Archive for October, 2013
Alright, I’ve held out on you long enough. It’s time to show you what I snagged at Rhinebeck!
I was a really good girl this year. I think that looking my stash directly in the face (that’s for another post) the week before Rhinebeck along with the pressure of numerous deadlines really helped me put things into perspective. I really love yarn. But I seriously need to be careful about what I’m purchasing lest things get more out of hand. (I’d also had my hopes that I was getting a big bonus at work the Friday before but that got postponed so my budget was a little tighter. Probably for the best! Custom couches don’t just pay for themselves, you know.) On top of it all, I felt like I was chatting and catching up so much on Saturday that I hardly had time to shop. Shopping was not the goal for the weekend, as I mentioned before, I felt super pumped after spending the day with all of my friends. I was literally still browsing through what was left at Into the Whirled when they announced that the fairgrounds were closed and I didn’t have to go home but I couldn’t shop for more yarn here. So I only bought two skeins of yarn for myself!
Within my first fifteen minutes, I’d already gotten a lovely compliment on my sweater (oh, Rhinebeck, you always know how to make a girl happy) and fallen deeply in love with this skein of DK BFL dyed by Jan Marek Raczkowski. It’s a gorgeous pink with just a little bit of red. I didn’t want to buy anything until I’d made my rounds so I waited until the end of the day to pick this up but I was thinking about it all day. It’s soft and squishy and the color has me swooning. I’m planning on making the Hierro mitts from Pom Pom’s Autumn 2013 issue and I had my eye out for the right yarn. This is it.
I’m really excited to start those mitts and I’m already thinking that I want to get more yarn from Jan Marek Raczkowski. Apparently he only sells at shows, nothing online! Although a little birdie did tell me that I could email him to order. I’ll definitely be thinking about that!
The other skein I bought is by Into the Whirled. Now, I was a little bad. After going through my stash, I realized that I have enough sock yarn to last me a hundred winters (possible slight exaggeration but it’s serious). I’ve said again and again that I love buying sock yarn because it’s a great way to purchase yarn without worrying about having the right quantity for a random project- one skein of sock yarn is enough for a pair of socks. I love knitting socks! But, alas, I’ve seemed to have followed my own advice a little too closely and now I have a billion skeins and zero minutes to cast on socks. Then Lisa showed me these yarns and there was just no turning back.
But when I saw this color way, I just really couldn’t say no. It’s Inara and it’s in the SW merino/nylon base. It’s just so pretty. I might make socks for Jon with it. I think that is what I say every time I buy a skein of sock yarn. And he only has one pair of socks that I ever knit him. Poor thing.
The more I think about it, the more I’m regretting not also picking up a skein of Bigger on the Inside because the colors are just gorgeous and who doesn’t want Doctor Who-themed socks?! Maybe next time. I really was trying to be good!
Did I do good? Or should I have really broken the bank this time? What did you buy?
ps. Happy Halloween! I’ve been so busy, I’ve forgotten to be festive. Last year I wrote this Halloween poem so check that out.
Want to talk furniture again?
This whole table thing is actually ending up easier than I’d expected. But there’s a real ongoing theme of not knowing what we’re doing slash not bothering to plan anything ahead of time. It’s a blast. Don’t do it that way. In case you were like, “Hm. I too would like a trendy reclaimed wood table” but weren’t sure about what to do after purchasing said reclaimed wood, well, I’m here to help.
At the lumber yard, they were able to scrape down the wood to get most of the major gunk off. That helped a lot. The guy recommended that we don’t do too much sanding lest we strip the patina right off. Once we got it home, we gave it a good scrub. First, we mixed some Mrs. Meyers dish soap (I like lavender) with warm water. After that, and probably more importantly, we washed it again with a cup or two of borax in warm water. The borax was really difficult to find for some reason but I found it at Target. This second wash kills any bugs and other gross things that I don’t want to think about living in my kitchen table.
After the table was dry, we decided we really needed to do a light sanding. Things were kind of treacherous without. I was going to rent a sander but did you know that they sell little sanders for $30? I have a sander now but not that many things to sand. Anyway, Jon removed the gigantic rusty nails that were sticking out using lots of elbow grease while I got to use the power tools. I went over once with 160 grit and once with 280. Did the trick perfectly.
