Archive for November, 2009

I spent a lot of time outside this weekend, taking advantage of the beautiful weather and lingering fall colors.  And, of course, avoiding laundry.  You can’t do laundry outside in the city, even though I live a block from the  Hudson River so it wouldn’t be very inconvenient if I did.

I took some knitting outside to keep me company, particularly this vest.  I joined this Vestvember group to get some new vest ideas, but I ended up casting on something from one of the Japanese knitting books I got at Mitsua. It has about 75,000 cables and a lot of ribbing, so it’s going to need some expert blocking.

I spent a lot of time looking for the right fall gold for this project, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t find it in the most unlikely place: the Lion Brand Yarn Store.  Given my seriously snobby yarn preferences I never thought I’d find anything at that storee other than some basic stuff for a pair of mittens, but they have a nice line of reasonably priced superwash merino and it was exactly the color I’d been looking for. Go figure.

This little bit of thriftiness sort of balances out some of the excesses of Sheep and Wool last month. This beautiful stuff, from Persimmon Tree Farms, was also meant for a vest until I decided to keep it all for myself. I spent a lot of time rationalizing why it wasn’t good for a vest (too fuzzy! too warm! a tough color! made from goats!) but in the end I realized that love don’t need a reason.  The color is grey, or green,or blue just like Hudson River:

I haven’t yet decided what this will turn out to be.  I’ve been toying a wrap based on the Bandit scarf, but it will have to wait until after the holiday knitting push before I get going on it.

This rainy Saturday found me perched on a hard metal chair at our local museum, knitting away and eagerly anticipating a lecture on Knitting in the Civil War. What I learned: there is nothing like attending a lecture about the history and culture of knitting  to make you want to run home and violently unravel every project in your project basket .

I was hoping for a slideshow with some ruffly sontags or homespun socks, and maybe a few sad stories of soldiers cherishing socks sent by consumptive sweethearts. And maybe an actual artifact! But after a few interesting facts (provided by an 8 year old Civil War buff and not the lecturer) the conversation took a sad slide down into the abyss of  Why Knitting is Trendy.

All of the women at my table started frothing at the mouth and screaming obscenities as this topic emerged. Why, why, why must the simple pleasure of creating warm garments for loved ones be reduced to a sociological treatise? Why do I knit? Because I believe that my knitting skills will come in handy in the post-apocalyptic society.  I knit because I can’t sing.  Because I can.

Anyhow. It was an opportunity to get a solid couple of hours of knitting done, and that extra knitting time in November is  crucial.  Hopefully I will have some pictures at the end of the week of the beautiful yarn I bought at Sheep and Wool from Persimmon Farms.

A day off from work smack in the middle of the week is almost better than a week of vacation in my book. I got up at the usual weekday time, did a few chores, a few loads of laundry, a few laps around the house with the swiffer, and then headed out to see the Jane Austen exhibit at the Morgan Library.  Have you been to the Morgan? I had never been.  It has the most exquisite elevator in NYC, all glass with a wooden floor.  It got me to the second floor but I felt elevated by the whole thing.

The show is a collection of Jane Austen’s actual letters written in her actual handwriting, along with some of her own library books.  I’ve read everything she has written dozens of times and I came to accept that this is all there is, my friends.  But these letters were all new!  All new Jane! Her own stuff!  There were screams of joy in the gallery from all the other Jane Austen fans as they shoved their way from letter to letter, from book to book.  Well, maybe the screams were politely muffled in brightly colored pashmina shawls and maybe the shoving was just museum goers standing a little too close to each other and the exhibits, but still, it was a like a rave.  A Jane Austen Rave.

Read the letters yourself here.  In fact, read them for hours like I have been doing since I got home.

You can tell from reading these letters that all Jane Austen’s friends thought she was beast, the kind of woman you’d totally invite over to your house for six or seven hours of hardcore knitting and red wine drinking.  Its a good thing I already know wimmin like that already! Over the weekend some of the knitting group knitters came over here to the Mile Square City to keep my company while Emily was away researching colleges.  November is the start of the professional knitting season and I think we made some good progress on a variety of projects, and I know one lucky chihuahua looks sharp on this cold day thanks to Lynn.

I , sadly,  had to rip out every thing I knitted due to KUI (knitting under the influence).

nyy-tat-two The Yankees won the World Series yesterday, one game ahead of my annual beisbol- related nervous breakdown.  It was tense in this house, with two rabid Yankee fans sitting across from me at dinner every night reviewing every  play of the game, and a  lot of Facebook heckling from sad, misguided and possibly deranged Philadelphia-based family members.

To alleviate the tension of the last six games I cast on – and finished! – Springtime In Philadelphia.  I’ve knitted this before, and it’ an elegant knit that requires some concentration and at least one little episode of frogging, sort of like Yankees v. Phillies.  I worked it in some cashmere blend (maybe Rowan, maybe Debbie Bliss, the labels are long gone) and it’s a winner.

It’s a big holiday weekend here in Hoboken, and what would a holiday be without knitting? We even have a city wide parade dedicated to the day, it’s that important.

When Emily was little (I guess she stopped being little last year) I’d start Halloween costume planning in August.  We’d go to the fabric store and peruse the Simplicity catalogs for hours and hours until we decided on just the right witch, or princess, or cat. My favorite year was one where she was a waitress, and instead of buying a waitress uniform at a supply store, I made one from scratch – a miracle of darts, zippers and yellow polyester.

I never ever thought to knit a costume, though, or knit any aspect of it.  If I did, I might have chosen something like this nice furry cat.  Had I known about them, and had the nerve, I for sure would have knitted one of those frightening balaclavas you see on Ravelry from time to time. I never would have knitted these (Note: not for the squeamish and you know who you are).

In fact, I had never seen a knitted costume in the last 20 years I’ve been going to this parade. Not a one.  But this year I set out this year with my camera, and a modest prize (M&M’s) to find the best and possibly first knitted costume at the Ragamuffin Parade.

No sooner did I get a good viewing space near 10th Street did I see this Knitty Little Red Riding Hood!


Okay it’s crocheted, not knitted, but still, hand needlework, right? I’m trying to keep an open mind about crochet these days, I really want to try to be less judgmental about people’s lifestyle choices.  It was a grandma knitted gift, and grandma wasn’t there so I gave the costumed child the candy.

In the spirit of a weekend honoring spirits, I am going to cast on these cool socks. Have a diabolical day!