Gardening Archives - Patty Lyons | Knitting Teacher

It’s What Month? How Did That Happen?

I have no idea what happened to April, or March for that matter.  How are we in the middle of May????

Gardening in New York. Mother’s Day = Planting Tomatoes!


I woke up this morning and realized it was time to get gardening.  In New York, Mother’s Day is the day to put in the tomatoes, so off I went to the garden store, and a mere 3 hours later our 2013 Brooklyn rooftop “crop” was in.  This year we’ve planted strawberries, mixed greens, sweet corn, 5 different types of tomatoes, bell peppers, snap peas, eggplant, spinach and arugula!

I’m traveling so much this summer on teaching trips, I’m counting on David to look after the crop!

Vogue Knitting Live & Knit1 Crochet2 show

Speaking of traveling – that’s what happened to April!

First up was Vogue Knitting Seattle.  It was a great show with amazing students.  The event space was great and the classrooms were huge.


3 swatchzilla                   4 students





Students at VK Live Seattle


I brought Swatchzilla to Seattle (she likes to travel too!)


I loved the fiber art in the marketplace:


LOVED crocheting the spiderweb


No pillar should be without yarn!

Of course the other great thing about teaching trips is getting to hang out with my teacher pals!  Dinner and drinks with Carol Sulcoski, Amy Detjan, and Brooke Nico is always a treat.  Other highlights: talking about my trip to Japan with Anna Hrachovec, trading pictures of 1/2 naked men with Nicky Epstein (long story), and the look on the waitresses face when Josh Bennett ordered us one of everything on the happy hour menu.

A couple of weeks after getting home, it was time to hit the road again.  This time I was off to Albany for the Knit1 Crochet2 Learning League show.

Some weekend highlights: the corn chowder in the hotels restaurant week dinner, taking the train with Lily Chin, and seeing the beautiful samplers my students made in Slip Stitch Knitting class.


Someday I might not be drowning under deadlines . . . but for now, it’s a summer of teaching and traveling.  I’m working on exciting project right now that’s taking up most of my time. Can’t wait to tell you all about it – as soon as I’m able to!

Destruction and Rebirth

A lot has been going on in the last six weeks since out apartment has been taken OVER by our kitchen rehab. With the Living Room / Dining Room being the staging area, the kitchen torn to shreds, our guest bedroom / office being our kitchen. That means we have been living in our bedroom. It’s kind of like being back in a college dorm w/o the cheap white wine.

I got to escape the madness for a few days in mid March to go to Seattle on business. I got to meet up with the awesome ladies from Knot Another Hat. It was great to hang with them, and Seattle was beautiful, although we hardly got to leave the hotel.

Here we are in the hotel before dinner (Sarah, Nichole & Me)

After a short biz getaway, it was back to the construction zone. We’ve had more then a few glitches along the way, and a few things that have put us SEVERAL weeks, behind, but it’s looking pretty good so far.

The cabinets are really pretty

and include some fab features, like David’s spice rack:

and our two level silverware drawer:

Our favorite feature so far is the cork floor. It came out really nice.

As long as we were ordering the granite for our counter tops, we decided to demo the hearth and get a piece of granite for our new hearth stone. I can’t wait for Wednesday when the install happens.

I finished the Mini Cardi to wear to the YMN conference in Seattle. It only took me two days. It’s a really fast knit. I still haven’t chosen the buttons yet, but it’s cute without buttons.

I also cast on Hey Teach in the Recycled Cotton. It was a really fast knit (especially since I did the 8″ of stockinette on the Studio’s knitting machine.

I have a four day weekend and it was in the 70s today, so I decided it was time to clean up the garden. We are a bit behind this year in getting things together, but I thought I could get started.

I finished my swatch for the new Stripe Class I’m teaching and took it upstairs to the deck to dry. The sun was so hot up there, it was dry in a few minutes!

Things were starting to bud all over the place in our little garden

Last year’s e-bay purchase of a Weeping Cherry Tree, was looking pretty good. Last year it came in the mail as a stick, and this year:

and FINALLY our little Forsythia plant actually bloomed. We have picked up our free Forsythia clipping at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Forsythia Member Day for three years, and we finally got a non dud clipping!

Tomorrow, plant the Dahlias, the Cannas and finish Hey Teach. Hopefully I can get the earthboxes set up soon.

Harvest of Eggplant, Peppers and Yarn

Fall is harvest time at the Lyons / Frutkoff rooftop garden.

