Shop Update and Sale!

Shop Update 3/26

I’ve updated the shop with spinning fiber inspired by spring flowers (Hyacinth Bouquet in South African Fine, Cranberry Bog in BFL) and spring break (Cocktail Umbrella in BFL). This is my favorite time of year as the plants and trees burst back into life, and I can’t help but try to reproduce that whenever I’m in the dye studio.

In honor of the changing seasons, I’m also having a sale! Use code SPRINGFEVER in my Etsy Shop to save 10% off your order until 3/31. It’s even easier in my Bigcartel Shop: the prices have been changed to reflect the sale until the end of March!

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Sending out an “SOS”

I’m doing the Summer of Socks 2008 knitalong this year. I’m trying to be realistic about what my goals for the knitalong are. I know that I don’t have a chance in the competition to knit the most socks (it started at midnight on Saturday, and people had finished socks by Monday), and I’ll have to see how I do with my “socks on vacation” photo. So I’ll be treating it as an opportunity to work through some of my sock yarn stash and to try out some new patterns.
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One sock pattern that I somehow managed not to knit yet are Monkey socks from Knitty. I’ve had them in the queue pretty much since the pattern came out, but just never got around to doing them. But once I received my latest skein from the All Raveled Up Sock Club, I knew it was fate. The name of this colorway is “Codemonkey,” so what could be more appropriate than, well, Code-Monkeys? The first one knitted up incredibly quickly for me. The lace pattern is very easy to memorize and read, and I found it to be simple enough to be social knitting.
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I finished up the first one at a Sit ‘n’ Knit event on Wednesday night, at the Raul Midon concert in Madison Square Park.

My Mactop is in the shop with a busted hard drive, so I currently lack the ability to crop photos.
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When she gets back, I have a lot of baseball game recapping to do, between seeing Joba and Andy start for the Yankees this past weekend (and yes, Andy Pettitte does have the sweetest pickoff move in baseball), and my plans to catch the Brooklyn Cyclones with M on Saturday, and the Red Sox with J over the holiday weekend. The season is three months old, but it’s finally baseball weather and I am loving every minute of it.

Enchanted

I’ve read a bit about Elizabeth Zimmermann in knitting magazines, and I’ve picked up a couple of her books, but I had made it through several years of knitting without ever attempting one of her patterns.  It seemed like high time to fix that, with the February Baby Sweater on Two Needles from Knitters’ Almanac.  After all, how can you go wrong with garter stitch, a simple lace pattern and almost-seamless construction?
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You really can’t.  The terseness of the directions was a bit alarming at first, as the entire thing is about half a page long, but sometimes things really are that simple.  This sweater is a very refreshing knit.

The details:

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino DK (just under 3 skeins, left over from Wicked
Needles: 4 mm
Buttons: From M&J Trimming
Notes: I took a page from Anne-Marie and made 3 buttonholes at the top of the sweater instead of all the way down the cardigan (I also took her advice to start the buttonholes before the pattern mentions doing them). The other main change I made to the pattern was to make it seamless by putting the stitches for the sleeves on hold until the body was done and then picking up stitches under the arm for knitting in the round.  I’m aiming for a 6-month size, but I know so little about the relative proportions of babies that I can only hope for the best.  The sweater is 11 inches wide, and 10 inches long, if that means anything.

What can you do when you’ve just finished what may be the sweetest baby sweater ever? Why, you cast on another one.

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This one is Knitpicks Shine Sport in Orchid that was re-purposed from another intended project, and 3.75 mm needles instead of 4 mm. It’s going even faster than the first one now that I’ve figured out what I’m doing, and I bought the cutest little duck buttons at Tender Buttons on 62nd St.

And speaking of ducks. . .
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They’re back!



Super-secret socks

A while back I posted a picture of some sock yarn I was casting on, and then I never mentioned it again. That wasn’t because I had flitted on to a new project in the meantime (for once), but because the project in question was for my knitting group’s secret sock exchange, and I didn’t want to spill the beans. But our socks have been swapped, and can now be revealed:
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They’re Pomatomus by Cookie A. from Knitty, and they’re in Fleece Artist Nova Sock in Amethyst. I made them for my sock partner, Nicole, who has awesome taste in yarn, hobbies, and spectator sports (although she may be a bit misguided in which team she roots for). Anne-Marie did a great job in partnering us up based on our mutual love of baseball, and this is yet another example of how knitting has allowed me to meet people who are just all around super-cool

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And here are the adorable socks that I got in exchange (see, it wasn’t a pyramid scheme at all!). They’re in Socks that Rock Silkie, and are simultaneously cushy, cozy, and really snazzy looking. Pretty much all of my favorite colors are in there, and I love them.

