Shawl
Pattern: Hamamelis Shawl, by Kristin Kapur, of Through the Loops. $6.00

Yarn: Sundara Fingerling Silky Merino, color: The Life Aquatic. This is from a Seasons subscription that I had in 2008-2009. Sundara is kind of a crazy cult yarn that is hard to get–Seasons was a thing where you paid her every month and then every other month you received a batch of yarn. You didn’t get to pick the colors, only a “season” of colors (I had winter). Anyway, you can get skeins of it from her website. It currently runs $40-$50 a skein. The website says you get 500 yards, but I think its significantly more. I had quite a bit left over.

Needles: Size 5 Lace Addis.

Project begun/ended: April 2010-October 2010. Only seven months. ūüôā

Shawl
Notes and modifications: I knit the medium size, and then I knit 40 rows of the garter stitch chart (chart 3) instead of 24. I was going to knit 48, but I ran out of steam. So it’s somewhere between a medium and a large. It’s a straightforward pattern though it’s not very intuitive.

This yarn is billed as a semi-solid, but mine was pretty variegated, so I wanted something with a lot of garter stitch that didn’t compete too heavily with the colors.
shawl

I don’t think anyone ever wears their shawl like this, but it seems to be required to show you the full knitting and shape. My body looks weirdly out of proportion here but I think it has to do with the angle at which it was shot.

Shawl

I like to wear my triangle shawls like this, so it’s more scarf-y and less old lady.

Posted in Finished Objects 2010, Shawls, Uncategorized at October 15th, 2010.

You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging recently. It sort of came up because Adam asked me why I hadn’t applied to be a Weddingbee blogger even though I read it ALL the time. (Even, I must admit, after I was married.) A small part of it was because I am a writer for money (though not here on my self-funded, three-reader blog) and I didn’t feel I wanted to write for a commercial website for no pay. The bigger part is that I am a huge oversharer in real life. I like to overshare about everything–even if I just met you at a dinner party, I am soon telling you about all of my life problems. But the internet is not the place for that–it’s a place for undersharing. However, what I think makes a blog interesting is when people are really personal. But how can you do that without oversharing?

I started a knitting blog so I could share my projects, but Ravelry has really efficiently created a way of sharing knitting information that surpasses individual blogs and Facebook seems to have replaced personal blogs in general. I have always read blogs on Bloglines, but now Bloglines is closing down and it makes me have to re-evaluate the role of blogs. I enjoy having a place to blab about what I want, but I wonder if blogs are still the best way of doing so. Sigh.

Anyway. Here is the shawl so far. I am SO over knitting it and want to knit many other things, but I must finish this shawl first, otherwise it will sit around taunting me:

Shawl

Let’s see, what else do I normally blab about. Um, books. I finally finished a rather short but very bleak non-fiction book The Oysters of Locmariaquer, which I wanted to read after my Brittany all-oysters-all-the-time honeymoon. This book was the winner of the National Book Award in 1965. In addition to being a fairly comprehensive history of oysters in France, it tells the story of the oysterpeople in Locmariaquer. Every tale was incredibly bleak. In addition to working all the time and making very little money off an unstable business (oysters), the oysterpeople had these terrible life stories, many of which seemed to involve your only and beloved daughter being beaten in an oyster restaurant before committing suicide with just…one…oyster to eat. I think this book was hard to read because every chapter seemed filled with even more bleakness. But the prose is beautiful and often funny, plus I learned a lot about oysters.

Foooood. Here are some food photos, since this has now become a housewife blog:
Rice-Cooker Cooking

I made this in the rice cooker after reading Roger Ebert’s book The Pot and How to Use It. Let me save you your money and point out that there is no need to buy this book. Adam got it from work for free, but it is basically this entire blog post on Roger Ebert’s blog published in book form. But funny and informative. Roger Ebert turns out to be hilarious and enjoys cooking everything in a rice cooker. You are not going to get a Michelin star from anything made in a rice cooker, but it will be edible and fairly easy to make. This is the Jubilee rice from Lundberg that I am a fan of, cooked with Imagine chicken broth, and reconstituted shiitake mushrooms (pour boiling hot water over dried mushrooms and soak for at least an hour), edamame, tofu, spinach. Plus Penzey’s spices, which I now throw into everything.
Banana Bread

Banana bread from Cook’s Illustrated, I think the September issue. Yummy. Wait, I think I might have to get a slice now.

