FOs 2009

Oh hello, it’s only January 17… Sigh. I don’t know, I developed the blog flu and lost the will to blog for a while there. Though not the will to knit. So. 2009. Kind of a bummer for everyone I guess, but I don’t know if I exactly see it as a bummer, more like a year of thinking about the future. I don’t know, maybe that’s overly euphemistic, like “It’s not a problem, it’s a challenge!”

Also known as the year where my industry (publishing) officially died and fell into a giant canyon. Anyway, I managed to knit 12 things, some of which I never blogged about, but here’s a recap, with thoughts and in non-chronological order.

Top row, left to right:

Rowan Felted Tweed Helmet: The hat I made after reading Barbara Walker’s Knitting From the Top, knitted (obviously) from the top down. This yarn was from the closing sale of Yarn Connection, in midtown, which was near my office. Sadly, this was an ominous sign for both New York’s yarn stores and for my job. Yarn Connection was the first of many New York’s yarn stores to close last year and soon after I bought the yarn, I was laid off. Then my grandmother turned 80, and I ended up giving it to her for mother’s day. (I gave her a shawl for her big milestone birthday.) Adam and I went to Montauk for Valentine’s Day, hence the spectacular setting in the back.

NYU Stern Creativity Project: This was a child’s scarf that I knitted for a creativity study at NYU”s Stern Business School. This briefly led me to consider (a) going to business school and (b) working in a yarn store. I went to a meeting about applying business school and it was so horrible and un-fun-seeming that I was like, ugh no. I did apply to work at a yarn store and was interviewed, but sadly, I was not chosen. Let us be a little depressed that I could not get a job at a yarn store. Sigh.

Algae Cowl: In another bit of sad news, one of Adam’s grandmothers passed away and we went to Milwaukee for her funeral. I did get a chance though to go to a yarn store in Wisconsin, and bought this hand-spun yarn from Just 4 Ewe. I pretty much knit this whole thing in the Milwaukee airport while watching The Big Bang Theory. Embarassing secret: I find this show strangely enjoyable.

Second row, left to right:

Medusa Cowl: I knit this during a yarn entrepreneurial phase where I was convinced that my original designs were going to be my ticket to my fame and future. Too bad the cowl turned out to be kind of a loser.

Adam’s Civil War Socks: Aww, I finished these socks up in the emergency room waiting with my dad, when he very sick earlier this year. Fortunately, even though he has a very rare disease, he seems to be doing much better, but I remember the hours spent in the emergency room with him, after he suddenly got very very sick. So, actually, this was a period when I was glad I got laid off, because I got to spend more time at home with my dad when he was being diagnosed and going through all these surgeries.

Ugly Monkey Socks: I finished these socks during our annual vacation at the Jersey Shore. So something happened at the Jersey Shore that I never shared with my blog readers, mainly because I like to be kind of private and whatnot, but what the hell. Adam proposed! Yes, we are getting married this year. And yes, I am burying the lede, as they say in the news biz, deep into my post. Also, I am blogging about weddings (of course) on and The first one is about my wedding and style and whatnot, and then the second one is just about ridiculous things I find about weddings. Maybe this is why I haven’t been blogging that much…I am putting all of my creativity into wedding planning? Oh dear, that sounds super super lame.

Third row, left to right:

Flamingo Socks: Okay, I don’t think there is any actual life significance to these socks. Though the yarn was from my FMIL, as they say on wedding boards. But these were just regular old socks that I knit. But this is probably the last photo I’ll ever take of my socks at Adam’s apartment because he moved in with me on New Year’s. Yikes!

Sherbe(r)t Socks: The socks where I couldn’t find any DPNs and was forced to learn how to knit two socks at a time on one long circular needle.

Seeded rib mitts: One of my 2009 projects I never blogged about because I am lazy. Also, why blog? Perhaps I developed some sort of blog existentialism in the past couple of months. Why blog, what does it mean to blog, is there even a point to blogging? Also, for knitters, Ravelry seems to do so much for us, blogging seems unnecessary. It’s kind of like this photo/cartoon. Also, Twitter. It continues to confuse me. Anyway, I did put this project on Ravelry, if you want to go see it there. It’s Patons Jet, knitted up into mitts. More yarn gifted to me by my FMIL that came with a one-skein project book–actually, now I will take the time to say that I am particularly lucky that my FMIL (future mother-in-law, in case you have not yet figured it out*) is not only very nice, but she always thinks of  cool knitting presents for me. Also, my hands look like mannequin hands in this photos.

