Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hellooooo Gawgeous!

FINally a finished something that is not a toy. I finished my socks. It only took me what, 2 months? Gee, can't wait to cast on the next pair.

In other knitting news, I'm so close to finishing my Green Gable I can almost taste it. I made elbow-length sleeves and a little more waist shaping and i love it. It should be blocking by bedtime. Wahoo!

Also, I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Brother 350 knitting machine. Should be any day now. I'm giddy with excitement. I might have to play hooky from work on some school day so i can play on it allllll day!

Ok, gotta run. I have a sweater to finish!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Things will never be the same

I live in lower Manhattan. I've lived here for 10 years (except for a nearly two year hiatus when we moved to Italy and back again). I remember looking out of my bedroom window one sunny morning and watching the skyline change before my eyes. I knew things would never be the same.

Well, they're not.

So this morning when I heard a plane screaming overhead, i froze in my seat and tried not to vomit. When i heard the second and third planes going by, my heart started pounding and all i could think about was trying to tell my legs to move so i could run up the street to my daughter's preschool.

I waited for the boom, but it didn't come.

I started to settle, then i heard it again. One. Two. Three. I ran to the window but was too late. I turned on the news, nothing. The third time I heard it, I knew there was something going on. I ran to the roof and saw this:

These were definitely not comemrcial flights. I didn't know what to think. the rooves were filled with other people, just standing and staring. Most of them, like me, had cameras.

These planes were flying very very close overhead. I stood and watched them fly over my head (i live close to the east river) up, around the Empire State Building, and back again.

They went overhead about 10 times. Just circling. 6 of these little things and one big huge plane, that was flying incredibly low.

if you click on the photos you can see them full size, but here's an idea of how close they were - this is not an enlargement. I took these photos with a 55mm lens, so not a terribly massive zoom. I could read the writing on the bottom of the wings. I could read the numbers on the tails.

This big thing - what is that? - was so close that i could feel the wind shift. I could read "MARINES" on the wing, I could see the star and stripes on the other wing.

Here's a detail from the full-sized image. again, this isn't an enlargement. this is through a 55mm lens. I could see the propeller, clear as in this photo, but, you know, moving.

When I composed myself a bit I called 311, which is this city "info line" and guess what? It's Fleet Week. Some tradition where the navy takes over Manhattan. Apparently this was some sort of show that was supposed to make us all feel protected and happy.

I talked with the burly construction workers putting up the building next door. They were scared to death. I talked to the guy from the bodega on the corner. He was pretty freaked. I went to the grocery store, 3 hours after this display. It's all people could talk about.

I remember a time, nearly 5 years ago, when all New Yorkers became equal, if only for a short time. We talked to each other, asking "are you ok? is your family safe?" we looked each other in the eye, and shared our fears. We all knew we were all the same. We saw each other's humanity, and were not ashamed of our tears.

So if that's what this mornings display was about - reminding us that we are each other's family - then, job well done, US Navy. but here's a hint, you know, for next time. New Yorkers aren't fond of low flying planes.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Got to Riverside park at 10am. Glorious day! I set up where I was last year, right on the pier, in front of the old mill that sits rustically and inexplicably in the middle of the Hudson River near the 72nd street exit on the West Side Highway.

Set up my table. I had a bunch of stuff - all mama-made - from friends around the country. It was a great table. I had several toys I knitted, and this little corner which marked the debut of a T-shirt line I'm working on with my friend Christy who is a scary-talented embroiderer and designer in Texas. All of the "feminist" t-shirts sold were for boys. Every. Single. One. It's a brave new world, my friends.

Things were going well, the music rocked, the children were all having a blast - as were, the mamas, of course - the burgers and dogs were grilling... it was a lovely day. until.


Not to be discouraged, my friend Alyson (the Mamapalooza organizer) and her band BETTY sang under the overpass into a Parks and Rec services megaphone. Now that's dedication. And the upside to being a rock band with strong harmonies and a knack for performing a cappella.

That's Elizabeth Ziff in the foreground. I can't believe she's smiling. Quintessential performers, those women.

These are two of The Squid's teachers, from The Greatest Preschool of All Time. Blanca and Willie are such gluttons for punishment that they spent their day OFF huddled under the overpass with a bunch of wet kids, entertaining them while the soggy parents huddled under the food tent slurping watery beer.

And get this. They're both childless.

And yet.

