sock at the beach

We came back from our annual trip to the Jersey Shore yesterday and it rained (a lot), but fortunately, not for the whole time. I turned the heel on the sock on the bus going down to the shore, and on one of the first days of downpour, we went bowling (photo 1). We did walk along the beach (photo 2) and bike ride, but we didn’t lounge on the beach, because it was basically mud. It was kind of a San Francisco-esque beach experience, one might say. We also went on the boardwalk, where this somewhat odd paintball shooting booth is a strange Rorschach test for the American psyche–in the past it has had “Shoot the terrorist” as a come-on for passersby, and this year, I think it had a mannequin of Dick Cheney (?). I’m not totally sure this is Dick Cheney, and I’m not sure I understand what his role is as advertising–is he a possible paintball shooter or a possible paintball shooter target? It was all strangely unclear to me.

We also went to a Ye Olde Time village called Cold Spring, (picture 4) which had various people in olde time clothing chatting about spinning (!), printing, farming, etc. I have to say that some of the people who worked there, were, ahem, a bit curmudgeonly, which led me to the belief that in Ye Olden Times, everyone was a grouch. We did love the printing guy though–he was cheerful and had a lot of interesting info, and showed us how to set lead type. Due to either an emphasis on colonial times in elementary school or my own personal interest in crafts, I think I actually knew a lot of the rather vague information dispensed at the village. Also, I think many of the skills demonstrated at the village are still being used today, which made the whole Ye Olden vibe a bit false. (That might be the point, I’m not sure–you know, living history and all.) When I was a kid, my dad used to occasionally take me to watch the Chinese newspaper being typeset, which, at the time, was still set using lead type, like in Ye Olden Times, and I took Intaglio in college, so I was familiar with the basics of the press. Adam even has a small press at home that he occasionally letterpresses with, so though that was definitely the most interesting stop in the village, it was not so novel. The “handicrafts” stop, was, obviously, a process (knitting!) familiar to me. The woodshop was run by a somewhat suspect tour guide, a young man whose thumb was wrapped in a giant bandage, which made Adam and I wonder if he really had any skills. My high school actually required wood shop, metal shop, and machine shop, as classes, and though I was pretty bad at all of the shop classes, even I could tell that our guide (a) had no chisel skills and (b) seemed a little anxious around a pedal-powered scroll saw. We will not speak of the tinmaker.

I think I might also have a rather large store of vague Ye Olde Time knowledge from a devoted reading of the Little House on the Prairie series (1870s-ish), The Great Brain series (end of the 19th century), and All of Kind Family series (1910s) as a kid. Visiting Cold Spring further convinced me that I would have hated life as a Ye Olde farmer, and would have rather made it as a city person, if possible. (I think in The Great Brain, the narrator’s dad was a newspaper editor/printer, and I have no idea what the parents did in All of a Kind Family, but at least the kids got to go roller skating and ice cream eating, whereas Little House on the Prairie was all crow-chasing and lard-hoarding. Lizzie Skurnick over at Jezebel, with her hilarious Fine Lines series, describes the Little House books as “frontier porn for the underaged.”) Adam was all, “Well, you could have knit all the time,” but I pointed out that it wouldn’t have been a fun hobby, but instead a horrible toil, where I would have been forced to knit socks for my many many children and husband non-stop as I stirred my lard soap day in and day out or something. Or hoped to scrape by with bits of gristle as a crotchety old spinster. (I recently read an Edith Wharton short story where a couple men were mourning a great beauty who had grown aged and grey in her dottage, and then I came across the shocking line that said something like, “At 32, her best days were far behind her,” and I was like, whoa, clearly I would have been put out to pasture in some old knitting hut in Ye Olden Times, since I am SO OLD.)

Anyway, back to the sock.
sock at cape may

Pattern: Monkey, by Cookie A., in Knitty

Yarn: Toe Jamz, by Happy Hands, from Just 4 Ewe in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Color: Secret Garden. Price: $22. Each skein has a TON of yardage–450 yards. I had a lot left over. Enough to make a third sock, probably. Maybe even a second pair.

Needles: Size 0 9″ Hiya Hiya, and regular size 0 DPNs from Susan Batees for casting on, the heel, and the toe.

Project started/finished: March 9, finished June 25–so three months, since I had second sock syndrome for about a month in the middle there.
sock at the beach

Modifications: Well, I knit these on a tiny circular needle, and I did a different cuff (regular ribbing instead of twisted ribbing), heel (short-row instead of flap), and toe (round instead of standard), but the body of the sock is the same. Since the ENTIRE online knitting community has knit these socks, I don’t really need to say a lot about the pattern except that it’s fun! And easy to memorize!

Photo shoot notes: The completed socks were shot in Cape May, NJ, in front of a WWII fire tower and on the beach.

Posted in Finished Objects 2009, Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at June 29th, 2009.

