Sunday, October 12, 2008

Think of it as practice.

So, Poem-Man and I were out on our Connecticut theater-food-and-leaves annual Combus Day Weekend jaunt. A great play at Yale Repertory Theater and Indian food in New Haven. Then a lovely autumn morning stroll, pizza lunch, and drive to Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, when we practically crashed into this sign:

Outside CT Yarn and Wool


"Honey, can we stop here?" says ewephoric.
"Yes, *secret nickname here,* we can stop," defers Poem-Man.

Then I parked the car, and saw this:

CT Yarn and Wool Porch

Poem-Man in his talk ewephoric down off the ceiling voice: "May I remind you that you are going to Rhinebeck next weekend?"
ewephoric, sheepish- and peevishly, "I know, I know."

But then inside, this:

Inside CT Yarn and Wool

Well, what is a girl to do? Connecticut Yarn and Wool is a lovely shop with Carol-dyed (ok, that's the dyer who I met at the store) beautiful yarns that I've never seen anywhere. 4 rooms and a porch full of lovely yarns. And it was all 30% off. Rhinebeck-Shminebeck. Smash the Stash. i bought some yarn:

CT Yarn and Wool Fingering

CT Yarn and Wool Andy's Merino

And some undyed sock yarn that I want to dye up in "Autumn Leaves" colors and will show later.

I think of it as practicing for fondling, considering, and buying yarn at Rhinebeck. I want to be a pro, right?

Oh, and "Big River" at the Goodspeed was almost as good as the scenery outside the opera house.

East Haddam CT

BTW, I HAVE been knitting even though I haven't been blogging. Darn that day job of teaching--actually I'm grateful that I have the job and love it so much in these uncertain times!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Almost as good as YARN...

I just love this so much. It took a lot of walking into every lighting store on Bowery and getting a crick in my neck from looking up. It's true I didn't make it myself, but I LOVE IT!

And on another note: To add to my embarassment of KOIGU riches, I also just got into the WOLLMEISE Sock Club. Lord, help me...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Got Koigu?

I was on my beach vacation, blithely walking off the boardwalk into town, and ran into a LYS that was going out of business. Everything was 75% off. Did you read that? 75% off. Needles, some skeins of yarns, patterns, everything. I picked out some Cascade Tweed in a chunky weight (was going to be $3/skein) and some Addi Turbo lace needles, and a couple of patterns. But I didn't have any money with me, and by the time I found my wallet--I mean, my husband--someone else had taken the yarn and Addis that I had piled up next to the register and paid for them and left. DAMN.

Well, there were a couple of patterns and another Addi Turbo circular needle that were still left behind, so I went to buy those. Then I saw that buttons were also 75% off, so I bought three sets of buttons for some imaginary future projects . I also found a lone skein of Austermann sport-weight sock yarn with the jojoba and and aloe vera in it, so I bought that, too. My total came to $21.76! WOO HOO! A few reasonable purchases for the practically the price of ONE Addi Turbo circular. God love Delaware for having no sales tax, too!

Then I saw it. SHOOT. An entire KOIGU kit for 50% off. I wouldn't be caught dead in the mitered mishmash of a tunic that the kit would allow one to make, but what was in the kit was 2 skeins of ELEVEN colorways at about 50% off what one might normally pay and without sales tax. Oh help me, I bought it. How could I not, right?
22 skeins of KOIGU KPPPM in 11 colorways.

OmigGAWD! What have I done? What am I gonna do with all this? I spent like 10 hours on Ravelry trying to figure out what to do. Babette? Too many variegated skeins, but I would consider it if someone traded me a few solids for some of the variegated. A Charlotte's Web Shawl? Maybe. Socks. I guess--the one pair I made got holes in them, but at this price I paid for this Koigu, I won't be so upset about it. And I hate the mitered square things in this yarn.
Would you give me some advice? I know. I know. I'll give the Koigu to you if I have to...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A kind of antidote.

So, I was knitting and knitting on the ubiquitous Y-chromosome-approved hunter green wool boring to knit (but fast) straight-forward Cobblestone Pullover. As you might have read (because my bitterness sometimes seeps out), I had knit the whole thing and it was WAY too big for its intended.