Next was sealing. Staining was something we toyed with briefly (after we went to the hardware store and bought everything but stain) but we thought that it was best to leave the wood as close to the way we got it. A lot of people in my brief research suggested not sealing the table at all and letting all of the spills and dings and scratches become part of the weathered look. That sounds lovely but I’d really rather keep the wood stuff in the table and everything else out. I’ve had butcher block tables before and this just isn’t quite the same since it’s a bit bumpy and everything. We used a polyacrylic sealer (instead of polyurethane) with a satin finish. It dried super fast and really kind of woke up the wood and made it look fresh and happy.
So that’s just about where we’re at. It’s not very exciting to look at but one day, this little door will grow up to be a real table! Next step is the legs and, well, maybe that’s it!
How much patina is just right for you?
photo via Quince and Co
I think I might start doing this weekend-ready post of further reading. There’s a lot of fun knitting stuff going on out there and not enough time to write about it all.
Here are a few links and things that I’m thinking about.
>> Pictured above is my pattern obsession of the week. Bristol Ivy’s Vienne in Quince and Co Chickadee. I’m not a shawl person but I absolutely love the colors and the interesting construction on this!
>> According to Science! this is the fluffiest angora rabbit in the world.
>> I’ve recently fallen for BFL yarn. I’m not terribly familiar with it as opposed to other breeds but this is a great primer on BFL versus Merino!
>> Well, it looks like Fred Perry has made some changes to their beautiful/disappointing “patterns.” And by changes I mean taken the pattern page off of their site (you can still access them if you have a direct link). I feel it’s my duty as a blogger to cover the topic but I think everyone’s said what needs to be said. All I can add is that it’s amazing how intimidating pissed off knitters can be. There are plenty of other vintage-style patterns out there already so fret not, dear knitter!
>> I love drawing out colorwork charts and writing notes in my sketchbook. I’ve been debating about whether or not to switch to a grid sketchbook (I’ve been using blank ones for years now). Seeing these gorgeous Doane Paper grid notebooks at Fringe Supply Co. has me ready to make the change!
Anyway, lots of knitting to get to this weekend! And possibly even some sewing! What will you be making this weekend?
Hunger Games: Catching Fire comes out next month which means a big dose of one of my favorite things: Jennifer Lawrence! While my love for JLaw and the Hunger Games books is no secret, something new has caught my eye and I know I’m not alone. Lots to cover so let’s dive right in and talk about this fantastic cowl.
I caught a glimpse of this cowl months ago when the teaser came out and I knew this was going to be a big deal. Now that the trailer is here, I’m basically just drooling over this gorgeous piece. I love the rustic tweed. It reminds me of Roman Hills’ Winters Bone color way! (Winters Bone, Jennifer Lawrence, IT’S MEANT TO BE!) While it’s kind of earthy and has that hand-crafted look, it’s got a fantastically futuristic shape. I love knits that are minimal and trendy and I’ve found that it’s really really hard to pull off knits that are cool in a modern way instead of a comfy cozy camping kind of way. But this piece finds a way to straddle both looks perfectly. I’m really in awe.
When Jess and I were tweeting about the cowl earlier in the week, we started doing some research. The cowl, featured in Capitol Couture’s profile of Katniss, was designed by Maria Dora. I’m now completely obsessed with her work. Her pieces are being worn by celebrities right now and it looks like she only has more interesting things to come.
This stunning photo really shows off the details and amazing construction of the cowl! A cowl with an arm hole, YES PLEASE.
Jess reached out to the designer and Maria was nice enough to tell us that the cowl is woven not knit. (Doesn’t stop my imagination from running wild!) But! She said that they are developing a knitting pattern and would keep us posted.
This aspect really excited me. I’ve been looking forward to writing about the cowl and saying, as I always do, “Oh, I’d love to figure out how to make my own.” But I’m crazy about that idea of a couture/high street designer sharing their brand with people who couldn’t afford it (or maybe just wouldn’t be interested) off the hanger. If you’ve been keeping up with knitting news, you know that Fred Perry tried and failed to do something similar but I hope other designers put some genuine thought into it. It’s a really interesting way to create conversation between makers that work on completely different scales (without, in my opinion at least, devaluing their brand). I do feel a little sad when I want to rip off designs that I see in stores and there are tons of knitters that don’t have the interest or skills or time to invest in knitting “knock offs” (sorry, I can’t think of a better way to put it but I mean that with love). I’d love to collaborate in this way with mainstream fashion.
Either way, I salute Ms. Dora for her fabulous work. It makes me not only excited to see this movie (the production design is just going to blow the first one out of the water) but excited for the future of knitwear. That’s a pretty big thing to say but I mean it!
