Friday, November 23, 2007

Still Knitting....

As most of you know, a big part of blogging about your handmade objects is not just creating and finishing the objects, but also taking proper photos of them. People want to see the sweater on a human, not draped over your bed, so this requires 2 people, and some sunlight. Not always an easy thing to come by in NYC, especially after stupid daylight savings time.
Thus I give you, a whopping 8 months after they were knit, my Anemoi Mittens:

I've had PLENTY of time to wear these babies, and can now tell you with confidence that these are one of my favorite handknits ever. They are snuggly and warm and soft and pretty to stare at on bleak winter days. The yarn (Habu cashmere) has held up really well. The pattern was so clearly and cleverly written, and I love-love-love the design. What more can I say?
Pattern: Anemoi Mittens by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Habu cashmere, 2-strands--pretty minimal amounts of each, but I no longer remember exactly how much, I'm sorry.
Needles: Addi 0's for the cuff (magic loop), bamboo #1 dpns for the main part
Started January '07, finished February '07
Mods--none!!! I knit the smallest size.

And yes, I have knit since last February. I whipped out a little Le Slouch recently:
Pattern: Le Slouch by Wendy of Knit and Tonic
Yarn: Morehouse Merino 3-strand, just over 1 skein
Needles... whatever she recommended, I believe.
Quick, easy, fun pattern, and I can both fit all of my hair into the hat, while putting my headphones on over it. Perfect.

And another hat:
Pattern: Basic tam from Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns
Yarn: RYC Soft Lux
Sorry, that's about all the details I remember.
I have this problem with hats--I never think I look right in them, so I just keep knitting more and more of them, in hopes that one day, I will create the perfect one. It will fulfill the aforementioned requirements of containing the hair (without smushing it) and allowing headphone use, and will transform me into the chic Parisian girl I always envision myself as whilst knitting the hat, but fail to see in the mirror once it is done. I hear other people have this same issue, so I'm not alone. Is there a support group for us?

And this post would not be complete without a HUGE thank you to Lisa, who took all of these photos for me on the gorgeous roof of her building yesterday--can you believe those views?!? What's more, she did this in the middle of preparing a scrumptious Thanksgiving Day spread for me and BK. I don't think I'll ever need to eat (or drink!) again, I am still so full.
Thank you Lisa and BK!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wanna Make Some Mittens?

OK, so I know that a lot of the people who read this blog are well-acquainted with how to make a pair of fair-isle mittens, but for those of you who are not, and would like to be:
I'm teaching a beginning fair-isle mitten class at Brooklyn General in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn this month. The class is on four consecutive Monday nights (11/19, 11/25, 12/3, 12/10) from 7:30-9. Come enjoy the wonderful world of double-pointed needles and stranded colorwork! Get more info here, and call the store if you'd like to sign up.
In addition, if you're looking for some instruction but not necessarily on your mittens, I'm teaching a pattern help class at Purl as well. You can sign up for single sessions if you're just looking for a little assistance with your project. These classes are various Tuesday or Thursday evenings, 7:15-9:15. Call Purl for more info or to sign up.
OK, that's about enough self-promotion! Yikes....

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Last Last Rhinebeck Post

I know Rhinebeck is, like, SO old news, so I'll make it short and sweet, I promise.I went up with a few of my darling Spiders: Katy, Jess F&P, me, Carrie.
A Spider pumpkin!
And sweet it was; we ate ourselves sick. After fried artichokes and cider and apple crisps and kettle corn, both Jess and I were moaning from excruciating stomach pain. But hey, what's a day at a festival without overindulging yourself to the point of illness?It was a gorgeous day--a little warmer than usual for this time of year, but who's complaining? I know it will be cold soon enough. Fortunately, the leaves had started to change, and we city girls were in awe at their brilliance:I bought lots of lovely things, but the loveliest of all was some beautiful Springtide Cashmere:2 ounces each of off-white and charcoal gray. I've started swatching the gray, which is going to be some uber-soft fingerless gloves. And then I found these:Some teeny tiny metal dpns! I loved them so much, I bought them in sizes 0, 1, 1 1/2, and 2. They're a brand called Hiya Hiya, which I know nothing about, but they're nice and sharp. What's not to love?
And last but not least, I was lucky enough to have another round of visitors from afar:
Diarmaid, Johnny, Lindsay, and Emily, who came all the way from Ireland! I had such a good time with these kids, who are, incidentally, phenomenal musicians, and who I just don't get to see enough of. Come back soon, my Irish pals!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pretty things

