Monday, March 30, 2009

All Bundled Up

Here's Bita all ready for winter. Doesn't she look gorgeous? As usual my timing is a bit off as the temperature has been in the fifties and sixties here in NYC. I made a Star Crossed Beret and My So Called Scarf for another one of my nieces, Joyce. She was the one who made the lovely Santa hat for Patrick this winter. I thought I'd make her a hat and scarf as a thank you. I didn't do them with the same yarn as I didn't want them to be matchy matchy. I did a yellow for the hat and the scarf has yellow in it.

I really loved making that scarf. It's so easy. If you can read a pattern that is. I had to cast on eight times because, as in the aforementioned post, I've been having a lil pattern lysdexia lately. But it's done, gorgeous and just waiting to be worn. I have a second one on the needles already.
In other news, I cast on the wristlets for Bean yesterday. Sock yarn on size two needles. DPNs no less. I think this project may have me wearing glasses before it's done. It's not easy but I'm going to tough it out. Then I'm gonna learn Magic Loop.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Now I Know My ABCs

I'm a reader. Not only a reader but a voracious reader. I'm always reading at least one book. In third grade, I was already at college level in reading. I would walk home from middle school, through the streets of Manhattan, reading and narrowly avoiding walking into parking meters. When I saw the Amazon Kindle I had to have one if only to stop the steady stream of books coming into our NYC sized apartment. That's what I told Glenn to justify the cost anyway. I have twenty six boxes of books down in my basement some of which I have held onto for years just in case I wanted to reread them. I've read two books this week alone.
This being said WHY DID I MISREAD THE PATTERN FOR MY SISTER'S SWEATER??? The pattern says it's supposed to be between fourteen and sixteen inches and I thought it said twenty. Maybe it's the numbers. I was never good in math.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I'm not a procrastinator. Honestly I'm not. I'm the sort who says let's do it and get it over with so I don't have this hanging over my head. Until now.

This sweater is kicking my ass. First it was the monotony of the knit one row, purl one row. That got old fast. Then it was holy crap do I have enough yarn to finish this? Al assured me that what I have will suffice if I do the yoke in the brown the same as the trim. Not a big deal, I have more than enough brown. Now it's the joining. I've put a serious dent in the body of the sweater as you can see. Instructions say to knit twenty inches before the join. I'm at eighteen and holding. And holding. I'm at the point where I won't allow myself to cast on anything else until this is done. I have to admit I'm a little scared. The joining of the body and sleeves and the shaping of the yoke is scaring the crap out of me. I'm very lucky that I have someone like Al to walk me through this, and take over the reins if need be, but I wonder if it's something in my head, other than outright fear, that's stopping me.
My mother's been in my head a lot lately and I wonder if that has something to do with it. Or the fact that the sweater is for my sister who has been like my mother since I was a teenager. Oddly enough I only remember her knitting sweaters and baby hats. Never a scarf or gloves. So now that I'm making a sweater I guess I'm thinking about her more. Maybe I should stop buying yarn and pay a shrink instead. Or maybe the knitting is my therapy? Maybe it's my way of working through my unresolved mother issues? Also I've been thinking about the fact that I took up knitting right after my father's death. It may have nothing to do with it but I'm just sayin!
Holy crap that was better than any therapy session!
Moving on. Today Al and I are going to the Lion Brand Yarn Store to see what the dealio is down there. I've been Tweeting with Patty, who's been extremely sweet, who invited us to come on down and see what new goodies they have there. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wool Rut

I think I'm in a wool rut. I don't know if such a thing exists, but if it didn't before, it does now.
I can't get away from the Pastaza. I love how it feels and it looks fantastic. Each time I go to a store or a website the first thing I look for is the Cascade Pastaza. If we go to a shop that doesn't carry it, I look for the nearest thing that's made from wool and llama. I've gone so far as to walk around a store for a while with something else in my hand only to put it back in it's basket before I leave.
I try to get away but it keeps pulling me back! Misti Alpaca? Debbie Bliss? Manos? Hand painted independent producers? None of those seem to be able to entice me away from my beloved Pastaza.
If I see a pattern I like, I look to see if the weight is the same as the Pastaza or if there's some kind of modification that can be made so I can use Pastaza. Or I call Al and ask her if I can use Pastaza.
I think I may need a twelve step program to break me of this. Hello my name is Susie and I'm addicted to Pastaza.
If I don't do something soon, it's gonna be a long, hot summer.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Books, Books & More Books!

