Monday, February 27, 2006

And she cooks, too!


Well, I obviously did not bring home any gold for my country. Can I say it's because I didn't vote for Bush and didn't want to win the gold for us anyway? No, I don't think so. You all know how hard I tried. But it simply wasn't to be. In fact, what was I thinking?? Even if I hadn't had periods of slacking (was I "socializing and partying at an Olympic level," to quote Bode Miller?) I don't think this could have been done in two weeks. And that "sleeve a day" bit? That was pure folly. So what you see above is what I've got done today, the day AFTER the end of the Olympics. I am determined to finish it, though, before I move on to something else, because if I stop, I will never be able to make myself pick it up again.
There have been a number of new developments at the Casa Cary over the last few days, the most exciting of which is that... Jamie got his first freelance job! Hooray! So now in addition to working all day for Matthias, Jamie will be coming home to retouch over a hundred photos of underwear ads by Saturday! What fun! The best part about Jamie reouching undies, however, is that when we went to pick up the info from the photo shoot, the art director said, "Wait, you need some samples for color-matching!" She then looked at me, asked my size, and handed over three little envelopes with three very chic pairs of panties! What luck, you say! Of course, upon closer inspection, I realized that she wasn't exactly giving away miles of priceless fabric:
Two of these pairs happened to be thongs, which, though I know many of you will gasp in horror as you read this, I just cannot get used to. I tried. I was told by other females that full-backed underwear was terribly gauche, something only a 10-year-old should wear, and that it was time to graduate to proper undies. But I can't deal, I just keep going back to my comfy cotton Christmas undies from Old Navy because I really don't like to be aware of my underwear at all. It was still super-exciting, though, to be given free panties, and I told Jamie that he should market himself as an "underwear retoucher" so that I can get more.
So here is the retoucher himself, proudly perched in front of his ginormous Mac, ready to transform wrinkles and cellulite into perfect smoothness.
And after all of this excitement, I still managed to whip us up this tasty Mexican Lasagna (thanks to Fig and Plum for pointing the way to this recipe), which turned out amazingly well considering that I was the one who cooked it. Might I finally be on my way to Domestic Goddess-ship?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Vegetarians Take New York

I had to take a serious break from the Olympics, as the tragedy of my project was starting to get to me. Though I had ripped back and reknit the mishap of the no-neck fronts, I was feeling, well, like Sasha Cohen must have felt for a brief moment after falling twice at the very begining of her Thursday night long program. Like all was lost, what is the point in even continuing? But Sasha pulled it together beautifully, finished her program, and ended up winning a silver medal--which, let's face it, is still pretty impressive. I wanted to finish my project, though there is no way I can get the gold at this point, with the same grace and style as Sasha. Or something like that. But first, I needed to forget about it entirely for a while.

So I started here, at the Natural Gourmet School on West 21st Street, where we were served a Far East Feast by a class of graduating student cooks. The feast contained four courses, my favorite of which (as usual) was the appetizer course--little dumpling purses filled with butternut squash and apples. Yum.
After finishing our tasty feast, we decided to continue our night at the Flatiron Grill, where they were kind enough to open up a spacious downstairs room so we could sit and order tasty drinks. I had Glogg, a warm mulled wine--very nice on a chilly evening.
Here Ruth and Michelle's Hubby Dave say hi.
And here's a snippet of Jamie, me, and Michelle on the snuggly sofa.
Look at how happy Jamie is in this picture! Is it because he loves vegetarians so much?
And then the night starts to get hazy. There are strange pictures in which people look like they are trying to find aliens inside the camera.