The eggplants and peppers did well, but the brussell sprouts are still kind of pathetic.

Fall is the world’s greatest season. Hot cider, pumpkins, the changing leaves, and the yarn. The last few weeks have been an insanely busy time at work, but David and I managed to escape to Connecticut a few weeks ago. We stayed in a really great old inn called the Wake Robin Inn.

It’s in that great area near the Conn/Mass/New York border. We stopped at Stockbridge on the way, and they were having an outdoor sculpture exhibit. This art piece had a sign that said “Please sit”, who am I to say no.

It also had my favorite door

I’ve been doing a lot of socks lately (they are great on road trips), but I also took my Mohair top along, so I could finish it off. I still have to add the white crochet trim, but at least I got one thing off my needles. Here it is blocking:

The next weekend was RHINEBECK!!!! Will and Michelle had never been, so I had my fingers crossed for decent weather. They were predicting snow and rain for Saturday, but when I woke up the sun was shinning, and although it did get overcast later, it was a pretty nice day.

We started out at the sock machine demo. SOOO cool. If someone made these machines for under $300 I would so get one. Check out Will’s face, he’s in love

After a brief wander, it was time for a snack. We decided to line up early for the famous Rhinebeck, Chicken Pot Pie. So delish. Since we were waiting online, we might as well pull out our knitting. Here’s Michelle working a gift for her mom (shush, don’t tell) in the LB Collection Organic Wool, and Will and I are rocking out some socks in our Sock-Ease.

Next we went to visit the stars of Rhinebeck, the animals. Look at the gorgeous color of this little darling.

This guy was David’s favorite of the whole fair. David said it was the portrait of pure contentment. His eyes were closed and he was chewing away on something that made him very happy!

Fab pumpkin carvings

Michelle had just finished her Owl Sweater in Alpine Wool, and she was TOTALLY the star of Rhinebeck. Every 10 minutes, someone was stopping her to tell her “great sweater”. I spotted someone wearing the same sweater and thought it would make a cute picture. I didn’t notice until after I took the pic that it was fab designer, Ysolda. How cute are they?
Speaking of cute . . .

Will said I suffered from “Bunny Turrets”. We would be walking around having a normal conversation, and I would burst out “BUNNY” everytime I spotted these guys

David and I made a weekend of it, and had dinner at the fabulous CIA and Terrapin (that has always been booked up in previous years)

Here’s our utterly bizarre little room.

And the view out our window

I didn’t buy much this year. I just picked up one little skein of Briar Rose Sock yarn, that somehow jumped in my bag when I wasn’t looking!

I did make some major progress on the stalled Flame Stitch Cardigan. I finished all the pieces and now it’s just time for the shawl collar. The pattern calls for it to be knit separately and sewn on later, but I hate sewing slightly more then picking up stitches . . . so I just decided to pick up stitches and go for it.

In other knitting chores, I’ve decided to make Wool-Ease Thick and Quick slipper socks for the entire Studio staff. All ELEVEN of us. Yikes. I want to get them all finished by the holidays. Think I’ll make it?

My Favorite Time of Year

I have a three day weekend, fall is in the air, there are still some veggie’s hanging on in our garden. Life is pretty good.

David and I said goodbye to summer in the perfect way . . . a Labor Day Weekend Trip to the fabulous Cape May, NJ. It’s a sleepy little Victorian town on the Jersey Shore. We sat on the beach,

we walked around the town and looked at all the wonderfully ornate houses (or horribly purple houses)

We went to the State Park and walked on the cute little nature trails

We even found a big band playing in a local park gazebo in the evening. Couldn’t be cuter!

I had plenty of knitting time, sitting on the porch, sipping wine in the afternoon. I finally finished the tank top that would not die. It’s my own fault, why I felt the need to reknit something from 2006 is beyond me. It does look better now.

(Not the greatest shot, but David wasn’t home, so I did the best I could!)
In more knitting do overs, I decided to redo my little tank top w/matching cowl from Melanie Falick’s Weekend Knitting. I had made it years ago out of some kind of junky acrylic “mohair”, so now that there is the soft, lofty and beautiful LB Collection Silk Mohair . . . do over!!

Speaking of LB Collection yarns, my mother in law did this great afghan out of the LB Collection Superwash Merino. Isn’t it pretty?

