Monday, February 27, 2006

Umbilical Kingston

I thought Sam would benefit from having a hat to match her mom's Branching Out scarf (matching in color, not pattern -- I'm not that much of a lace masochist). Plus I had all this hot pink merino left over. This is basically a down and dirty version of the Umbilical Cord Hat from Stitch 'n' Bitch. Kingston (sort of) helped me out by modeling it. Don't worry, Kerry, I'm washing the hat right now! By the way, that's a map of Southern NY State that Kingston is laying on, making it really difficult for me to check out routes for the Hudson Valley Yarn Crawl this weekend...

I want to give props to my good and kind friend Phillipa, who I met about 10 years ago when I lived in Jamaica. Phillipa now lives in Seattle, where she is training for the Pacific Crest Olympic Triathlon in June. Not only is doing her body good by training for this, she doing good in general -- she's a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. If anyone wants to sponsor her, just click HERE. Or just go to her blog to give her some encouragement. Phillipa is one of the most selfless and giving people I have ever met, and she deserves all the good luck and wishes she can get!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

"@$#%&! Poured Beer on My Weave!"

The above quote is not at all related to the following post and pictures, except that it was one of the funniest things I heard on Friday night. Ruth was telling me about a scene from one of the America's Next Top Model episodes, and I couldn't stop laughing about it. Who knows what those crazy folks at UPN will come up with next?

And what were Ruth & I up to on Friday night? Why, I'm glad you asked. A bunch of us met up at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School in Chelsea for their Friday Night Vegetarian Dinner. At the table with me were SnB stars Ruth (and her friend Dawn) and Jess (with husband Jamie), along with Dave, Katie, Leland, Sara and Doug. Jess, who has become a quickly re-addicted blogger, brought along her camera in good blogger style -- so thanks to her for the pics! My favorite course was the appetizer, part of which was wonton-style purses filled with butternut squash and apples -- oh yum! We all brought some wine and had a fabulous time, but I have to say that the food was better the last time we went, about a year ago. And may all vegetarians forgive me when I say this, but I was soooo hungry later!

After the dinner, the night was still young so Leland suggested that we head to the Flatiron Lounge for some drinks. Which we did -- they even opened up the mostly-empty downstairs for us! We were there for quite a while, and most of the last half of the night is a little fuzzy...

Dave and I managed to wake up at a reasonable time on Saturday to make a quick trip to CT to unload some of our extraneous belongings at my grandparents' house in CT -- we're doing the "gradual move" kind of thing, slowly emptying our increasingly spacious (by Manhattan standards) apartment of things we won't need for our last month here. And of course any trip into CT necessitates a visit to Sam's house! Which also provided me with the opportunity to give the Branching Out scarf to it's recipient, my sister-in-law Kerry. She loved it, and we just found out that they are going to have a BOY!HAPPY 10 YEAR VEGETARIAN ANNIVERSARY TO ME!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Blocking out!

Branching Out is blocked and done! I finished it at SnB last night. Jess put a cute pic of me wearing it up on her blog, but despite what everyone said, I still think pink is not my color! Besides, I think that the the recipient of this gift will really like it. I used a steam iron to block this, thanks to advice from the blocking, lace, shawl, yarn, and all-around knitting goddess, Jessamyn. I'm glad I didn't have to soak this in water and lay it out to dry, because frankly there is no 70" + of cat-free space in my apartment for this scarf to lay undisturbed until dry.

OK, I'm gonna be honest -- this pattern was a pain in my butt! I mean, it was easy enough as long as you pay attention, and towards the end I kept on paying attention but I always ended up missing 1 stitch in the same row, no matter what. So it's not perfect. But that's what makes it handmade, right? And the recipient won't notice (I hope)!

I just downloaded Firefox, and I think it's kind of cool. Now I'm going to go try and figure out what all the buzz about Dreamweaver is.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Pizza Party!

Because it was so cold yesterday, we decided to stay inside and make lots o' pizza and drink wine instead of going out. Now we have a fridge full of pizza to enjoy this week. I just wanted to put some pics of our cooking spree up for our friend Renny!

One thing we did do yesterday (besides hanging out) was meet up with Red's (and now my) friend Annie, who is in a play called Spring's Awakening at The Looking Glass Theater. Go check her out when it starts in March!

Jess sent me this pic of the Blizzard Clutch Ruth made for the Knitted Gift Exchange -- it's what Red was lucky to take home with her. By the way, this will be the last guru-saturated post for a while, lest she get a big head from all the adulation, so soak her up while you can!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Kara & Mike Rock!

