Asian flower power

1. Front of the HPM 2. Trekking sock at the movies 3. Triad Election 4. Back of the HPM

Hot Pink Mitten is adapted from Folk Mittens. Yarn is Patons wool. More info to come when HPM is actually finished.

The Flower: This was the weekend for cherry blossom extravaganzas everywhere. My neighborhood actually boasts many cherry trees, and so the Hot Pink Mitten was able to visit local cherry blossoms (in pink and white), without hiking out to Brooklyn’s sakura madness. I have gone to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden cherry tree festivities* in past years, though, and it is pretty fun.

The Power: Meanwhile, the traveling sock went to watch the Hong Kong gangster movies Triad and Triad Election, at Film Forum.**

I’ve tried knitting while watching movies, but it’s generally too dark, and I tend to drop stitches. Also, Film Forum is one of those movie theaters filled with intense movie-goers–Steven Spielberg once sat a few rows behind me–who I think might kill me if I dared to knit during the movie. I knit a little while I was waiting, though, since Film Forum’s cinemaniac population requires an early arrival time in order to guarantee a decent seat.

* Yarn-related links: Cherry blossom yarn and a Hanami shawl pattern (the latter via Mason-Dixon knitting).

** Here’s a list of Hong Kong yarn stores in English, in case watching movies about the dark and seedy underworld inspires you to buy yarn in HK.

Little Purl of the Orient is an HK-based blogger who gives a glimpse of Hong Kong in between her knitting. She’s mainly about the knitting, but it’s neat to see a little bit of the city in some of her posts.

Posted in Mittens, travelingproject, Uncategorized at April 29th, 2007.

traveling sock with magnolias

Every spring, I am re-amazed at pink magnolia trees. I wish I knew more about plants, so I could tell you the correct latin name of different magnolias species, but alas, my magnolia knowledge is limited. What I do know is that in San Francisco, where I grew up, we have magnolias, but the leaves come first, and then, on each tree every month or so, you might get one, and if you’re lucky, maybe two, handsome, giant white magnolias. (According to Wikipedia, these kinds of magnolias–leaves first, flowers second–are known as the Magnolia subgenus Magnolia.) They’re magnificent, but kind of snooty. Like, here, aren’t we perfect? Here’s our one giant flower. Appreciate it, fool.

The first year I lived in New York, I remember being stunned by the pink magnolia trees at school. San Francisco, due to our mild climate and a city-wide pride in ecological gardening, really does not put on a good flower show in the spring. (Drought-resistant shubbery, yes.) The penninsula does, I know, export roses and gardenias, but the city is too cold for those to flourish. But when I saw that first pink magnolia tree, surrounded by daffodils in the quad, I felt a mad crazy love for New York. I didn’t even know such a frilly, fancy, all-flower-and-no-leaf tree could even exist, and it made me feel so happy to be living in the city. (Magnolias that display flowers first, leaves second, are Magnolia subgenus Yulania, or so says Wikipedia.)

traveling sock among the magnolias

I’ve lived in New York for over ten years, and every spring, I am still filled with amazement at the pink magnolia trees. It’s like nature puked up the chicest, girliest plant ever. (I like cherry, dogwood, and pear trees too, but the pink magnolias are the bestest.)

Traveling sock among daffodils
(These flower photos were taken outside of the Central Park Zoo. Some BSC fans might remember the Central Park zoo as a crucial setting for BSC # 18. It is disturbing how much I have retained from the BSC.)

*I started feeling bad about calling the Ugly Sock the Ugly Sock. Not that it has feelings, but I have decided to call it by its given name, Spring Sock, rather than its unfortunate nickname, Ugly Sock.

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at April 24th, 2007.


My grandparents in the early 1970s, in front of their house.

A few months ago, when my grandmother and I were celebrating our birthdays together–we share both the same zodiac sign in both the Western and Eastern astrology lore (thus leading to distrubingly similar personalities, known to our loved ones as a special ability to complain and nag)–I was threatening to knit her a hat.