There is a crispness in the air that knitter’s love. It means fall, sweaters, hot cider, fireplaces, coziness. The fall veggie crop is hanging on. The squash is a no go. We can’t seem to grow squash and not have it be completely overtaken by powdery mildew. Ah well. However we do have . . .


Brussel Spouts
The return of fall has also meant the return of the Flame Stitch Cardigan. It went into hibernation for the summer, while I tried to get my summer tops done.

Knitting Do-overs and Ireland pt. 1

I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last blog post. I feel like this summer is being washed away. David and I did take a fab vacation (more on this later), but we’re really not doing any summer NY fun stuff at all. We still have yet to see an outdoor movie or go to a Cyclones Game

Our garden is hanging on, but the rain is killing a lot. We are growing baby carrots this year from seeds.

Here’s David and our carrot crop. . . small but adorable (and the carrot is nice too)

I had another fit of “do over” with the short and chic cardi. The bottom ribbing was just too stretched out, so I cut, ripped, put it back on the needle and reknit the ribbing on a US 9.

Since we were getting ready to head off to Ireland and they don’t allow metal needles. (I was in the middle of doing a pair of socks -on metal, and redoing the bottom of the short & chic cardi -also on metal), I had to cast on a couple of travel projects.

I cast on my other “do over” the xback tank. And the Cotton-Ease tank top I was doing for my niece Rachel.

I left the gang to hold down the fort at work, Michelle to take care of the garden & David and I took off to Ireland.

We started our trip in Dublin, a great town.

We traveled all around the city, listened to some great music, ate pub food, and (of course) drank Guinness. David’s favorite part of Dublin was the Guinness Tour.

He was chosen to start the brew, which was pretty cool.

On the river by the Custom House we saw the amazing Famine Monument & the cool new bridge.

Here are just a couple of the famous Dublin doors.

Also in Dublin began my (semi) fruitless search for yarn. Most of the “yarn stores” in Ireland are mixed stores with a small yarn section. This store had the most hilariously large balls of yarn I’d ever seen. Big, but OH so scratchy.

I did have a tiny bit of success in an out door market in Dublin. Here’s the little Merino Silk hand spun beauty I found.

Shockingly, in all of Dublin, I only one real yarn store, This is Knit.

More on our travels into the West on the next post. (There are a LOT of sheep out west!)

Fun with an SLR

We got a new camera for the Studio, and I have no idea how to use it. So, I took it and the book home on the three day weekend to learn the difference between the 8000 different settings. Here are some pics I took in the garden (I must have been hungry when I took these, since most of them are of food)

I finished one of my toe up socks. It’s SOOOO comfortable

The Flame Stitch Cardigan is coming along. Almost up to dividing for the arm holes.

I can’t bring either one of these to Ireland, since they are both on metal needles. I have to start a few projects on my Denise plastic needles. I decided to redo the Ribbon Xback top, since I’ve never been happy with it. I ripped it out along with my one skein shrug. With the extra yarn I should have enough to remake it longer and in a tigher gauge. I want to rewrite the pattern with side shaping and increase stitches around the chest & go to a tighter needle so I won’t look slutty wearing it.

Where Did June go? Oh I Remember, it Got Washed Away!

I can’t believe the first month of summer is almost gone. It’s rained about every day of June, so here in NY we still feel like we’re waiting for summer to begin.

I spend most of the middle of the month on a plane. First I was off to TNNA, in Columbus. The best thing about flying to beautiful Columbus was my old Stage Manager pal Michele driving TWO hours just to have dinner with me. Now that’s a friend!

We had a lovely dinner and then took a stroll around downtown Columbus

I took some great classes while I was there. Here’s my tiny little sock from my toe up sock class:

For me I wanted a slip stitch heel, so I started a toe up for myself using this great little calculator for slip stitch heel I found from Knot Another Hat. It was a pretty fast knit on the plane. By the time I got home I had:

I couldn’t resist a side by side a few days later

I really like the heel. It’s feels exactly the same as a cuff down gusset with picked up stitches (without the annoying picking up stitches)

and the following weekend I flew to Chicago to visit my family. My mom wanted to know why I never blog about them. I told her when she knitted something I’d blog about her . . . just kidding, hi mom (we’ll see if she finds this).

It was great seeing everyone, even though I had just gotten off a plane 4 days earlier. My brother and sister and I have never give presents just because it’s an occasion. Instead we buy a gift when we see one that looks good. My brother gave me this cool book. He found it at a resale shop.