Al and I went to Borders the other day to have a lil sit n knit of our own. We had a great time, as we always do together, and we got our knit on. I had a lookie loo around the store and found this:
A pattern book. I just looked through the photos and decided to get it. It had a few fingerless mitt patterns that I liked and some other nice gems that look like they'll fulfill the instant gratification jones that I can't seem to shake.
I've decided to put aside all fiction books until I put a dent in my knitting books. I have a nice pile, or two, of knitting books and just figured it's time to prioritize and get some of them read. Right now I'm reading Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. She's great fun to read and I learn so much from her. Oh and she was on Knitty Gritty this week making socks. I had recorded it not knowing she'd be on and when I saw her I was so excited! She's so different than what I had pictured from her writing and photos. And watching her knit? Her hands move so quickly and she makes it look so easy. I'm like a bull in a china shop comparatively.
After I finish Knitting Rules! I have about four other knitting books to read then I can once again pick up my Kindle and read some other stuff. I think I have about fifty books queued up there to read.
I'm goint to ask Al to take a look at the sweater for my sister and see if I have enough yarn. If not, it's going to become the striped cardi it's supposed to be. Sorta. It'll have one big ole brown stripe across the middle. Like Charlie Brown. Oy. It's the thought that counts, right?
Oh and if anyone who works at Borders reads this please get nicer chairs in the cafe. The ones you have now suck.

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Handwarmers, Old Pattern

Not OLD old pattern but the same pattern I did before. I made these for Bean because she asked me to make her something for bike riding. Of course, with my luck, I made her winter gloves as we're entering spring!
They're made with...what else? Pastaza! On straight needles with a seam up the side. Nice and easy, just the way I like it. I like the colors together. They were made from the yarn I bought for a hat that I made. Then I frogged it. I just didn't like it so now Bean has handwarmers. I bought some nice sock yarn to make her summer weight bike gloves. Al suggested I not use cotton so I got a 75% wool 25% nylon blend. Black and red to match her bike.
I Tweeted about not having a pattern and the lovely ladies on my Twitter gave me suggestions. I have to say, knitters rock. There's no competition amongst knitting folk and they're willing to share EVERYTHING! Every knitter should be given a tshirt that says "Shares well with others." If I'm ever in a bind, I can have a handful of people helping me within minutes whether it be online or in a store. Thanks people!
Now to share my oy vey moment with you. I don't know if I have enough yarn to finish Pat's sweater. You know..the striped pattern with no stripes? Umm...maybe I should have done stripes. I'm fourteen inches into the body and wondering if a big, bold brown stripe running through the middle would look funny. Or brown sleeves. I'm sorta sweatin it here. I have about 1/4 of a hank I'm currently working with, one more hank plus what's left of two hanks I've used on the sleeves. I think I'm just gonna push through and see what happens. The other option is to frog it now and never know if there was enough and just make her a different sweater. I can't live with not knowing if it would have worked. So I'm just going to keep on knitting and hope for the best.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Wondering if there are other knitting Twitterers out there. I'm on Twitter, as KnittingKnoobie, and I've been looking for other knitters with not a lot of luck. I've found a few of you but it seems the search results I come up with are limited. It seems you can't search by keyword but only by name so if you don't have knit, knitting, knitter or yarn in your name it won't come up in those searches. Or maybe I'm doing something wrong? It wouldn't be the first time! If you're on Twitter, please let me know because I'm obsessed with everything everyone is doing every moment of everyday. Yes, I need a life.
Off to The Point today with Al for a few hours of uninterrupted knitting. I've started My So Called Scarf which, after about seven rip downs, is going very well. For some reason I was just not getting the instructions until I went to YouTube and saw the stitches being done. I'm very grateful to the women who post knitting videos there. I've learned so much from watching others because sometimes I just don't understand the patterns. I'm doing the scarf with some of my Manos haul and it's very pastel/Easter looking and I like it! Needless to say I'm still working on Pat's sweater. It's coming along. Slowly. I should have it ready for her on her birthday which is August 17th. I'm not going to give myself a closer dead line because I don't want to rush or be disappointed if I don't reach said dead line so August it is.
Don't forget to leave me your Twitter names if you have an account!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Contest Winner!