I mean look at this, the first attempt being worn by Obie Boy. Yikes.

It would have fit Poem-Man, the father (pictured right), but not Obie-boy, the son, who is a runner and has no body fat (hence the need for a sweater).

But now I've finished the sweater, but Obie-boy is at pre-semester x-country camp at college, so I'll mail it off with the hope that it fits and keeps him warm. I really shouldn't complain. He's wonderful young man and when I offered (somewhat sheepishly and skeptically) to make him a sweater (I mean, I'm not his mom, after all.), he got kind of excited (well, in his way), saying, "I was jealous of all the the warm-looking hand-knit sweaters that my roommate's Mom had made for him, and now I'll have a sweater." Aww...

Pattern: The ubiquitous Cobblestone.
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, 5.25 skeins
Yarn enabler: Webs,
Needles: Size 5 Knitpicks Harmony Circulars
Time I spent knitting this when I should have been knitting it right: Ok, the first time was from July 26-August 7th. (I knit almost an entire sleeve during Mamma Mia!). The second time took from August 16-August 20. Ok, I didn't really rip the sleeves all the way out and spent a lot of time watching the river and waterfalls from the Brooklyn Promenade.

Anyway, I needed an antidote to all this boringly manly, dark green austerity of a sweater. My girly, summery responses are as follows:

I heart my completed Ravelympics sweater (Go Team SitnKnit NYC!) in a big way, especially considering my initial displeasure with the splitty yarn. I solved the splittiness issue, to some extent, by doubling the yarn, thus allowing for bigger needles, faster knitting, and an entirely different pattern from the project for which it was intended. I basically knit this sweater in between version 1 and version 2 of the Cobblestone.

Ah, I should mention that I totally changed the lace pattern from what is in the pattern since I was going to run into the same problem I whined about before. It is the perfect weight--airy but substantial, soft on the skin. What's not to love about silk and bamboo!

Pattern: Hey, Teach
Yarn: Elann's Soie Bamboo in Voile Pink, about 2.75 cones. April 2008
Needles: Size 5 Knitpicks Harmony Circulars
Time I spent knitting this while shamelessly being moved to tears by the Olympics: 8 Days. (See, it's all about the Chinese love of the number 8--cast on at 8 am on 8.08.08 and finished in 8 days!)

Speaking of "TEACH," my summer vacation ends in Sept when we all go back to school. My endless mornings/days/evenings of knitting will end, so I'm casting on more girly, summery, colorful projects like crazy, see--

Details to follow--probably after I come back from Rehoboth Beach. Yeah, BABY!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I don't know why this keeps happening

a second non-knitting food-related post. I guess it's because I'm trying to eat more intensely. I need to weigh less, but I love food and refuse to give it up or see it as the enemy. Instead, I'm trying to get MORE pleasure from less food with the hope that I will eat fewer calories. I suppose I should eat nothing but poached chicken breasts and celery broth, but that's not how I want to go.

Of course, I am knitting indiscriminately--or fiber-ing indiscriminately--buying, dyeing, knitting, dreaming. It'd be great if I could sublimate all my eating desires towards yarn activities. And then if I could sublimate the food-sublimated-yarn activities to actual physical activities. But let's not get crazy. Wait--does watching Olympics burn calories?

So, a food thing. This is my favorite summer lunch in variations. All include pain au levain from Bread Alone. All include farmers' market tomatoes: heirloom or cherry. Finally, each has ricotta. Sometimes sheep, sometimes cow. Ooh, and the last picture features ripe peach on one. Then a little dash of sea salt, olive oil, or honey as one sees fit.

It does make me happy. So sue me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

We interrupt this knitting blog for...

For an epicurean, slightly-more-mature version of "I've Never..."

I've eaten 72 of the 100 items on this list. Is that why I'm so fat? Or do we call it eclectic and experienced? Five of the 28 things I've not 'eaten' are alcoholic beverages--I'm just not a big drinker so that's no surprise. I'm a little concerned that there are only 4 things I would really consider NOT eating. I guess that how I got to 73. I think some interesting additions to the directions would be to indicate what you would NEVER eat again AND what you yourself have ever made in the kitchen. Also, I've added my personal comments in italics.