* A friend of mine recently told me that she thought FTW stood for “F*ck the world” and not “for the win” and couldn’t  figure out why everyone kept using it on the internet.

Fourth row, left to right:

Adam’s Christmas Noro Hat: Another thing I never blogged. Adam and I ended up having a really belated Christmas this year, but I do try to knit him one thing each year, and his old Odessa hat was getting pretty old looking. It’s the Turn a Square pattern by Jared Flood, aka Brooklyn Tweed, aka the most famous male knitter on the internet. Whenever I tell people I knit, they’re always like, “Oh, do you read Brooklyn Tweed?!?” I’m like, yes, yes, we all know and love Brooklyn Tweed. He’s the classy Jackie Kennedy to the rest of us Mamie Eisenhower dowdy frump-a-dumps.

FO: Hat

Here’s another photo. I guess you could say 2009 was also the year I really got into Noro. I’m like NORO!!! It’s so fab. Especially because of…

Noro Shawlette: This really is a spectacular project and probably my favorite from the whole year. There was a period where I thought I had lost it (well the past few weeks, but it turned out it was hidden underneath my wedding dresses that Adam had moved into my closet) and I was kind of depressed for a while. It’s fab. And I love it! And I love everything Kate Gagnon designs, especially because I freaked out one of my former co-workers who is also my Facebook friend and who happened to go to Kate’s wedding. I was all, “[male co-worker name!!!] I can’t believe you know Kate Gagnon! Did you know she is very famous in the knitting world!?” My male friend/former co-worker probably thought I was insane, also because I decided to write all this on his Facebook photo page.

Leafy Elf Hat: Nothing life changing associated with this hat either. I did knit it at Thanksgiving, but you know Thanksgiving. It comes every year.

Okay, New Year’s Resolutions to come tomorrow. Or uh, later this week.

Posted in Finished Objects 2009, personal, Uncategorized at January 18th, 2010.

Elfy Leaf Hat

It was pretty warm this year on Thanksgiving–I didn’t even have to wear my puffer coat. The day AFTER Thanksgiving, however, was very cold. So cold that I said to Adam, I am going to buy some yarn right now, even though I have a huge stash, and knit myself a hat. He scoffed, but I did it. I knit this hat in the two days after Thanksgiving, watching parts of Legally Blonde, Sleepless in Seattle, and Monster-in-Law, and strangely, all of Can’t Buy Me Love, which I had never seen before. (Yes, Adam has cable, and specifically, Oxygen or Lifetime, or some other woman-oriented channel. Can’t Buy Me Love was so cringe-inducing that I could barely stand to watch parts of it. And the fashion! Apparently high school seniors dressed like 40-year olds in the 1980s, with strange suede blazers. Monster-in-Law, well, the part that I saw of it, was ridiculous. I do, however, have a fondness for Legally Blonde, so I watched that happily.)

Pattern: Falling Leaves Chunky Hat, by Karen Clark or Choo Choo Knits. It’s free on Ravelry.

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky, in Misty Blue. Okay, this yarn is a great value–I bought it for $8 at a new-to-me yarn shop, Annie & Co, on the Upper East Side, and it knit this whole hat, with earflaps and pompoms, and I still had some left over.

Needles: Set of 5 size 10 bamboo DPNs.
Elfy Leaf Hat

Here’s a photo of the back.

Notes and mods: First, I knit two or three rows of purls after casting on, to give the hat more of an edge. After I finished, I knit two short-row earflaps in reverse stockinette, added two i-cord cords and some pompoms (not shown) at the end. Voila! Super-cute. My sister says it looks like a Hershey’s Kiss hat, which is kind of true.

Elfy Leaf Hat

The pattern was fine for me width and height-wise–some people found it small on Ravelry, but just right for me!

Posted in Finished Objects 2009, Hats, Uncategorized at November 30th, 2009.

Sherbet Socks

After my most recent comment from a member of what the late William Safire would have termed the Gotcha Gang* I did some internet research and found out that sher-BERT, though an accepted spelling variant of sherbet,  is considered the less classy pronunciation among linguists. (Well, at least according to some listserv that I cannot find again.) Who knew?