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KARA! Thanks for a great, fun party last night. And Mike is such an incredible cook, we truly appreciated the mega-tasty mostly vegetarian spread he laid out for us -- check it out! I really need to get the baba ganoush recipe.

Kara hosted a knitted gift exchange to celebrate her birthday -- everyone had to bring a knitted or knitting-related gift, and then we all got to take something fun home. Claudine, the Capricorn MC, is the only one who actually chose to steal someone else's gift, but she really wanted that Colinette yarn and let's face it, pink is her color. Although she'd better watch her back, because Susi didn't look too happy about being robbed.

I was lucky enough to choose (and not be robbed of) Kara's knitting contribution to the gift exchange -- chenille flower washcloths and some yummy-smelling soap (displayed by Red and Rachel)! Red got a knitted clutch made of super-soft Blizzard from Ruth (sorry I don't have a pic!) And I thought this shot of Heather in her hat gift (made by Johanna) was really cute.

Red proved to be more than just a knitting guru, as we checked out a Basics Class at Om Yoga this morning and I watched her twist her body into miraculously complicated poses (re-enactment done bya professional -- don't try this at home, kids). Dave was supposed to come along, but coming home at 4am after hanging out with Gregor at Eight Mile Creek didn't make him very inclined to get out of bed at 10AM. I really liked the class, because Danny, the instructor, explained everything we practiced, and I had always felt lost at the other classes I'd been to. I'm going to get Dave to go back with me before we move.

Lastly, here's a shot of the really cool original purse creation Red came up with herself -- for me -- with a blue whale! I think I'm going to felt it once the strap is finished. I love my guru! Here she is again, doing something smart -- fixing my lacey scarf (I was just going to "knit through it," but my creative "k2tog" solutions to getting rid of those pesky extra stitches were making that a really messy option).

The Guru hits Manhattan

Here are a few pics from our fun day & night, just so that guy can check out what his lady friend is up to. There's a full pound of cashmere/merino on that cone -- she picked it up at School Products during our button/yarn crawl today. More to come tomorrow, it's too late to write much now.

Breaking news...EOIN WALKS!!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Suss Sale!

I met Jess and Jill at Suss this afternoon for an astonishingly quick search and purchase operation for the Hourglass Sweater. I really wanted to make this out of Blue Sky undyed organic cotton, but Suss had such an amazing sale on their cotton ($3 a skein!) that it was pretty easy to change my mind. Thanks to Jill for alerting me to the sale, and to Jess for helping me out with the sweater size/yarn requirements. Jess is like a magical knitting computer, pointing out the right spot on the gauge and yardage charts without even thinking about it. It would have taken me at least an hour to even figure out that there was a book to look in, never mind which book to look in, but she honed in on the exact right spot with supernatural ease.

The main color for the sweater will be the "honey" shade, with either dark brown or blue as the trim. I wanted to make the whole sweater out of one of those 2 colors, but there wasn't enough. The fuzzy multi-colored stuff hanging out with the cotton was only $1 a skein! It will become a knitted gift for someone, a very very late Christmas gift or maybe a birthday gift and skip Christmas...since I'm so late! By the way, the people at Suss are so nice, especially Jill, who has helped me out with suggestions and opinions many, many times.

My guru arrives any minute now!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Take from lace...

I'm doing the Branching Out scarf from Knitty. I've frogged it a few times, and then finally realized that if I keep on starting over after every little (noticeable) mistake, I'll never finish. It's not a hard pattern, you just have to pay attention to it, and what with American Idol, the Olympics and the SnB girls serving as pleasant distractions, it's just kind of hard to give the scarf the type of attention it deserves. It does look pretty nice though, and I'm finally seeing what people mean when they say something "will really look great after blocking." This is going to be a gift -- as you can probably tell, the pink isn't really my color! But I think the recipient will like it, and I'm using a really nice merino/nylon blend that I bought from Suss.

As I was fondling the buttery soft Baby Twist alpaca at The Point tonight, my stitching sisters kept telling me that I'd better buy all that nice sweet yarn now, because who knows what type of fibers they'll have in Indiana. Then Jessica chimed in with the scariest thought of all..."What if they only sell novelty yarn there???" I shudder to think! Personally, I have visions of rural mid-western farms dotting the flatlands of Indiana, populated by all manner of fibrous animals, all eager to shed their yummy locally grown fleece for the opportunity to be manipulated into something wonderful by my vegetarian-operated needles...or something like that.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Snow Day!