What do you think about big brands sharing patterns with knitters? Do you think this cowl is funky in a good way or would you be afraid to wear it? How excited are you for Hunger Games? My weapon of choice is the knitting needle.
ps. Thanks, Jess, for fangirling over this cowl for like three hours with me!
Tags: armhole, braid, capitol couture, catching fire, costume, couture, Cowl, design, fred perry, futuristic, hand knit, hunger games, Jennifer Lawrence, katniss, knit, leather, maria dora, movie, pattern, production design, shaping, witchin in the kitchen, woven
At the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (in the film, at least, it’s been ages since I’ve read the book!), as the three heroes board the Hogwarts Express after defeating evil for the first time, winning the House Cup, and hugging Hagrid goodbye, Hermione says, “Feels strange to be going home, doesn’t it?” With a bit of schmaltz, Harry replies, “I’m not going home. Not really, anyway.” When I headed for the parking lot at Rhinebeck, after it had been announced that the fair grounds were closed, that’s exactly how I felt. Although I could only come out for one day (I’m not sure if I have the stamina for the whole shebang but I’d love to stay the weekend next year), I was really touched by the magic of the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival this time around.
I always get butterflies before arriving at shows like this. I get really overwhelmed (Sorry if we talked about meeting up but it didn’t happen! I literally ate two apple cider doughnuts for lunch I was so busy!) and shy (Sorry if we made eye contact and then I didn’t say hello. I’m awful at these things!) and I never know where to start (Sorry if you’re an alpaca! I started with the sheep). I hardly took any photos, a combination of forgetting the memory card for the camera I schlepped all the way up there and being too frantic to stop for pictures. After wandering around the sheep and goats, I went to the Ravelry meet up to try and find some familiar faces. It always amazes me the shear amount of people that show up to the festival. I found myself creeping around the edges of the crowd, sheepishly looking for my friends until the lovely Bristol Ivy saved me from complete awkwardness. I got to have a solid chat with her, Maria of Subway Knits, Dana, Ashley, Threadpanda, Redhead Knits, and even Amy Christoffers (I’m probably forgetting some wonderful ladies, too!) Later I had a meeting with Roman Hills and Vo0lenvine (we have big semi-secret plans).
I bought some yarn (that’s for another post) but this year was really about connecting with my friends. It really felt magical being surrounded by people that are all so talented and supportive of eachother. It’s not to say that my non-knitter friends aren’t those things, it’s just that after long stretches of time surrounded by muggles, it’s really invigorating to talk with people that know what you’re saying. On top of everything else, I got to meet some readers (Hello! You know who you are!) which just basically made my whole life. I feel like Saturday was just full of love!
Over the past year, I’ve been trying out a lot of new things and it really feels like it’s paid off. But I know I wouldn’t have even dared to try stepping out of my comfort zone if it weren’t for the amazing ladies that have encouraged me all along and helped me in so many ways. It’s crazy to think that last year at Rhinebeck I met Amy Christoffers for the first time and just a few days ago she was fluffing the shoulders on my first published sweater pattern.
I’ve probably babbled enough but, long story short, I’m still dreaming of sheep and yarn and hanging out with my fantastic friends. I’m already ready to get back to Rhinebeck because there’s a little piece of us there all year round, isn’t there?
What was your favorite part of Rhinebeck this year? How often do you get to hug your knitting friends?
Promise a post with my spoils soon!
I recently received two gorgeous pumpkins in my CSA. I was so excited because I’ve always dreamed of making a pumpkin pie from the real thing instead of opening a can! I’d never done it before because I’d always been nervous about picking the proper kind or messing up the process.
So I turned to one of my most trusted resource when it comes to food: Alton Brown. You can watch the pumpkin pie episode of Good Eats on Amazon instant. Watching Alton go through the process of making pumpkin puree made me feel totally confident (I mean, it’s actually ridiculously simple so no need to worry) and ready to tackle a pie.
It was so delicious that I’ve made a couple and played around with the recipe. Here’s my take on Alton’s pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin Pie from Scratch
6 oz of gingersnaps
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoon ginger
2 oz unsalted butter, melted
16oz pumpkin puree
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Crust: In a food processor, combine gingersnap cookies, brown sugar, and ginger until cookies are finely chopped. Drizzle in melted butter and pulse to combine. Press into prepared pie pan. Bake on top of a cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes. Cool before filling.
Filling: Bring pumpkin puree to a simmer in a small saucepan for 3 minutes until thick. Add half-and-half, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Return to a simmer then cool for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, yolk, and brown sugar together until creamy and smooth. Add cooled pumpkin mixture. Carefully pour filling into pie crust and bake for 45-50 minutes, the middle will jiggle a little.