We finally called it a day and hopped into a taxi, where I discovered that My Kid the Squid and Alyson were, despite the rain, sporting the same sunglasses. and the same hair.

and because this is a knitting blog. Check out the progress on my Gable. I'm ready to rib and add sleeves. Love the pattern.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away

The skies are blue. Nary a cloud to be seen. Fingers crossed that it stays that way. Today is Mamapalooza at Riverside Park (from noon to 5pm if you're in the neighborhood) and i've been preparing all week for it. I've got a table full of Mama-Made stuff - some from me, some from other mamas across the continent. And the forcast calls for thunderstorms starting at 1pm.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Disaster Film + Knitting in the Dark = gaaahh!

It's been a while. it's been a long week. It's been one of those weeks that seems like a year. Allow me to recap.

After reading that my kid preferred a mass-produced Dora doll to my lovingly handcrafted backpack, my mother ran out and bought one. and wrapped it. and sent it. and The Squid, of course, adores it.

On an unrelated note, we were strolling along Central Park South the other day and the Squid was commenting on how she'd really love to have a nice 4 bedroom in one of those old buildings. Just saying.

On the knitting front, the Green Gable is coming along nicely. I decided to ignore all mistakes and just keep on knitting. Now that I'm at a point where i can really try it on, I have to say you really can't notice the horror that is my lacework. And the fit is divine. I never got the whole top-down raglan thing, but i do now. I'm trying it on every couple of rows and adding an increase here, a decrease there... it's looking great. I love it. Of course I'm no longer following the pattern to the letter. That didn't last long, did it.

Tonight I worked on it while watching Poseidon. Ooooh big mistake. That has to be one of the most hideous, stressful things I have ever paid $10.75 to see. Yeouch. I mean, there's a kid. and his mom.


Anyway, the stupid movie is so full of tension that my tension was pretty much turned upside down and stuck in an air bubble. I mean I went from 5 stitches per inch to like 27 stitches per inch. I'm thinking I'm just going to rip out everything I did tonight and start over.

On an interesting note, I met a guy on the street corner outside the theater. It was Brett Carr, director of the upcoming movie REVOLOUTION. And yeah, you're supposed to write it that way.

Anyway, the director of this movie was standing on the street corner handing out free tickets. good for a whole week, you pick the time. Not one of those "here's a free ticket but you have to go at 4am next Monday" things. We talked for a while, because I said "oh yeah, I've seen that trailer a few times."

"A few?" he said. "How many movies do you go to see?"

And I told him about my whole escape from the house thing. I actually said "my kid is learning how to fall asleep without me." and he said "Oh, you can't do that! she's not supposed to fall asleep without you. You're supposed to be there cuddling her. What is that, some Ferber thing?"

I was of course at once guilty and horrified. "oh NO!" I assured him and explained how I had nursed my kid until she was three. How I let her decide when she was done. I told him I used cloth diapers "and i hand knitted her diaper covers so she had nothing but natural fibers..." man, i was full on guilt with that one.

But I got over it eventually when he said a comment that made me giggle but that I won't repeat here. And we talked about the movie, and stuff like that. He was an interesting and very normal seeming guy for being a director who stands in front of movie theaters on Tuesday nights handing out free tickets to guilt-ridden mothers and I can't wait to see the movie. It's next week. I've got passes. Who's coming?

Monday, May 08, 2006

yeah ok. so. I have no will power.

did i finish my sock? I did not. did I buy yarn anyway? I did. did I finish my sock after I bought the yarn before I started the Green Gable? I did not. shame on me.

but really, it wasn't my fault. I had to go to the yarn store. to get something. for a friend. you don't know her. she lives in Canada. No, really.

Anyway, I stayed away from the Cotton Fleece so as not to tempt myself. But while I was looking for that thing for that Canadian friend of mine, I accidentally touched this yarn. Classic Elite Premiere. Oh. My. Goodness. This 50/50 Pima/Tencel blend is divine. DIVINE. I had to have it. Oh, and it turned out to be cheaper than the Cotton Fleece. See? I've got no willpower but at least I'm thrifty.

Warning, spoiler ahead! If you're not knitting the GG, the rest of this will probably make zero sense to you. You can skip ahead to the photo of my disaster and commence laughing at me if you'd like.

Ok. So here's the skinny. Cast on using twisted German (my fave) and did not do the row of purl. Then I had a lace problem. The mistake I was having (I posted about it) with the lace was this: in section A I would yo, k2tog happily along until I got to the last stitch, which I then kf&b. but since I was cruising in the yo, k2tog rhythm, I was finishing with a yo. so I frogged it.

This time I did the twisted German cast on but I also did the row of purl, because the sweater was starting to curl a bit in the back. Probably would have blocked out, but whatever. The TG CO and the purl row look great. I'm pleased with it.

