Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NYC gardens for me

As I wander around the City, I come across beautiful late summer/ early fall flowers.  Some of these are expected.
Such as the ones in Flushing Meadows Park:

Or the flowers in Central Park:

Still others are really quite unexpected.

This Moon Flower was growing up the side of a garbage can at the 72nd Street entrance to Central Park.  I was a bit startled to see it staring at me boldly as I approached to trash can with my trash, looking at me as if to say , "Don't make me have to show you why you're happy you threw that trash in the can instead of on the ground. What?!?!"

I just wanted to say Thanks NYC! for doing the gardening for me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Speaking of Tarts

I did mention that I can't resist the draw of beautiful yarn, right?
MadTosh Merino Light... you guessed it... in Tart.

I can now understand why the Queen of Hearts was so upset,

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apple Reviews

In an effort to increase my fiber intake (and because they're just plain yummy) I've started eating an apple a day.  As a kid I didn't really like apples because they... ok, so it's really because they aren't oranges.  I know, I was a fruitist.  Because I'm more grown up now (or so I tell people) I eat things that I didn't as a child (many of which I would have found uber gross.  Tofu, anyone?)

What was I talking about?  Oh, apples.  Due to my fruitism, I've really only eaten Red Delicious apples most of my life and I feel it's time to expand my repertoire.  As I try new apple varieties, I'm going to write up a little review.  Mostly, it's to remember which ones to get at the grocery store, but if it help you out a little, yay!

Each review will include a description of sweetness, tartness, graininess (because a grainy apple can be just awful), flesh and skin descriptions, and general notes on color and such.  Plus hopefully I'll remember to take a picture (before I eat it).  Also, I'll probably be including a note on how the flavor combines with lemon because it's a great way to keep your sliced apples from going brown, plus it adds a little vitamin C. 

Munch, munch (it's too late for a picture of this one),

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I’ve recently taken up biking.  For those who know me, please stop laughing.  Let’s just say that I don’t have the best history with bicycles.  So much so in fact, when I called GiGi and told her that I was biking she laughed and asked if I remember what I’m like on a bicycle.  Apparently my sister thinks that circus bears are better cyclists than I am.  I’m afraid she might be right.  But I have my trusty helmet, a bike shop nearby for repairs (to the bike), and a hospital about ten blocks away (for repairs on me), so I think I’m ready.

On the knitting front, I finished and blocked the green shawlette.  It's called Troy's Folly.  I hope to get the pictures of it taken this weekend.  Until then, a small teaser:

Of course, once the green one was finished, I immediately cast on a purple version for GiGi. 
It’s in MadelineTosh Merino Light Magenta.  Such a fabulous deep purple and incredibly soft.  Plus it’s got a great price for the yardage.
I heard a rumor  (ok, so I read it on Ravelry) that my favorite knitting store ever, Knitty City, got another MadTosh shipment in yesterday.  I wasn’t planning on going into the City today, but given that incentive, I may not be able to resist.  Must. Have. Delicious. Yarn.

My friends and family gave me some really great birthday presents. Both fibery and non-fibery.
The non-fibery...
Hubbie got me a Kindle!

It's amazing! Since I started back to school, I've been carrying what felt like a ton of paper (mostly journal articles about weevils. Yeah, I'm one of those crazy insect people) in my bag.  It was fighting with my travel knitting for space, and starting to win!  Happily, those papers are now condensed into a cool gadget that is only the size and weight of a small novel.  Woot! Awesome!

Elle gave me a pendant that appeals to my inner (but not so hidden) geek. 

She got it from JannellyBeads' Etsy shop. The quote is from a video game called Portal.  Hubbie plays it and I love it (but haven't played it because my brain doesn't work that way).  The game is really funny.  Thanks, Elle, for helping me fly my geek flag.

Let's talk about the fiber...
TK gave me some beautiful salmon lace weight in cotton/silk/cashmere from School Products Yarn. (Unfortunately, it's not available on their website.) 

She gave it to me on the condition that I make something for my self with it (a yarn gift with strings).  She's great that way!  (The condition probably had something to do with my comment that the color would look great on GiGi. :-D ) I can't wait to make something with it!

Athie finally yielded some of her lovely handspun (fingering weight, 450+ yards of Targhee wool) to me. 

I've been drooling over her stuff for months now.  Athie is an unabashed yarn snob, and it extends to her fiber for spinning.  So anything she spins in bound to be fabulous. (Plus she's really good at the whole spinning thing.) Sadly, for those of you that don't know her, she doesn't sell her hand spun. (Booyah, score one for me!) (I'm sorry, did I say that out loud? ;-D )
Lastly, I got myself (really, everyone should get themselves a little something for their birthday) some Manos del Uruguay Lace (Ravelry link) (alpaca, silk, cashmere). 

So beautiful, so soft, so calling me to knit with it!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pequito Shawlette

Knit Picks published another of my patterns as part of their Independent Designer Program.  Meet Pequito.

Knit with 190yds of worsted weight Knit Picks Andean Silk in Chocolate, she is 42 inches long by 21 inches wide.  So cosy, so warm.  
It took me two days to knit the Andean Silk version, although I have to admit that one of those was a travel day.  I was flying to Oklahoma to visit GiGi.  I know what you're thinking, but, no, GiGi did not immediately claim it as her own.   Her daughter did that.  I'm sure that GiGi would have except the Andean Silk has alpaca in it and my poor sister is allergic. 