Play the game, too and let me know your results!

Here's the official list and directions:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. 4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper I'm just too much of a spicy food wuss.
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar I've had cognac. I just won't smoke a cigar.
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O What's the point of this as an epicurean thing?
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal Again, I'm just too much of a spicy food wuss.
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin I guess I would consider this if someone explained why I should eat clay.
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa This I'm dyin' to try.
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor I always thought this was just too passe to try, but I'd give it a go.
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Because one can't knit ALL the time...

I got a little tired of knitting. I know--call me crazy. Here's the story: I finished a Cobblestone Sweater in about 13 days--just in time to start a new sweater of Ravelympics. Unfortunately, the Cobblestone ended up being two sizes too big, so I ripped it out. You know of course, that means that it could have taken me even LESS time to knit the damn thing in the first place. Argh. So I got tired of knitting--I could not face miles of dark green Cascade 220 superwash stockinette. So sue me.

So instead I went to my new fiber addiction--dyeing yarn. Lookie Lookie!

"Buttered Sunshine" in worsted weight: "Too Blue for Skool" in sockweight:"Last Daffodil" in sockweight:
I've added Arteco Spectrum Gel Food Coloring to my arsenal of Lemon-Lime, Pineapple, Mango, Lemon, Ice Blue Raspberry, and maybe some other flavors of Kool-Aid. I better start to want to know rather than just accumulate self-dyed yarn.

Got any ideas for what to make out of this yarn? Oh--and if I ever do get all my knitting mojo back I could use these that I made this morning in my summer vacation stupor:

But I did cast on for my Ravelympics sweater at 8 am on 8-8-08! And I'm just about done. Not sick of it--I am loving it! Here's a pic for now--more when I am actually all done. I even bought the buttons and everything--

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Thanks to my dumplin'-lovin,"sure-we-can-do-that" sayin, knittin' Asian temptation gal pals Tomo (blogless but charming) and Jane, I was able to make these!

I'm callin' this colorway Summer Fruit. See the peach? It's like the same colors, kinda. Well, with some mango and raspberry influence. My favorite fruits!

These I'm going with Cool Pool as a colorway name. Not that I need colorway names--I doubt I could recreate them or market them!

I love them. The yarns. oh, and Jane and Tomo, too. hee hee...

So, other then Jane and Tomo's guidance and assistance, I was also helped by Knitpicks, smelly-jelly Kool-Aid, and some plain ole food coloring. Have I mentioned that I'm pretty pleased with myself? I had never dyed anything before, but I had a lot of (wet) fun painting these yarns.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What goes around comes around.

I love to knit. No, I REALLY love to knit. And apparently I like to knit the same damn thing--or at least variations on a theme. Or two degrees of separation from each other.

I just finished the Henley perfected in this lavender color with this lace pattern.
Of course, in 2006, I knit a lace shawl in the same dang color. (and dare I say the with the same lace pattern in part of it?)

And now, I'm in the middle of knitting a different lace shawl with the same damn lace stitch in most of the shawl.

Now notice the color of lapis blue of that shawl.

Does that color bear any resemblance to this yarn that I am going to cast on for the Ravelympics (Go Team SitnknitNYC!) for this sweater?
If the February Lady sweater turns out to have the same damn lace stitch in the pattern, I may just take up cross-stitching!

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'm getting nowhere...

I'm knitting and knitting with, I think, not so much to show for it. For example, here's a month of knitting, from here:

to here:
Not much to show for a month, is there? Ah, the vagaries of lace and the patience required. I do love the color and texture of the yarn, though.

Whatever! I did knit a clapotis, two hats, and part of a sweater in that month, too, right? That counts, yes? Oh, ok, here's the sweater:

I'm a big girl--it takes a long time to do a sweater. Mind you, I'm doing the entire body in one piece. Once I'm done here, I'll only have two sleeves before I can put a fork in it!

BUT! My AWOL sock jonz is back! Well sort of--

These I like a lot--the yarn, the fabric, the pattern. I'm so crazy about the yarn, I ordered it in 4 more colors. Stash vow, shma-tash vow. I figure multiple skeins of the same yarn counts as ONE YARN, right? Also, this isn't really a color that appeals to me, but my mother might like it in socks. Her birthday is in two weeks, so I gotta keep crackin' at these. These are, as one might graciously put it, a HOT MESS.