How cool is that??

I finished my Coachella while I was in Chicago

ta da

I went upstairs to take some timer shots in our garden . . . and of course, it started to rain (hence the next shot being taken inside)

The front ended up way drapier then the pattern picture. I like it anyway.

Next plane trip . . . Ireland. I’m so excited. Aran Islands, yarn shops in Dublin, Sheep & Wool museum in Leanane, and lots of Sheep!

Missing WWKIP Day . . . AGAIN

Sunday was my favorite type of day, some work in the garden, picking some food . . .


(Artichokes coming along nicely)

and enjoying the roses.

David settled down to correct a giant pile of homework,

and I decided to do some spinning

I was inspired to get out the wheel in the garden because I knew Michele & Will were coming over for some spindle spinning and Tony night.

My joyful day was interrupted when I realized that my professional knitting life was to (once again) interfere with my personal knitting life. I had been SOOO looking forward to WWKIP day this Saturday. I just looked at the Calendar to realize . . . ahhhhhh . . . I’ll be in Ohio for TNNA. Why of why is the trade show for the needle arts on the same weekend as World Wide Knit in Public Day?? Big drag. Last year I also missed it, because I was taking a continuing ed, machine knitting class, at FIT.

I did finish Stew’s baby sweater. Turned out really cute.

In addition to the Flame Stitch Cardigan, I needed a mindless subway project. Enter Coachella, done in Cotton-Ease. I LOVE this yarn.

It’s All About the Food

David and I decided on way to fight this economy is to grow as much food on our little Brooklyn roof as we can. This year we have going, Strawberries, Artichoke, Arugula, Romaine, Green Leaf, Brussel Sprouts, Zucchino (round Zucchini), 4 different kinds of Tomato & Snap Peas. All the veggies in our “hippie” earthboxes (as a friend of mine calls them) are thriving. Not so much for the plain pot plants.

Here’s a side by side of our Brussel Sprouts in a pot v.s. the hippie box

The Zuchinno’s are growing so fast that you can actually tell the difference day by day. Here are three pics taken 5/12, 5/15, 5/22

And the Snap Peas 5/12 & 5/22

We have already started harvesting lettuce about every other day for salads, and the Brussel Sprouts are coming along nicely:

The Azelea was brilliant for a breif time and now it’s past it’s prime. I feel for it.

The Iris’s too are about three days from being done. Sad.

The climbing roses are going to be in their full glory in the next few days, and then will begin to fade. I hate that some of our showiest stuff are such early bloomers and are then gone.

The other roses keep going all Summer . . . Yeah!

We’ve made a strange discovery in the last few days. We’ve been noticing a TON of tiny Oak Trees growing in our garden. When we go to dig these up, the acorns are buried really deep. I think squirrels were using out garden as a food storage local. Today we dug up 23 (!!!!) tiny oak trees.

In the land of knitting, I’ve finished lengthening my cotton sweater sleeves. It came out okay. Right now, there is a bit of a line where then new knitting picks up, but I think as I wash the sweater and the stitches loosen up, that will go away.

I also added a tiny piece of elastic across the inside of the shoulder seam so the damn thing would stay on my shoulder.

Stew’s baby sweater is coming along. I have to alternate it with other projects, because it’s getting a bit tedious. One more sleeve to go, and then button band and hemming.

After much swatching, I’ve cast on for the Flame Stitch Cardigan from 2005 Vogue. I’m following all the corrections painstakingly posted by this amazing blogger. Hopefully I can get to a nice finished product without wanting to tear my hair out!

First Wisp of Spring

We had our first warm sunny weekend, and I needed to get my hands in dirt. I know it’s too early for gardening, but we headed over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to buy seeds. There were signs of spring all over the garden

We decided to try some veggies from seed this year instead of plants. We started lettuce & carrots from seeds inside. They will be ready to transplant outside by the time our first frost date is past.

I really needed this weekend for a fresh perspective on things.

I also tried by hand at some new cool crochet stitches. Lily Chin came to the Studio last Thursday and she showed these really cool techniques from her book Mosaic Magic. I decided to try the Aran stitches. I made a lot of mistakes, but I started to get the hang of it. I’m going to practice some more and then try my hand at a scarf in Fisherman’s Wool.

I also got pretty far on the front of my sweater

Next week is going to be another long one. I need a vacation in the worst way.