BUT. since I had already frogged it and it was stupid o'clock in the morning, and because I'm a stubborn fool, I insisted upon staying up all night until I caught up to the point where I had frogged it before. Which was, of course, a huge mistake.

The red circle delimits some serious funk and the red lightning bolt shows the flow of the lace. oops. I absolutely positively guarantee that I ended all A rows on a k2tog and all B rows on a YO. I also absolutely guarantee you that that is clearly the ONLY part of the lace pattern I actually paid attention to.

Surprisingly, when wearing it, you can't tell at all. The lace smoothes out and looks great unless you stand with your nose 2 inches from my sternum. I couldn't get close enough to the mirror to actually see the problems. However, in the black yarn, it looks somewhat like I've got a mantilla draped across my chest.

I'm considering frogging back to the first lace disaster, and knitting the rest in stockinette. Which essentially gives me 2 repeats of section A&B, adding some interest to the piece so it's not just a top-down raglan with nice sizing. I'm planning a 3/4 sleeved GG so if I leave only 2 repeats at the neck, I could echo it with 2 repeats of the lace pattern around the bottom of the sleeves.

You want to know the funny thing? the whole reason I didn't mess with the sizing based on the posts here was that I was insisting that this would be the first time ever I actually followed a pattern. oh well.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Not Looking Good For Our Team.

Well, I've made it past the heel. The rest is smooth sailing. The problem is that I wanted to finish it by 6pm tomorrow. But tomorrow I also have to finish up all my work knitting, too. grr. no yarn for me this week, I think.

But, i love these socks. the colors are so not anything I would normally choose but that's my favorite thing about hand knit socks. I always make totally insane ones that don't go with anything I own. All I own is black and denim, anyway.

the yarn? it rocks. plain and simple.

Friday, May 05, 2006

No Time for Photos

I'm not going to make my goal. However, I am at the heel gusset. Why did I make these knee socks? i can't stand to waste sock yarn. I need to get over that. sheesh.
So my new goal - tomorrow my store closes at 6. the yarn store closes at 7. if i can finish my sock by tomorrow at 6 i can go buy yarn.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm a knitalong flunkie.

I joined the Sock a month knitalong in january. I knit 2 pair, both in february. Haven't finished anything since. I suck.

However, I've found a way to beat second sock syndrome on this pair. I really want to knit a Green Gable and the yarn store is out of the yarn I want to use. It's coming Friday. I actually have yarn store shopping time on Friday. I will not allow myself to buy the yarn unless I finish sock #2, underway, pictured above.

This is my Greenwood Fibers sock yarn that I've had since January and I haven't finished the socks yet. Shame on me. In my defense, I have been knitting them in the dark which means a lot of tearing out what I've been doing. It's hard to knit with bumply stretchy yarn in the dark on 1s. Remember how they were pooling funny? well, that's because I was increasing stitches all over the place. I figured it out, frogged back several times, and came out with much better looking socks.

This is the "you're putting me on" sock pattern, generic version. I love this pattern. It gives me the shape i like (heel flap and gusset) but I can knit it toe up, allowing me to use my favorite figure 8 cast on and sewn bind-off, two of the reasons I prefer to knit socks toe-up. The main reason, however, is this:

That's all that's left over. I like that about toe-up socks.

now i have to go knit the other one. right away.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Party's Over

So, she likes it. She doesn't love it but she likes it. And I've realized something. She loves the clothes I make her. She doesn't care for the toys. Time for me to stop foisting them on her. I'm going to just back off for a while. If you hear of me making a toy for her, slap me, would you?

You know what sealed it? The hostess of our fabulous party had a beanie baby Dora doll. The Squid was beside herself, and despite all of the wonderful gifts she got, she fell asleep muttering "I wish I had a Dora just like that."

I offered - what if I make a Dora outfit for one of your handmade dolls?

"hmm. well...? no."

Ok, if you need mass production, what if I make a Dora outfit for that Cabbage Patch doll - she's Latina and everything.

"hmm. well....? no."

Ok. What if I knit you a Dora doll, from scratch, top to bottom, and I even fill it with beans, like the beanie baby?

"hmm. well...? how 'bout we buy one?"

And so I thought... why not? why do I insist she must love hand made toys? She loves Dora. I remember being a kid and wanting The Latest Toy and when my grandmother crocheted me one that was Just As Good, I was devastated. It does need to be the mass produced one. because that's the REAL one.

At least we agree on one thing. Cake rocks.

More photos on flickr.