So, the crafting has taken a bit of a back burner lately, but I've still managed to pull off a project every now and then. This was the result of our Most Successful Sewing Night Ever:"Our" referring to mine and Kaitlyn's. Most of the time, I think we either drink too much or pick too ambitious of a project for one night. But this project was helped by the fact that it was my own pattern--though I did have to re-read my tutorial first. That's what happens when you drink and sew. Kaitlyn's bag was a Total Success as well.
And despite having little hope of finishing my Habu bamboo sweater in time for Rhinebeck (sniff, sob!), I had to buy some of this whilst working at Brooklyn General last weekend:It sits right across from the register, and I stare at it the whole time I'm working, so I finally went and bought some. Now I take it out to pet it, and wish I could start the deep-v sweater I am dying to make with it.
And on that note, I'll leave you with a couple of pretty pictures and two lovely links. My Botany class has compelled me to take more of an interest in my houseplants. At one time, I was very good with plants, tho I've become very neglectful of them in the last few years. But plants are important and useful (all that oxygen!), and I am determined to take better care of mine.
Jasmine, which has been blooming for about a week and giving off the most amazing (and strong!) fragrance:
And Veronique's beautiful plant, which I think looks like 3-winged butterflies:
And if you like plants, too:
USDA Plants Database Everything you ever needed to know about American Plants.
The American Orchid Society Cuz orchids are purty!

And if you like music, and Australians, check out Belle Roscoe--I've become quite a fan. :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pointless, But So Quick

After seeing Mochimochi's adorable Woodins, and reading that they were inspired by the little spirits in Hayao Miyazaki's animated movies, I was suddenly consumed by the desire to make a little Princess Mononoke-style tree spirit:

which was completed between the hours of 11 and 12 on a Saturday night. I was meant to be studying, and, in fact, the Bio book was lying open on the sofa next to me. But I think my botany teacher would be proud....
Still working, very slowly, on the Indigo Ripples skirt:

But spending most of my time on the Habu bamboo cardi:

It's nearly there, just the upper back and the right sleeve to go....

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What I've Been Up To....

Yes, things have suddenly become much more serious here at my place--I am officially back in school! And as you can see from my bookshelf, I'm going for a bit less fluff this time around--no "Survey of Japanese Painting" or "Religions of Asia" for me. And here's the lovely place where all of this learnin' is happening:Beautiful Brooklyn College, a shockingly picturesque campus for being A) part of the CUNY system, and B) in the middle of Brooklyn. Not that Brooklyn isn't beautiful--we all know that I'm a faithful Brooklynite--but let's face it, it has its rough patches. A mere 3 minute walk from Flatbush (as well as a student ID to gain access to the campus) finds you here:at this gorgeous lily pond, created, incidentally, by my Botany teacher.
Some of you may be a little confused here, so let me explain: I have a BA in Art History and Art Studio, as well as an MA in Art History, but never really pursued a career in it after grad school. I completely lost all interest. So recently, I decided to go back for a 2nd BA in Biology--and though this may seem redundant, I could hardly apply to a grad school program in science with absolutely no undergrad coursework in it. I am so excited about it, it feels AMAZING to be back in school, though it is certainly very demanding, and really getting in the way of all of my leisure pursuits!
But I have managed to get some work done on the Esther socks, mainly in the library between classes:Sometimes the sock likes to hang out on my math homework. To keep the homework company, since I like to pretend that it doesn't exist.
And I started working on some very special, Habu cashmere, dinosaur gloves:No, they're not for a kid. They're for a 30-year-old man. Again, people, this is what happens when you say, "I can do anything you want." I'm a slow learner.
And I had my last international visitor of the summer: Tino, the German housemate of the Australian, Michael, who I stayed with in Melbourne. This guy was so cool and tolerant of having me hanging around their house for several weeks, so I was thrilled to be able to reciprocate a little here in NYC:Hanging out at Blue Ribbon Cafe, having a German beer.
And that's it! Oh, except that I finally got to see the city from way up high--but we were smart, and skipped the 2-hour line at the Empire State Building for the no-line at Rockefeller Center. I highly recommend this course of action if you don't have 2 hours to waste:Hooray for New York! Mmm, I'm so looking forward to fall in the city, with a little chill in the air, maybe knitting a nice fair isle sweater, and eating pies that Veronique makes.... Yum.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Heart Habu! and all things Japanese....

