Friday, December 12, 2008

December Already?!?

Wow, this semester went by fast! And it's been such an eventful one, too!
Thank you all, so so much, for your sweet well-wishes. V and I were so excited for a while that we could barely concentrate in school--I mean, it just seems CRUEL to have to go to Physics class when you're daydreaming about weddings and chuppahs, and staring at your new ring. But concentrate we did, and now, it's already time for finals again. Where did the time go?!
In the moments when I wasn't studying like I should have been, I finished this:
Pattern: Tree Jacket
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
More deets? Ravelry here.
This pattern was great--very simple, easy--perfect for someone who's in the middle of too much school to focus on a complex pattern. I bound off a little on the short side, since I knew the Silky Wool would grow, and it did. It knits up into a really nice, thin fabric, and I love the deep red and the nubbly texture.
Another FO, this one a LOT quicker:
Pattern: Honey Cowl by Jess at Fig & Plum
Yarn: Morehouse Merino Bulky, 1 skein
Ravelry
Seriously, the fastest knit, EVER! I saw Jess's post, decided I had to have one, raided the stash, and 2 hours later, I had a cowl. And I stopped to eat some Middle Eastern takeout. Awesome.
And now it's time to get ready for Christmas/Hanukkah! Is that Christmukkah? I don't know, but we've got the tree up, and the Shabbas candles lit on the fireplace, and I am SO ready for the holidays! Let the merriment begin!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Surprise!

So, we have some pretty big news over here:
Vitalay and I got engaged! And married too!It was a big surprise. We went to City Hall and got married on Friday, so in the eyes of the State of New York, we're official.
But we also got engaged--complete with a total surprise of a down-on-one-knee proposal at beautiful Battery Park City, and we're going to have a proper ceremony with family and friends sometime in the next year. I have so many handknits to plan!!! All of my friends have been coming up with the coolest DIY ideas for their weddings, so I have a treasure trove of information at my fingertips.... ;)
Steph was our witness:
As were Vitalay's friends, Ilya and Eugene.BTW, they're single and on the lookout for some Belarussian twins who knit--any ideas, ladies?
Yay for love!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Habu Bamboo Pullover

Pattern: mine
Yarn: Habu bamboo XS-32 20/18, Color Charcoal (4), 6 skeins
Needles: US 4 Addi Turbos
Ravelry link
I finally took some photos!
I love this yarn!!! It is one of the nicest yarns I have ever used, smooth and silky and soft. It is also heavy and drapey, so it's not really appropriate for anything that needs stitch definition, or to hold a defined shape. But it falls over the body like a sheet of water--it's delicious to wear.
So, I made this pattern up as I went, specifically for this lovely yarn, with some preliminary drawings, and a general idea in my head. I took no notes, and re-did the neck twice, so I'm sort of fuzzy on specifics. A couple of people have asked, however, for a clue to its general construction, so I'll try to describe it here.
Pattern Notes:
What I wanted was a completely simple-looking, seamless sweater--which does not always mean simple construction. I knit it bottom-up, in the round till the armholes. I then put the back on holders, and provisionally cast on enough sts on either side for elbow-length sleeves (sleeves are knit sideways). Then, knit back and forth till tops of arms/shoulders, and put them all on holders.
I returned the sts for the back to the needles, as well as the provisionally cast-on sts at the bottoms of both arms. Then knit up to tops of arms/shoulders.
Here, I grafted the arms together, starting at the cuff and working my way up over the shoulder. It was a little bit of trial and error to see how far to go, as I wanted a wide neckline. Then, I put the neck stitches on needles, did one or 2 rounds to get it a little more secure in the places I grafted over the shoulders (pick up a st or 2 in there if there's a big gap), and then I knit the rest of the neck back and forth, leaving the left side open. Bind off all sts. Voila!
I know it's a little vague, but I hope that helps anyone who wanted to try something similar. There are other ways to achieve the same effect, but this one was the most appealing to me. This is one of my favorite knits, much due to the gorgeousness of the bamboo yarn, but it took me a while to come up with something that was really right for such a heavy yarn. Yay for Habu!!! How I love them.... ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Versailles Shell

Versailles Shell, back lace detail
Made by Connie!
Pattern: Versailles Shell by Connie Chang Chinchio
Yarn: Euroflax Linen
Connie made this gorgeous tank for me, to say thanks for about 10 minutes of my time modeling for her! Can you believe it? I don't know how I ended up with not one, but 2 awesome tank tops knitted by my friends. My friends rock.
It is pure beauty:
Versailles Shell
Soft, smooth linen, in my favorite color, and the shaping in the body makes this top fit like a glove. Somehow, Connie was able to make a handknit that fits me better than any I have ever made--and I wasn't even here to try it on. Very. Cool.
Detail of front lace panel:
Versailles Shell, front lace detail
Connie, thank you a million times!!! I love it!
Versailles Shell, back

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Indigo Ripples Skirt

365.3 (ripples in motion)
Pattern: Indigo Ripples Skirt by Kat Coyle
Yarn: Rowan Denim in Nashville--I think it was 9 skeins
Needles: US 4 Lace Addi Turbos
Ravelry Link
Indigo Ripples Skirt
As I stated before, this was purely a project, not a process, knit for me. I did not really enjoy knitting it. That's a lot of tiny stitches it takes to encircle one's bottom! And the Rowan Denim, while a rich, yummy shade of indigo, was a little tough and it turned my fingers quite blue. But I wanted this skirt, I really wanted it. And after running out of yarn in Israel, and ordering more from England, I finished it just in time to wear it for the last month of summer.Indigo Ripples Skirt
It is breezy and cool, and the lace lets in just the right amount of air on a warm summer day. It is everything I was hoping it would be--an easy summer skirt that is flirty without being too sexy.

... and from behind
And mere moments after concluding this photo shoot, the new remote for my camera arrived. Yippee, no more self-timer!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Blog Silence Broken

OK, I'm back! Well, I've been back for 2 months now, but it seems I always have trouble getting back into the blog after a big trip. It's like, you're taking cool vacation photos every day, and then you're catching up on paying bills and buying your books for school. Not the same thrilling fodder for the blog....
But it's not been all work since I came home! I've got a few things to share--first and foremost being:So, in June I modeled Connie's gorgeous Versailles Shell for her, and in return, she MADE THIS FOR ME!!! I still can't quite believe it--it is so pretty and ethereal and lovely, and fits me like a glove, and it was SO nice of her to do this! Thank you, Connie, you are amazing! I promise to take on-the-human photos soon.
And I've got a couple of my own FOs:
One Indigo Ripples Skirt and a Bamboo Pullover--but Vitalay and I have both been taken down by a nasty flu lately, and I just haven't quite felt like taking modeling shots in between nose-blowing. Soon to come.
In the meantime, I started some socks for Vitalay:
Being from sunshiny Israel, this guy does not have a lot of woolly winter wear, and is very excited about his first pair of handknit socks. They were inspired by these, in the "OMG, I must start a pair of those RIGHT NOW" kind of inspiration.
Also working away on my Tree Jacket:
That's some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool there--I've finished the body, and am slogging away on the first sleeve. It's garter stitch, though, so I'm kinda dragging a little.
But I really wanna finish so I can use this:
...for a February Lady Sweater! Maya's totally inspired me, and I have a whole 11 skeins of some deep red Fibre Company "Road to China" (photo above, looking NOTHING like the actual color) that is just waiting to be cast on....
And then, for something cozy in the future, this yummy wool from Israel:
Maybe a big, fluffy cardi? The cooler temperatures are making me pull out the wool knits over here, and I'm in the mood for something soft and snuggly for the chilly months ahead....

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Dead Sea

One of the things that I knew I absolutely HAD to see in Israel was the Dead Sea:
It must have been in some science textbook, sometime around 3rd grade, that I first saw a photo of the Dead Sea--it probably mentioned something about supersaturation, and how the high salt content of the water causes our bodies to float, with absolutely no effort--and I thought, "Whoa, now THAT is cool!"
Before we got there, I asked Vitalay if it were possible that I might be the one and only person who would not float--I was nervous about my floating potential, I guess--and he was like, "Um, no. You will have no choice but to float." And float I did:
It's really amazing--you walk out into the water sort of like you're walking on the moon, and then, all you have to do is lift up your feet, and whoosh! Your whole body sort of zooms to the top! And you'll still float if you flip onto your tummy--though my butt seemed to stick out of the water way more than the rest of me. You guys don't get to see that photo.
Walking on a sandbar:I was not expecting such a magical place, but it really is like nowhere else on Earth. I felt like I was seeing something really unique and special, one of the world's natural wonders. And I don't know what minerals and such are in that water, but you seriously feel like a million bucks after bathing in there! We were positively glowing with health.
The water was HOT, BTW! The best time to go was early in the morning, or as the sun was setting behind the mountains. Otherwise, we were boiling. And note to parents of little ones: the kiddies do NOT like this place! The salt in the water is extremely painful if you have any cuts, freshly shaved legs, or if you get it in your eyes--and it seems to really sting the private parts of children. We watched kid after kid run screaming from the water.... This is the stuff the guide books don't seem to mention.
We did the obligatory mud-covering:
My friend Noush did this when we were about 14, and I was really impressed. I can't believe I finally got to do it, too!
You smear the mud all over your body, and let it dry, and then you go in the water and pull up handfuls of salt off the bottom, which you use to scrub the mud off.Afterwards, our skin was like butter!!! Even now, a week later, my skin is still soft and smooth like it hasn't been since I was about 2.
The view from our balcony:
We stayed at Le Meridien, which was a fabulous treat. I should have taken photos of the extravagant dinner and breakfast buffets, but I was too busy gorging myself.
It was a blissful 3 days. I've never been so relaxed in my whole life. If ever you make it to Israel, this is absolutely a must!
Floating, floating....

Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Evening in Jerusalem

On Saturday night, we headed into Jerusalem to watch the world come back to life after a day of rest. We got there right at sunset:
And I insisted we stop outside the walls for some sunset-lit photos. I even managed to snag a solo one of my elusive and mildly camera-shy boyfriend: We entered the Old City, and soon found ourselves winding through the inner streets of the souk, where there are hundreds of colorful little shops to draw you in. Me, getting drawn in:They've got a lot to delight the traveler's eye: beautiful rugs, vintage-style posters, wall hangings, hookahs...
Dazzling arrays of sparkly things to buy:We headed up to the roofs overhead, where after climbing a few stairs, you can roam from rooftop to rooftop, all around the city. It was gorgeous up there, cool and breezy and quiet:
We even found a spot with a perfect view of the Western Wall, which was packed with people who'd been there for Saturday prayers:
This was a much more leisurely and relaxed trip to Jerusalem, and I found myself enjoying it a lot more. The city is so breathtaking at night, as well as cooler and less crowded. An evening trip is a definite must for anyone visiting.
Two lone smokers against the outer wall:
Next stop: The Dead Sea!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Delayed Blogging: Gardens of the Baha'i

We have been running around so much over here, all I have had a chance to do is upload new photos to Flickr. I had major posts planned, knew what I wanted to say and everything, but haven't had a morning to sit and write. I almost decided to skip over it, but everyone's comments from my last post were so inspiring, I decided to take the time--this is sort of my travel journal, too, so I know I will be glad for the perseverance later. There will be a few posts in quick succession in the next few days....
So, after our trip to Jerusalem, Vitalay was dying to take me north to Haifa to visit the Gardens of the Baha'i. I had no idea what these were, but wow, was I glad we went:
This place was, in a word, spectacular.
The Baha'i are an interesting group. This is a religion, consisting of about 5-6 million followers worldwide, who take a very holistic approach to faith, encompassing the teachings of all of the world's major religions in one. They view all of the great religious leaders as prophets from one universal religion. I really liked the sound of this one!
View from the top:
As visitors, we start at the top and go down, but this is a pilgrimage site for the Baha'i (kind of like Mecca), and they have to start at the bottom. Um, maybe this is not the religion for me? ;) But the view from up there of the gardens, Haifa, and the Mediterranean is stunning. People can only go on very carefully guided tours through the place in an effort to keep it serene and holy for the pilgrims, but it is free to anyone who reserves a place in the tour.
We got in to the first tour of the day, at 9 am, and it was already boiling hot:
You've got to be properly covered there--not quite as much as me, but knees, shoulders, and chest must not be showing--and they are serious about this, I watched an intense altercation as they refused admission to an older woman in a sleeveless top! But I wanted to be totally safe:
Vitalay refers to this as my "good religious girl" outfit, which I think he finds a bit disconcerting--like people are looking at him as though he kidnapped some nice orthodox girl.
View from the shrine, looking up:
This place was seriously so incredible, it felt like my eyes were being assaulted with beauty. It was so carefully and lovingly tended, with not a petal out of place. It sounds a little stifling, but it's not at all--it's more like a brightly sparkling jewel.
And this was the view from the street below, after we exited:
After the Baha'i Gardens, I stripped off my sweaty clothing, reverted to standard shorts-and-wife-beater uniform, and we headed out to a nature preserve. It was ridiculously hot, so the place was completely deserted:
But peaceful and lovely, and a wild and un-groomed contrast to our previous stop.
Happy and hot!
Next stop: an evening trip to Jerusalem....