Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Shawl we dance?

I'm going to a wedding this weekend and needed a shawl to match my new party dress. I've had this yarn in my stash for at least a year awaiting its transformation so it was time. The pattern is my own design and the lovely ribbon yarn is Filatura Di Crosa "Farfalla." I think it may have been discontinued since I can't find it on Yarndex. It's not quite done yet so I'll be knitting right up until Saturday night.

I bought it in White Plains at the Goldman's Yarns going out of business sale. I really miss that place. They always had a great selection and had the space of 3 NYC LYS's. The owners were retiring after about a jalopagon years. They were always overly strict if not obnoxious about closing at 6 pm on the dot and had the typical snobby yarn store attitude. But after the relationship ends all that fades and you just have the warm fuzzy memories of mohair on a spring day, ya know?

I took a pic here to document the perfect length of yarn I had at the end of the row to join the second ball with. I'm guilty of always trying to get that last row in before the end of the skein and run out mid-row 9 times out of 10. This time it worked out perfect. Ah, the little things in life....

Cosette says "Touch Ratta and die!"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Noro Obsessed

Ok, I've sunken to a new low by putting other people's knitting on my blog! I've never really been that into Noro. Somehow it never feels very soft to me and all those colors make it hard to imagine how it will look knitted up. My friend, Monica, however, is on a big Noro kick. Check out the neck warmer she made above. I never even thought to make something like that. She said she makes them sometimes when she's making a hat and changes her mind in the middle of the WIP!

There was something strange going on with the Noro Sakura she was working with last week at UES Knitters. When knitted up the yarn completely changed color 1/4 of the way into her scarf. The strand the colored ply was wrapped around changed from black to white drastically changing the look of the yarn.

Check out the closeup:

Anyone ever had an "out of yarn experience" like this?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Review of Yarn Harlot's Latest

I bought my copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Casts Off hot off the press at the KNYTTERS UNITE book launch in NYC last month. I'm not a huge fan of the cover since the YH bears a strong resemblance to a weasel. Having seen Stephanie in person I know that with a little work she could definitely look more put together even if she's not looking to go all out glam. It seems like her deal is to be very humble and approachable but I don't think it does much for modern knitters to have a frizzy haired woman in an old school fair isle sweater on the front cover.

The book is a guidebook to the "land of Knitting" which is a pretty cool concept. She discusses its "inhabitants" (knitters) and "embassies" (LYS's), amongst other metaphors.

The illustrations are really cute as you can see from the Sports Chapter above. Like the YH's other books it's an easy read full of interesting tidbits and observations and her trademark self-deprecating humor.

It starts out strong at the beginning but I found the material in the middle and towards the end a bit weak. There's only so many times I can laugh at the idea of gauge swatches being little liars and women being overcome by wool fumes near the sale bin at their LYS's. This book might actually be better suited to new knitters who would see this material with fresh eyes. The funnier parts are broken up by fictional letters and emails between a new knitter and her mother that are obviously just filler.

I figure the target audience is likely hard core knitters and personal fans. In that case this book is pretty much guaranteed to fly off bookstore shelves and ( shopping carts). Keep in mind I have read the Yarn Harlot's previous books and check her blog fairly regularly so I definitely get her sense of humor and writing style. While I found 1 or 2 things that made me LOL in each chapter I have to say that overall this book suffers from Sequalitis. If it were a movie I'd say wait for it to come out on DVD.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

America's Next Top Model

Here's a pic AM sent me of her babe wearing the hat I knit for her birthday. I've been gushing so much about my new cat lately I can only imagine what it must be like to have a new baby!

Oh, and speaking of my furry friend now the pet food recall has expanded to her wet food. Effective April 10th Menu Foods is recalling all the 3 oz cans of Nutro Gourmet Classics cat foods. Sigh...just when we found something she was willing to eat. I found a list of all the recalled foods but am wondering at this point if there's a list of "safe" foods I can feed my kitty!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Knitting Exhibit

Last week I finally got a chance to check out the now infamous exhibit "Radical Knitting and Subversive Lace" at the Museum for Art and Design. There's a strict no picture taking policy but JF was able to sneak these while I distracted the guards ;-) This was my second trip to the museum as I went last summer for the launch of Nicky Epstein's latest book. The museum is pretty small but I like that I can really see everything and read all the descriptions comfortably in an hour before my feet start to hurt. There were a couple interesting pieces such as the dress made from strips of dollar bills, the family garments made of old newspapers, and the sweaters done to 1/12 scale.