At the end of the exchange, we took a group sock shot.

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An afternoon with happy feet, all around!

Garden party

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There’s nothing like an early-spring jaunt to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. When J was in town early in April, we headed out there to see the beginnings of the cherry tree blossoms.

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At the time, the cherry tree map (mouse over the tree symbols for pictures) indicated that there were only a couple of trees in bloom, but they were definitely worth seeing.

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Most of the cherry blossom action was happening around the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. The pond is well stocked with koi, who clearly expected us to feed them, and ducks, who were fighting over their turf. There were so many ducks in the garden that day that pretty much every body of water that was duck-width or wider had a few ducks in it.

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Of course, there’s a lot more to the garden than the cherry trees. They had fountains and bunnies. There are plenty of garden walks that are nicely landscaped, as well as a series of conservatories that are connected underground. The tops of the conservatories poke out into the paved area where the snack bar is, and it’s altogether a pretty efficient use of space.

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This was my indication of what a classy place the Botanic Garden is. They have Society Garlic–none of that riff-raff garlic for them.

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They had a few really neat looking bonsai as well. I really admired the ones that were grown over and around large rocks. It’s a form that I’m not so familiar with.

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While we were still at the garden, J was kind enough to re-enact winter for a few moments so I could get a picture of him in his Be True To Your School Scarf. Now that I’ve gotten to see it in person, I’m so happy with how it turned out, and that he liked it.

Got (Nickel-Plated) Brass in Pocket

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I’ve been making a lot of progress on my Wicked sweater. This past weekend I finished knitting the (optional) pocket, and pinned it to a towel for a quick steam-blocking. I knitted it onto the body of the sweater, and then took a brief detour from the directions in the pattern to get it sewn on as quickly as possible–the hot, humid weather we’ve had recently would undo all of my blocking efforts long before I got around to sewing up if I were to finish working on the edging and the sleeves beforehand.

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As much as I dislike seaming by hand, this pocket was so small that I didn’t have time to get sick of it. Using Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sewn cast-off to bind off some 160 or so stitches, on the other hand… I did the majority of the binding off en route to and at an outdoor concert on Sunday afternoon, so I had plenty of distractions. In the future, however, I’ll save the sewn cast-off for socks and other small items.

I’ve finished some more of the sweater since I took that last picture. I decided to go with the seed stitch border in the pattern as written, and I’ve picked up the stitches for, and knit about 8 inches of the left sleeve. My plan is to do 3/4-length sleeves instead of full-length to save me from having to push the sleeves up all the time, even though I have plenty of yarn left. Based on the amount of yarn I used for the pocket and am using on the first sleeve, I should get in at around 7 balls (or very slightly more). That leaves me with about 3 skeins of the yarn to play around with at some point in the future.

It’s all over but the seaming…

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And, of course, knitting the last I-cord tie. The body of the sweater is 11 inches wide, and 6 inches long, up to the base of the sleeves, and the sleeves are 7-8 inches, I believe. My only modification to the pattern itself was knitting it at a larger gauge than the one in Mason Dixon Knitting, and I mostly just breezed right through it. The only place I ran into trouble was on the fronts, when I had to add the navy blue edging to conserve the pink yarn. It took several attempts to come up with a pattern of stripes that would look like I meant for it to be like that all along and would leave me with enough yarn (I hope) for the seaming. The back is just plain pink, but I think it’s still pretty darn cute.

As a special treat for myself, I think I’m going to let myself cast on a new pair of socks for my college reunion this weekend. I’m still not done with my grandmother’s Mothers Day socks, but Gothic Spire is definitely not a pattern for social kntting (ask me how I know!).

Eye Candy Friday

It’s another gray, gloomy day in the city, but at least it’s warmer out. So to cheer things up a bit, I’m going to focus on one of the perks of sitting in the lower section behind the dugout and on-deck circle:

On Deck

Derek Jeter, the Yankee captain.