* The other day, Adam was like “There should be a German term for things you dislike, but read/listen/follow anyway, because you enjoy disliking them.” Things in this category for me include William Safire’s column (well, when he wrote it) and the Ethicist. Yargh, how I dislike thee, the Ethicist. I do, however, love Savage Love without reservation. I think that the people who write to Savage Love at least have legitimate problems–often crazy, but legitimate–whereas the people who write to the Ethicist have extremely ridiculous problems, like, “Can I use the address labels that come in the mail without donating to the cause?” Here, totally apropos of nothing is my ranking of advice columnists:

1. Savage Love (hilarious and mean)

2. Miss Manners (hilarious and mean)

3. Dear Abby/Ann Landers, back when the founding columnists were still alive (not particularly hilarious or mean, but at least people wrote in with common problems)

4. Dear Prudence (okay)

5. The Ethicist (Nooo!!! I think the NY Times should totally get someone else instead of the Ethicist to write this column. Even that catty social Q & A guy in Sunday Styles would be better. Though I do enjoy groaning out loud each week at the horrible puns made by the Ethicist in each week’s answers. Also, the questions that are not totally ridiculous–like the one about address labels–are essentially the same question over and over again: “Someone in my life is racist and wants me, the letter writer, to do X [some kind of vaguely prejudiced activity]. How can I deal with this?” I do not feel that the Ethicist has yet come up with an actually helpful solution to this legitimate problem.)

On another note, I am clearly the only person left in the world who still reads newspapers and the advice columns in them.

Sherbet Socks

Pattern: Peak Experience, Mount Hood, by Betsy Lee McCarthy. (This is a pamphlet with two patterns.) I bought this pattern at a yarn store, but it seems like you can download it too.

I also learned to knit two socks at one time from the book  2-at-a-Time Socks. This book has errata, so be sure to download that first. I just followed the instructions in the book, but used the pattern stitch in the pamphlet.

Yarn: Luna Park by Ornaghi Filati, color 205, dye lot 77071. I used two balls at $7.50 each, from Seaport Yarn. So, $15 total.

Needles: I think I used a 40″ size 1 needle from Knit Picks.

Project started/finished: I think I started this project in early August and finished on Thanksgiving, so about four months.

Notes/modifications: Knitting two socks at a time is sort-of useful, but because it takes SO much longer to see any progress on the socks, it’s hard to feel like you’re actually achieving anything. On the other hand, it is impossible to lose a needle, and when you’re done, you’re done. I knit an afterthought heel and a round toe instead of the heel-flap heel and regular toe in the pattern. I also eliminated one pattern repeat in the leg (possibly not necessary), due to the comments on Ravelry that this sock knits up loose, and thus, decreased away the half chevrons necessary on the foot.

Also, I think because of the way I cast on, I was always one half of a round in the striping pattern ahead of the other sock in the patten, so as you can see in the toe, the stripes don’t quite match up.

Stay tuned for another surprise FO tomorrow!

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


I was inspired by this Fig and Plum post, which she called “The UFO Chronicles, Part I.” I, too, have many Un-Finished Objects, so perhaps blogging about them will inspire me to get a move on and finish them. If only I didn’t have startitis.

Anyway, the socks. They’re almost done–I’m doing afterthought heels on them, which kind of makes them look like they have gross carnivorous plant mouths:


“We have come to eat you!!”

By the way, I had dinner on Friday on the Cafe on 2 at the Museum of Modern Art (free on Friday nights! Well, the museum, not the food) and these European tourists were fascinated by my mesh bag in which I keep my knitting. (You can see it in the top photo.) They were all “where can we buy this bag?!?” I was like, “Well, they are both easy and difficult to find. Easy, because you can find them in many stationery/office supply stores, but they often run out or don’t have the right size.” And they were like, “Ohhh, Staples?!?” And I was like, “No! Not Staples.” I always find them in mom-and-pop stationery stores, Japanese $1 stores, and occasionally, Sam Flax, the art store. But never Staples–they’re strangely hard to categorize, and Staples must not consider them true office supplies. Adam thought maybe Muji might have them, but that’s part of the joy of owning these mesh bags…you gotta look! (Plus they’re cheap–generally between $1 to $4.)

Posted in Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at November 22nd, 2009.

Traveling Project at Leonard Cohen

Hello blog readers! I am still alive! I sort of fell off the blogging wagon there for a while, for a variety of reasons, most of them good–I’ve been working on a big freelance project in-house (meaning I go into an office) and I had a bunch of other freelance assignments, all of which were leaving me little time to blog. Anyway, I’m hoping to get back into blogging this month, blah blah blah.

Anyway, I am still knitting–here’s a quilt square at the Leonard Cohen concert that we went to last month (it was great, even though we were sitting in front of the very loud and somewhat smelly concession stand, aka the very last row in Madison Square Garden).

There’s a bunch of new yarn/yarn-esque stores that have opened in New York, so I definitely need to visit and to blog about that, plus some other stuff. I’ll be baaaaaaaaack, as the Governator would say.