Posted in cooking, Shawls, Uncategorized at October 8th, 2010.

Shawl at MoMA

So I’ve been knitting on this shawl since, well, since before the blog went on its hiatus. I had big plans to finish it before my honeymoon, so I could prance around France with it, but nope, never finished it. Then I brought it ON my honeymoon, thinking I could knit all my memories into every stitch. Yeah. I actually became totally sucked into watching all these episodes of “The Good Wife” on the plane ride over (and back) and just enjoyed life on the TGV train rides, so I knit exactly zero stitches on my honeymoon, which is fine too. (Above, I am knitting on it in the Museum of Modern Art’s garden early this summer when we went to see Marina Abramovic. Also, someone next to us was using his iPad as a phone and holding up this GIANT pad next to his ear. I was laughing at him, but then he gave us a dollar that I dropped so then I felt bad for mocking him.)

I think there was a little bit of a life pun in that I started watching this after I got married, but actually I am really into the show. I think this show is really well directed–I totally recommend it even though no one seems to care when I recommend it in person. It’s not just me! Critics love it too!

Here’s my random long aside about “The Good Wife.” The premise obviously started with the Elliott Spitzer marriage; Julianna Margulies is “The Good Wife” (or Silda Spitzer) and Mr. Big, aka Chris Noth, is the Attorney General husband who had to step down because he slept with a prostitute. Anyway, it’s pretty successful in being two things at once. First, every episode is a mini-Law and Order, because Alicia Florrick (Juliana Margulies) had to go back to work as a junior lawyer after her husband went to jail, so every episode has a mini plot arc about the case she’s working on. She has a smart (but fierce, you know how it is) sidekick, who is the investigator at the law firm, and a rival in Logan Huntzberger. I do not know what this actor’s name in real life or on the show is, but he played Logan Huntzberger on Gilmore Girls (and Lyla’s obnoxious super-Christian boyfriend on Friday Night Lights), so Logan it is. Plus there’s the boss who happens to be an old flame, another boss who is Christine Baranski, who is kind of hilarious in everything, but plays the tough lady boss here. That’s the work story. Then there’s also a season-long arc, which is about her relationship with Chris Noth and her mother-in-law and her kids, who are always getting involved in trying to protect their dad from the Chicago machine, which is trying to take him down.

First of all, the acting is solid. You believe Chris Noth, since he’s basically playing the same person he always plays–slimy, but charming dude. More believable than the real-life Elliot Spitzer, actually. Julianna Margulies is compelling and all the side characters are good. Secondly, the directing is good–there are a lot of little touches that are nice–they do a lot of the cutting back and forth on scenes that was pioneered in The Graduate. I tried to explain this to Adam yesterday, but actually, I learned it all from this interview with Ron Howard in the Times, so just read that to get what I mean. But there are other things too–the photos that the Chicago machine sends to intimidate the family are riffs on the photos of Marion Barry smoking crack, back in the day, but with Chris Noth in the photos instead.

It’s not *groundbreaking* or the best tv you’ve ever seen or anything, but overall, it’s really very well done. And randomly produced by Ridley Scott. There’s my fall TV suggestion for you.

Posted in Shawls, Uncategorized at September 8th, 2010.

Stripe Shawl

Pattern: Silk kerchief, by Kate Osborn, of Zeitgeist Yarns

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden sock, 1 ball 269 (from the now-defunct Point) and 1 ball 245 (from Knit Therapy, in Park Slope, Brooklyn). (These are the colors that Kate used in her original version. I’m a follower, what can I say. Also worth noting that the ball from The Point’s original price was a good $3 more expensive that the one from Knit Therapy–though I bought it at 30% off.)

Needles: Um, I forgot–either a size 4 or a size 5 Addi Turbo lace.

Project started/finished: I started this in California, in the beginning of April and finished on May 23, so about two months.