Upon reflection I realized I enjoyed the exhibits that showed some level of knitting skill combined with creativity. There were a lot of pieces that just seemed like a jumble of random stuff. When you read the accompanying information you realize that it's supposed to make some kind of political statement on nuclear bombs or the economy. As JF likes to say, "Eh."

Actually I enjoyed the accompanying exhibit "Contemporary Netsuke" more than the actual knitting pieces. Netsuke is the Japanese art of carving intricate miniature figurines out of materials such as ebony, exotic wood, and precious metals. Check out the Octopus above (I'll admit to taking this pic off the museum's website.)

Check out the exhibit and form your own opinions!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

As you can see above I made my annual visit to the Macy's Flower Show in Herald Square.

The theme was exotic flowers. They had these neat garden sculptures of giraffess...

and even a zebra!

and of course there were the flowers...

I was so into looking at the flowers I was able to hold back from doing any actual shopping. I have to save up a bit as Maryland Sheep and Wool is fast approaching :-)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Post-birthday recap

Yesterday for my birthday I went to see The Fantasticks on off-Broadway:

I've heard about this show for the longest time and wanted to check it out. Plus it was one of the few musicals left at the TKTS booth by the time I got there!

I wasn't a big fan of the first act. It reminded me of The Drowsy Chaperone in that they use a lot of stage cliches and cheap comedic ploys. However, I really enjoyed the second act which depicts what occurs following "happily ever after." Call me a cynic or a realist but I just wasn't buying the whole boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, drama ensues, then everything works out perfect in the end. The lesson learned in the second act is that through pain and experiencing the world in all its cruelty we can then truly appreciate the things we had from the start.

A highlight was that Tom Jones, the creator and director of the original show, played a character in the cast. Afterwards he autographed my Playbill!

That night JF took me down to Chinatown. We found this vegetarian kosher restaurant Bodai Buddha that was pretty good. They make all the regular chinese food like Sesame Chicken and General Tso's but subsitute bean curd for the meat. Anyway, I finally got to open my presents from JF:

This beautiful Chai necklace and...

these tags I can sew into my FO's. (Thanks to everyone who has read this knew I would get to knitting related content eventually!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yay, today April 4th is my birthday. Here's a kosher for Passover cake my sister got me that wasn't half bad. It can be a problem having your birthday over Passover if you're being observant since you can't eat any bread products that have risen. The kosher bakeries must have some trick though since it was hard to tell the difference on this one. Anyway, wish me a happy 27th. This is going to be my best year ever :-)

Monday, April 02, 2007

"Cosette, I love you very much...."

JF and I finally caved and adopted a cat. We hadn't planned on it Sunday when we went to North Shore Animal League just to look around. But then I saw this beauty:

At first we were a little hesitant to get her because she seemed a little down and had been labelled "picky eater" by the staff. We took her home and upon realizing she smelled like a foot proceeded to give her a bath:

Later she seemed curious as to what we were cooking but wasn't eating much of her own food:

Once she was clean and adjusting better she started eating some wet food. She wouldn't eat any of the dry food we put out. It was Wellness brand that she had recieved at the shelter. The next day we bought her Nutro dry food and she loves it!

I made her some handknit cat toys. To my delight she actually liked them and started battting them all over the apartment. Later we sprayed them with catnip and she liked them even more! Check out this purse she can take with her on shopping trips to Petco:

She was also keen on this fish toy I made:

I made these toys freeform without any pattern. I'm working on short row heel socks right now and started playing around with short rows on these toys. I figured I'd come out with either a ball or a mouse. I think these are more orginial though :-)

And for you theatre buffs out there; Yes, she is named after the character Cosette from Les Miserables. Of couse she is anything but miserable in her new home!