Finally, a proper blizzard! I love the snow, and we haven't really had any all season. Officially there are 23" in Central Park right now, but it's still coming down. I went outside to check out the streets, which are almost completely devoid of moving cars. There are lots of people walking around and playing in the snow. Here are some shots of my neighborhood, including one of The Cooper Union.

The other excitement of my weekend was an intimate Indigo Girls concert on Friday night in Poughkeepsie, at the Bardovan Opera House. It only has 944 seats, and the girls totally rocked -- it was one of the best Indigo Girls concerts I've ever been to. My favorite was their perfomance of "Land of Canaan". Katie, Sarah and I had an extra thrill by sort of sneaking in through the back door during the rehearsal. Actually, we didn't even have to sneak -- the door was open and we just walked in and sat there, listening. We knew we'd have to leave sooner or later, and sure enough, someone soon came and asked us who we were with. Of course, our truthful answer not being good enough to allow us to stay ("no one -- we're just listening"), we were politely asked to leave.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Addicting site of the day

My friend Jenny sent me this link, and it's become very addicting. Supposedly it's a Fighter Pilot Exercise.

The object of the game is to simply survive by moving the red block around without getting hit by the blue blocks or touching the black perimeter walls. If you can survive longer than 18 seconds you are phenomenal. It's been said that the US Air Force uses this for fighter pilots.>They are expected to survive for at least 2 minutes.

My best time is 21 seconds so far. Dave said he got 27 seconds. Try it! But be warned, this is addicting!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mini Mitten!

I kind of made this up myself as an experiment. The top came out too pointy, the thumb is too big and the ends were a %@*! to weave in on the inside. And as the SnB'rs told me, babies really don't need thumbs on their mittens, they just need little "sacks" -- sans thumb. But I learned from this!!!

I have to get the yarn for the Hourglass Sweater, so in the meantime I'm thinking of doing the ubiquitous Clapotis from Knitty that everyone did last year. I'd use some kid mohair that I got from Brook's Farm at Rhinebeck last year. Or I was going to do the Branching Out scarf , also from Knitty. Not sure which yet, but that Knitty sure is a valuable resource!!!

Ciao for now!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Steelers won and the mittens are done!

First of all, a shout-out to the Kotarski's in OH and LV -- I've been thinking about you guys all weekend, and I'm psyched your team won! Jason & Adam, time for another tattoo...

In spite of the Superbowl hoopla, this weekend was pretty low key. Friday night I made a yummy Roasted Sweet Garlic and Thyme Risotto with Toasted Almonds and Breadcrumbs -- I found the recipe, by Jamie Oliver (the Naked Chef!), on the Food Network's web site, a really great resource for free recipes. And this one was pretty easy with very little prep time. In fact, while the garlic roasted I had time to enjoy the unseasonably beautiful weather and a few glasses of wine in the backyard with my neighbors Cathryn, Sage & Julian (the latter two are the proprietors of dREALM, a cool clothing shop in our building).

I met up with some SnB friends (sub-group!!!) at The Point on Saturday night, and after knitting we went out to dinner at the Blue Ribbon Bakery (great wine and cheese selection!) Jessica wore a fabulous hand knitted product, the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, that she made from undyed Blue Sky Organic Cotton. It looked so awesome on her that it inspired me to buy the book today, with the aim of making the same sweater out of the same yarn -- maybe in Sand or Nut.

Special thanks to Dave, the hand model (he never won a contest), for modelling the finished mittens!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

First Mitten Ever!

Here are the front and back of my first mitten ever! I'm working on the 2nd one now. I really like doing these, they're fast and rewarding and came out better than I thought they would. I knit the cuff on #2 DPN's and the main body on #5's. The yarn was from Zeilenger Wool Co. in Frankenmuth, MI. The tag says that it is 100% llama, but I really have no way to know, and it was the only hank of that left in the shop. It feels a lot like sheep wool, but softer and a little slicker. I think next time I make mittens, I might round the top instead of making it flat, so that the little peaks aren't sticking out at the edges, but they really don't look too bad. Maybe next time I'll make some baby mittens for Sam -- smaller is faster!

Speaking of Sam, I got a chance to visit her today. I brought my Gram over and we hung out with Mike, Kerry & Gorgeous for a while.