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Monday, September 26, 2005

Reheating your leftovers

I don't throw anything out, and I hate to waste. Just ask my co-workers, who saw me grab a bag of potato chips off the top of the trash last week. (Dude, they were bbq flavored and they were on top of old newspapers!)

Since I'm a notorious cheapskate, I decided to put my leftover yarn from the circular shrug to good use. And I kinda wanted a quick hit, so I whipped up the flora scarf from the fall Knitty. I double stranded the Simply Soft and finished this in a jiffy. It's cute and toasty, but the finishing was kind of a nightmare. Lots of ends to weave, and lots of yarn twisting for the little stamens in the middle. (Thank you, sixth grade biology.) And you have to sew on several buttons. I feel like there has to be a better way, but I think it's cute and should temporarily satisfy my autumnal desire for new scarves.




And here it is, sans my neck.



I've noticed that since I've been knitting more maniacally, I've been reading a lot less. I know there are some folks who can do both, but certainly not me. So this past week, I tried to up my book intake out of fear of becoming an illiterate plebe. I picked up a book by my former New Haven Register co-worker, Karen Olson. It's called "Sacred Cows," and it's about a reporter at New Haven's daily newspaper unravelling a murder mystery. I finished it in one day. Perhaps because I'm narcissistic and like reading about crime reporters and my old home, but also because it's just a really compelling story and so much fun.

So I stopped by Barnes and Noble today and picked up two more books:



That's the Yarn Harlot's "At Knit's End: Meditations for Women who Knit Too Much" and Pulitzer Prize winning crime reporter Edna Buchanan's "The Corpse Had a Familiar Face." Yeah, they kind of sum up my life.

And for those of you who don't mind being totally grossed out, jump on over to
Anne Marie's knitting blog. She's experimenting in home mole removal. I'm not kidding, and it's not for the faint of heart.

Monday, September 19, 2005

circular reasoning

This is a first. I finished seaming this baby, crossed my fingers, tried it on -- then wore it straight to work. For once, I didn't need to try on 12 tops and five pairs of pants before coming up with something semi-presentable. Am I the only one who does that?



This is the view out of Jonathan's hallway window. I'm so jealous of the folks with the patio furniture on their rooftop!

As I've written before, this circular shrug was designed by committee over at Craftster as a cheaper alternative to this sweater from Urban Outfitter. This version was dreamt up by the ever-ingenious Keridiana -- essentially, it's 5 inches of 2 by 2 rib, then 20 inches of mock ribbing, then 5 inches of 2 by 2 rib. I used two skeins of Caron Simply Soft after looking at Julsey's version. For an acrylic yarn, I love this stuff. It's so shiny!

Here it is in all of its circular glory.



And here is a close-up of the shawl collar that I took (by myself) inside my filthy little office. If I look a little sleepy, it's because a lot of people were involved in unfortunate, newsworthy accidents that night. I was really workin' for the weekend at that point.




This was such a fun, relaxing, satisfying knit. I could zone out without completely screwing it up. And I think I'll definitely wear it. If you are on the fence about this pattern, I say jump right in.

Just an hour or two ago, I received a knitting goodie bag from Marie in Florida. Like a lot of bloggers, I'm supporting Give a Little, which benefits Hurricane Katrina victims. (Knitters have raised more than $87,0000 so far!) Well, the folks over there draw names every week and send out gift packages, and miraculously I won a goodie bag. I feel guilty -- you shouldn't get anything when you give something. But Marie put a lot of care into this.

She made me three cute pot holders and bought me a sheep-shaped notepad, plus some cute sock yarn!


I adore vintage patterns and books -- I'll have to photograph my collection at some point -- so I was thrilled with the books that she sent. The shawl patterns are fabulous, and I love the "Complete Book of Knitting and Crochet." (Do you see that the laughing man is helping that woman wind her yarn?) And I can FINALLY make a tam like Mary Tyler Moore tossed in the air!


Jonathan -- who may find himself winding yarn soon -- reminded me that I have abandonned my "the dumbest thing I've done all week" feature. So it's officially resurrected! On Friday, Jon was having a rough day, so I composed a sweet if really cheesy e-card for him. I know, that's so totally 1996. But it had a little teddy bear dressed as a gangster -- unfortunately, not a gangsta -- and said that i was "furever" his and other bear puns. And that wasn't even the dumb part. I sent it along, then called to see if he received it.