I don't know what that was about.
Michelle became concerned that she was opening her eyes too wide in the photos, and in turn, I was worried that mine weren't open enough. So here we are, overcompensating:

A jolly good time was had by all, and Jamie and I became increasingly sad about Michelle and Dave's impending move to Indiana (sniff, sniff). But there's still a month left to enjoy their full-time New Yorker status!
We departed around 11 because both of us knew that there was no way I could have another drink and still make it to my 2 PM ballet class today. We came home and made cheese fries in the oven (mmm) and I woke up fresh as a daisy and with a head as clear as a bell--I think it was the cheese fries--and danced out the door to the Sandra Cameron Dance Center, where you can usually take only ballroom dance classes, but where a number of knitters and I are now taking a wonderful ballet class from a fabulous teacher who rents a studio to teach us in! How nice is that? No photos were taken, b/c NO ONE wants to be photographed in their spandex unless they are as adorable and perfect as our dance teacher. But though I can't prove it with photodocumentation, take my word for it that we all had a lovely time, and will all be prima ballerinas in no time (ha ha)!
So now it's back to the Olympic project, which may not even be done by Tuesday, but it WILL BE DONE before I work on any other project, that I am sure of. Wish me luck....

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Olympic Disaster Strikes



This is the picture of a knitter felled by Olympic defeat. With only two complete days to go, I think it is time to prepare myself for what is becoming more and more obvious with every passing minute; there is no way I am going to finish.
Things were OK. I was a little behind, but I'd finished the back and both fronts, and I was thinking surely I could do a sleeve a day and have time for seaming Saturday night. Oh, and picking up the stitches around the opening--OK, so it would have been a late night. But then I was getting ready to sew the shoulder seams (just to get some of the dreaded sewing out of the way) and I discovered this:

I somehow forgot to allow for a neck opening in my design. The tops of the fronts go all the way across the back!!! So I have now frogged down to that little green pin on both fronts (the pic is blurry, I'm sorry) and have to re-knit, rapidly reducing on the inside edges to give myself a spot for my HEAD to come out!
I really don't think there is any way this is going to be done by the closing ceremonies, especially with my big plans for Friday night AND the ballet class I refuse to forego on Saturday. But I'm going to keep forging ahead, because that's just the kind of girl I am. Oh, and did I mention that it is monstrously bigger than I had planned? This is the story of my life; I constantly overestimate the size of my body, imagining myself as some burly buff thing that I am obviously not. Anyway, if I don't get it done for the Olympics, surely I can finish it by Sn'B on Tuesday? We'll see.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Knitters Gone Wild, Top Secret Gift Revealed


Here he is! My Top Secret Bubby Bear, out in the open at last! Why, you may wonder, is he being held aloft by a giddy Jill R.? Because she picked my gift at Kara's Birthday Knitted Gift Exchange! Bubby was thrilled to go home with her, where he knows he will lead a safe life far from the dangerous reach of children and cats (he shudders to imagine).

How much fun does this look like? We had the best time! Kara's amazing husband Mike prepared a huge feast of tasty dishes, almost all vegetarian!!! Very exciting for Heather, Michelle, and me. He then became increasingly nervous as we all started to arrive--I think he could feel the estrogen building to a breaking point--and high tailed it out of there in favor of some male company. Which left us with 20 knitters and a table of knitterly gifts!

Here is Michelle with Theresa, her guru, who we were all very excited to meet.

And here's me and Jewel, making our own Hourglass Nation, one sweater at a time.

And here's Nicole, wearing Katy's GORGEOUS new sweater that she designed for Heather's book. This one's going to be all over Ebay!
And then the gift-exchanging festivities began. I took photos of every single gift, but am too impatient to upload them all to Blogger, so here's a small selection:

One of my fave gifts of the night, these fabulous mittens Ruth received from Michelle, knitted with Michigan llama! They are so beautiful, I almost stole them.

Though it's too far away to really see it, this is a Branching Out scarf that Rachel got from Theresa, Michelle's guru (oops, before I said it was Johanna. Why? I have no idea). Not only was the scarf amazing, the color looked perfect on its recipient. You know, Heather says purple is going to be huge this season.

And here is Claudine, already plotting to steal the ball of Colinette Susie received from Ruth. Poor Susie, she never saw it coming.