The High Line

We went to the High Line at night last week. (The High Line is a new elevated park built on the remnants of an old elevated railroad track in downtown Manhattan.) It’s quite beautiful and currently stretches from the Meatpacking District down to about 20th Street or so.)

The High Line

Walking down the High Line makes Manhattan look like 1960s Hong Kong or Rio or something, especially with the new addition of The Standard, which looks totally retro (even though it’s new) and perches over the High Line. The ceilings in the hotel rooms look like they’re made of wood, which looks quite chic when you’re looking at the rooms. It’s straight out of a Wong Kar Wai or Wes Anderson movie. (I told Adam that I thought those two should collaborate and he made a horrible face, since he thinks Wes Anderson is twee. But they ARE both very stylized filmmakers.) The High Line is totally calling out for some atmospheric music in your head. Also good for hipster dates. And free!

Traveling Sock at the High Line

Traveling sock went to visit, too! (All photos by Adam, as usual.)

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at June 17th, 2009.


Far in the distance–if you squint hard enough–is the Statue of Liberty, and the cuff of the second loud monkey sock. I admit it–I like hideous sock yarn. I think a little vulgarity in life is fun, plus I can’t resist brightly colored skeins’ siren call: “I am so ugly and bright…please buy me!” Anyway, the yarn is for socks–where else are you gonna get crazy with knitting? (Wait, don’t answer that.) 

me, riding a bike

We went to Governor’s Island (you can take a ferry over for free–it’s just a ten-minute ride or so, though the boat only comes once an hour), and rode bikes around. (That’s me above!) I have extremely poor locomotion skills–basically, I can only go forward, so Governor’s Island is nice because there are no cars to clog up the roads.

I think the funniest exchange was in the gift store, which is run by the Park Service. I was looking for a hat or visor, because I forgot to bring one (or sunglasses) and the sun was rather bright. I asked the park ranger who was working as a salesgirl if they had any non-Civil War hats (the island used to be a Civil War fort, I think). She went, “Yes, we do. That one.” Me: “Um, that’s a pirate hat.” Her: “Actually, that’s a Revolutionary War hat.” Oookay. Even though they were only $6, I could not deal with riding around in a hot, wool felt Civil War/Revolutionary War hat with no brim. I would look crazy and still be hot!

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at June 8th, 2009.


I’ve taken up sock knitting again, and moving my socks out of hibernation. The squares and the sweater are just too difficult to knit on the subway. I’m trying something new with these Loud Monkey socks–I’m knitting them on 9″ circulars (Hiya Hiya brand). It’s definitely a different feel than DPNs. I think I prefer DPNs, but there is something incredibly quick about knitting on these needles. Also, the pattern (Cookie A.’s Monkeys, which is the most knit sock pattern ever) is really fast and easy to memorize. Now I must abandon you, my readers, to read the second half of LOTR: The Two Towers. 

Posted in Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at June 5th, 2009.

Some random thoughts: I happened to catch Steel Magnolias on television the other day, and I realized why so many commenters pointed out that Julia Roberts’s character had died of diabetes, not cancer, when I brought it up. The whole movie was about diabetes! As a closet Brothers and Sisters fan, I was amused to see that Sally Field’s movie husband was Tom Skerritt, who is also her television husband. Also, as commenter Michelle mentioned yesterday, there is a Sex and the City episode set on Staten Island, where Carrie misses the boat to go back to Manhattan, but as Adam pointed out, the ferry runs (for free) all night, so it wasn’t a super realistic episode, except that she would have had to wait an hour for the next one, I guess.


I like taking photos of flowers, though the photos are not as beautiful as in real life. This is the border of a lawn in my parents’ neighborhood in San Francisco–there’s some freesia on the bottom, and poppies, tulips, and ranunculus (ii?). 


I’m still knitting squares. I’m really loving garter stitch these days. Simple and easy and SQUISHY. 

Strand Bookstore outside Central Park

(This picture is from this site.)

Over the weekend, we walked by the Strand’s outdoor book stalls and Adam bought me The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, not believing I would really read it. Well, I read the whole thing, and now I need books 2 and 3. I have to say I wasn’t particularly addicted, because at least book 1 was a little, um, [cowering from LOTR-fan hate] boring. I like King Arthur-y stuff, but the Fellowship of the Ring story, in my opinion, was lacking in psychological motivations for any of the characters. I mentioned this to Adam, and he was all, “IS DESTROYING THE RING TO SAVE THE ENTIRE WORLD NOT ENOUGH MOTIVATION?!” I’m like, well, okay, but so? I mean cute little Frodo (I am refusing to imagine him as Elijah Wood, rather picturing him kind of like an Ewok) is going through all this stuff, but why? I think this book is in dire need of some of my favorite plot elements: 1.) family revelations; 2.) psychological motivation (preferably with a shocking secret); 3.) romance.