Have a great weekend!

Just keep knitting…

Crusoe 2, originally uploaded by limonene.

I’m getting there on the second Crusoe–just three more repeats of the pattern in the leg and then on to the heel (and on to some other pattern). I think this is turning into the most photographed sock ever.

I’ve yet to break my “yarn fast”, which is probably a good thing. Believe it or not, I’ve got a little bit of choice paralysis. Do I want to pick up some Fleece Artist sock yarn? Can I buy it in the city, since it seems to sell out in a flash when it goes on sale online? Or do I want to look into buying sock yarn to dye myself, along with a cheap pot to use for dyeing? Or perhaps some more laceweight.

At any rate, my resolve to finish the Argosy is steadily weakening as the temperature should theoretically be rising. I know I should get it finished and over with, but my attention is really straying. I’m really itching to start another lace shawl. And itching is the right word for it, because the mohair in the Silk Garden Light is a bit scratchy. On the other hand, it really has been unseasonably cold, so the scarf might be useful at the next game I’m planning to go to, since it’s supposed to be in the 40s. Again.

Spring will be here any day now, right?

The ‘pen is mightier than…the other ‘pen.

Ever since I moved to the city, my family has made a tradition of going to Yankee Stadium on “Calendar Day”, usually the first weekend homestand of the season, when they give out calendars to everyone in attendance. After Friday’s game, I was pretty apprehensive about going up there in the cold again, but Saturday afternoon was much better overall. The subway was empty enough that my parents and cousin and I could sit, and I got a few rows in on my second Crusoe, although again once I was at the stadium, the gloves went on again, so the knitting was over with for the afternoon. There was still plenty of picture-taking, scorekeeping, and rooting to start with. Whenever we go, we sit way up in the upper deck:
The view from my (first) seat
This is the view from Section 13 row V. Needless to say, we didn’t do a lot of moving around this game. We were sitting next to a family who drove 4 hours from Pennsylvania to watch the game. When I found out that the father came from the same hometown as Mussina and played baseball against him, I felt like a bit of a heel for mentioning how Moose didn’t have it the night before. They were very nice about it, though. We settled in for the introductions and pregame festivities, which included driving a Ferrari around the stadium. The players warmed up, the managers handed in the lineup cards, and things got underway.

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Unfortunately, while Kei Igawa was sporting some pretty cool shades, he got roughed up by the Orioles to the tune of 6 runs, beginning with a homer in the top of the first.

Luckily, this afternoon, Alex Rodriguez was on fire. The linked photo is of his first at bat, in which he hit a 2 run home run. Traschel did settle down after that, though, while Igawa…didn’t. They even had the Polish Powerhouse in at first for better defense…
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but since there were a lot of fly balls, Doug Mientkiewicz didn’t have as much to do as he would with a groundball pitcher like Wang.

What the game eventually boiled down to was a tale of two bullpens. While Igawa didn’t have a single 1-2-3 inning, the Yankee relief pitchers got the game moving along much faster. Brian Bruney, Mike Myers, and Luis Vizcaino held the birds scoreless. The Orioles bullpen gave up a 3 run homer to Giambi in the bottom of the 8th.

I started to get a good feeling about what might be in store for us when Mariano Rivera came in to pitch the 9th inning:
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It’s always a pleasure to watch that man at work.

That was when we moved down to the lower deck to meet up with my cousin, so we got a great view of Mo, and of the Yankee on-deck circle, and the batters. The Orioles’ closer got the Polish Powerhouse and Melky Cabrera out, but then Robinson Cano singled,
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Derek Jeter walked, and then Bobby Abreu was hit by a pitch to load the bases for none other than Alex Rodriguez. Things were tense in the Stadium, but the crowd was definitely behind Alex 100%, even when he quickly got behind by two strikes. Some fans may or may not have even possibly declared their unconditional love for A-Rod. Perhaps. But then…the closer dealt, and Alex swung and…

It's a walkoff!
Yep. A walk-off grand slam into the black seats. One of only three walk-off grand slams ever to be hit when the Yankees were behind in team history. I’ve never seen the man look so happy and relaxed, and it was pretty amazing to have been there to witness it.

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In short, it was a really ugly game that got really pretty at the very end. And I’m glad that my parents, my cousin and I were together to see it.

So far, my 2007 in attendance record: 1-1.