Stripe Shawl

Modifications: Since I used the same colors as Kate, I can’t really say I made any significant modifications. I used a bigger needle to make it a little bigger, and I used up both skeins to make it a bigger size. This is really a beautiful project and super easy to make–perfect for hospital waiting rooms and the subway. If I didn’t already have a huge stash of other yarn, I would buy a whole bunch more of Noro sock and make more. (Or a sweater with a similar garter stripe pattern.) Even Adam said that it was one of the cooler knit projects I had made.

Stripe Shawl

Photo shoot notes: These are taken at the Bronx Zoo. This August, I will have lived in New York (on and off) for thirteen years, and somehow I had never been to the zoo. Anyway, it was nice, though it was a bit more like a giant park than a zoo–I only ended up seeing one tiger and some penguins. (Also, I didn’t miraculously start doing sit-ups, Adam just reminded me to suck in my belly when he was taking the photos!)

Recently I was at a party, and I was making fun of someone I had just met (I know, I’m so polite) because he had never heard of Hot and Crusty (it’s a chain of bakeries on the Upper East Side here), and I was like, “Are you not a New Yorker?” He didn’t seem particularly offended, and he said, “Well, I’ve lived here two years, and I guess they say ten years makes you a New Yorker, right?” I stopped, and I was kind of surprised to hear that. When I’m not in New York and people ask me where I’m from, I still generally say California, but when this guy said this, I realized that I’ve lived here almost thirteen years, which is 42% of my life–and 100% of my adult life. I like to joke about being old, but sometimes I come across a milestone, and I think wow, maybe I AM old. I went drinking at 1020, a college dive bar (that we used to actually drink at during college) with a friend for her birthday, and I was like, seriously? We used to drink here ten years ago? How can that be? But it did feel like a long time ago (even though they were still playing The Cure, just like when I was in college). I guess this time of year–graduation, prom, the start of summer–always makes me nostalgic, even for things that I don’t have particularly John Hughes-esque memories of. It’s like the movies implanted fake memories onto my own real life. (Though I do remember drinking at 1020 the night before my college graduation–a mix of champagne at parties and white russians at the bar–so I guess this week was weirdly reminiscent of my own actual past.)

Happy Memorial Day and cheers to the start of summer.

Posted in Finished Objects 2009, Shawls, Uncategorized at May 25th, 2009.

IMG_7776

I know some people knit stuff and then never wear their finished objects, but I actually do wear most of mine a lot. I thought I would include a shot of something I made ¬†in action, so you can see how I actually wear stuff, not just when they’re styled for the blog, which tends to focus on the knitting, rather than how it looks in real life. This is the Burgundy Bat Shawl from last year. I mainly kept it at the office as an in-between layer for the mysterious heat/air-conditioning battles, but now that I’m freelance, I’m trying to incorporate it more into my daily wardrobe.¬†

This was the weekend of street fairs–the official sign of the start of New York’s summer season. On Saturday, we walked up from 53rd to 82nd St., with a street fair along the way. Today, on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, it was the exact same street fair, including the same ShamWow guy. One year, I bought this really cool chopping gadget–you put all your vegetables into a bowl, you spun the handle, and voila, all your vegetables were chopped! I haven’t seen that item at a street fair for a while though. Yesterday and today I only saw the usual meat-on-a-stick and strange undergarments.
IMG_7714

I also knit through an afternoon showing of Star Trek, which I enjoyed, even though I had never seen a single episode of any of the television shows or movies (a fact that horrifies Adam). I totally didn’t recognize Winona Ryder as Spock’s mom:

winona1

This scene, by the way, is not in the movie–but I think Spock’s mom is clutching something knit, with many many bobbles on it. I will say that there was a scene where Spock (the old Spock, not the younger Spock) had this awesome jacket that had a really neat hood that snapped around his neck and face that I wanted to copy. Anyway, knit long and prosper.

Posted in Shawls, travelingproject, Uncategorized at May 17th, 2009.

wisteria

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much we, as bloggers, share on the internet about our personal lives. I like to steer toward less info about my personal life and more about knitting, but I wonder if it’s weird NOT to share about our personal lives occasionally. I know that I was really saddened to hear about the passing of Kay’s husband over at Mason-Dixon Knitting. I have never met Kay, I just read her blog, but I was glad that she and Ann told their readers. Reading a blog makes you feel connected to the blog’s writer, even if you don’t actually know them.

So, in the spirit of a bit more sharing, I’m back in New York, as I mentioned. My dad has been diagnosed with sclerosing mesenteritis, an extremely rare disease–about 300 people have ever had it in the recorded history of modern medicine–and he started taking some medicine to treat it, and we are hoping that it will be helpful. As far as work goes, I’m going to be working on a demanding freelance project next week, so we’ll see how that goes. And in other news, I also went to the new Citi Field to watch the Mets play (they lost to the Marlins, 2-3) and ate a Shake Shack burger.

In yarn news, The Point closed this week. I stopped by and picked up a few balls of yarn, and it was filled with knitting mourners. The Point is the fourth knitting store to close this year, after Yarn Connection, Stitches East, and Knit New York. It’s probably a sign of the economy that weaker stores are struggling or leery of making new lease commitments. People often ask me about my favorite yarn stores and I am hoping that those three will survive the downturn: Purl, Knitty City, and Downtown Yarns. I think Purl and Knitty City are pretty safe–Purl has kind of a unique upscale niche going, and Knitty City has a huge selection (and a huge staff), and they both seem to always be hosting lots of events. Downtown Yarns is a bit more vulnerable I think, and I hope it will survive because I really like their staff, yarn selection, and vibe.

As for the photos, Adam and I went to the cherry blossom festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (which was strangely overrun by cosplay fans–it seemed to be part of the festival), and checked out all the flowers.

Sakura Matsuri

Posted in personal, Shawls, travelingproject, Uncategorized at May 2nd, 2009.

My dad was at the hospital yesterday for exploratory surgery ¬†(they’re still not sure what disease is causing his tumors), so I ended up spending a lot of time at San Francisco’s Japantown, wandering the dollar stores and eating udon. (Japantown is a few blocks away from the hospital.) And of course, going to Kinokuniya. New York also has a Kinokuniya (a chain of Japanese bookstores), but for some reason, the San Francisco one has a much better selection of craft books than the New York one. I got there about half an hour before closing, so I only had a chance to paw through about half of the knitting/crochet selection, but I did buy this book, which I had first seen (and coveted) on Little Purl of the Orient’s blog (click through for more photos of the inside):

Japanese knitting book

Last year, I took a class at Knitty City, on the Upper West Side, about how to read Japanese knitting patterns, but there’s a chance the book will end up being more of an inspiration, than line-by-line instructions for me. By the way, I noticed the prices here were significantly lower than the prices at Lacis, so if you’re interested in Japanese crafting books, this is the place to go.¬†

Noro shawlette and cherry blossoms

It’s also cherry blossom festival time at Japantown (and around the country, I assume), so here’s a shot of the shawlette ¬†in front of the cherry trees.

Posted in Printed Matter, Shawls, travelingproject, Uncategorized at April 15th, 2009.

The Cloisters shawl

Pattern: Japanese feather and fan shawl from Izzy’s Knitting. This stitch pattern is super-popular, and is also featured in the Baltic Sea Stole and Japanese Feather Stole.

Yarn: Most of two skeins of Fleece Artist Merino Sock, $24 each , from Knitty City, thanks to a gift from Sarah and her mom. Thanks Sarah and Sarah’s Mom! Their¬†gift certificate has ended up being turned into two shawls, the Ella Shawl and this one.

Needles: Lace Addis, size 5

Project began/ended: Started April 28, finished July 11, or a little over two months.

The Cloisters shawl

Notes and Modifications: I was a little worried about how the variegated yarn was going to turn out, and probably, if I could turn back time, (to quote Cher), I would have picked a semi-solid. I even contemplated overdying the whole project, but once it was blocked out, I think it was fine. An interesting experiment–and it definitely turned out better than I had expected when it was on the needles.

