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Friday, March 31, 2006

Cascade 220, take me away

Today is sort of a perfect example of why I knit. We had a model with anger management issues, a tragic mom, and erroneous reports of a 9-year-old shot to death in Brooklyn. (That one took about a year off my life. Not even a little bit true.) I was honestly sitting there thinking, is it time to go home and work on Forecast?

I'm loving this one so far, especially now that I'm onto the 2 by 2 ribbing on the bottom. I was going to try it on and take a pic, but it just looked silly. So here she is, spread out on the mint green chair that my neighbors left behind in Connecticut. What a find!

I have to decide on buttons, and fast, because I don't want to be left high and dry when the time comes for the button band. But as much as I'm enjoying Forecast, I have what I can only describe as a fiber crush on another project. I keep imagining how cute it will be! And this might offend some of you, but it's, gulp, crochet. Let me introduce you to the Prepster Jacket from "The Happy Hooker."

Basically, I'm a blazer addict. If you're going to have a vice, I suppose it's not the worst one out there. But it's distracting. I ogle blazers all day. I own them in numerous shades, but I'm always sort of coveting a new color. But a blazer made of YARN? It's like the blazer of my dreams. The only thing better would be a blazer made of cheese or maybe lemon frosting.

I found an already finished Prepster over at craftster, and it's fantastic. Can you believe that's Red Heart? And adding to its awesomeness is that the crocheter is a guy. I don't mean to uphold gender stereotypes, but let's be honest here -- there aren't a lot of guys out there crocheting, let alone finishing patterns from Debbie Stoller's newest book in record time.

Before I embark on that, I need to buy myself some tinier needles because I'm itching to knit some sock. With what yarn, you ask? Well, my new yarn from Sundara aka Purly Whites. It's called Trompe L'oeil and just beyond yummy -- now what pattern do you think this calls out for?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Popovers and bobbles

I was bowled over by everyone's kind comments not only about my Somewhat Cowl, but also about my dingy hair. You'll be happy to know that my parents, who visited me this weekend, bought me a bottle of Pantene, and my friend Paul suggested spending a whole $2 on Suave Professional Series. So I can be a skinflint AND have clean hair. But in all honesty, I'm considering a new hair style, seeing as I've had this one since the Clinton Administration. Any suggestions?

So as I mentioned, my folks came in this weekend from Pennsylvania. And this is a good thing -- I really love them and miss them. We had brunch Saturday at Popover Cafe, which I adore as much for the teddy bears as for the pastries. Here are the parents, mid-brunch:

Mom and I walked around midtown and spent the afternoon at MOMA, in particular the Munch exhibit. That poor guy. He had a failed love affair with a married woman and lost both his mom and sister to consumption. Kinda explains why his paintings are titled Melancholy, Despair and, of course, The Scream. Makes dirty hair seem pretty insignificant.

On Sunday, we traveled out to Long Island, first admiring the opulent mansions at the Sands Point Preserve then freezing on the boardwalk on Jones Beach. Here Jon and I are, overlooking the Long Island Sound in Sands Point. I'm cold, not suffering from appendicitis:

Again, I showed remarkable restraint -- we passed a store called The Knitting Place in Port Washington, and I did not throw a fit when Jon wouldn't stop the car. Which artfully brings us back to knitting content!

Though I swore off top-down knitting two weeks ago, well, I lied. I think Jess is the gal who pointed me toward Winnie's delicious version of Forecast. It was love at first sight. I can see myself just throwing this on and heading to the grocery store. For some reason, that appeals to me.

I decided to use Cascade 220 in this yummy shade. Very springy, no?

But this isn't easy, breezy, television-watching knitting, at least not for me. There's counting and marking rows and making hash marks on the pattern. Like other folks knitting this, I'm doing just the three-stitch bobble so as to avoid the look of malignant growths. Whaddya think?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More than somewhat pleased!

Actually, I'm completely pleased with my Somewhat cowl. It was our attempts to photograph the sweater that were only somewhat successful. I was having an unprecedented bad hair AND bad face day. (Take my advice -- White Rain hair products are only $1 for a reason!)

Thank goodness we're all here for the knitting.

Here I am, more prim and proper and refined.

I definitely give this knit a thumb's up. I used Misti Alpaca, which feels heavenly both when knit up and when worn. Soft doesn't begin to describe it. I used just over four skeins, which is irritating, seeing as I purchased six. But, after the nightmare of nearly running out on Ella, I'll gladly accept the leftover yarn.

This baby even passed the ultimate test, which means I wore it to work and no one accused me of knitting it myself.