So, I'm sure everybody's noticed a little bit of Habu love floating around the blogosphere these days. What's not to love? The yarn is gorgeous, knits up beautifully, is packaged in such simple and appealing fashion, and hey, it's from Japan. Is there anything from Japan that's not cool?
Which is why I made Veronique, who is still on a stash-busting yarn diet, come with me to Habu for a little enabling. I fully intended to get just one thing, a Kusha Kusha kit, which I had called about in advance so it would be ready when I got there:Black Stainless Steel and Terracotta Merino. I can't wait to get started on it!!!
But as usual, there were way too many things there that caught my eye. There was this lovely stuff:Now, I have used Habu's cashmere (2/26, I buy the single strand and hold it doubled, knit on size 1's) in the past, and it's one of those that doesn't feel soft at all till you wash it. And then, oh then, it is luscious. The perfect thing for soft little mittens and gloves....I'm thinking about this combo (the yellow-green is leftover from the Anemoi Mittens) for some very special fingerless gloves....
And then there was this!Bamboo (20/18) in Slate (color 4). Seriously, who could resist? Not I!
I got 5 skeins of it, which will hopefully be enough for a slim little cardi, we'll see. I had to cast on right away:and I am loving every minute of it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Canning Day

So, today my kitchen saw more action than it has in the last three years, combined:
Veronique has proven herself to be quite the domestic wonder. She even makes pies! And today, her friends all came over to make preserves!
Virginia came too, and Jaime even brought her sweet baby, Daisy.
We sampled some tasty sweet pepper jelly from last year's batch:
This sounds totally bizarre, but it is DELICIOUS! She's promised to make me some more on the next canning day.
There were beautiful bowls full of tasty things everywhere:
Who knew cooking could be so fun? Well, OK, I wasn't cooking--more like sipping my champagne, knitting, and watching, but close enough. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday! ;)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Near Catastrophe

A serious crisis was narrowly averted here at Casa Yarnmonster. Last night, I somehow caused myself a serious injury to the left elbow--there was a cloth rug involved, and a slippery wood floor--and woke up to find that I can neither straighten, nor bend, it all the way. It can move in a sort of half bent position, but its range is very limited.
So, is it bad that, though I can barely wash my hair or put in my contacts, I was HUGELY relieved to find that I can still knit? Mind you, I have to sort of turn my left arm just so, to avoid stabbing pains, but it is totally doable. I mean, can you imagine, school starts August 27th, wouldn't it have been a tragedy to waste any of my remaining study-free knitting days?
So, there's been a lot going on over here--too much for one post, really, but I'll attempt to give the digest version, in hopes of my next post having Actual Knitting Content.
I've had some lovely visitors, the first of which are my friends Katherine and Jess from Australia:
They were here for a whole month, and got a little homesick, so I took them to a place to get real Australian pies in Brooklyn. I also took them here:For what are truly, my favorite cupcakes in NYC. I miss you, girls! You'd better come back soon!
A few days later, these charming and handsome guys showed up on my doorstep:Taylor, Colin, and my brother David. It was pretty interesting having 3 21-year-old boys camped out in my living room for 3 days--a bit more excitement than this apartment is used to--but these guys are always a pleasure to be around. I don't know if there is anyone who makes me laugh harder than my brother and his friends.
Me and Dave, on our way to see the FABULOUS White Stripes concert at Madison Square Garden, woo hoo!!!In the midst of all of these visitors, Harry Potter 7 came out!That's me, Jess, and Lisa, trembling with anticipation outside of Book Court in Brooklyn.
And here I am, SO EXCITED to have my book!
I finished it Sunday night, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. Of course, I'm devastated that the series is over, and am now consumed with jealousy for the people who haven't read them and can now start at the very beginning and blast right through the entire series!!! So unfair.
And we had our inaugural Spiders Gala, hosted by our incredible Virginia!
Jess, Carrie, and Abby, rockin' the tiaras:Girls in tiaras, fiercely attacking a pile of yarn:And Spiders Jeopardy, Virginia's amazing idea: 30 knitting and Spiders-related questions! And some of them were really hard! Strangely enough, we kept getting the most appropriate questions delivered to the perfect person, like Sandra's "How many pairs of Jaywalkers has Sandra knit?" and Steph's question about the iguana pictured on her own blog, and Veronique's "How many stitches are in this lace sequence?"
OK, whew! Hopefully I can get a little knitting done, now that I'm otherwise incapacitated. ;) I saw this a few weeks ago, and realized that I couldn't live without it for another second. I'm almost to the lace part, but it's looking a little big. I'll let you know how it goes....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hey, Miss Tambourine Scarf

Why do I look so sad in this picture?
Because I'm wearing an alpaca silk scarf and it's 85 degrees outside!
But this little girl began her life 10,000 miles away, far South of the Equator, where winter was starting to settle in, and I needed something warm and soft to go around my neck.
Unfortunately, she did not want to leave, and tried to run away with some Australian musicians. (I understand, little scarf. The allure of the hedonistic lifestyle is strong.) I had to go home without her.
She was, however, found out, discovered hiding away in a tambourine, and promptly shipped back home to me. Hopefully now she's pulled herself together. I think she'll find New York winters much more to her liking.
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, 4 balls. (Yes, I went to the Land of Merino, and I came back with Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk. I was desperate for this scarf.)
Needles: US 7 circs (They were random pointy bamboo circs, the only ones I could find at the shop, I didn't have any Addis.)
Pattern: Mock cable rib. So simple, it's not really a pattern at all.

CO 32 sts.
Work K2 P2 rib for 4 rows.
Now shift it all 1 st to the left for the next 4 rows, so:
Row 5: P1, *K2 P2, rep from * till last 3 sts, K2, P1.
Row 6: K1, *P2 K2, rep from * till last 3 sts, P2, K1.
Rep. rows 5 & 6.
Now shift it all over 1 st to the left again, so:
Rows 9-12: P2 K2 rib
Now shift 1 st to left one more time, so:
Row 13: Rep row 6
Row 14: Rep row 5
Rep. rows 13 & 14.

Now keep repeating the above 16 rows till desired length or till you're out of yarn. I used 4 complete balls of yarn, and my blocked scarf is about 67" (170 cm) long. Bind off. Block lightly.
See, that's a little happier. I'm really glad to have her back.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rockin' Socks

I forgot to show you all the only thing I knit during my entire 3 months away!Pattern: Michael's Smiley Socks (my own)
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarn, Fingering (the camo color), 2 skeins
and Koigu KPPPM (the red color), 1 skein
Needles: Lantern Moon Rosewood DPNs, US 1, and then had to switch to 32" Addi US 1 circs when all of my rosewood needles broke in my backpack. :(

So, I did make 2 of them, but forgot to photograph both on him before I left. Not. Smart.
Wanna know what else wasn't smart? When I decided to make these socks, I said, "Yeah, I can do pretty much anything. I'll make whatever kind of socks you want." And he replied, immediately, "I want smiley faces!"
I was thinking of a nice, manly stitch pattern, but OK, smiley faces it is. It took some experimenting before I got the idea of adapting a Norwegian X's and O's pattern into smilies. Nice and subtle, no bright yellow yarn. Did them top down, regular heel flap, grafted the toe. Easy peasy.
And seriously, I've never seen someone so happy to receive his socks. Makes every stitch worth it, doesn't it?
I hope they're keeping his feet nice and warm, in far-off and chilly lands.