I'm just overwhelmed by the response for my contest! From the first comment from Katie going on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, to Jess wanting to stay in the Library Hotel, which I never knew existed to Kelsey's trip to Strawberry Fields to Sarah's fun filled day doing so many things I love to do I am just flabbergasted! You all have such specific ideas you want to do here and it makes my heart warm to know how you all know so much about my lil town. I know I's a big city but in reality it's a bunch of small towns jammed together.
So many food ideas! Bagels & lox, hot dogs, pizza, Chinatown, Venieros all things I love and places we go. Broadway shows were really big too.
How to choose? How can I choose the best from all these wonderful posts? I'll tell you how. Wuss out and use an automatic number generator. I'm sorry folks I just could not choose on my own because all your ideas were wonderful and inspiring and gave me lots of ideas for things to do with the kids this summer.
I went to a random number generator and it picked number 32 which is Annjellicle! Congratulations Annjellicle! Please send me an email at and give me your contact information so I can send you the yarn and book.
I want to thank you all for coming by, commenting and participating in my first contest. You've given me lots to think about and lots to read on your blogs. Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The Irish
Be they kings, or poets, or farmers,
They're a people of great worth,
They keep company with the angels,
And bring a bit of heaven here to earth

Monday, March 16, 2009

Odds and Ends

I found a really cool site. It's can be found here and it's KnitMap. You enter your zip code and it tells you where all the knit shops in your area can be found! There are also reviews of the knit shops. I thought it was really cool and a must have for people traveling or moving to a different area. I think if we ever buy another house, I'd have to consult KnitMap before signing on the dotted line.
I finished the hand warmers I made but they need to be sewn up so that's what I'll be doing today. And working on Pat's sweater. Also looking for a new project. Not sure what I want to do next. I suppose I could start Bean's Gretel hat but I need Al to help me with some of the things I don't understand yet.
Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day which we celebrate because we've got a wee bit o the Irish in us and we have our very own Patrick that we own. Should be nice. Even if I did have to elbow a bunch of old ladies away from the corned beef at the supermarket yesterday. How friggin long does it take to pick out a corned beef? Geez.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

And Then There Were Two

Sleeves that is. Here are the two sleeves for my sister's sweater. Not too shabby huh? I like that the pattern is called Striped Treeline Sweater yet I have no stripes. I know...typical New Yorker going against the grain. I'm working on the body and beginning to get anxious about the joining of all parts but, to quote Scarlett, I'll think about that tomorrow. Or the next day.
The only other thing I'm working on is a cute pair of handwarmers for Bean but shhh don't tell her. Close your eyes if you're reading this, Bean. It's a surprise.
I'm having so much fun with the contest! I can't believe how many comments I've gotten thus far and I can't wait to find out who wins. It's really neat reading what other people think of NYC and all the things they want to do. You guys rock!

Friday, March 13, 2009

A New Yarn Store!