At the time, my grandmother was all “No! Why would I want a hat? I know how to knit [At this point, my grandmother went on a long speech about her knitting prowess and her ability to knit multi-colored flowers around yokes or something. Apparently age does not dimish one’s pride in having managed to vanquish fair isle.] and I have a million hats!” So, I said, fine, and proceeded to cross her off my list of potential knitting victims.

Then, this week, I was having dinner with the grandmother, and she said that she bought me a skein of yarn so I could knit her a hat, one “with ear flaps! Like the one you made your sister!” (She means this scarf-helmet, without the scarf.)

I said, “Grandmother, what about your own knitting ability?* What about your claim that you have millions of hats?”

She said, “But I want to try a hat that you made! And test out your skills! And see if it’s wearable!”

(*My grandmother’s hobby of choice is actually gardening, not knitting. A couple of years ago, she grew this huge squash that she was really into. You would go over to her house, and she would say, “Come into my garage! Look at my giant squash!” )

So I said okay. The funny thing is that back when I was thinking about knitting her something for her birthday, I was thinking to myself, “Hmm…what does my grandmother like?” And the conclusion I came to was that my grandmother likes things that are (a) brown (the color of everything in her wardrobe) (b) furry and (c) plastic (the woman laminated her carpet). Here is the yarn my grandmother bought for her hat:

Yarn for G'ma's Hat

If you refer to the photo at the top of this post, you will see that my grandmother is wearing a hat that is brown, furry, and made of some kind of synthetic material. She has a love of dead-teddy-bear garments that will never end.

Posted in Uncategorized at April 22nd, 2007.

Traveling Sock at Coney Island

Knitting in front of the Coney Island MTA station sign.

In an attempt to liven up my blog, I came up with a new and exciting feature. Get ready, You Three Readers! In a totally original concept*, I will bring my current knitting projects around New York City and show it visiting exciting areas!

*In fact, so completely original, that Slate wrote an entire article about the lameness of the traveling gnome concept here. There is, of course, Yarn Harlot’s traveling sock, and if you have ever gone on vacation to any major city, you have probably seen a fellow tourist photographing their teddy bear/gnome/sock in front of a famous monument.

Traveling Sock at Coney Island

In today’s fascinating installment, the ugly sock goes to visit Coney Island in the pouring rain during a nor’easter. Coney Island is beautiful in inclement weather, though it also tends to make me whine. A lot. We went in the snow a few years ago, and it was really amazingly beautiful.

You should go this year though, because they are tearing down Astroland and building condos.

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at April 15th, 2007.

Odessa Hat

Pattern: Odessa hat from Grumperina

Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft Aran from Purl Soho, 1 skein plus just a little of the second skein. Color is foxglove. Each skein was $9.50. If you use the aran weight, you do need the second skein, but only barely.

Needles: 16 inches circular in size 4 and size 6 DPNs. The brand that is made of colored metal–um, Susan Bates, I think?

Modifications: I made this out of the aran weight instead of the DK. I also knit the ribbing for 2 inches instead of 1 inches, a la Brooklyn Tweed. I cast on 90 stitches and started decreasing at 5 inches instead of 5.5 inches.

Notes: This is a very elegantly written pattern. Every part of it makes sense. However, if you are knitting-challenged like me, it will turn out to be way harder to knit than it should be.

First of all, I wanted to make it out of a thicker yarn so it would be more manly, like the one made by Brooklyn Tweed. But since the yarn was heavier, how would this change my gauge? I decided to ask The Internets, and I emailed Mr. Brooklyn Tweed himself, Lickety Knit (who also made an aran weight Odessa), and Grumperina for help. The internet, allowing you to hassle people you’ve never met.

Anyway, Brooklyn Tweed gave me some helpful advice about knitting Odessa for a man’s head, Lickety Knit kindly contributed the advice that she had cast on 90 stitches instead of 110, and Grumperina also offered up her own head measurements for help.