He hadn't. Hours later, he still hadn't. Then I came to a terrible realization -- I screwed up his email address. I basically forgot the underscore, so someone with a very similar hotmail address thinks I can't "bear" to be without them. Oops.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Sooo?

Whaddya think?



(With apologies to High Energy Jenny and Carrieoke, who already shrugged over shrugs on high energy's blog. And with apologies to everyone else because I look like a goof.)

This is the Hot Lava cardigan from Blue Alvarez. I've loved some of the other versions floating out there in blogland, but mine is only so-so. It doesn't seem long enough to be a cardigan, and I think there is too much material behind my neck. Itchy!

I'm also not wild about the back of it. The top and bottom sections are just SO vastly different from one another that I think it's a little too drastic.



Perhaps my disenchantment is related more to the fact that it's still too hot to wear something made of Manos del Uruguay. Perhaps when the fahrenheit dips, I'll be thrilled to have such a cozy garment.

In other shrug news, I'm cruising on the circular shrug cooperatively designed over at Craftster. I think I'm honestly suffering from shrug fatigue. This one will have to be the end of it. Holiday knitting will have to take priority over mini-sweaters of every type. The shrug ban is hereby reinstated!

I was tagged by both A Knitter in Queens and Kym at Stix and the City. So here goes!

TEN YEARS AGO:
I was a sophomore at the University of Maryland, working day and night at the campus newspaper, the Diamondback. I wore corduroy overalls and clogs, and I didn't own a hairdryer. I also hadn't started drinking coffee yet. More interestingly, I actually worked with Jayson Blair at the paper. But that's a whole other post ...

FIVE YEARS AGO:
I was working as a reporter at the New Haven Register up in Connecticut, covering public housing, homelessness and social services. But I was kinda getting itchy to move on. I wouldn't start crocheting for another year, and I wouldn't start knitting for almost two more years. How the heck was I spending my time?

ONE YEAR AGO:
I was moving from Manhattan to Queens so that I would be closer to my newspaper's Long Island bureau, where I was assigned to work. (Little did I know that I'd be back working in Manhattan a few months later, so the move was for naught.) Anyway, I do love my little spot in Sunnyside, which is really an adorable neighborhood. I was also adjusting to having a car in New York City, and I think I had just started crocheting a blanket for Jonathan that I still haven't finished.

FIVE SNACKS:
We'll go with the decadent snacks because who wants to hear about grape and Granny Smith apples? Harvest cheddar Sun Chips, Tostitos with a hint of lime, Veggie chips, any kinda pretzels, and I never allow myself to eat them, but Lays cheddar and sour cream. (I'm more into salty than sweet snacks.)

FIVE SONGS I KNOW ALL THE WORDS TO:
I'll pick the embarrassing ones, just for kicks. Who cares that I know the Beatles, right?
"Hit Me Baby ..." by Britney
"99 Problems" by Jay-Z
"Carrie" by Europe
"Any Way You Want It" by Journey
"Lost in Love" by Air Supply

FIVE THINGS I WOULD DO WITH $100 MILLION:
That's really the only way I'll afford to buy property in New York, so I'd do that.
I'd get a nice place up here for my parents, too.
I'd pick a charity that I really believe in, maybe something for stroke victims, like my dad. Or something to support organ donation or children with down syndrome. Or homeless teens. I guess that's not too specific.
I'd go to Slovakia and see where my ancestors lived.
Sadly, I probably couldn't resist throwing out all my stinkin' clothes and starting fresh!

FIVE PLACES TO RUN AWAY TO:
I used to love the back swing at my parents house, nestled below a dying apple tree near a creek. There's also my childhood bedroom.
Jon and I have run up to Connecticut for a day, just to flee the city, like Norwalk and Westport.
There are lots of little spots at Central Park that often feel like another world.
Gosh, I wish I had more spots.