Well new for me anyway but, from what I can see, it's been there a while. Yesterday Al and I went downtown to Seaport Yarns. What a great place it is! When you first walk in it's a sensory overload. There's so much yarn in so many places that you, quite literally, have to look through the store in pieces. I did anyway.
That's just one section of the store. There are two other sections although not quite as big. They have so many cool yarns at incredible prices. They may be the least expensive yarn store in all of NYC! Oh and they have an extensive book selection. Literally hundreds of books!
Obviously the place is huge and there's plenty of room to sit and knit if you so choose. The woman who was working there yesterday I had met once before at a SnK Al and I had attended several months ago. She is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. She's also very friendly and funny. Not to mention that she makes the most beautiful hats I've ever seen. Her color work is beyond compare. I just can't remember her name. I hate middle age.
We spent a couple of hours there and had a great time. I got 2 hanks of Classic Elite Montera, in Carnation, which is a 50/50 llama wool blend. Sound familiar? It's exactly like Pastaza! I know, I'm single minded. All I've been buying is Pastaza. When I'm rich and famous, this will be known as my Pastaza phase.
Please don't forget to leave a comment on my previous post to be entered into my contest.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Love New York!

Anyone remember those old commercials with the song? Ok the commercial may be gone but the sentiment never gets old.
This is an unusual post for me. It's a contest! I decided to combine two of my favorite things, knitting and New York.
Here's the dealio. Leave me a comment, on this post only, telling me the one thing you'd do if you were in New York City. Go to the top of the Empire State Building? Lunch at Mesa Grill, one of Bobby Flay's fabulous restaurants? Maybe a trip to my sister's store, The New York Firestore for some awesome FDNY or NYPD tshirts or hats? (Shameless plug I know but I need a new free sweatshirt). Just tell me the one thing you'd do if you were in NYC and I'll pick a winner out of all the comments. If you're lucky enough to be a New Yorker, just tell me your favorite thing to do in NYC. The deadline will be on St. Patrick's Day, next Tuesday at noon. Make sure there's an email address attached to your post so I can contact you if you're the winner.
My son Patrick, generous soul that he is, suggested that the prize be an all expenses paid, three day/two night trip to NYC to do this favorite thing amongst other things. Since he's not paying, this will be the prize:
It's 2 skeins of Nako Super Angora yarn and a copy of Knit Lit! Three whole things for one contest! The yarn is called Super Angora and is a 65% acrylic/35% mohair mix. It's 100 grams/340 meters per skein. The book is a great compilation of short stories by knitters and I really enjoyed my copy of it.
I can't wait to see what you all have to say about New York. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More Books

I've always been an avid reader. I'd walk home from school reading. I'd stay up till 3:00 am reading on school nights. Right now, in the basement of our building, I have 26 grocery boxes full of books. And that's probably about half the books I own. Living in an apartment in Manhattan, this can make for problems as space is at a premium. That's why I got a Kindle last year. Or it's how I justified a $400 purchase anyway. I love my Kindle, I really do. If you look in my bag at any given time I have my wallet, a small (or not so small) knitting project and my Kindle. But I've come to realize that sometimes you need to have the book instead of reading something on the Kindle. Some people think they have to read exclusively on the Kindle but I'm not of that mind. Obviously most knitting books have to be hard books because of pictures but others you just want the muscle memory and comfort of a book. This is one such book:

Of course I'd heard of the Yarn Harlot before I started knitting. I'd perused her site when I began knitting but didn't see much I liked. Initially. Then I purchased Yarn Harlot: Secret Life Of A Knitter and I was hooked. Yeah I know...bad pun but it's true. I loved her style of writing and the way she made me think and feel about knitting. I went back to her blog and started at the beginning so I could follow her journey. Granted, I didn't read the whole thing, I think she's goes back about five years, but I read enough to realize that she was a great writer, an even greater knitter and someone who made me understand why I love this so much. I now have all her books except Free Range Knitter. I guess I just want to say thanks to Stephanie for bringing together my two favorite things, knitting and reading. Ok I'm off to Amazon. I have a book to buy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ribs & Ruffles

Here's a very simple scarf I made for the woman in my building:

You can find the pattern here. It's beyond easy and fast and oh so soft! I saw the one at The Point and it was a bit longer and thinner. Alyssa informed me that this stretches a bit, which I was happy to hear. You can really see the stitches over time. I think I like something that grows with you. Seems like the owner puts their mark on it so to speak.
As you can see, we have the lovely Bita modeling for us today. My husband took the photos for me, gnashing his teeth the whole time, and promptly put her back in the closet.
I went to Tompkins Square Park yesterday with the kids and got my knit on...outdoors! It was almost seventy degrees here. That's right SEVENTY! I finally knit back the row I screwed up on my sister's sweater and am now going full speed ahead with the body. I'm getting to the point where I don't want to knit anything else till this is done. But that won't last long. I need some instant gratification knitting. Speaking of....I got some Punta Del Este Merisoft which I couldn't resist at The Point. It's a two shades of pink, dark and light. And it's for me! I'm looking for a good hat pattern for it but I don't know what I want just yet. Megs gave me that great hat book for Christmas and I LOVE the hats in there but all of them are made in chunky or bulky yarn. Oh well I guess I'll just have to get more yarn! I better watch it or I'll be sleeping with Bita in the closet.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Not So Imaginary Friend

This weekend, when we went upstate, my sister had a surprise for me. I came into the house then downstairs and what do I see but this:

I had been looking for a mannequin head to model my hats and Annie went and bought me one! She was on the dining table wearing the hat I had made for Annie. Isn't she gorgeous??? She's hand painted and very Victorian looking. Annie asked me what I was gonna name her and right away I thought of Annie's imaginary childhood friend, who lived on the ceiling. Beetha. Or as Annie spells it, Bita. I guess her spelling is correct since she was Annie's friend and not mine. So I'd like to introduce to you all my new friend Bita! It's great to have her so I don't have to coerce any of the males in my house to model "girl" hats for me anymore. The only downside is that Bita's is stashed away because she creeps my husband out. Must be a fear of dolls or something. You do know that the first night she was here, I tucked her in bed on his pillow don't you? He didn't find it amusing. I did.
I was perusing my Speed Dial bookmarks and was sad to see how many knitting blogs I had recently added had gone dormant. I think I've removed about ten bookmarks for lack of posting. I have the mandatory blogs that everyone has, Brooklyn Tweed, Yarn Harlot, but I also like finding more obscure ones with great knitting and writing. Like mine. Obscure that is, not great.
Still working on the sweater for my sister. Made a boo boo and have to unknit a row. Of 152 stitches. Blech. I whipped up that scarf I spoke about yesterday but haven't gotten photos yet. I'm also working on Patrick's hat.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Love Surprises!

As a new knitter, I come across surprises rather frequently. A new knitting store or even a new shipment to my favorite knitting store, can bring something new and exciting into my life. Yesterday Al and I went to The Point for a day of knitting which is what we do once a week. I was looking around and I came across this lovely knitted neck warmer. It was so soft and supple! I had felt soft yarns before but not one that flowed like this. Al took one look at it and said "Alpaca. Misti Alpaca." Of course, she was right.
I wanted to get my grubby hands on this stuff and make something nice for someone special. It so happens that they also had a scarf made from this, an easy knit, which is right up my alley. There's a woman who lives in our building who is just beyond wonderful and who Glenn and I adore so I decided to buy me some Misti and knit up this scarf for her. Here's the color I chose:

Isn't that friggin gorgeous??? As usual, the photo doesn't do it justice. It's a deep red, blood red I dare say, with black undertones. I was like a horny teenager rubbing it the whole way home. It is just so soft! I started the scarf last night and I'm sure I'll be done by midday, that's how quick and easy it is.
It made me think though. Do more experienced knitters still get surprised by things having to do with knitting? New yarns, new stitches, undiscovered needles or new projects? Will my excitement fade as time goes on or will everything new fill me with joy as this yarn did? I hope the joy stays with me as time goes on. It's like mini-Christmas every time I discover something new.
Oh then my niece, who lives in upstate NY, said that she lives near an Alpaca farm and is friends with the owner! I think I may have to ask her to take a lookie loo over there for me. And bring a camera.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Funny Sister

This is my sister's idea of a joke. I received this in an email this morning.

Dear Susie,

I found a beautiful scarf pattern for you and some of your knitting friends. Pass it along it will really get you some attention.

She's pretty funny huh?