Archive for March, 2013
Jon and I just got back from a quick trip to Chicago! We’ve lived in New York for about six years now which seems crazy! I don’t think I’ve properly visited another big city since moving here. It certainly felt weird to be in someone else’s city but it was exciting to explore a new place.
I’m certainly no expert when it comes to Chi-town (unlike New York) so I can’t say that we did all of the things that you “have” to do while you’re there. (We didn’t eat deep dish pizza nor did we go on the Sky Deck. Frankly, the Sky Deck sounds like the worst idea ever. And I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower. At least that had a floor!) We did some touristy things like visiting the Art Institute (a la Ferris Bueller) and the Contemporary Art Museum. We ate Chicago style hot dogs (they put a whole pickle on top!) and rode the El (L?). It was cold!
I think my favorite stop was eating at Billy Goat Tavern, the inspiration for its own all-star SNL skit. Their burgers are delicious and simple. The bar probably hasn’t changed since 1972 in the best way possible. The walls are filled with old newspaper articles and trophies. It gives you a real feeling of Chicago back in the day. The staff behind the counter are very no nonsense and insist you get a double cheeseburger when you order a single. Love it.
I also got to sneak in some yarn shopping. I mean, I had to! I visited Loopy Yarns and Nina. Both were absolutely lovely stores. Chicago knitters are lucky to have them! Loopy is a classic LYS, the type that I shopped in while I was in high school. Huge selection of yarns with a variety of prices, very well organized, spacious, and friendly. I spent a lot of time taking it all in. They even have a second floor for classes and more yarn! Nina has a really different feel and I love that. (Isn’t their logo awesome?) Nina feels more like a boutique. I love the way the yarns there are laid out, everything seems well-curated yet there is still an impressive selection of yarns. The shop looks more like a high end clothing store which suits it’s trendy Wicker Park location. All in all, both stores were fantastic and, as much as I was excited to return home, I was a little bit sad that I couldn’t stay and visit them on a regular basis!
I wish I’d had time to visit other yarn stores in Chicago. If they were anything like Loopy Yarns and Nina, I’m sure they’re awesome. I brought home a few wooly souvenirs but that’s for another post.
Do you go yarn shopping when you’re visiting a new place?
ps. Speaking of Chicago, Chi-town natives OK Go just released a new song! Have you heard it yet?
I think knitting can and should be political but I try not to do that too much here. This is a happy place for yarn and socks. But I can’t be happy making socks until justice has been served. I don’t know how the SCOTUS will rule but I can only join in with my friends around the country who agree that it’s time for marriage equality. While there is still a lot of work to be done to make this country truly equal for everyone, it hurts me to see so many of my best friends living without some very basic rights.
My parents come from different faiths. While it’s hard to compare their marriage to current events, I’ve always felt a kinship with those who are not in traditional relationships. I learned from my mom and dad early on that family doesn’t have a strict definition as long as there is love.
I made this little rainbow to show support for marriage equality in my own, yarny way. Let’s spread the love.
Knitters for equality!
Passover is beginning soon. Are you getting prepared? It’s one of the most important Jewish holidays and it’s one of my favorites for these reasons: a) the story is epic, b) the Rugrats made a really good holiday episode, c) you’re supposed to drink a lot (like, a lot, guys), and d) it’s supposed to be very personal. It’s the story of how our ancestors escaped slavery in Egypt. And when I was a kid, I wanted to be an Egyptologist so the whole Jews building pyramids thing was pretty exciting.
Here’s the story of Passover and my ancestors (I imagine they look like me but with way more epic eye make up).
We were slaves in Egypt. It sucked. Moses came and was all, LET MY PEOPLE GO which is probably the best catchphrase ever. The Pharaoh was all like, “No Way, Jose.” Then the ten plagues happened, yadda yadda yadda.
When the Pharaoh told the Israelites that they were free to leave Egypt, they left as fast as they could. They knew he was kind of a fickle bitch and was constantly changing his mind. Like, one day he would be like, “Guys, this is where I the pyramid should go,” and then halfway through building it, he’d be all, “I think it would actually look better over there. Don’t you think it’d look better over there?” And then they’d have to go and start all over again.