Anybody know what to do with Tofutsies yarn? I thought it would be nice to have less-woolly-intensive socks, and I like the general colors, but it's a unmitigated, variegated disaster! I'm taking suggestions. WILL FROG FOR GOOD SOCKS!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

You can't keep a knitter DOWN!

Ah yes, I have survived Arthroscopic Capsular Release on my left shoulder. It was no fun. I don't like IVs, general anesthesia, hydrocodone, nerve blocks, post-surgical nausea, or, well, surgery. Here's what I did learn about me and my knitting:

1). I can knit with an IV in my right hand. Even though I cried before the nurse put it in because it was the first time I had an IV and was scared out of my mind. I managed to pull myself together and knit while waiting to go into surgery while my husband read to me. (I am relieving you of a picture of it, however.)

2) I can knit with three puncture wounds in my shoulder. (I like to think of them as 'stigmata.' hee hee.) Under those three demure little band-aids, there are three puncture wounds all stitched up.

3) I can knit even though I can't really move my left arm that well--but I knew that BEFORE the surgery. Though I could not knit while the nerve block was still in effect--in fact I couldn't even hold up my arm. Or sit upright since I was still doped up.

4) I WILL KNIT-you just can't keep me DOWN! Even hyped up on hydrocodone or too much Aleve, I can manage an FO in one week!

Pattern: The ubiquitous Clapotis
Yarn: Madil Eden Print--100% Bamboo in "Spring," #037, 6.5 skeins
Yarn enabler: Webs, May 2008--it's a closeout, my friends!
Time I spent knitting this when I should have been laying flat on my back in a pain-killer induced haze: 1 week, May 31-June 7, 2008.
This is my third and, I think, final clapotis for myself. I have one in worsted weight wool/silk that is gigantic. I have another in Wollmeise sock yarn that is a bit small--more a scarf than stole/shawl. Now this one is just the right size and weight for spring and summer!
Knit on through all adversity, baby!

Monday, June 2, 2008

It girlz and boyz

I was tagged by the lovely Shameka for this meme, so you know I'll be coming after you, too!

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

June 1998. I was teaching in a great private school, working on my masters degree, singing a lot professionally, living with my parents in Milwaukee, falling in love with all the wrong men (musicans....), and experiencing generally mild depression. Ya know--some good, some bad.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

Work out (yay--did it!)
Knit (yay-did it and will do again)
Get gas for my car
figure out how to lower my cholesterol without meds
make couscous

3) Snacks I enjoy: Cheetos (crunchy, puffy, paws, twists, baked...any kind), peanut butter, lemony hummus on crackers, Carb Smart fudge bars, popcorn, ice cream, chocolate. (Well, chocolate is a way of life, not a mere 'snack.')

4)Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Endow a music school. Pay-off my immediate families mortages. Buy a great house in New York City, an apt. in Paris, and a house in Maine. Endow UNICEF. Endow some scholarships for children I know who will want to go to college. I'm all about endowments--gifts that keep on giving.

5) Places I have lived: Milwaukee (WI) and its suburbs, Oak Park (IL), Oberlin (OH), Rochester (NY), and Brooklyn (NY), baby!

6) Six people I would like to tag are: Tony, Amy, Eliza, Anne-Marie, Sukyong, and Nicole.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

When there's nothing else I can do...

About a week or so ago, Anna, the 15-month old daughter of my musician-church-singing friends, had what turned out to be a malignant tumor removed from her brain. What can one say, do, or even think about such a thing?

It was bad enough when they told me that Anna had had an MRI. I had just had my first MRI for my shoulder--a loud and clanking, but open, MRI that I pretty much fell asleep in, only to wake when the technician told me the the various short segments were over and that I should move. How does a baby manage to have an MRI on her head?

Then I was told that she had had immediate brain surgery to remove the tumor they found. O God. I can't even imagine. There were stories--she was in ICU. She had pulled her IV out. She cried when anyone came in to futz with her stent. Her father had to hold her down while they took care of stitches. I can't fathom it.

Then the tumor is malignant.

Last Sunday when the priest told us during the service about Anna, our final hymn was "Joyful, Joyful Lord, we adore thee." You know, Beethoven's Ode to Joy--a hymn sung at our wedding. Well, this time, I could not sing it--just cried and processed down the aisle out of the church.

Anna is, thankfully, home now, but is facing monthly chemo treatments.

So, what can I do? Not much other than keeping Anna and her parents in my thoughts and prayers, and well, knit. Knit and hope that these little nothings will bring her and her parents a tiny bit of comfort in the months to come and know that I'm thinking of them.

Pattern: Adorabubble Sun Hat
Yarn: Sirdar Pure Cotton DK--about 90 yards.

Yarn enabler: Knit-a-Way, about 5 years ago.
Needles: Size 4 Knitpicks Harmony Circulars
Time I spent knitting this: a day.

Pattern: Cupcake Baby Hat

Pattern for the Flower: Crochet Picot Flower

Yarn: Sirdar Pure Cotton DK--about 65 yards.
Yarn enabler: Knit-a-Way, about 5 years ago.

Needles: Size 4 Knitpicks Harmony Circulars

Time I spent knitting this: a day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Barrel of secret monkeys!

Look what I got today! Just what I needed to get in the mail on this somewhat difficult day: A spring-y card, some chocolate, and a green package of yarny sock love!

See--my socks from my Sit n' Knit Secret Sock Exchange Knitter:

MONKEYS in a perfectly ewephorically Penelope pinky-plummy-purple!

They fit perfectly and match practically everything I knit. Except I don't think I've ever knit socks in this color. These are socks I didn't even realize I really needed, so thanks, Sukyong!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Merry Janes for Jane!

Yay! Sit n' Knit just completed its Second Annual Secret Sock Exchange. Just look at all the beauties that the creative women of this groups bestowed on each other. Some socks were by newbies, some socks were handspun or hand-dyed or self-designed or some combination of many features and the list goes on. I think many people were as happy to GIVE the socks as to get the socks!

The socks I knit for the lovely Miss Jane went through a series of identity crises, false starts, and finally joy in a new creation (or re-creation).

I knew that Jane had, um, larger-than-my-own feet. So I wanted to go toe-up. I also knew from discussions that she no longer believed in 100% merino for sock yarn, did not like to do cabling on socks, and preferred socks that were stretchy and able to stay on. Ok--toe-up, cables, ribs, and sock yarn with somethin' in it for strength.

I found the Big Basin socks from the Six Socks Knitalong group while searching with these tags on the much beloved Ravelry site. But the socks seemed somehow too tame and safe to knit for someone with as much knitting chutzpah as both Jane and I have! So I did what I am beginning to love to do--make-up a pattern using someone else's work as a starting point. Is that stealing? Anyway, the Rebecca A. who designed the Big Basin socks also recognizes Cat Bordhi's influence on the sock design, so there ya go.

Pattern: Merry Janes (based on the Big Basin socks)
Yarn: Fleece Artist Sea Wool in "Rose Garden"
Yarn enabler:
Needles: Size 1 Knitpicks Harmony Circulars--two socks at time, donchaknow.
Time I spent hiding this knitting from everyone: One month--March 25th to April 24th.

Uh, fly in the ointment? While Jane does have Size 10 feet, I made socks big enough to fit an WNBA player and needed to for them to be shorter so that they would fit properly. I knew that I had been overly generous in sizing them when I had completed the heel flap and started on the leg, but I didn't want to do anything until I saw the socks on Jane's feet. Yup--too big. That was not going to do.

So- here's the process of shortening completed socks--laid out in medical terms (kinda) in honor of Jane's acceptance into med school. Go Dr. Merry Jane! Thanks for the encouragement/guidance in fixing them this way, Erin!

Sock in pre-op--putting in the row off stitches where the new toe will start.

First incision into the sock--snipping one stitch and then unraveling one line of stitches.

Sock toe amputation complete--sock toe separated, but rest of sock still intact!

New toe knitted on and ready for suturing!

Healthy, thriving, post-op socks! Yay!