Friday, March 31, 2006

OK, this can't be good...

The inchoate mess you see pictured above is what's remaining on the ball of my (beloved, discontinued!) Maratona. I'm not quite sure how I got here, but there you have it--one giant mess. As we say in Minnesota: Uff-da!!Pulling the loose strand from the middle seemed like a good idea at the time...In any case, I've got other more pressing issues to address as I knit up the Union Square Poncho from Weekend Knitting. My use of the expression 'Knit up' is rather misleading as it would seem to imply a quick, effortless even casual action--which is not at all what the Union Square poncho experience has been to say the least. It is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r...and patience is not my strong suit.
What you see pictured above is only about 8 inches, and being the size queen that I am, 8 inches just isn't enough! I've been working on this project off and on since mid-January and can't imagine this ever becoming a poncho. A tea cozy, maybe. Or a cape for my cat...but a poncho? Ponchos will have gone out of style (not that they were every really in style, but let's move on), come back in style and gone out once more by the time I get this completed. How does the sound of Union Square Scarf grab you?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

NYC Yarn Bonanza!

NYC Yarn Haul!
This weekend we were in NYC for the opening of my ex-husband's new store, a très hip home furnishings store in Brooklyn called Hasker--if you're on Smith Street, check it out. "That was so nice of you to come all this way..." people remarked. Those of you who live in a small town and are beholden to the whims of your LYS owners and their inscrutable ways could probably guess that there was more to this trip that altruism. Yes, this was an opportunity to enhance stash. So, without further ado....let me present my 18 hour A.D.D. yarn tour of NY:
Stitches East
Stitches East: Nothing spectacular, but at least it didn't live up to its reputation as 'Bitches East'--maybe the heavy hitters don't work Saturdays. I found the employees to be helpfulish although not overwhelmingly friendly. Their selection was fine and they had some killer needlepoint canvases, but this store didn't overly appeal to me as I was already familiar with most of the yarns they carry. The pleasure of a new yarn store is a combination between having brands you are familiar with and ones that you've heard the buzz about but have never seen before. At Stitches East I bought some Filatura di Crosa 501 to start the Irish Hiking Scarf with, you can see my progress below. All in all, Stitches East was fine, not great, just fine.

Purl Purl : Wow. The Robin's egg blue door on this joint was basically a gateway to paradise...Luckily I was on a budget at this point in my day because I could have done some serious damage here. I'm talking about the kind of damage that maxes out Amex cards and causes irreparable marital strife...Here I got some special Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn created just for Purl Soho (sad how I'm such a sucker for this type of marketing ploy). The employees were two totally adorable slacker/twee kids that were cheerful and helpful. My experience here was very positive, two thumbs way, way up!
My last visit was to the yarn store in NY that I am most familiar with, Knitaway on Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn. This store has a fantastic selection and is very large, esp. compared to the tight quarters at Purl. The owner is friendly albeit slightly nutty (don't even think about using her swift unless you have been trained by some sort of specialized winding guild, she's very touchy about that and don't ask to use the bathroom, ever). But I like her wiggy ways,she has a huge variety of yarn and she works her ass off every day of the week to give bratty knitters like me something to blog about! I bought some Cascade 220 Tweed from her and I can't wait to start in on it--after I wind it on my own, of course.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sock therapy...

I'm still on a small side project detour that I have to say I am truly enjoying...Above you will see the second of a pair of socks that were started, let's just say, at a previous moment in time. The yarn is the most beautiful sock yarn I've yet to work with, Mountain Colors Bearfoot. This particular color is called Ruby River and is gorgeous. Sometimes I just sit and contemplate its most perfect form, a type of devotion I usually reserve for certain loveable Sanrio Characters. I have also recently started the 'Cables in Chamonix' sweater from the Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basics book. Why this sweater? Well, being a French teacher and all and having a love for all things après-ski, this sweater just screamed Catherine Deneuve in 'Belle de Jour' so OF COURSE I'm doing it. It gives me an opportunity to explore my recent cable-obsession as well as knit with my favorite (discontinued!) Rowan yarn of all time, Cork.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pinewood Derby=fabulous KIP opportunity!

For the first time in the history of the testoserone training ground that is the Boy Scout Pinewood Derby, Girl Scouts have been invited to participate, at least in our little corner of Nascar, PA. So Daughter #1 and Resident Marxist Curmudgeon crafted a car appropriate for the times, simply called "the Clicker". Built to resemble a t.v. remote control, the Clicker was apparently built for looks and not speed as the other cars in aformentioned daughter's heat had gravity on their side and defeated the Clicker with alacrity. You would think that a Physicist with two Ph.Ds could design a vehicle that would cross the finish line before the other cars (at least once!), but winning isn't everything, right? Of course you wouldn't know that from the uber-competitive parents at the Pinewood Derby. There was more than a little over zealous competitive spirit in that rec hall this afternoon. But daughter #1 handled her defeat with aplomb...
During the race I was able to make major progress on two little rinky-dink side projects that are providing this knitter with a mental break from other larger, more annoying projects. I finished the hat shortly after the race began, it's called the Cable and Rib Cap, a pattern taken from the the Knitting Pattern-A-Day Boxed Calendar. This particular pattern (Jan. 30) is just what the title says--a simple cable and rib pattern. I did it in some leftover Rowan Cork yarn in 'Very Berry'. Some of you might know that this fantastic yarn has been discontinued for reasons that do not make sense to a simple yarn enthusiast like me. But I enjoyed working with it again, it always feels nice to find a yarn in your stash that is suitable for a quick, fun FINISHED project. Doesn't the Resident Marxist Curmudgeon look positively adorable in the finished product?
The other project is the Lopi-Lace Scarf from Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. Despite the ridiculous cover of the book which features a bonny redhead with a skein of yarn wrapped around her neck, this book is a fantastic resource with excellent patterns. I am enjoying this scarf immensely and am hoping to finish it before the end of winter. The rough Lopi is a perfect counterpoint to the lace effect of the pattern. Loving it!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

You gotta know when to fold 'em...

As that famed purveyor of chicken fried steak once sang, "you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run...". And this girl is PACKING IT IN. This is me--FOLDING. I am refering to a certain sleeve of a certain Scandinavian/Japanese project. Said sleeve has been put away and will be returned to at a later date when enthusiasm and patience are not lacking. I spent the entire weekend in Bergen County, NJ with the inlaws save one trip to Majestic Yarns in Ridgewood, NJ where I used a gift certificate and got some beautiful Marble yarn from Karabella. I spent hours and hours of knitting on the sleeve and made unsatisfactory progress--so after much soul searching, this project is being put on the back burner. I figure that at some point it will be fun again, but now it's vaguely traumatic. It is the knitting equivalent of a hamster-wheel. You just keep going round and round but you don't actually get anywhere.
The decision to temporarily suspend the above project frees me to either a. work on another unfinished project (drag) or b. start up another project (yes, pick that one!). So without further ado I am going to begin my next project which is either the Hourglass sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts or the Marble Shawl-collar Sweater from Karabella or maybe even the Gesta vest, although that pattern is from the Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton book that the above-mentioned sleeve is from, so that one is slightly unlikely. We'll see!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Klaralund=mental illness

There are times when I wish I were still on Wellbutrin, Effexor and esp. Zoloft (GOD I loved Zoloft). You name it. I'd start huffing Comet right now if I thought it would take the pain away. Let me just say that Klaralund is a mind numbing endeavor that is pushing me to the brink of insanity. The process of sleeve completion is forcing me to question everything around me. I'm asking questions I've never asked myself before like " I really enjoy knitting?". Yes, it's THAT bad. Somehow the sleeves have propelled me into an Alice in Wonderland-like dimension where time is distorted and doesn't correspond to any familiar sense of reality. Example: knitting for an hour and a half at mach speed and only making an inch of This is bad. Also, the pattern calls for the 'extended garter stitch'--whatever the hell that is--to me it just looks like you made a bunch of mistakes and kept trying to get it right. I'm going to visit the inlaws this weekend in Northern NJ and am determined to come back to PA with both sleeves finished or else...