As an aside, I'm photographed in Jonathan's kitchen, the site of what we thought was a gas leak this morning. See, the stove smelled funny. And since I tend to imagine that everything will cause an untimely death, we were overly paranoid and called Keyspan. Jonathan told the operator, "I dunno, it's probably not a big deal." And the operator interrupted him, hollering very earnestly, "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SMALL GAS LEAK." That just cracked me up. (Turns out it was not really a gas leak at all, just a kinda clogged pilot light.)

I'll leave you with a fun mosaic I made in honor of Project Spectrum. Here are most of the reds and pinks in my apartment. Too much information? Maybe.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Blogger bonanza!

The stars must have been aligned. It didn't rain, my editors didn't call me in early, and I actually found a parking space near Grand Central Terminal. So my afternoon with Project Spectrum creator and blogger extraordinaire Lolly went off without a hitch!

Lolly, who is as sweet and funny and pretty in person as she is on her blog, came up to New York for a few days and had time to meet up with me and the ever-talented Marie. It was such a treat to see them both! We stopped by School Products, where I showed restraint and bought only a magazine, then had a little lunch. Here are Marie and Lolly, examining the giant heaping cones of yarn.

We also stopped by the Yarn Connection, which had the friendliest employees. Lolly picked up some wonderful kelly green cotton fleece (if I remember correctly) but, again, I resisted temptation and didn't buy even a skein. I'm just not sure what to make next and didn't want to make a rash yarn purchase. Shameful, I know.

Here are Lolly and I, before we parted ways. (Gosh, I look just like my father in this picture....)

I'm sort of surprised that I've been working on my Somewhat Cowl for more than a week but haven't managed to blog about it. When I bought this remarkably soft Misti baby alpaca at Knit-a-way a few weeks ago, it seemed more aqua than green. But it's forest green, no doubt about it.

It was only a few months back that I swore off top down raglan sweaters forever, but here I am, knitting another one. What's killing me is that I'm tempted to try it on every two inches or so, but I really hate weaving in the scrap yarn. After the Tubey debacle, I'm petrified of ill-fitting knits. But I soldier on because the finished somewhat cowls I've seen out there are quite fabulous. (Craftster is down right now, or else I'd link to the knit-a-long there.) Here's the requisite progress shot:

Um, this is terribly off-topic, but how bad does the Vin Diesel movie "Find Me Guilty" look? Even the commercials are unwatchable.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Meow meow meow meow

I have to be honest with you. I'm smitten with this kitten, and not just because that rhymes. I basically ignored the Oscars and instead admired this little lady.

I'm calling her Tabby because she likes to read the New York tabloids. Except for the free ones. She believes they just clutter the subways. And, she reasons, you get what you pay for, which explains why the Post is only a quarter. But she digresses.

Tabby is my contribution to Lolly's Project Spectrum, which encourages participants to experiment with a different color scheme every month. March is red and pink. This was a great chance for me to dive into my fabric stash, which grows exponentially because I love buying fabric but never get around to sewing. (You wouldn't either if you had to sew on the floor of your apartment. Not so ergonomically sound.)

I stumbled upon the pattern for Pointy Kitty last month at one of my favorite blogs, Wee Wonderfuls. If you haven't stopped over there, you should. She shares my love for vintage toys, groovy fabrics, and adorable children's book illustrations. I'm endlessly impressed and inspired by her keen eye for design, and, at long last, she's releasing patterns for her adorable softies.

Here's Tabby, making a run for it.

And here she is, ready for her close-up, natural light be darned.

I'm acutely aware that I'm no great seamstress, and perhaps I should keep my day hobby. (Eh?)

My deficiencies might be blamed on my aged Singer, which I picked up for free when I moved into an attic apartment in New Haven a few years ago. The previous tenant apparently had a nervous breakdown and left a drum set, fur coat, bong and sewing machine behind. I was of course drooling over the Singer, but it has some quirks, and even though I have the owner's manual, I still don't understand what all of the knobs do. How many things can possibly be adjusted?

But this pattern is fun and simple and all around delightful. I'm pondering a companion for Tabby -- after I start my Somewhat Cowl!

Friday, March 03, 2006

My toasty toes

As I am short on time and news is breaking as I type, let's keep this one short and sweet.

Here they are, my first pair of socks!

I know, they ain't the sassiest. But what do you expect when you use about the most basic sock pattern in world history? Truth be told, I wanted something extra simple, and I wanted it right away. Always a bad idea.

The pattern suggested size 2 needles, which created a sock that was a bit too roomy. More like a slipper, really. Still, I think the big toe looks nice, no?

Their only redeeming quality is that they are knit with Brooklyn Handspun Fruit Salad; they taught me about the wonder of a truly portable project; and they make perfectly adequate sock puppets.