The Cloisters shawl

I knit the pattern exactly as written. It’s pretty clear, though lacking in direction. If you haven’t figured it out, you knit as written on the chart to the end (from right to left), knit the middle stitch as indicated, then knit back from left to right for the other half of the stitches, reversing the directions of the decreases (replacing the SSK with K2TOG and vice versa). My edging didn’t really feather and fan, but no one else’s on Ravelry’s seemed to either.

Click through after the jump to see more photos.

Read More…

Posted in Finished Objects 2008, lace, Shawls, Uncategorized at July 15th, 2008.

Modern Art Shawl 

I’m a little worried I might have a stinker on my hands. When I bought the yarn, I was hestiating at Knitty City between a lace-weight¬†Dream in Color in a wine color and this vareigated Fleece Artist yarn. The Dream in Color yarn was actually cheaper, yardage-wise, and a semi-solid. I had actually planned to buy a solid or a semi-solid color. But buoyed by the success of my other vareigated shawl, and lured by the splotches of hot pink in the Fleece Artist skeins, I bought the variegated. I fear that it may¬†turn out looking like a ground-up Rainbow Brite doll, but even so,¬†I’m going to wear it around, because it’s taken quite a lot of work to knit. Plus, I hate ripping.

Knitting Skull 

My boss found this shirt in a package of stuff sent to our office last year and dropped it off at my desk, and now that it’s finally hot, I can wear it. It says “Needle Dudes.”

On another note, Adam and I were talking about how local yarn stores can compete with the internet, and he wondered if they had tried teaching¬†knitting in schools, to breed future customers. I started laughing because I had recently read a David Sedaris article where he talked about visiting tobacco factories as a school field trip (complete with free cigarettes), and I remembered that a friend (and occasional commenter) had mentioned going to the local bread factory as a child. I don’t think we went to anything as¬†super-branded as a tobacco factory¬†as a field trip when I was kid (though I do remember visiting some television show which starred someone from Laugh-In, which was way before our time, and thus, not very impressive). It seems¬†a bit¬†intense¬†to try to sell yarn (or tobacco) to kids through school, though I do remember during a crochet phase in my youth, sending away for some sort of yarn newsletter that came with sample cards on their newest yarn. (I have no idea how I found this company or their address, since this was years before the internet, though I suspect it may have been through this book I had, which had the¬†addresses of many weird clubs kids could write to and ask for membership. I remember being particularly taken with the idea of joining a sugar-packet collectors club, which speaks highly of my coolness factor in elementary school.) We had a sewing class in junior high, which required buying fabric, and I know many Waldorf schools teach their students to knit, so maybe knitting in the schools is a good way to create future customers.

 

 

Posted in Shawls, Uncategorized at May 27th, 2008.

New Shawl  

Did you know that part of the Berlin Wall (above) is in New York? Who knew? It’s hidden away in Midtown, near the Museum of Modern Art. Anyhow, I have a total dearth of exciting knit-blogging fodder, or¬†exciting life-blogging fodder. (Not that my normal posts are SO exciting, but anyway.)

I’m knitting another shawl, out of variegated yarn. I realize that these are weird and possibly ugly, and the fact¬†that I spend the majority of my free time and disposable income on crazy colored yarns to knit potentially ugly accessories, is, perhaps, a bad direction for my life.¬†This could, if my life was a novel, or some kind of¬†art project, be kind of tragic, and a metaphor for modern American life or something.

By the way, in my boring life, I’ve recently went to this year’s Whitney Biennial,¬†and it was so crappy. (Beyond the low quality of the art, there was a really low level of craftsmanship to the work.) Plus, a whole bunch of the explanations seemed, um, bullshitty. So maybe I will try to justify my craft projects with similar explanations: “New York Minknit’s work¬†posits the question of how chance and gender interact in modern life. By using variegated yarn, the artist is showing the randomness of choice, and interprets the concept¬†for the fiber arts.¬†Shawls have traditionally been worn by older women, many of whom have been forgotten by modern society, and by crafting shawls using traditional needle-work, she reinvents the¬†definition of third-wave feminism.”

Or maybe I just love ugly shawls. 

Posted in Shawls, travelingproject, Uncategorized at May 11th, 2008.