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at November 15th, 2009.

Sorry for the silence–I’ve been busy, um, going to the gym, and freelancing, and I don’t know, reading Wikipedia? (Wikipedia is a serious time-suck. I can’t stop click on weird links. I now know way more about Monaco’s royal family than one person could ever need to know.) Sometimes I think I need a firewall between me and Wikipedia.

Plus, I went to California to visit my family and to attend a friend’s wedding.

traveling socks

Here are the socks overlooking the rocks on Highway 1. Highway 1, for those of you who have never been to California, is an insanely twisty road that twirls right along the edge of the mountain, right above the ocean. We rented a car to drive down to Stinson Beach, where the post-wedding brunch was held, and I mentioned to Adam that he should be careful–I had once ridden in a car with my grandparents down Highway 1, and they spent the whole time clutching the dashboard (my grandfather) or the door handle (my grandmother) and closing their eyes. Adam scoffed at the notion that he could be anything less than an excellent driver and deemed me and my grandparents “soulless” for our tendency to ignore natural beauty and focus instead on our potential plunge to death. (Very few guardrails stand between you and the ocean on Highway 1.) My mother also rolled her eyes when I mentioned this, saying, “I can’t believe you are like your grandmother in your worry about this.” Anyway, the drive up to Stinson Beach from San Francisco is actually not the worst part–I think the part down to Half Moon Bay is the most famously treacherous, though we did not see that part on this trip.


Photo by Amala, fellow wedding guest.

That’s us, above, posing, while another guest takes a photo of us with Adam’s Holga. The light was really beautiful at this wedding (among many moments of beauty) and joy of joys, I was chatting with my dinner companion to my right, when I mentioned my Wikipedia and Ravelry addictions. The bride’s aunt, sitting one chair away from me, leaned in and was like “Are you on Ravelry?” It turned out that she was also an enthusiastic knitter, and we happily chatted away about patterns and DPNs versus circulars. My friend jokingly kept calling her wedding “Our Special Day,” but it really was quite special, and I’m glad we got to attend.

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at September 16th, 2009.

Sherbert socks

New York: Still hot. Socks: Not yet complete.

Posted in Socks, Uncategorized at August 26th, 2009.


In driving news, this is a photo of one of Adam’s favorite cars, a BMW 2002. It is very cute and mod. Anyway, I show this picture because we rented a car a couple of weekends ago, and the only car Zipcar had in the lot was a BMW (though of newer vintage) and I drove it back from the far reaches of Queens back, and Adam thought he was going to die. As he is not a driving instructor, he would be like, “Now do that, you know what I mean!!” And I would be screaming back, “No! I have no idea what you mean! We’re exiting!! I can’t switch back! Argh!!” Anyway, after one treacherous highway lane change, I saw the guy who kindly let me squeeze into his exit lane laughing in my rear view mirror. I was grouchy, because, yes, I am a bad/beginning driver and yes, I am driving a BMW. Shush.

In knitting news, I am still knitting my socks. I find knitting the two-socks-on-one-needle method a little boring because even though your socks are more even, your progress is SO slow, due to one row on one sock and then the other. <–This is potentially the most boring and obvious sentence I have ever written. Only thing that would make it more boring would be a Facebook quiz: What type of sock knitter are you?

In reading news, I have finished Middlemarch. It was not unlike Harry Potter 7, in that after MANY hundreds of pages of suffering, all of the characters basically live happily ever after. I was like WTF George Eliot?!? I have been slogging through hundreds of pages of Dorothea’s self-righteous suffering for it to all be solved in the matter of three pages? Couldn’t this have happened on page 20?! In the middle of reading Middlemarch, I went to see Bruno with my English-major friend (now turned corporate lawyer, of course), and I mentioned that I was reading Middlemarch. He said, “I never could decide whether I liked Dorothea or not,” which I think is an apt summation of the entire book. Before Harry Potter 7 was published, I promoted my own theory to everyone who would listen: namely that Harry Potter had to give up his magical powers (or “die as a wizard”) in order for him to save the world. I think this would have been a significant sacrifice, as well as following the plot structure of every one of these monomyth books. However, J.K. Rowling decided not to listen to my awesome advice and instead go for the most bourgeois happy ending ever.

This is essentially the same flaw of Middlemarch. If you have made certain characters suffer for many hundreds of pages, I think readers do not expect a rapid and easily wrapped up ending. Readers want sacrifice! Or at least I do. In my opinion, Dorothea, the main character, basically sacrificed nothing. Yes, she was married to a horrible ugly old man for a year or so, and then had to spend another year as a rich widow, but by the time she got married again she was (a) young–a widow at 21, so she was, omg, 22 at the time of her second marriage, (b) had an independent income (as part of the plot she had to give up her rich dead husband’s income, but she still had 700 pounds a year to live on–I have no idea what that means, but it seems, in the context of the book, to be fairly middle-class), (c) still fertile and gives birth to two sons after her second marriage, (d) continues to be the heir to her uncle’s vast estate, and (e) gets to marry her true love, another self-righteous character, who also happens to be young and handsome. I believe this is a plot that my college roommate would have described with the phrase “Hear me playing the world’s smallest violin.”

Anyway. I am now reading Moneyball, Michael Lewis’s book about the Oakland A’s. This better be an improvement over Middlemarch.

Posted in book reviews, Uncategorized at August 18th, 2009.

Two-at-a-Time Socks

I temporarily lost my blogging mojo last week, what with the heat and all. And trying to slog through George Eliot’s Middlemarch.

That book is no laugh a minute. Actually it has this problem that many multi-plot novels have, I think, which is that the reader tends to only be interested in a couple of the plotlines, and frustrated by the others. For those of you who have read Middlemarch, I am halfway through and interested in the Garth storyline. Very Old-Fashioned Girl. Plotlines I am not interested include any discussion of politics. BORING. Also, I think that Celia, the catty sister of Dorothea, could do with many more scenes. (She definitely has some of the best lines in the book.) This is a book that might be improved by watching a BBC version of it instead of reading it. Oh well, I will conquer you Middlemarch.

On the topic of other long-winded things, we went to see Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution at Lincoln Center last week. I thought Adam would like it because his favorite movie is Wong Kar-Wai’s  In the Mood for Love, which my grandmother accurately described as “a lot of walking, not a lot of talking.” I wanted to see it because I heard the clothes in it were quite stylish (it was set in ’40s Shanghai), and it was set in a similar time period (well, “the past,” I guess–ITMFL is a bit later, probably the ’60s) and place as In the Mood for Love. (Also, both star Tony Leung.)  I thought Lust, Caution was okay, but it was very very long, and at a certain point, I was like, oh my god, hours have passed, and the main character is still in Hong Kong! This movie is never going to end!!!!  To quote Elaine in Seinfeld, “Quit telling your stupid story about the stupid desert and just die already!  Die!” Adam liked it even less than I did and claimed it was “boring.” And that is the end of my art-house movie reviews for the week.

Okay knitting-wise: My sweater has reached a stalled point because I know I need to rip out part of one sleeve and reknit so it isn’t so oddly shaped, but this has totally cramped my enthusiasm for it. Meanwhile, I seem to have lost many DPNs, and thus am knitting my latest pair of socks on one needle. (See above.)

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at August 12th, 2009.

The other day I said very loudly on the subway, “Wait, what does OPP mean?” Adam was like, “Shhhh!” Apparently I grew up during the ’80s in a bubble of innocence about Naughty By Nature lyrics.

Anyway, I was looking at the preview for the new Fall Interweave Knits and I noticed that two of the patterns in the issue were very similar to ideas that had been in my head. I did exactly nothing with these ideas, since I am strangely addicted to knitting socks, but this just goes to show how easy it is to have the same ideas as someone else. (Even though I kept these ideas in my brain, I was like “Hey! Interweave! You stole my thunder!” when of course, they did nothing of the sort.)

The first one was the Freyja hat, by Courtney Kelley :


I even have this exact yarn (Road to China) in my stash–I bought three skeins of it, and I had planned a very similar stranded zig-zag pattern in three different colors for a cowl or a hat.

The other was the Farmer’s Market Cardigan, by Connie Chang Chinchio:


I was like “Grr!” because I had this exact idea–a shawl collar that forms the border for a pocket. I have to say though that I was inspired by someone I saw on the subway wearing a sweater with this feature, so I was hardly original in thinking of it. But I hadn’t seen it in any knitting patterns so I felt a little special in thinking it up, but I guess I can’t really claim credit for it if I did nothing about it.

Random note: Other things I like to claim credit for include inventing the word “defriend” and the idea of high-end  street food for Western audiences (*cough* I’m looking at you Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Spice Market *cough*). There was a part in The Lost Father, by Mona Simpson (an all-around great book) about how the narrator is convinced she started the trend of leather backpacks, and I was very sympathetic. Sometimes you feel like you invented something, even if you probably didn’t.

Posted in patterns, Uncategorized at July 27th, 2009.