I loooved the pure pumpkin taste that came from the real deal. The canned stuff needs so much cinnamon and clove, etc, just to give the illusion that it’s pumpkin. This pie tastes like pumpkin first and spices next which I really life. Besides, the crunchy crust gives a is a zesty companion to the mild filling.
Best of all, the pumpkin puree freezes really well. I’ve already got a few bags ready for Thanksgiving and maybe even Christmas (if I can resist that long!). I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the can again!
What do you think? Have you ever cooked with real pumpkin? What’s your favorite pumpkin pie recipe?
ps. Some pumpkin yarns!
When Meredith at One Sheepish Girl was looking for guest bloggers while she prepares her book (!!!), I raised my hand really high and went “Oo oo oo pick me!” I absolutely love her blog and adorable style.
I wrote up a really fun pattern for a Plant Cozy to share with her readers. You should go check it out (along with the rest of her blog) here!
Do you dress up your plants?
Rhinebeck is swiftly approaching (can you believe it?!) so I wrote you this poem about knitter’s Christmas.
TWAS THE KNIT BEFORE RHINEBECK
In my ongoing efforts to live my life by the Gospel of Martha Stewart, praised be!, I’m going to build some furniture and it’s going to be adorable.
I don’t really talk about interior decorating because it’s not really something that I have time and money to invest in. But I have big plans. The last apartment that Jon and I lived in remained largely unfinished for the entirety of our stay there (13 months). We painted a few walls but we didn’t hang any pictures or shelves or even the mezuzah which literally required five minutes and a slice of velcro. We moved to the south side of Williamsburg back in February and, while the apartment itself is beautiful and new, we’ve taken a terribly long time to get everything the way we want it. We are about 25% there* which is disappointing but things are finally happening.
First of all, we framed and hung all of the artwork that was sitting in boxes for the past two years. Yay! I’m still in desperate need for more pieces but I’m at a place now where at least it looks like we’re trying. Second, we bought a new grown up person couch. Our last place was only big enough for a little loveseat from IKEA which is not so good for entertaining** and looks odd now that we have room for real furniture. Between you and me, I can go crazy in the IKEA marketplace but I’m way over their furniture. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Oh, you just have to treat their stuff right and it’ll last a while.” I was lying to myself. And I think it’s time to invest in some furniture that’s not going to fall apart. The couch isn’t here yet because it’s being custom made by hand which is pretty awesome! Can’t wait to tell you more about that!
So since we’re being grown ups that will soon have a fancy couch, it’s time to we get our act together with a real table so we don’t ruin this thing. We’re building a dining table (I typed dining room table but that would require another room which does not exist). We checked out some vintage tables and the like on Etsy but I somehow convinced Jon that it would be way more fun and cool to build one from reclaimed wood. Groovy. But there are basically only three places within 50 miles that sell reclaimed wood and only one of which is open on the weekends. Which is how we ended up at Real Antique Wood.
There was so much lumber there, it was kind of incredible. Pieces of all kinds of buildings just outside of the city. They showed us to a room full of doors. It was incredible. Doors from inside and outside houses new and old with all kind of great fixtures and knobs and hinges. It was fun. The door idea was actually pretty smart because not only is it super cool to use doors as tables but it also means that you don’t have to actually put anything together besides the legs.
The lovely people at Real Antique Wood actually picked out the perfect piece for us before we’d even arrived: a hayloft door from an 1800s barn that had just been dismantled in Ohio. The hinges are original and handmade by a blacksmith. I love that because I’m a total nerd for history. And they also gave us a super price.
Once we dragged the thing home (it’s solid oak and about 4×4), we realized that it’s kind of a filthy mess and it’s going to need a huge amount of work. So there is a lot to be done and hopefully we can execute it before the weather turns too cold. But we’re about 25% into the process of making our apartment into a real live grown up place to live. Hopefully we’ll never have to move because that piece of wood is heavy as all goddamn! Can’t wait to share the door-to-table process with you!
Have you worked with reclaimed wood? Have you built any furniture? Do I have any idea what I’m doing?
* The other 75% includes a lovely pipe dream of building custom bookshelves with a custom computer desk, buying a giant photograph of a sleeping woman, hanging a mirror and little key basket by the front door, making a billion kitschy embroideries for the bathroom, figuring out an attractive way to store our shoes, and buying some dining chairs.
** By entertaining I mean the pile of yarn and miscellaneous craft projects that live on the couch with me.