The colorful version is in Noro Taiyo colorway #17.  It was my first time using Noro, but it most definitely won't be my last.  The colors are fantastic.  Taiyo is a cotton, silk, wool, nylon blend.  Lovely, and selfish me, I'm keeping it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Birthday thoughts

I turned 30-mumble mumble this past week.  Many people mark the start of the new year on January 1st.  For me the new year starts on my birthday.  I feel as though that day marks both an end and a beginning.  On my birthday, I let go of the hurts and disappointments of the previous year. I turn instead to gaze upon the year ahead where all things are possible with the feeling that I can make positive life decisions and enjoy what the year has to bring.

Oh, and what am I going to knit this year?  How exciting!

I freely confess that I am a shawl knitter.  I love to knit shawls (shawls, and more shawls).  Socks are beautiful, but unlikely to be knit by me (you have to knit TWO of them, in the same yarn even!).  Ditto sweaters (this may change, but since I don't wear them, why knit them?).  I do knit the occasional hat (oddly, the nephews won't wear shawls), but 99.9% of my stitches go to shawls.
So, that said, I know WHAT I'll be knitting this year- shawls.  I even know who most of them will go to- GiGi (she's insistent like that), but I don't know yet what they will look like, what size or shape they will be, or what yarn I will use.  All of these questions get me quite excited for the new knitting year ahead.

Oh, I'm imagining it, NYC, and it is awesome!

I started the lace weight version of the yellow highlighter shawl.  Hey! I only promised TK the shawlette version, so she should be ok. :-D
As you can see, it's not highlighter yellow, but more buttery.  GiGi, however, loves butter yellow and I have to have something to give her for her birthday next year.  It won't take that long to knit, but I've already made her Christmas present.
Meet Mercia, or at least the corner of Mercia.  She is a fingering weight shawl that I've submitted to the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program.  I've released three patterns with them and a fourth to be released in the next week.  I'll make sure to talk about them soon.

I spent my birthday working.  I teach a couple of Biology labs at one of the colleges that make up the City University of New York.  I'm also working on a PhD in Biology with the same university.  So I spent my birthday teaching and working on my research.  On a positive note, I got to spend the morning in the woods at Inwood Hill Park.
It's the closest thing that Manhattan has to a natural area.  The weather was cool (high 60's) and sunny.  It was a beautiful way to start out the day.  Plus I got to knit on the train on the way back to campus.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Annatto Shawlette

The Achiote tree, found in regions of tropical America, produces heart shaped fruit that have dark red seeds. The spice Annatto is produced from these seeds. It is used to give a sweet and peppery flavor as well as a red color to many foods. Knit in a yarn with a touch of cashmere, this shawlette is soft to the touch and warm on chilly days. This pattern is entirely charted.

Knit in 400yds of String Theory Caper Sock in Winterberry on a US size 5. Annatto is 48 in W x 27 in L. $4 US

Indirectly named after my friend Elle. She called me to ask if I had a shawlette pattern she could knit while I was designing it, so of course I had to name it after her.

Amiens Shawl

One of the most striking examples of gothic architecture in France is the Cath├ędrale Notre-Dame d’Amiens. The glorious arches and filigree of the cathedral inspired me in the creation of the Amiens shawl.
Knit in Spud & Chloe Fine on a US size 5. Will work well with any fingering weight yarn. The finished size is 56 inches Wide by 25 inches Long. $4 US


The triple lobed leaves of the edge detail bring to mind the leaves of the Sassafras tree. these trees are beautiful in the early spring when the red tipped leaves emerge.

The pattern includes two sizes and is knit in a fingering weight. The shawlette version calls for 500 yards, the shawl version 900 yards. Sassafras is worked on US size 5 needles. The pattern is charted. The shawlette is 50 in. W and the shawl is 65 in W. $6 US

Patterns so far

Over the next few days (weeks) I'm going to be adding pictures and links to purchase the patterns I have for sale.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hubbie Trickery

Hubbie woke me this morning with plans for an outing into the City (Manhattan). For those of you don't know the man, this is a surprising, nay shocking, turn of events. While he generally likes Queens, he tends to avoid the City like the plague because it has way too many people.

So when he suggested lunch (Chipotle, yum), the Strand (who can resist 18 miles of books?) and a trip to Lula's (a vegan ice cream place that makes my little heart go pitter patter) and a movie, I was all for it! Even if that movie was Scott Pilgrim, which he had seen 3 times (4 now). It's a cute, fun movie and the music in it rocks!

I suspect that Lula's and the Strand are simply just forms of bribery so he could see the movie again. I'm not above accepting bribery, especially if it looks like this:

Meet Lula's soft serve Cake Batter vegan ice cream cone. It tastes just like yellow cake batter and is make mostly of cashews. It's heaven in a waffle cone.

I was also able to get some knitting done in the movie theater. Knitting has gotten me through some really bad movies (Piranha 3D anyone). It's usually limited to stockinette in a fingering weight or larger. But sometimes can include a simple lace repeat. For my third viewing of Scott Pilgrim I chose stockinette.

This beginnings of a shawlette is in Knit Picks Stroll tonal sock in Canopy. It's a Merino/Nylon blend and really pleasant to knit. I found it to be a bit squeaky while wet, but it block beautifully and, despite the nylon content, it holds the block really well.

I spent much of yesterday designing a couple of shawlettes and redesigning a couple of others to go with some MadTosh Pashmina I got Wednesday.I absolutely love the highlighter colors (yellow-Edison's Bulb; orange-Tangelo; pink-Neon Rose; green-Chartreuse). I've designed a series of shawlettes specifically for these colors, one for each. TK, my test knitter extraordinaire, requested to knit the yellow one. She's been drooling over the Edison's Bulb for months. Given that she's also my PR person, enabler, and often used knitwear model, who am I to say no?