Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tumbling to TNNA.

Since I am so abysmal at updating my blog I decided to try and new venue, Tumblr. Gail and I are getting ready to go out to TNNA on June 9th, with Adam and Claire, our buddies and partners in crime from The Stitchery in Purl River. Rapt with anticipation and desire to get out as much of the sights, sounds and excitement from TNNA as possible and Tumblr provides us with the perfect platform.

So check me out over there. I will try and do some formal posting here, but since I now have a new app to play with on my iPhone I am betting on a flurry of activity over there.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yankees/Bestie Weekend: trying to shake the post-Doctor Who funk

After hours of marathon watching and knitting I finished all the current seasons of Doctor Who in record time. I feel an emptiness inside where the Doctor was filling my time and now have been searching for things that are as exciting and stimulating. So far nothing has quite filled the void the Doctor has left, as it is with all his former companions.

In his wake my knitting has become slightly monotonous, unchallenging and, therefore, unsatisfying. I feel I need a project of epic proportions to really get me going again. I am still puttering along with my assigned projects, and am humming away on a few designs, but unfortunately they are all currently in stocking stitch or garter mode and I am loosing my mojo. I need something new, really new. I find myself day-dreaming of complex cable motifs, fair-isle steeking, and involved lacework. Something like a modification of this beauty:

But alas, without significant time, resources and patience for modifying, this project will be but a dream for awhile. So I decided to put down my knitting for a few days and do other things to get me wanting the ol' needles and string again.

This weekend I went to my besties house, we drank wine, ate delicious foods, slept, got up and ate more delicious foods,

(mmmm...bareburger's chicken and waffle brunch)

went shopping for silly things,

hung out with a little furry friend,

took a nap, read,

and went to a Yankees game,

where I admired this gentleman's frock...

...whilst waiting in line for more delicious foods. We really know what works for us and that's what makes our friendship so great. By the time I came home I felt much better, being away from the day-to-day on-goings of life for even a short break works wonders.

I am still pondering my next knitting move, meanwhile, I will finish this scarf, made with scrumptious Sawya by Mirasol Yarns,

and probably start another project, Ana, which I have been dying to make, but involves mostly stocking stitch. So much for getting out of my funk.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Cure for the "Boyfriend Sweater"

We all have heard the curse of the boyfriend sweater. Women and men around the globe recoil at its name; all knitter's know someone who has suffered the curse. For years people have tried to talk it down, saying thing along the lines of: "It doesn't matter, I want to make it for him. It'll be okay, right?" We quietly sit by, listening, nodding along, knowing that he or she is about to bring the curse upon them. But once a knitter's decides to venture into "boyfriend sweater" territory, there is no talking them out of it.

Which bring me to this weekend's riff-raff symposium. Our newest member informed us that she is about to make Jared Flood's Cobblestone Sweater, the ultimate boyfriend sweater. I looked at her inquisitively, with a sense of dread, until she said, "I'm going to make it in my boyfriend's size so he can wear it too." She said this with no guilt or insecurity hanging behind her words, which can only mean one thing, she genuinely is making the sweater for herself, leaving the option for him to wear it.

I had a * head desk *, slaps forehead moment. OF COURSE! My hypothesis is thus, if you make the sweater for yourself the curse could be negated. The tricky part of my theory is that the knitter must sincerely be making the sweater for his/herself, with the boyfriend being a part-time wearer.

Years later, when you are admiring your knitwear modeled by your man, or wearing the sweater that you knit for yourself (boy or no boy present) you can feel happy about the presence of the garment and not have an abandoned lump of wooly resentment lurking in the back of your closet.

I feel I am on to something here, but fortunately, I won't be one to test it right now. BUT, Jared released another drool worthy pattern, Brownstone, intended for men, but is really unisex. I'll be making it in a size larger than my normal, for comfort, but if I do happen to have a boy later who wants to wear it I can hand it over...without the curse looking over my shoulder.

I think a new KAL is in order: The Cure for the Boyfriend Sweater KAL. What do we think?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Fun-Day: Doctor Who Edition

Here are the facts:

1. I am currently into my second day of Doctor Who-A-Thon.

(Chiton KAL: This picture was taken hours ago; I am working on the cowl neck.)

2. Being a huge nerd of almost unimaginable proportion, I am completely addicted and in love with this show.

3. I am very grateful and love Mark for lending me his collection. (I love him any way, but this deepens our friendship down to the nerdiest and most lovable level.)

4. Many of these discs are Blue Ray. :D

5. Although I love my parents, I am happy they have left for the weekend leaving me completely access to the 42" flat screen and Blue Ray. (March Madness was literally sending me into true madness!)

6. Watching TV for hours on end is mainly a stationary activity, therefore, I have completed much knitting.

(Ishbel, made with Silky Alpaca Lace, 2409 Lake Chad)

7. I will take better pictures of Ishbel.

8. Whenever I finish a lot of knitting I think about all the knitting I will do in the future.

(Manos Del Uruguay Serena and Lang Jawoll Magic for Akimbo; Silky Malabrigo and Tilli Thomas Symphony TBD)

p.s. Happy Birthday Carol! I was listening to Sergeant Pepper and some of the lyrics to "When I'm Sixty-Four seemed too coincidental not to mention:

Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?..... (lunacy?) :-P

I could be handy mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside (it's probably grey or white?)
Sunday mornings go for a ride.

~The Beatles, "When I'm Sixty-Four"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The book that brings the Spring.

"When you read Anna Karenina it will instantly be Spring." My 19th century literature professor said this to our class on the day he told us we would be starting the Tolstoy classic. He said it with such joy that the bleak February day seemed a bit brighter, and made me rethink that the 1000 page book sitting in front of me would be less than the slog I thought it would be.

In the weeks to follow the weather magically turned warm, the snow melted, and the air smelled new. He was right. He was usually right.

On the first day of class, to the lucky few of us who made it through the gauntlet of registration week, Iija said, with a twinkle in his sharp blue eyes, "This class is dreadfully over-registered, but I can assure you there is no magic in this room." The air stood still for a moment, and then he laughed a loud, deep, lion laugh that echoed in the walls and warmed the room. He stood up from table and began a game of charades. He paced back and forth, bent over like a towering question mark, rocking his arms, and occasionally flicking his white hair over his head. We found out after much guessing and flailing that he was trying for The Brothers Karamazov, but, needless to say, by the end of the hour we were all enchanted by a man who seemed to possess an omnipotent force of love, knowledge, and even some magic.

Over the course of the year I read more big books than I could have imagined, and enjoyed them all. But more importantly, I found myself in those books, in the class and in Iija's love and zeal for each of his students. I am forever in his debt because he gave me something I thought I would never find, a transcendent connection to humanity, which some call ecstasy, some call God, some call Beauty. "It was as if threads from all those innumerable words if God all came together in [my] soul..." (Karamazov, pg. 362, Pevear)

Which brings me back to Anna Karenina, one of the most powerful of those books which catapulted me smack into ecstasy. I read Anna over six years ago, but passages of it are always floating through my head, forever shaping my consciousness. One of those passages, strangely enough, is from the beginning of the book, just before Anna arrives, Dolly sits with her children,
"...and again took up the rug she was knitting, a piece of work begun long ago, to which she always returned in times of trouble, and which she was now knitting, nervously throwing the stitches over with her fingers and counting them." (Anna Karenina, pg. 65, Maude)
Looking at this passage now I realize the truth in the words more so than I did years ago. What pieces of "self" are in our fabric? What worry, what joy, what memories? I reached for my book today after that passage struck my mind, and could immediately locate its place after so many years away from the text. This seemed too coincidental to not share the book that brings the Spring.

I think the universe is telling me it's time to read Anna again. The scent of magnolia trees blooming, the memory of Iija's laughter and the warmth of sun is too much of a lure.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Eye Candy Friday

Ballston Legwarmers, from Adriondack Accessories, available through Fairmount Fibers and your local Manos del Uruguay carrying LYS. Made with Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in colors bing cherry, rust, topaz and natural.

My second Manos del Uruguay project, the Chiton Pullover by Melissa Wehrle, from Winter/Spring '11 Knitscene. Our Spring KAL made from luscious, drapey, soft Serena in Zinnia.

Can you believe there is no Madelinetosh in this post?!?! Fear not, my yarn cubby is still ever filling with my heart's content.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of Elijah

My third time making Elijah, and he's still adorable and fun to make. I made the little heart pillow out of spare yarn lying around the shop. Over the years I have made Elijah for a baby, a friend who loves elephants, and now for anyone to fall in love with as they pass through the shop.

Pattern: Elijah by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Plymouth Dreambaby DK
Needles: US 3