Then I cast on three times. Like Goldilocks, I was convinced it was too big and then too small and finally just right. Then accidentally made the diagonal ribs flow out of the purl part of the ribbing instead of the knit part. And then I got confused during the decreases.

Anyway, I think it finally ended up working well. Adam likes to wear it like a Smurf hat instead of pulled down over his ears for some reason.

Odessa Hat

I make poor Adam crouch down on the sidewalk so I can take a photo of the swirling top.

Odessa Hat's tag

The tag inside the top.

Posted in Finished Objects 2007, Hats, Uncategorized at April 15th, 2007.

Look! Adam gave me an unexpected gift this week:

New York Minknit Labels 

They’re from I love the colors he picked, the brown on blue.

(It was drizzling when we took the photo, hence the splotches of rain.)

Also, Adam, who was referred to by his friend as “a Scientologist with Flickr,” has finally convinced me about the wonders of Flickr. I’ve joined some groups, and I’ve found a lot of inspirational photos. Here are some great things that I’ve seen: (Click on the links to see the flickr photos)

(1) It turns out that the cable in Log Cabin Socks are also available as something called Boyfriend Socks, and the pattern is available on 

(2) These sweet mittens from

(3) A beautiful knit/crochet nightgown, from

(4) A totally chic version of the Baby Surprise jacket here made by The Daily Purl.

Posted in Uncategorized at April 6th, 2007.

Taxes. Blegh.

Tax on yarn? Who knows the correct answer? Tien commented on this flickr photo that there were two taxes, which I didn’t even notice when I bought the yarn.

Adam was hypothesizing that yarn is taxed at half the rate since it has the potential to be clothing (generally untaxed under $110 in New York), but still has to be somewhat taxed since it is not yet clothing. (That sounded like a summary of a Greek philosopher or something. “It has the potential to be clothing, but it has not yet realized its potential.”) But recently, I went to Purl to buy yarn for Adam’s b-day hat* and noticed they charged no tax.

What was up? As tax season draws to its horrible end, I thought I would do some research. And here, my lovelies, is the answer, courtesey of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance:

“Beginning April 1, 2006, there will be a year-round exemption from New York State sales and use taxes for clothing, footwear, and items used to make or repair exempt clothing, costing less than $110 per item or pair. The exemption does not apply to locally imposed sales and use taxes unless the county or city imposing those taxes elected the exemption.”

If you click through to the whole document, there is a great deal of fascinating wording** like, “The exemption applies only to clothing and footwear worn by humans.” Though they go on to specifically list yarn as one of the items considered exempt under this law, I’m not sure what would happen if you were to announce loudly while buying your yarn that it was to make a sweater for your dog. Perhaps they would then have to tax you.

Under their FAQs, they also answer a craft-related question:

  I plan to purchase a single piece of fabric that will cost more than $110. I will use the fabric to make several items of eligible clothing that will each have a value of less than $110. Can the fabric be purchased exempt from tax?
  No. A single piece of fabric that costs $110 or more is subject to both State and local taxes. However, if the fabric were purchased in multiple yardage pieces, each costing less than $110, the purchases would be exempt from the state tax and the local tax if the locality has elected the exemption.

So, Ithaca must have a local 4% tax that was applied to both items, and the additional sales tax was added on to the needles.

* I have added new projects to my sidebar progress bars.

** AKA why CPAs, actuaries, and tax lawyers get paid the big bucks.

Oh, and how is the yarn that started it all coming along? See here:

Spring Sock

Kind of ugly. Yet spring-y. Hence its new name: Spring Socks. Also, because it looks like an Easter Egg.

By the way, when I bought this yarn, Adam said, “Oh, is that self-patterning?” And I was like “No, it’s just multi-colored.” But he turned out to be right.

Posted in the Business, Uncategorized at April 2nd, 2007.