So when the Jews were freed, they hauled ass out of there. They packed up so quickly, they didn’t even wait for their bread dough to rise! That’s why we eat matzah. (Don’t have any idea what the geflite fish is all about. Don’t ask.) My ancestors packed up so quickly that they didn’t even wait to finish all of their WIPs! They just took whatever stash yarn they could carry and GTFO. Moses was all like, “Um, I don’t think you’re going to need a scarf in the desert” but they were all like, “It’s not a scarf, it’s a 10 Commandments cozy. By the way, did anyone pack stitch markers? I left all of my notions in Egypt.”
Then, the whole Egyptian army showed up because the Pharaoh had changed his mind (so predictable, this guy!) and so they were all like chasing the Jews to the sea. My ancestors were like, “Oh crap, I don’t think salt water is very good for wool.” But Moses was all, “Guys, don’t worry. I have a plan.” And, guess what. He OPENED UP THE SEA so everyone would just walk across. I know, crazy right? And when they got to the other side, all of the Egyptians drowned and the day was saved.
And somebody was like, “Hey did anybody bring a map?” and my ancestors were like, “I have a pattern for a nemes. Would that help?” And Moses was all like “OMG WE’RE GONA BE IN THIS DESERT FOREVS.”
Anyway, the point of this story is that, just as we eat unleavened matzahs to commemorate our ancestors time in Egypt, I will knit with matzah-like yarns to commemorate my ancestors who were probably walking around the desert like, “Are we there yet? I’m hot. Golden donkey? How about a golden sheep? Maybe it can send more yarn.”
This unleavened yarn will probably make you a lot less constipated than matzah.
ps. If you stuck it out and read this whole story, you’re a real champ. It was ridiculous but I made myself laugh.
It’s been a long road but my fair isle sweater is pretty much finished. It feels like I’ve been working on this thing my whole life (since I started it while I was on my hurrication back in October), a lot of other pieces have been finished since I cast this thing on but it’s done.
Since I haven’t been able to take photos of the FO, I wanted to talk about the finishing of the garment and some of the cool details. One of the elements that really drew me in to this pattern were the embroidered parts on the front and back. I’ve never embroidered on a piece of knitting but I do like to do both things separately. The colorwork alone was full of little details but this part made it even more unique.
The purple/grey flowers and pink hearts (which are up near the neckline) are knit by intarsia which is why the pieces are worked flat. (At least the front and back. I wish I’d worked the sleeves in the round but that’s life.) Then embroidery is added over them to make it pop. It was pretty fun. My French knots always throw me for a loop when I’m rusty but I finally got them to work.
I can’t wait to show you more of this sweater. It’s definitely going to be my favorite thing to wear from now on.
Have you embroidered knitting?
Friday, I had a box of yarn waiting for me when I got home. It feels like Christmas when yarn is delivered, even if I know what’s in the package. I just can’t wait to rip it open and wind it up and then hide it from my boyfriend before he yells, “More yarn!?” as if he thinks I have “enough yarn.”
I can’t tell you much about what I’m making with it (I’m test knitting a pattern that I’m really enjoying so far) but I can tell you about the yarn!
I’ve got a bunch of Blue Sky Alpaca Skinny Dyed Cotton. (Isn’t my yarn bowl pretty!? It was a gift from Jon’s brother and his fiancee. I’d never wanted one before but I’m a fan now!) I really love the color of this yarn. It actually looks like a building that I always look at out our living room window, kind of grey but a little purple too.
This year I’m all about mixing it up. I’m trying to work with new fibers and brands. I never knit with cotton. The test knit I’m making is more of a spring-time pattern (think 3/4 sleeve) so I decided that using this 100% organic cotton might suit it well. I honestly have never really liked cotton yarns, though I have to admit I haven’t worked with them that often. I love Blue Sky Alpacas, though. Their yarns always seem to take things to the next level. Like their Techno yarn which is thick and bulky but somehow also light and fluffy! I hoped that I’d find a similar surprise from this yarn.