1.) Family revelations are when people turn out to have long lost relatives who have been key characters. The ultimate family revelation movies are Jean de Florette and its sequel, Manon de la Source. Also, I must begrudgingly point to, of course, “Luke, I am your father,” in Star Wars. But you know, Oliver Twist, Portrait of a Lady, hell, the BIBLE, are filled with family revelations. Somehow I doubt Gandalf is going to be related to Frodo.

2.) Well, the new Star Trek movie I recently saw tried to give some origin/backstory to Spock, and I feel it was sufficient. Batman, etc. But Frodo has a cute happy life in the Shire–there is no real reason why he has been chosen to carry The Ring. (Except that he is so cute and happy that he can’t be destroyed by it, I guess.)

3.) Duh. From the relentless publicity of the LOTR movies, I am guessing that Aragon and Arwen are in love, but I think this book could benefit from more female characters in general. I mean, these faerie folk things normally throw a sop to lady readers with a major heroine (Jane, in The Dark is Rising; Princess Eilonwy, in The Black Cauldron; Hermione, in Harry Potter), and I think this book could really use a  major lady character.

Okay. I am going to try to get book 2 and will report on that when I am done, though I assume most of my readers are already familiar with LOTR, and not in need of my commentary.


Here I am, wearing my shawl and eating a hot dog, during a cool evening last week. (This is on a pseudo-boat, the Frying Pan.)

Knitting on the Staten Island Ferry

We took an impromptu trip on the Staten Island Ferry on Friday night. Opportunity to knit, of course! (P.S. I happened to work on a freelance project last week about movies that were filmed in lower Manhattan, and two movies that feature the area prominently were Working Girl, obviously,* and less obviously, Green Card. Apparently all of Green Card takes place in Foley Square, which is down near the Courthouse. Who knew?)


*If you’ve seen Working Girl, then you remember that Melanie Griffith’s character lives on Staten Island and takes the ferry to work. I don’t remember the movie super clearly, but I remember rooting for Sigourney Weaver, just like I rooted for Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. I’m not sure what my fondness for the boss character says about me, though I think in both of those cases Sigourney and Meryl are better actors than Melanie and Anne Hathaway.)

Photos by Adam.

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at June 2nd, 2009.

Blanket Square

On Saturday night, Adam and I tried to go a bunch of restaurants, all of which had an hour and more waits (sometimes, I’m like people! We’re in a recession!), and at some point, we were waiting for a table at Pastis.

I like Pastis a lot–it’s a fake Parisian brasserie and I think it’s considered very “New York” by non-New Yorkers, and thus, was overrun with tourists and Fleet Week sailors, hence the long wait–though I think it’s pretty much past its prime for New York foodies (It opened in 1999, so jaded New Yorkers are over it, of course.) I have a fondness for “fake” New York restaurants; I had drinks last week at The Rusty Knot, and I told Adam he would have either loved or hated it–it must have cost the owners a fortune to re-create what is essentially a 1970s Midwestern dive bar (complete with Christmas lights and tiki furniture), but instead of being populated by Midwestern hipsters, it was all first-year Wall Street men and their girlfriends, in chambray button-downs and linen sheaths. There’s an element of New York that is a simulacrum of its cinematic self, and I have a fondness for these places that try to give us a cinematic backdrop to live our lives, even if they’re more sets than reality. 

Anyway, while I was waiting, I was knitting on my afghan square, and at some point, I was like, “Do you think me knitting is going to hurt our chances of getting a table?” Adam looked at me, wearing Crocs and a jacket from Forever 21, knitting, surrounded by soft shiny silk mini-dresses and linen blazers, and he was like, “Um, yes.” 

(We ended eating at a diner with no wait.)

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at May 26th, 2009.


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.

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:


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.


I love the flowers every spring–look at these irises! I’m almost done with the shawlette–I have a few more stripes to go and then I’ll block it and see how it goes.

I looked up my horoscope, and apparently, last week, Mercury was in retrograde on the 6th! Perhaps astrology is true. I think that part of my problem is that I gave up caffeine (because of the acid) and it is very very hard for me. Basically, I’m going around complaining like a former crack user and suffering from constant cravings for it. The lack of caffeine also makes me tired and grouchy. I may have to go back to caffeine, my dark master.

Let’s see…what else. Adam and I went to see Valentino: The Last Emperor, a documentary about the fashion designer. It wasn’t necessarily the best documentary, but it was enjoyable, and I was touched by the love story at the heart of the movie, between Valentino and his business/life partner Giancarlo Giametti. I read a funny interview with the Matt Tyrnauer, the director, on, where he describes the movie as “geriatric Brokeback Mountain,”  which I think is a pretty accurate description. There’s one moment–when Valentino is receiving the Legion of Honor and there’s a possibility that Valentino might not thank Giancarlo–that is really kind of a surprisingly anxious moment for the audience. When Valentino starts to cry, I think everyone in the theater kind of choked up too. 

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at May 11th, 2009.


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.