And it is a good thing I didn't steal Ruth's mittens, because I received my own! This very cool, convertable pair is from Heather and Army of Knitters. These, too, will soon be a coveted item by our soon-to-be-famous-author, but you won't see them on Ebay. They're MINE!
It was an awesome night, and we all owe Kara a big THANK YOU for coming up with such a fun idea and making it happen. Thanks, Kara and Mike!

Friday, February 17, 2006

SHAMELESS YARNMONSTERS

Somehow Jill A. gets an actual phone call from the girls at Suss when they are having a sale, probably so she can bring weak, will-power-less people like ME with her to shop, despite the fact that my stash is (I swear!) spontaneously multiplying in its closet, where it occupies some 16 clear plastic shoeboxes.

And here is the Enabler herself, happily winding away her own yarn purchases. I managed to keep it to just this:

3 hefty skeins of buttery-colored cotton, which should be sufficient for a summery tank or knit cami. Michelle came and bought enough for that Hourglass Sweater she's been dying to make--what color did you end up getting, Michelle? It was only $3 a skein! Yes, it's true! We couldn't help ourselves. Sadly, Michelle had to leave, so Jill and I headed off to lunch at my favorite Soho spot, Hampton Chutney Co., for those amazing dosas and an iced chai. Mmm....
We later picked up Jill's pal Serena from Suss, where she was making an even more massive purchase, and continued our shopping day only to come upon a mysterious, temporary shop for "Luella for Target". It was, as so many things are for us, impossible to resist, and offered up this little treasure:

Jill and I both bought them, despite already having iPod covers. They were too cute. The tassels were what sold me. I am going through a dangly-thing period. I'm not sure what did Jill in, but seriously, who WOULDN'T want one?
Anyway, I finished my Top Secret Knitted Gift, so I've got a night of Very Serious Olympic Knitting ahead of me. Wish me luck, girls, I'm going for the Gold!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

OUT AND ABOUT...


Ooh la la, what is this? It is a preview glimpse of my Top Secret knitted gift project for Kara's party. This is only one small segment, obviously. Can you guess what it is?
Today was unbelievably WARM here in NYC! The city is still a stinky swamp from the melting snow, but who cares when it's warm enough to walk around with the sun on your face, jacket-free? After a particularly grueling visit to the salon (I won't go into details, just use your imagination), I tried to bring myself back from the world of pain by walking around Soho for a bit, picking up some things at Kate's Paperie and L'Occitane. Both lovely stores full of lovely things, where I tend to buy things only for other people. Then up to 8th street where I found the bakery and bagel shop that Jill A. and I stopped in the other day, and bought myself a delicious eggplant bureka and a chocolate croissant. And then went to Starbucks, where my mocha cost more than my lunch had. I didn't want this beautiful day to end, but eventually I bought my dog food and headed back home, where Miss Peru was impatiently waiting for me, as usual. She's always so happy when I come home! Hooray for pit bulls!

My faithful monster, enjoying the only patch of afternoon sunlight in the apartment.

I've been working away like mad on my Top Secret knitted gift for Kara's birthday party on Saturday. I had to put aside my Olympic knitting project:

a self-designed ballet wrap sweater (knit in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, yum) for a bit in order to get in some work on said Top Secret project. Good thing I had my very favorite reality TV show, Project Runway, to keep me company, and good thing my fave designer, Daniel V, won the challenge. Way to go Daniel! This knitter salutes you!
I have two new gifts to myself, these incredibly tempting things:

I spent an hour on the computer tonight (avoiding my knitted gift project) checking out various yarns to use for my favorite projects in these magazines. Never mind that they are tank tops and there is snow on the ground, or that I have so much yarn it has its own closet. That's all beside the point.
And then, one more finished object to add, though this one isn't knitted. Here is my very first quilting project, the Hold-Me-Close Heating Pad Cover from Denyse Schmidt Quilts:

It was kind of a lot of work, as I hand-quilted it, but I love it now that it's done, and drag it all over the house with me. I need it to soothe my aching muscles after all this Olympic knitting!