And I have to say that I’m enjoying working with the skinny dyed cotton. I’m not a cotton convert yet but I like that it’s lightweight with a nice drape like some bamboo yarns I’ve worked with. It seems to hold its shape without being stiff like other cottons I’ve used before. The only thing I’ve had trouble with (which is not exclusive to this yarn, just the nature of cotton) is how fibrous it feels. It makes it a little tough to work with and sometimes I’m catching some of the ply of the yarn with some stitches. Okay, the other thing that makes it not my favorite is that it’s not soft the way that alpaca or silk or merino is. It’s different.
I can’t wait to work with this yarn more. The pattern is going to get much more exciting. And I can’t wait to reveal it to you!
Do you like cotton yarns? What’s your favorite fiber?
For today’s post. I’d like to take a moment of silence in honor of all of the knitters out there that we’ve lost to our most tragic epidemic in the community: Weaving in ends.
It’s happened to all of us at one point. Sometimes weaving in ends, you feel like you should just throw in the towel, call it quits, give up. If you know a knitter at risk, don’t be afraid to help.
Now I have to get back to weaving.
ps. I’m heading to Chicago next week! Any places I have to visit?
I don’t often knit for other people. That probably sounds selfish but every sweater pattern I like, I want to wear. I’ve also found it tough to make sure things fit for someone who isn’t standing in front of me. Mostly, I like to wear the things that I put time into. I should really break that habit since I’m a process knitter. I could really be working on anything for anybody and be happy. But I mainly knit for myself.
Well I made this cowl and it wasn’t for me.
A few weeks ago, Jon’s grandmother saw a hat that I made (pattern coming soon!) and she just loved it. She was asking me a bunch of questions about it. She also asked me to give her a recipe for cookies that I’d baked and I was just so flattered that Jon’s grandmother who makes that delicious Israeli coffee meringue cake was asking me for a recipe, I just about died. After she left, Jon turned to me and said, “You should really knit something for my grandma. She’d really like it. Her birthday’s coming up. I can buy the yarn.”
To which I replied, OKAY. (I mean, he’s such a good boychick, am I right?!)
I had a few ideas in mind but I needed something that was simple and quick since I had about a week to make the whole thing. I decided on the Purl Bee Fluted Cowl which is freaking gorgeous. (I love the drama of the sample on their site!) And I used Purl Soho’s new Supersoft Merino which is the squooshiest, softest, most delicious yarn ever. (You can probably tell that since the photos where I’m modeling it it just looks like a big blob of yarn porn. It’s fantastic.) This is the second thing I’ve knit with the peacock colorway. It’s fantastic.
It took me a long time to get used to the stitch pattern but it’s simple. It’s hard to tell where you left off just by looking at it. I think most of my trouble came knitting on size 17 needles. (And then I went back to knitting my colorwork sweater on size 3s and, boy, were my hands confused! It’s like after you ride a bike for a really long time and then try walking but your legs still want to pedal.) I decided to cast on 128 stitches for a shorter cowl since I didn’t have time to make the longer version. Shorter seemed more practical, too. I was terrified I’d twist the stitches when I joined in the round. But I didn’t! I really love how both sides are different but work together. I really want to make one for myself. It’s so soft and warm!
Happy birthday to Jon’s grandmother! I hope she wears the cowl in good health (as my grandpa would say).
Do you like to knit for other people or yourself? Have you tried out the Super Soft Merino?
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, everyone! I have to admit, I’m not really a big participant in St. Patty’s Day festivities. I’m Irish and I like drinking but there’s something about chugging Guinness with a bunch of dudes from New Jersey wearing backwards green baseball hats in a crowded bar that turns me off of the whole holiday. Also, the arbitrary addition of green food coloring to beverages and breakfast foods really grosses me out. In fact, I have no idea what Erin Go Bragh means. And I just found out that Guinness has two n’s because I’ve never typed it before.
God, I sound like the Grinch who stole Patrick. I have a feeling my Irish card is about to be revoked.
This year, maybe I’ll get lucky and change my mind. I hope I can find a four leaf clover or even catch a leprechaun. And his pot won’t be filled with gold but maybe full of yarn!
And if his pot is full of gold, well I guess I’ll just have to buy the yarn myself. And some beer.
Are you planning on celebrating St. Patty’s Day to the max? Will you be wearing any green knits?
ps. Can you believe Ravelry hit 3 million members last week! Congrats to them!
Good morning, lovelies! Today we are kicking it old school and you get a special treat: we’re going to talk about me in high school. I’ve wanted to write about this for a while but it’s always felt overly sentimental (and there are some photos of me wearing large amounts of eyeliner that I was afraid to share) but it’s time! Happy Friday!
Throughout my high school career, I saw OK Go live somewhere between six and ten times. Always accompanied by my best lady Ashley! Our love affair with their music began just before the treadmills and paisley happened. We were those giggly fangirls who’s parents dropped them off in front of some bar in Hoboken, standing at the very front through all of the opening acts to secure a good spot for dancing. You probably hated us but you were those girls at some point, too. Admit it.
OK Go has always been really awesome and creative. They would do intricately choreographed dances at the end of their shows. Their music videos have become more and more experimental and wild over the years and they’ve always encouraged the same unbridled creativity from their fans. Last summer they “hosted” a summer camp where they asked fans to submit whatever projects they were working on, all mediums and subjects. Before that, though, back when I was going to their shows on school nights, they used to request fun gifts from fans.
They’d put out a message a few hours before the show like Bring us a hoola hoop! or Tonight we want socks! or something crazy and after the show, people would present their offerings to the guys. I never got into that but I was always jealous of my friends from Livejournal (Livejournal! This post is getting embarrassing!) who got to spend a little extra time chatting with the guys.
So I decided that I would bring them a gift that they’d love that was totally me. Something that could show them that they were really my favorite band of all time. So I knit them scarves.
Yup! That’s me at age sixteen sweating like a sinner in church, partially from two hours of dancing but also, probably, from nervousness!
I charted their logo myself. (Creating colorwork charts was kind of a hobby for me then.) They were placed awkwardly at one end of each scarf. I made them all from Lamb’s Pride worsted yarn mainly because I had some stashed at the time. It’s definitely not what I’d choose for a scarf now since it’s so itchy but what can I say? The colors were lovely and it was within my slim budget and I didn’t really know anything about wool versus alpaca versus unicorns. I had a lot of fun mixing crazy colors to match their whole paisley thing. (Damian wore bright red pants.) And I really loved crazy colors back then, too.
I approached them nervously after one of their shows and pulled out each of the scarves I’d made. I must’ve seemed crazy but they were so sweet. Andy put his on even though he was totally sweaty from the show. Dan even introduced me to his fiancee who thanked me since he really needed a scarf. Damian reminded me that it was bad luck to knit for your boyfriend (a rule I’ve broken about a million times since but I’m glad he was looking out for me). It was pretty exhilarating.
Best of all, someone on livejournal (livejournal, again) spotted a photo of Tim rocking his pink and black scarf in a Boston paper and sent me the article where he gave a shout out the fan who knit it for him. It was awesome to know that they were actually wearing them.
Regardless of the knitwear, I still love OK Go. Since that show, I haven’t talked to them. We used to be able to hang around and get a hug or a photo after they performed but they’re not playing those little venues anymore. Ashley and I go to their shows every time they’re in New York. We’re always dancing and singing and flailing around in the front row like we’re fifteen and we don’t care if you’re judging us. I forget everything about being a grown up and trying to act cool and I just let excitement take over. I can’t wait to hear what they’re working on now and I love seeing their fresh ideas. I’ll never not be a fan.
Thanks for being awesome, boys!
Have you ever knit for someone you admire? Do you like reminiscing about old FOs? Is OKGo not the most fun ever?
You thought they were done but they’re not!
When I substitute yarn, it’s like:
When someone asks if I knit something I’m wearing, I’m just like:
When my boyfriend tries to talk to me while I’m counting stitches, I’m like: