up to my (&^% in boxes getting the Studio ready to open. I have managed to get sick for about a week in the middle of it all (yeah). The sucky part was missing the Yarn Harlot when she spoke at B & N in Park Slope. Michelle (who is cool lady working in the Studio with me) even saved me a seat, and I was WAY too sick to go. On a brighter yarny note, I did get a lot of knitting done in my sick bed.

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

Amongst working sun up to sun down David and I did manage to squeeze in two great weekends. Two weeks ago David and I did our Brooklyn open house thing. I wrote about our Saturday at the cemetery, and then Sunday we did a whole other round. First we stopped at the Montauk club. It’s right down the street from our house, but I’ve never seen the inside. It’s both opulent and oddly run down at the same time. Kind of hard to describe.

On our way to Fort Greene we passed Urban Glass, who was also doing an open house. It’s a really big glass blowing place that has a gallery and they give classes and rent their space to artists. I love that places like this still exist in Brooklyn.

Next we went to the fab new(ish) Brooklyn Flea Market. It was a perfect fall day and the flea market was great. We spent the rest of the day walking around Fort Greene. I must admit, we don’t spend much time there. It’s really cool. The neighborhood has changed so much, and it’s filled with great restaurants and shops. We will definitely be going back for the Halloween festival next week. I’ve always wanted to see the dog costume contest!

After another back breaking week at work setting up the store, I was hanging on to the light at the end of the tunnel . . . RHINEBECK!!!!!!!!! We headed out late on Friday night and got into our B & B around 10:00 pm. We didn’t get to see the amazing grounds until we looked out our window the next morning to see this:

We were staying in a spa / B & B on a ton of land, called Buttermilk Spa. Just like last year, it was bright blue sky and perfect color. . . only difference, about 20 degrees colder then last year.

Our first glimpse of the fair grounds was an explosion of red

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

We decided after such a killer week that we would take it easy this weekend. I did a little shopping, ran into some pals, watched some Canine Frisbee toss, ate some cheese, and then we headed back to the B & B in the afternoon to go to the spa and walk around the grounds.

My first day’s booty was a pound of this stunning Corriedale roving

After the spa we walked around the grounds which were swell

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

SOOO cute.

After a wonderful dinner, great sleep, great breakfast it was back to the fair grounds. Our pal Francesca was meeting us. She was on hiatus from the Spamalot tour, and we’ve been trying to go to Rhinebeck together for three years, and we finally made it!

We started again by visiting the animals. Why can’t I have a farm???

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

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

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

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

My First Perfect Fall Weekend of 2008

I’ve been working WAY too hard for the last four weeks. So, my boss forbade me to do any work this weekend. Being the good employee that I am . . . I listened to him. This resulted in a perfect Saturday in Brooklyn (and Sunday is starting out pretty nice too!). First we spent a lazy Saturday morning at home. I got a nice hunk of my bam boo top done

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

Back to Angels & Accordions. . . it started with a trio of accordion players & the dance performance in front of the gate. First a group of mourners came out all dressed in black under black umbrellas.

Shortly after one mourner laid some flowers on the ground, a group of dancers (presumably the dead) appeared in white flowing costumes. They danced with the mourners, and then after the mourners embraced the dead, they slipped out of their arms and left the mourners with empty arms.
The dancers then walked up the hill into the cemetery and the whole crowd followed. For the next two hours, hundreds of us followed guides holding large black and white umbrellas, throughout the cemetery.

As you walked you came across the dancers, singing mournfully, draped eerily and dancing beautifully all around the graves. It was really spectacular. My favorite was walking under a low hanging willow and finding the dead hidden amongst the branches quietly singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (later we found out that Frank Baum was buried near by).

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

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

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

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