FIVE THINGS I WOULD NEVER WEAR:
Tapered-leg pants
Fur
I guess animal prints in general
Platform shoes (though I have in the past)
A Yankees shirt

FIVE FAVORITE TV SHOWS:
What Not to Wear
Anderson Cooper 360
Mary Tyler Moore
Friends
Seinfeld

FIVE BIGGEST JOYS:
My parents and family
My boyfriend
My cousin's triplets
Completing something that I can take pride in, whether it's a tricky article or a tricky knitting project
Reading and napping are tied

FAVORITE TOYS:
Knitting needles, laptop, digital camera, cell phone, ipod

FIVE PEOPLE TO PASS THIS ON TO: Has anyone NOT done this? I think nearly everyone has. If not, you're tagged by me!

fickle knitter

Inanimate objects have feelings. I'm completely convinced of this, and always have been. I feel bad for the taupe corduroy blazer that I shun in my closet, always opting for a darker tan version that fits better. I hate parking my car in crappy neighborhoods because I feel like I'm abandonning the poor thing. And I recently pulled an old teddy bear out of my closet because, well, what's sadder than a old teddy bear in a closet? (Did anybody else cry during "Toy Story 2" when they sang about the doll who was hidden under the bed? No? It was just me? Um, oh well.)

So now I have to worry about all of my rejected knitting projects.

Just last week, I cast on for the Yesterknit bolero/shrug. But I was quickly distracted by the new gal in town -- Julsey's version of the circular shrug, as designed by Keridiana. I tried to shake it off and forge forward with the Yesterknits pattern, but the pull was too strong. I was a smitten knitten.

I cast on for the circular shrug, making a few modifications for size but using the same cheap-o Simply Soft that Julsey used so beautifully. Just when I thought I was becoming a yarn snob, I returned to my skinflint roots. But acrylic has a certain appeal, no?



Poor Yesterknits shrug.

And I'm still planning on posting some pix of Hot Lava -- I simply refuse to post a picture that I take myself in my bathroom mirror, and, sadly, I don't have anyone to take it for me until this weekend. (I work evenings, if I haven't mentioned that before, and I sincerely doubt my police sources will indulge me in taking photos of finished objects. I think I'd lose whatever amount of street cred I have, which is probably none.)

I also totally bit Knit and Tonic's rhyme -- did I just type that? -- and purchased my very own, personalized stitch markers. She featured a link to Zephyr Style on her site, and I instantly purchased a set of five. It felt unbelievably decadent -- I've only used generic stitch markers in the past. But how could I resist the little coffee beans and coffee cups? They have little coffee cozies on them, for heaven's sake. I've only gone without coffee once in the past six years, and that was when I was undergoing surgery. Yeah, I know that means I'm an addict.




I think this post reads a little like I've had too much coffee. I swear, it's been hours!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Knitting funk



I fashioned a question mark out of Manos because I dunno what to do about my Hot Lava Cardian. I spent a ton on the yarn, finished it up in about two weeks, but I simply do not love it. The construction of the garment is unique and ingenious -- unfortunately, you couldn't really try it on or measure it as you went. It's not that any part of it is too small or too big. It's more that it just looks a little funky. I'm not crazy about the spine down the back, and stitches go in so many different directions that it's distracting. (Not sure if I'm putting that properly into words.)

I tried blocking it to shrink the back a tad and stretch the bodice, but it doesn't lie flat and, as the pattern even says, it gets its shape from your body. So trying traditional blocking didn't do the trick. I'll have someone take a pic of me in it soon and you folks can help me decide. Maybe it just needs to grow on me. Or maybe it's still to warm to try on finished objects in wool.

Since I spent so much on hot lava yarn, and considering all of the terrible things going on in our country right now, I really don't feel right rushing out and buying tons of pretty yarn for a new project. It just seems like a time to enjoy what we have and not be such blatant consumers. So I dove into my stash and started working on this:



Yes, yes, it's a shrug. I gave in. I'm too weak to resist the pull of the shrug.

I really dig the idea of using a cute vintage pattern, but no sooner did I cast on than I began questioning my choice. Folks over at Craftster have been trying to come up with the ultimate circular shrug, and Keridiana whipped up a prototype that someone just transformed into a beautiful little number. Doh!

My boyfriend and I visited his family up in Massachusetts, so I got some quality knitting time in during the drive and a few hours on the beach in Nashua, N.H. (I did not knit during the Red Sox game. But the weather was resplendent, as was the company, so it was O.K.) Here's my progess thusfar: